Sunday, October 11, 2009

With Marketing

I want to go into marketing as a career.

There, I said it. I've come to the realization that this is what I want as a job since I was in high school. I fully understand that other people have extreme disdain for it. Capitalism, consumerism, and materialism are words that cannot be unassociated from marketing.

But guess what? I love it. I love things. I love buying things. I love watching a really great commercial. I love a really attractively-designed packaging. I love catching my own impulses for impulse-buying. I love noticing all the little details that go into social media marketing. I definitely have pulled a few Don Draper moments where I sneakily asked my friends why they bought certain items and asked them where they heard about it. I love it, I love it.

It's strange that I understand the principles of marketing, yet I full-heartedly give in. Nosedive in, even. Sometimes I even feel like I should reward the marketer by buying the product when I recognize excellent marketing.

Very often I feel really uncomfortable in my media studies or American studies classes about advertising. These classes exposes some of the marketing tactics that I do not agree with and the values that marketers insert into advertisements that I find horrible. Sitting there listening to my career goal being attacked as worthless and evil, I feel slightly queasy and defiant. The whole point of learning about this is to do better in the future when I get the chance, no?

One of my favorite professors, Jean Retzinger, closed her last lecture of a class last semester with that line. She also said that many of her past students e-mailed her in frustration that it is too hard to go against the status quo in the industry though. That makes me feel more uneasy than listening to another professor (whom I shall not name, because I actually do liker her a lot) share her total contempt for advertisers.

This other professor states that it is not even empirically proven that advertising always stimulates the economy, because there are studies out there that show in some cases, NOT advertising actually increased sales in certain products. That's fine. I can deal with it. The other point she mentioned though was that people back then did not possess nearly as many items as the contemporary individual does now, and they were fine and dandy.

That is true, but uh, people back then also had way lower hygiene standards and die earlier. Dogs are happy with a chew toy, too, but because we are human beings who try to progress forward (even if that's only an intention sometimes) and have complex minds, we need more than a squishy plastic item to be happy. I am not saying that products are essential for human happiness, but is it really so wrong to acquire happiness from an item? Nature is composed of things, too. What is the difference of being satisfied by eating a crisp Pink Lady apple and being giddy over using your new MP3 player?

Don't get me wrong. I do frown upon those who have to wear designer brands from head to toe, especially when they can't really afford it. But then again, anything is bad for you in extreme doses. You can't judge everything by only looking at its worst examples. It is very unfair.

And all the emphasis on being "cultured" now... All aspects of culture are being commodified. Foreign countries are products advertised to potential tourists the same way presidential candidates are portrayed to voters, which is the same exact manner how breakfast cereals entice kids with their packaging and strategic shelving in a supermarket.

All I am sayin' is, it is too late to change a system that has been deeply ingrained in the contemporary society. Everything costs something now. What do you want to do? Make things free? I don't think so. Although the system has its ups and downs, it is the best one we've come up with so far with trial and error, no? So we might as well do our best to make it work...that is my personal opinion.

I do have my doubts. I am definitely not going to be one of those people who advertise cigarettes to kids, but what about the more subtle things? Am I going to be unknowingly pushing the values that I despise?

All I want to is to create marketing campaigns that are enjoyable/creative/effective. I am slightly worried but not really. I know that I am a person of integrity and I don't think that my character will be changed drastically easily from now on when it's almost entirely formed.

Image courtesy of Shoe Lust.
P.S. That's the kind of shoes that I think Cinderella wears!