Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Have You Had Your Flu Shot Today??

This sign was posted in about 20 places inside the Tom Thumb down the street. Apparently, this grocery store's pharmacist thinks you should have a daily flu shot to stay healthy. Ouch.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Saturday, November 03, 2007


I never in a million years would have thought that I would be a marketing professional. When I first started working in this field and someone would ask me what I did for a living I would apologize. In college, I wouldn't take marketing classes because I thought they were teaching the dark underbelly of knowledge of how to make people want to buy products they don't want/need. I did take one class called "Psychology of Advertising" that was very interesting. Learned that most ads play on people's fear of death, fear of rejection, desire to escape negative emotions, and desire to have sex/be sexy. Also learned about how some large companies will conduct psychological research to create an ad campaign that will subconsciously evoke specific thoughts in their target audience.

Marketers want to send the right message to the right people at the right time via the right medium, and do this as efficiently as possible to keep profits up. It's not a secret and it makes sense.

I've been working in marketing for the last 5 years or so, and now I get it. Marketing is a necessary evil. If you have a great product/program/charity/whatever you have to have a way of letting people know about it. In and of itself, it's not a bad thing. It can be a very good thing in fact.

My main issue with marketing that leaves me with an uneasy feeling is the disconnect between the marketing of a product and the product. There is no necessary correlation between the quality of the product and the quality of the ad. They have very little to do with each other. You can have an amazing product and a crappy marketing campaign (or vice versa). But if a person's only exposure to the product is that ad, then chances are they are going to equate the quality of the product to the effectiveness of the ad.

Marketing isn't the only field with this disconnection problem. It also affects politics, the legal system, etc. I wonder if this is something specific to Western society. Plato talks about his great dislike for the Sophists, so using rhetorical skills to convey truth has been around since at least the 5th century BCE.

Last year I went on a job interview at a large insurance company. Towards the end the director of marketing asked me how I went from a degree in philosophy/psychology to marketing. I told him that I went to the dark side of the force, and that I'm using my knowledge for evil instead of good. He just looked at me with a blank stare. As an interesting side note, I got the job, but I turned it down.