Archives For marketing

Fashion is Out….

April 16, 2015

High Heels 1This is no longer a trend – it is now a lifestyle that is too comfortable, for consumers of all ages, for it to go away anytime soon,” he said.

Millennials’ tendency to rent instead of buy is also turning the retail industry upside down.

SOURCE: Rebellious millennials are turning into a huge problem for retailers – Yahoo Finance.

It appears from the above article that millennials (19 -35 years olds) are turning away from “fashion” and its annual almost dictated changes. They are giving up the high heels, yes especially the seven-inch ones, for more comfortable athletic shoes.  They insist on not be dictated to as to what they wear or own.  And to that I say “Good for you”.

I have read elsewhere that the suit and tie standards are dropping rather dramatically across the business world. Marketing is a very powerful force in any capitalistic society. What will happen when most of us become immune to their dictates?


Just Who Are You???

November 19, 2014

2014-07-24_08-38-02How many of us are guilty of buying a certain brand of jeans or sneakers because we liked the way they made someone else look? We don’t just want to look like that person, we want to embody a bit of their identity by wearing the same costume.

Brands are everywhere, and sometimes, as Swarthmore psychologist Barry Schwartz told us in “The Paradox of Choice,” deciding between them can be so overwhelming as to discourage making a purchase at all. But often, we know what we want: the consumption choices we make are guided by how we want to see ourselves in the world. What we wear, sip and drive all play a major part in the identity performance we all participate in every day….

SOURCE: How brands make the man, and the woman – literally | Making Sen$e | PBS NewsHour.

Of Course one of the best in this category is Harley Davidson.

2014-07-24_08-46-42The stage Harley-Davidson has set for us is one in which we escape the daily grind. Riding a Harley helps us reconnect with the myth of the American West, a time when the frontier lay untamed and when heroic, solitary explorers braved all manner of dangers.

“To all the freedom loving riders who celebrate the spirit of Harley Davidson every time they start their bike – we salute you,” Harley Davidson proclaims.

Who knew that marketing could basically change the face of America? It seems that so many people eagerly put down their hard-earned dollars for things they could get for much less when the label is on the inside instead of the outside. Who knew that so many of us would pay to be a walking billboard for a particular manufacturer?

I myself am not a clothes hound. I am still wearing some things that I bought twenty years ago. They continue to feel good so why throw them away for something newer? But I do admit that I have an urge to go out and get a Harley and hit the road. As the ad to the left ends. “Screw it. Let’s Ride”. But then again reality sets in and I realize that my rebel days, or at least those involving a motorcycle, are pretty much over. I now do my rebellion with a fountain pen as Bob Dylan’s song mentioned.

But let’s get back to marketing. Wanting something that you don’t really need is a very American thing. Our capitalist system almost demands that you spend more than you make so of course there are people out there that are going to “help” you decide what to buy.  It is ironic that so many of us insist that were are unique, that God only made one of us but then we end up letting others tell us how to dress, what to drive,  how to decorate our homes, and worst of all how to vote.  We let others tell us how to be unique? Isn’t that kind of ridiculous? If you want to be unique then maybe you should be doing the opposite of what they tell you.  It works for me.   🙂



2013-11-26_08-35-41The funny thing about Michael Galinsky’s photographs of malls, taken during a road trip across the U.S. in the winter of 1989, is not the feathered and hair-sprayed hair, the pleated and pegged jeans, the high-tops and acid wash, the puffy chests in too-small or over-sized tank tops. It’s not the whiff of Mrs. Field’s cookies, Orange Julius, and Chick-fil-A waffle fries. It’s not the fluorescent lights and pained efforts to bring the outdoors in: rubber plants, umbrellas hovering in food courts, faux snow fluffed, not falling, over Christmas scenes. That dusty, dim glow.

The funny thing is, looking at Galinsky’s photos, is that we can’t tell one mall from the other. We have no way of knowing if he was in South Dakota or Indiana, Arkansas or Kansas. Without marking his slides, Galinsky, too, realized then, he’d have no way of knowing where in America, exactly, he’d been. But it turns out, looking back some 30 years later, it’s not so much where that matters, but when.

SOURCE:  Flashback to the Timeless Malls of the 1980s – LightBox.

I am old so I remember when malls were not around. Kids cruised the local drive-in restaurant in their cars instead of going to the mall. The first mall I encountered did not have a roof over the stores so in many ways it was not as much of a social climate as the enclosed kind became. It was simply more convenient than having to drive from one store to another. Of course during those days there is also no such thing as McDonald’s or Wal-Mart. I don’t think the kids today can even imagine such a world!

When the picture above was taken I was already in my 40’s so malls were not part of my social life as they became for the kids in that picture. Another noticeable thing about the picture is that everyone is not wearing tennis shoes.  I know they are not called tennis shoes any longer but that is the name for them laser cut into my memory so just give me a break.

