Probably at one time or another, we have all succumbed to the
“branding” strategies of marketing advertisers. I know that I have
often referred to tissues as “Kleenex,” even after I stopped buying
that brand and switched to a less expensive one that is every bit as
good. Oftentimes, I have found the “generic” product to be superior to
the much-touted one.
However, advertisers know that many people get “hooked” on brands,
and that it is an emotional response that ignores the common sense
approach of saving money or even buying a product superior to the one
bearing a “name” brand.
In the “Frontline” program that I wrote about yesterday – “The
Persuaders” – the word “luxury” was used by marketers researching
people’s response to certain words. To me, there is something terribly
wrong with this widespread obsession with self-indulgence and/or
self-imposed ignorance, where those who are manipulated become willing
and even enthusiastic “victims” or “suckers.”
This phenomenon is found worldwide and is increasing dramatically,
and cruelty is part of it. Beef consumption is one example of a product
that is in great demand in populations of the world that are becoming
more affluent. Years ago, when on vacation in a then less affluent
country, I saw this same attitude toward beef; it was something of a
And while I’m on the subject of beef, I remember visiting an art
exhibition where the artists’ comments were printed next to their art
work. Next to one woman’s art was a comment about her early poverty and
her joy that she could now indulge in the unrestricted eating of beef!
It is also the attitude expressed by another woman who said something to
the effect that she enjoyed eating something that had involved suffering
in its production.
In my opinion, people whose self-importance involves the perishable
and the cruelly-produced are, in essence, “branding” themselves as