« In which we prove my vacation is bigger and fatter than yours! | Main | Before the madness begins... »

Create habits for products that don't exist

Usually I try to stay away from the exact things Colin Beavan blogs about, knowing that a lot of our readers overlap.  But I'd like to add my two cents here, on the Sunday NYT article discussing the use of marketing strategies for social/humanitarian causes.   It's pretty fascinating, providing a good primer for marketing strategies over the last 20-odd years, and it brings up some interesting possibilities.  I absolutely agree with the article's conclusion that positive, non-stuff movements have got to make use of every strategy that works -- and if the advertising people spent a ton of money figuring out how to get people to do things, then that money should be put to good use, shouldn't it?  

I do get a little freaked in the details, though, and feel like Cassandra for having whined for a year about how advertisers make us habitually need stuff we don't with claims of things being "good" and "healthy" for us.  More to the point, I'm disturbed by how it is by making an entire nation of people feel "icky" that the advertising campaign mentioned in the article can get people to wash their hands.  How disappointing that people need to feel shame and dirtiness in order to make a change.  I think there's a translation to efforts to cut back on consumption, but I'm not exactly sure what that means - do we have to make other people feel bad about it?  That's what I've been trying to avoid!

Finally, did anyone notice that "consumers in North America alone spent $650 million buying Febreze [in the most recent fiscal year]"?  And people are starving, dying of treatable health problems, and living in boxes!  But one woman's Febreze is another woman's designer jeans.  Or sunglasses.  Or meat.  (Austin update tomorrow.)     

Posted on Tuesday, July 15, 2008 at 10:17PM by Registered CommenterMegan Metcalf | CommentsPost a Comment

Reader Comments

There are no comments for this journal entry. To create a new comment, use the form below.

PostPost a New Comment

Enter your information below to add a new comment.

My response is on my own website »
Author Email (optional):
Author URL (optional):
Some HTML allowed: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <code> <em> <i> <strike> <strong>