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Branding – 21 December 2006

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 status symbol.

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 spiritually impoverished!

"Joyful Curmudgeon"
An oxymoron?
No! I see all the beauty of God's creation and I'm joyful.  At the same time, I see all the suffering and corruption going on in the world, and feel called to help expose and end it so that we may have true peace and compassion.

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