It is a truth universally acknowledged, that the two most common fears known to humans are 1. Being Alone, and 2. Death. The reason why death is a huge fear to people, is because it is the ultimate in loneliness. Nobody knows what will happen after you die, and everybody is scared that they will experience that Great Unknown alone. Therefore we can surmise that the single greatest fear of all is Being Alone. And that’s great news for corporate giants, because they use this fear against every single one of us, to trap us into buying their products.
This is how advertising works using a fear tactic. “Buy “product x” because if you don’t, members of the opposite sex won’t like you and you will end up alone.” The majority of ads focus on people interacting with other people happily, with the product. This here Coke ad is a prime example … I must admit, I think it is a brilliant ad, yet if you ignore the shininess of it, it is screaming at you that if you have this product, you won’t be lonely. If you open pretty much any magazine that has ads, you will notice that all of the people in them are in some sort of half-dressed seductive pose implying that they have just had, or are about to have, sex – because they are subtly telling you that if you have this product, you will be worthy of attention from the opposite sex. Have you ever seen so much skin from a tame “safe search: moderate” Google Search? Look at all of those seductive poses – because if you don’t wear our perfume, you will not find a mate.
The scary thing is, we don’t even realise that this is affecting us. It’s not enough to smugly say “yeah, but I know what they are up to, so I am impervious to their tactics”. Because the large companies that want us to buy their shit, are also in cahoots with the media that we are constantly being fed. Magazines, TV shows, even the goddamn 6 O’Clock News. Do you really think they show us stories of break-ins followed by a news anchor casually mentioning a specific type of new home alarm that should be considered, to educate us? No – its because the News is one of the most consumed things on TV, and they are told to subtly market that stuff to us. Of course people are going to consider a new alarm system if they are constantly being shown robberies of regular homes just like theirs. The News doesn’t tell you stuff you need to know, it tells you stuff that will frighten you into a consumer action.
You probably think I am going to start walking around wearing a fucking colander on my head, but even if you don’t believe my idea about the news, think about the other stuff you take in on a daily basis. TV shows that casually ridicule someone who isn’t attractive? Doesn’t it make you feel like you have to ensure you are faking your tan and straightening your hair every single day? Doesn’t it make you want to go out and buy stuff to help you in not also falling prey to ridicule from the opposite sex? I can tell you right now that it gets to me. Of course I feel like things would be better if only I had a nice figure/better hair/whiter teeth. That’s a daily battle, asking myself if I really need to improve my appearance, or if I’m just doing it because of a fear ingrained in me from scare-tactic marketing. Why do I shave my legs? It really doesn’t matter to me if I do or not. But I do it, because on a fucked up level I am scared that guys won’t want to be with me, and I might end up alone. That’s a very deep set, subliminal thought, by the way. I don’t actually wake up in fear that my boyfriend might leave me if I don’t shave my legs, but you get the idea. Certainly if I was single I would probably be more conscientious.
Still not convinced? How about magazines? Look at the cover of any womens magazine, and the majority of the cover features are about how to buy clothing to flatter your shape, and how to execute any number of things to land a partner. If you look inside, even the articles tell you to buy stuff. Especially the “beauty” pages – they construct a look and tell you the product used, its price and where you can get it. Many will agree that women’s magazines are 50% ads … well I think it is more. There are the obvious one-page ads, sure, but there is advertising running right through that issue, in the form of articles that “helpfully” point out the ways you can consume to make yourself attractive to the opposite sex.
On the subject of magazines, something that many people don’t know is that in the majority of product genres, “separate” brands are all owned by the same company, so when you think you are making a choice, you’re not really. For example, Hearst Corporation owns around 300 magazines, including our mate Cosmopolitan, Elle, Harpers Bazaar and Marie Claire to name a few. So you may think that you are taking a stand against not buying a certain magazine, yet you’re still pouring your money into the pockets of the same guys. Ergo, they have forced you into thinking you have made a choice, when really, they made the choice for you. This goes for other products, like beverages. Feel thirsty? Don’t want Coke? That’s fine, get a Powerade. Good for you – you’ve just made a choice as to what you will drink, however Coca Cola owns Powerade, so the choice has been made for you as to where your money is going anyway. You weren’t even given a choice to begin with, its like a killer offering you a choice as to how you want to be killed. The end result is the same, and you have made your decision out of fear, just like when you buy other things, such as “nutritious” breakfast cereals and “anti-white mark” deodorant.
Obviously, nobody tells us exactly what to buy, and you may feel like a tasty beverage, and don’t really care who gets your money as long as you get a delicious thirst quencher. But subtly, you probably have already decided sometime earlier that day that you will have a drink has been marketed to you in the past 48 hours. You may not have even noticed it, it could have been in a film, or even just at eye level, or in a pic in a magazine. By the way, I bet you’d like an icy cold Coke or Powerade right now.
The worst thing is, those companies that are making you fear being unloveable to the opposite sex, are also pushing the other buttons – they are driving the social ideals that people have grown to search for in a partner. For every womens magazine telling a girl how she can be more attractive, there are 2 mens magazines telling men what they ought to find attractive in a women. So nobody is using their own judgment, they are all pandering to what they are being fed, and consuming like motherfuckers to attain the ideals that they now perceive to be normal. So guys will buy expensive cologne and ridiculous razors with “Mach” gradings (note; you are not a jet) that to be honest, do the exact same thing as a disposable cheapo, in order to attract a girl that FHM magazine tells them is attractive. That girl in the club has gone out and, at the helpful suggestion of her favourite magazine, spent a fortune on moisturisers, hair products, makeup and clothes so that the guy in the club with the expensive cologne will recognise her as one of the girls he should be interested in. They have been reading two different magazines owned by the same company, and followed different sets of instructions and consumed various products in order to be more appealing to each other, in a way that makes the magazine and its sister companies the most money.
So look who ended up as the rich guy, and look how those silly people didn’t even notice, because they think that they have gotten something out of their money – peace of mind that they might not, in fact, end up alone after all. And that’s how people gladly throw away their money on rubbish, and feel happy doing so – because it alleviates the Number One Fear: Ending Up Alone.
Use your brains and try not to gobble up too much media (except my blog, because if you don’t read my blog you will end up lonely).
Love, Chelle xoxoxoxooxoxoxoxoxoxooxoxoxox