Monday, 9 June 2008
Consumerism : A New Low
Anybody who has done Marketing 101 will know that one of the basic tricks of advertising is to call something 'NEW'
By tapping into our basic curiosity and the false assumption that new is equivalent to better we are sub-consciously being told that our world is progressing and improving.
So you can imagine the irony of the claim by the British Retail Consortium that we have hit a NEW low in consumer confidence.
Does this mean that we now have a better 'LOW' than the one we had before? Does this mean we can expect newer lows in the future as we progress to the best low ever?
New is slapped on products to get us try things. The double irony therefore is that the BRC are actually instructing us to try having even less consumer confidence than we had before with the consequent effect that the situation the BRC is whining about can only get worse!! DOH!
Now, the BRC would suggest that there is doom and gloom on the high street wouldn't they. That's the job of Trade Associations They portray a particularly skewed view of reality that endorses their only ever so slightly 'hidden agenda' AND...
What if the drop in high street sales indicates that consumers are wising up to the tricks and techniques deployed to get us to buy things we WANT rather than NEED? What if a mind -shift is taking place (originally triggered by tighter credit) that breaks our habit of shopping addiction? Consumer Cold Turkey is the real fear of retailers, a fear that they project onto us as fear that the supply cheap goods will end if we stop buying.
Instead of a New Low what if we are actually witnessing a New High in the awareness and general level of consciousness of the consumer that means we are less gullible about the consequences to the planet and ultimately our survival as a species of unfettered wasteful consumption?