15
May
08

Identifying your tribe

Most marketing comes down to simple tribal identification. Once upon a time marketing was targeted at spreading knowledge of a products price & features. That time is pretty much dead. The public honestly doesn’t know enough about most of what they buy to decide which features are even desirable, let alone how much each one is worth (this is especially true for cars). Instead, advertisement is based on who you identify with. Are you like the folks in the Nike commercials? Maybe you identify with the asshole in the coat in the book of truck ads by Toyota (if so, we probably aren’t compatible human beings).

That same impulse explains the success of reality tv, sports (the original reality tv), patriotism and wars, so of course it works, it is the underpinning of the baser parts of human nature and it is the core of the marketing industry. You don’t even have to be like the group you identify with, you probably aren’t a peak athlete in the prime of human condition but that doesn’t mean you don’t aspire to be one. So you buy the gatorade (unless you actually do the research and realize that it isn’t in any way good for you), because it has electrolytes (their what plants crave).

Of course, the whole idea of appealing to peoples higher mind, the best of us, well that way lies low sales figures according to conventional wisdom (oh, and major losses in the west virginia democratic primary).

If you don’t believe that our worst is all we can achieve, then try to find out for yourself. Buy the shoes that do what you want (and according to the latest research, that means the least shoe you can get). Find out about car safety and then decide which one to buy based on logical criteria. Discover some basic facts about nutrition and buy food according to those facts (hint: everything you believe is probably wrong). If we all do that, eventually marketing will be forced to address information, not our baser instincts.

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