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June 13, 2012

Senseless Victims of Marketing

You know how I'm always yammering on about how what we eat is largely cultural and almost always because of marketing? And how I'm always saying don't be a senseless victims of marketing - especially for your food choices?

My pal Tony over at FED (Fitness in an Evolutionary Direction - a great paleo/primal blog) posted a terrific article the other day about how vegetable oils overtook animal fats in our culture as the fat of choice. Its an excerpt from The Happiness Diet by Drew Ramsey. I have not read the book but I can tell you that this is exactly how marketing works. Its a good wake up call if you don't fully understand how advertising impacts your life - and especially your health.

Is marketing evil? Nope. Not necessarily. But as a consumer you need to understand how you are being manipulated. Every TV show, movie, and magazine out there exists for one purpose - to sell you something. Start looking around and you'll find it everywhere.

Ever notice that in the very center of your screen is a perfectly framed shot of a phone (necessary to solve the crime), computer (with logo), or that glamor shot of the car (with logo) whipping around the corner? And for no apparent reason, in the middle of a car chase, the hero turns to his sidekick and says, "Wow! This car handles great with the new and improved technical cornering system." Features and benefits right there as part of the story. We always laugh when that happens.

Or maybe its more subtle. Have you noticed that everyone's favorite 30 minute cook - who I blame entirely for the sky high price of Parmesan cheese - is now making burgers all the time? Do you really think she just got a hankering for a big ol' burger - or do you think she scored a prime contract with the beef folks to encourage you to make burgers for dinner?

My favorite example is the formerly-chubby B-list stars who were on Dancing With The Stars and lost weight thru the sheer amount of physical exercise... but then get signed up with a million dollar deal for one of those weight loss systems. Them gals didn't get skinny on that prepackaged food, friend, she just danced her bottom off.  Literally.

Marketing is either subtle or its not. But its out there. That soda/beer/pair of shoes is just what you need to make you happy. And don't you know that you already have the symptoms of a dreaded disease with a cool acronym they are showing on the TV? You should run right out to the doctor... now. In that flashy new car with the on-board GPS system. And of course, stop at the drive thru to get that fabulous new meal combo. Be sure to talk on your new phone while you are driving there. Then you'll be happy.

Marketing is all about creating a need you may or may not have. Then telling you what product you must have to fill that real or imagined need. All those products will take away all your problems and then you can be happy like those folks in the commercials. And all of them use corn oil - not that old lard. Who wants that old school lard? Not the cool people...

To quote the great philosopher, and Dread Pirate, Roberts..."Life is pain, Highness. Anyone who says differently is selling something."  But in our case.. everyone is always selling you something. You just might not know it. But now you do. 

Happy Wednesday everyone! Now keep your eyes peeled wide open for who is trying to sell you whatever they got. Don't be a senseless victim of marketing!