In the last decade or so, the root of the huge growth in capita in national corporations has become the “branding” of products. Corporations now solely focus on advertising and marketing instead of production.
Before the machine age and the innovation of factory where mass production of products were possible, corporations advertise goods and products such as shoes, cars, radio, and televisions simply by their physical existence. When almost everything was newly invented, the physical products themselves are good enough to be advertised to get consumers interested enough to buy them. Markets had to say to the consumers, “Buy light bulbs because they will make your lives better than candles or oil lambs”. Or “We invented cars! buy them rather than wagons”.
But with the advancement of technology and globalization, the products began to be produced in factories by machines, or by workers in countries like China or India for a much cheaper price and in much greater quantity.
Everything’s pretty much been invented, and goods became over abundant, and everything became a facsimile of another. All fast foods, athletic shoes, sodas, jeans, music and movies became more or less the same, and it was no longer practical for corporations and markets to sell the products based on what they were.
So what can the corporations do to continue pushing their products and claim consumers’ loyalty over their competitors in this ultra-competitive environment?
How would Nike win over Reebok, Coke win over Pepsi?
How could they get you to buy more shit, eat more fat when everything looks the same, tastes the same? When you already have everything you need?
The solution was hardcore branding – create an image around the product; a lifestyle that communicates and reaches out to the targeted audience until every consumer is branded to the bone. Until every space in America is filled and intruded with advertisements and billboards.
A ‘brand name’ sells an image (instead of the products) that the buyers could identify with. It’s like building an intangible and emotional spirit around the product to transcend its physicality.
Instead of saying, “Buy our cars”, or “buy our shoes”, they are now saying “buy our BRAND”, “buy our lifestyle” – it will make you happier, get more pussies and cocks than your neighbors, and kick people’s asses in basketball.
Corporations hire not workers or engineers, but artists and art directors to produce the fanciest and the most eye-popping magazine ads and television commercials to convince (sometimes subliminally) the consumers what this brand means to their lives, culture, and psychological well-being.
Instead of buying shoes and t-shirts, consumers are now buying the idea, or a lifestyle that are embedded in logos, signs and labels; until they grow an emotional attachment to a particular brand because they feel a sense of identity wearing a certain logo and label on their feet and around their necks. They feel the “essence”, and the “soul” of the brand that the multinational corporations invest in billions of dollars building for them behind the curtain.
Why is Nike more popular than Reebok and Adidas when all three brands make their products out of similar material?
Nike has better marketing strategies. They have better athletes wearing their shoes in more creative commercials and magazine ads.
Nike no longer makes or sells shoes. Machines and cheap labor in China do the manufacturing. The headquarters of Nike focus solely on making, promoting and selling the “idealized Nike image” – the transcending idea, essence and spirituality of sports, fitness, superiority, well-being, motivation and competitiveness because these are the qualities and essence that would appeal to it’s target consumers.
Once an image has been molded and sold by corporations, everything else is easy because they basically sold your souls too, and for a lifetime, you become a slave to the brands. Instead of a product, you can attach the logo everywhere and on everything and people will buy them all, whatever it is with their favorite logos attached on – shoes, backpacks, posters, candies, on a jersey, on dogshit, whatever.
Physical products wear off and break down, but since brands are spiritual and psychological, they stay with you for a long time.
And everytime you pick up or wear product with a swoosh embedded on it, you are creating an intangible and abstracted Nike image-bubble and wrapping it around you so you can feel like you are part of something great. You have just become Nike’s walking billboard. You become the Nike guy who share the same lifestyle and perspectives as other hardcore Nike brand loyalists. Soon enough, all of your friends who want to fit in will become their own walking advertisements and so on.
Nike tell you to “Just do it”. Kids who wear Nikes or Jordans feel more superior and athletic than other kids who wear other brands because Nike has the most superior athletes to back their products in high budget television commercials. Commercials which may be featuring Tiger Woods, Michael Jordan or Kobe Bryant showing off their super-human abilities by flying in the air in slow motion, moving faster than light with quick edits and other special effects.
In fact, if you look at the majority of the Nike commercials or ads like this one featuring Kobe Bryant one below, you will notice that as good as the ad looks, the physical products themselves are rarely, sometimes never in the pictures.
The same concept can be applied to Abercrombie, Tommy Hilfiger, or Dolce & Gabbana.
While Nike is busy selling fitness and superiority, these guys are selling a different lifestyle: sexuality, dominance, beauty, youth, prosperity, and masculinity.
You have probably seen the following Abercrombie billboard in teen magazines or in local malls. My question is, since Abercrombie and Fitch is a clothing line, where is the clothes on this guy?
Gabana sells sex and male dominance. This is an extremely sexuality explicit ad featuring 4 well built white men showing off their dominance and musculinity over a woman in a heavenly like enviornment with white clouds and blue sky as background.
Wtf is this shit?
Starbucks doesn’t sell coffee as much as they sell the sense of familiarity, community, romance, and warmth. Starbucks promote themselves as this cozy space between your home and your office – a place with a sense of community where you be social and talk about your day.
All of this is tells us that American consumers are spiritually and emotionally deprived of these things that the marketers are selling.
Why are Starbucks popular in big cities?
Perhaps it’s because people who love going to Starbucks are lonely city dwellers who are deprived of and lack romance, sense of community, and warmth because they work long hours to pay off their debts – so they rely on and turn to the Starbucks brand to fulfill their needs.
The ironic thing is that most people work their asses of so they can afford that 10 dollar coffee, or that Gabana suit. And the more energy and time they devote themselves to work, the more alienated and deprived they become, and the more things they buy to fufill their empty needs. It goes on a loop that never ends.
Why the over the top obsession with Jordans and Nikes among African American (more so than other race anyway) teenagers? Why are so many of them using their lunch money and skipping school so they can wait in line for days just to buy a pair of shoes?
Perhaps they feel an emotionally need to turn to Jordan brand for status, for a sense of belonging and superiority; and if they don’t lace up their phallocentric Jordans they feel as if their masculinity is threatened – worried that they will be castrated and emasculated.
Materialism also works well with product branding; as many people may base their self-worth or self-esteem based off what products they buy or use.
Ultimately, products are sold not primarily on the basis of their qualities, but based off the branded identity and familiarity that it provides to its consumers. This branding transcends the products themselves to create powerful intangible feelings and thoughts for the consumer; which in turn leads the consumer to believe they are purchasing something that their persona can identify with.
At the end, there are almost no spaces left for culture and peace. Everywhere you go, advertisements of all media, forms and brands race into your senses and ultimately embed their footprints onto your brain. Marketers make sure that every second of your life, every square inch of free space left in your brain are filled up with their garbage. The more, the better. You can’t even go through a website without having some 3d animated character jumping in front of you and screaming at you. They won’t leave you alone even when you take a piss, as you look up from the urinal and there’s somebody telling you that your little life will be so much better if you could just buy, buy, buy.
Here are just a few interesting examples.
Who the hell fishes in suits?
This ad is saying : Look, with Hilfiger suits on, we are adventurous and willing to try anything, anywhere, anytime with… including fishing in suits with expensive ass fishing poles on a stormy day, which is something you definately CAN’T do without your Tommy suits on.
Did their plane crash while they are sitting in first class, and now that they are stranded on an island with nothing else but their suits on they go “oh fuck it, let’s go fishing!”
And if you look at the way they are pulling the strings, they probably caught something HUGE, like a shark or something.
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