Today my kids went to school wearing pink, and it’s not because they’re girls. It is pink shirt day at school. The pink shirt a symbol of strength and solidarity against bullies, here is the clip that tells the story:
Kids are not the only ones who face bullying on a day to day basis. We adults are constantly bombarded by bullies, but these bullies are in stealth and they are so good that we don’t recognize them. We invite them into our lives and they listen to them day after day.
Adults face two main recognised forms of bullying, financial bullying and workplace bullying. Financially bullying sometimes occurs with people in committed relationships. Usually one partner limits the amount that the other can spend, they are not allowed to have a credit card, they keep track of all receipts, and they make them feel guilty about certain purchases.
Then we have workplace bullies. Most workplace bullies are master manipulators they use very creative, indirect and deceitful methods to exert control over others. Usually it is under the pretense that they are doing it for the greater good of the company. The truth is they are purely self-serving.
Now, how is this different from all the advertisements we are exposed to day in and day out? Ads find us everywhere now since most of us are connected 24-7. Every advertisement is meant to ensnare us into thinking that we need to get this product. Marketers use various physiological tricks and play at our heart string to make us think it was our idea and that we are the one making the decision. When in reality we are not.
The main tactic used by many companies is “disturbed and motivate” it is a combination of scaring then manipulating. Marketers are very good at figuring out what people are most afraid of and then they use that information to their advantage. They know just what to say to turn their product into a need. It is only natural to fall for these types of ads because it resonances with our fear and it propels us into action. Here is a good example:
There seems to be a new trend in advertising, you know, those inspirational and motivating ads. I am referring specifically to the ones that leave you with a warm fuzzy feeling about the product. I know I always pick on Coke, but their “Taste the Feeling” campaign is so insidious. The ads are beautifully shot, I can appreciate that. What I have less appreciation for, is the impudent association of good feelings with coke. When I see these ads they really upset me because they are messing with people’s health.
Their latest ad has the caption:
You may not see it all the time, but your siblings are always on your side. When was the last time you shared a COKE with them?
Seriously, if you loved your brother, you would give him a nice glass of water, perhaps with some lemon. Not a drink that has 39 grams of sugar in each can and which can wreak havoc on your body.
It is not that I am against advertising in general or companies making a profit. I am all for it. We need this type economic activity to keep our economy healthy. What I am against is those notorious companies that pedal their chemical concoctions and use a lot of smoke and mirrors to make us believe we are doing something good for ourselves. We as consumers need to stand up to this type of treachery.
Companies like Coke and others, continue to make and sell products that do us more harm than good because we make it profitable for them to do so. I always say that change will NOT come from the top. All the little guys can bring the giants down if we work together. Bullies can only exist when there are victims. Perhaps it is time we adults start a campaign of our own and designate a day where we wear purple (because purple is grown up pink) to stand in solidarity against all the marketing bullies who bombard us with ads to sell us products that do not serve us. I declare June 15th, purple shirt day (when I say purple shirt I mean any type of purple clothing). Purple shirt day is the day we fully embrace and practice being conscious consumers and not fall prey to deceitful ads and marketing campaigns. Let’s make purple the symbol of consumer solidarity against manipulating marketers.
Who’s with me?