Marketing gone amuck

Published 9:37am Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Sometimes you have to wonder what the real message of a marketing campaign is exactly.

We live in a society where there are few restrictions on what you can and can’t say. This is one of the strengths of our nation, but it does come with both blessing and curse as do most things. The trick is for the majority of us to sort through all the messages and reject those that are useless or just plain wrong.

So there is a TV commercial that I have noted that seems to embody the classic conflict of the blessing and curse. It’s just one example of marketers trying to change basic values.

The commercial compares the dedicated, love-filled companionship of a dog to that of an automobile — Subaru in this case. I have owned many vehicles including cars, planes and boats in my lifetime.  Although I have my favorite manufacturers of each, I have never considered nor could ever consider one of these vehicles to be on the level as one of my current or past animal family members. The implication of the commercial is that this vehicle exists on the same level as my beloved family member, which is totally ridiculous. I am not unique but I’m not average in my affection for vehicles that serve me well and my sincere love and affection for my animal family members.

Now to put this in perspective, I have pet names for all my machines, especially the airplane that has carried me over land and water on very dark, cloudy, rainy and frozen nights for hours and thousands of miles where it was only me and the machine late at night or early in the morning- alone and lonely. If you have ever flown a machine at night when the darkness creeps into and haunts your soul while you battle exhaustion and the desire to be home with your partner in a warm bed, then you can understand the need to believe the machine you’re in has a soul. But it doesn’t. You want to believe that it does.  You are sitting thousands of feet above terra firma in a machine streaking through the sky at speeds that your great-grandfather wouldn’t comprehend.

There are few places or situations where you are not only alone, but in a situation where your actions or inactions can snuff you out. It is just you and the machine. It sometimes seems to have personality and your superstitions want to believe it, but it doesn’t have a soul. It is just a machine that takes care of you because you took care of it.

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