Devious Marketing

Written by Kelly Baker

Every year in America fortunes are made thanks to the Marketing Industry. Millions are spent on research to determine the psychology behind what makes a product sell. Time is spent on studies and surveys to see what exactly makes the American consumer tick. Then, armed with this vast knowledge, top executives meet for brain storming sessions where the main order of business is to waste time until noon when they all get to order Chinese take-out and charge it as a business expense.

Then, feeling smug and full of General Tso’s Chicken, they adjourn for the day to play a round of golf- also a business expense. Before doing so, they usually manage to call or text their secretaries a.k.a. “administrative assistants” to pack up all the bar graphs and pie charts and power point presentations they’ll be leaving behind in the conference room. The secretaries are well aware of trivial nuisances like “deadlines” so while the marketing executives are making important decisions like whether or not to wear tasseled golf shoes with plaid pants, the secretaries are scrambling around trying to come up with viable ad campaigns their clients will be happy with. Since the clients themselves have also flittered off and left their secretaries in charge, we as the consumers are left scratching our heads about the final product.

Take for example this actual commercial: A young guy in his early twenties with a man-bun (Nooooo!) and no socks, wearing a business suit variation of skinny taper legged cropped pants (What? Are you sure this was a guy? Yes, I’m pretty sure. Or maybe it was a hairy woman. Who am I to judge?) and business shoes goes riding a skateboard (Stop it. This sounds made up) down a city street amidst other pedestrians and traffic. And guess what it was a commercial for? I DON’T KNOW! It was either for eyeglasses or some kind of insurance. I can’t remember because I was so distracted by #1, the Man-Bun, #2 the crazy outfit he was wearing and #3 the fact that he didn’t have socks on, that my brain just completely shut down.  So whatever product they were selling (Man-bun awareness? Just say No!) is still on the shelves.

Another ad that makes me wonder is every single Cialis commercial. Why are they outdoors in bathtubs in a bucolic setting? And why are they in SEPARATE bathtubs? I’ll tell you why. Because the people who are getting paid millions of dollars to come up with these commercials are out having fun and this is what happens when you let your underpaid summer intern behind the controls.

Magazine advertisements are fun because their purpose is to sell you “the Look” even if it’s a smell they’re trying to market. The perfume/cologne section of my Avon catalog is trying to sell me “sexy and alluring.” All of the perfume models are staring at the camera in a come hither fashion with their lipsticked lips slightly parted and their eyes partly closed. A light breeze is blowing their hair back. The page has a circle on it that says “rub wrist here to experience (insert perfume name here)” I tried a few to see if it would make me appear sensual and mysterious too. Nope. My lips are still dried and parched with no lipstick. My hair still looks like a failed science experiment, though thanks to the space heater behind me, it is blowing slightly into my face.  And my eyes and nose are puffy and red because as it turns out, I’m a little bit allergic to Avon perfume. No sexy or alluring here, just itchy and sneezy. I’ve got more of a Benadryl  thing happening.

As far as fashion goes, clothes models always portray an upbeat and positive vibe. Wear this outfit and you’ll feel great too! That seems to be the message they are conveying. I went shopping for jeans once. I did not feel great. In fact I detested the whole experience and couldn’t wait for it to be over.

Some people are just unmarketable.  Maybe that’s my problem. There’s a short circuit in my brain where the “I Should Care About That” button is. Perhaps that is why I’m still wearing Crocs, despite the Three Year Old’s best efforts to throw them out. (I have found them in the garbage can more than once. She really hates those shoes.) Maybe that is why I drive a car with 17 recalls on it and no plans to sell, trade, or buy a new one anytime soon. Just the thought of car shopping shivers my timbers. I’d rather shove bamboo under my fingernails.

Maybe I should start my own advertising company. It would offer the public my brutally honest and unbiased opinion on a product based on testing it out with an open mind. Not a bunch of hocus pocus pictures to fool you into thinking something. (Those Avon perfume models- how do we know they were actually WEARING the perfume in those pictures? I bet they weren’t. LIES!)  For example, I will go try on a brand of jeans. Someone will take a picture of me frowning and looking angry. My testimonial will say “Who is in charge of sizing these things anyhow?  Is this a kid size? I can’t even get this past my knees. This is ridiculous. Where are the jeans for actual humans?”  

My company would try out a wide array of things. The car test drive would show me smiling into the camera from the driver’s seat of the selected vehicle. “This is so much quieter than my Malibu. And look! The fuel gauge works! And the check engine light isn’t on! I don’t know what any of the other buttons do though. Are you sure this is a car? If I touch the wrong thing will I rocket off into space?”

With Baker Advertising, you will never have to watch a guy with a man-bun skateboarding down a city street in a tight Pee Wee Herman business suit with no socks. No sir. We have a strict “No Man Bun policy.” And that’s really what this is all about. I hate man buns, but I had to sell the ridiculousness of them to you trickily like all the professional marketers do. Now when you see a man with a bun in his hair, you’re going to think of me. See how good at this I am?