If I were to have to pick one of the most influential things of the previous century it would have to be marketing. We, I am told especially us in the U.S., tend to jump on board with every fad that comes and goes. It is somehow now emblazoned on our brains that we must have the latest thing. If we buck the trends we are called all types of name; in my day is was doofus, today it is nerd or something else. Marketing has taken most of us as its slave to toss us from one fad to another.

I have always been that strange guy who just doesn’t do what everyone else does. When I was a teenager I was just too shy and too poor to be trendy. As I matured into an adult I had learned to mistrust on one level or another everything I was told. I had to check it out myself before coming on-board.  Maybe my hearing impairments and later deafness had something to do with it. I don’t know.  I do know it separated me from others….

But I’m kind of proud how I turned out. Maybe too proud…

Retirement Rule #77

June 9, 2011

Spend your fixed income on what is important to you, not today’s marketers.

Ok so this is kind of bogus post in that I don’t know what the 76 retirement rules might be that precede this one. 🙂 But that doesn’t make this one any less important. One of my blog buddies proudly states that he has given up cable TV. I salute him for that if that is important for him but I choose to do otherwise. But I do see his point in several aspects. It seems that much of what is on cable today is nothing but a giant marketing scheme.

There are so many home improvement type shows on cable that it seems to dominate the bandwidth. Almost every one of them tells us how to spend more and more of our money on things that we “need”.

  • They want us to believe that if your kitchen does not have cherry cabinet, granite counter tops, and stainless steel appliances then it is absolutely mandatory that you immediately remodel to make that happen.
  • They want us to believe that if your back yard does not include a water feature, a fire pit, and at least some formal dining area that you should immediately contact your landscape architect.
  • They want us to believe that if your car does not have dvd players front and rear, in-dash GPS, and 0-60 mph in under six seconds that you should rush to your car dealer to make that happen.

I put a lot of the blame of the average $10,000 credit card debt that the average family carries on these types of things. And it seems that seniors are not exempt from these situation. Everyday I see yet another senior on one of these programs who proudly announces his latest remodel or new car or other such major expenditure. It is almost as if life cannot be complete without everything that the marketers say we “need”. Maybe if more of us were like my blogger buddy we wouldn’t be susceptible to these types of ploys.

Getting back to the rule #77 it is up to you how you spend your discretionary money while in retirement. Don’t let today’s marketing schemes tell you how to do that.

  •  I don’t put a lot of emphasis on how my neighbors view my lifestyle.
  • I still drive the stripped down pickup truck I bought in 1992. 
  • We haven’t done any significant “home improvements” in more than ten years now.
  • We are just as likely to eat out at McDonald as we are an up-scale restaurant.
  • We don’t take fancy vacations to the Bahamas or Hawaii on a regular basis.

Why not? The reason is that those sort of things are just not that important to my wife and I. Most of our vacations, and we do take several a year because that is what we enjoy, are made by car. We travel a couple hundred miles and then look for a place to stay. Our home, although it doesn’t meet 2011 design standards feels very comfortable to us.  While my wife does spend more than I am comfortable with on her flowers each spring I accept that because her gardens are one of the things that are important to her. I spend more than I probably should on “techie” things because that is what I enjoy.

Years ago when I was about to retire the financial planners told us that we would need at least 80% of our pre-retirement income to live in our retirement years. But because of what we think is important that number ended up being less than 60%. If we followed the latest trends we, like our neighbors, might likely had needed that other 20% or maybe more.

Don’t let others decide what is important to you in your senior years.

OK, here is another shot at trying to decide what we in the U.S. are true experts about and therefore export more of than any other country. I don’t claim to be a sage about this sort of thing but I think I am on to something with this one.

Is there a commodity that the U.S. exports much more of than any other country?

Could our number one export be our Consumerism? Maybe its our Marketing? Maybe it is both: Consumerism/Marketing.

This it kind of like the chicken/egg type thing. I don’t know which spurred the other but the result is the same. We simply must have whatever is the latest “in” item. If we are buying a home it simply must have granite counter tops, cherry cabinets, and stainless steel appliances. Everything else is totally unacceptable! If it is clothes is must be from the latest “in” designer. Of course our blue jeans cost $100 per pair; anything else makes us look cheap. Our cars have to have the top of the line foreign models with bluetooth, wi-fi, in-dash gps, and two DVD player. Anything else will just not show the world what we are. How about super white teeth; bleach baby bleach (no matter that our teeth will crumble in our mouths in a decade or so..)

Of course having to have the latest and best is not a new thing with us but we seem to have gotten it fine-tuned now. When the marketeers decide we need something else we will quickly jump on the band wagon. If we want to claim that we are the biggest exporter of consumerism/marketing we have to make sure that we downplay the dark side of this export and that is consumer debt. We are far and above number one in that area too.  The average U.S. family has almost an $11,000 credit card balance of which we are paying in excess of 18% annual interest. The cumulative U.S. family debt makes our federal deficits seem like pocket-money.

But what do I know….