In response to one of my recent like and dislike lists, a number of people have asked me why I don’t like Marketing. There are several reasons: 1) it creates desire for something that isn’t wanted or needed, and probably cannot be afforded, 2) It coerces that desire by promising those intangibles that cannot truthfully be obtained from the particular product, and 3) it co-opts other platforms to create new markets; i.e. multiculturalism, individuality, spirituality, etc. (more later on post-modernism as a symptom of late capitalism). Think of some of the terms commonly associated with Marketing - target audience, branding, guerilla, and strategy – all equally at home in warfare.
Other words that I equate with marketing include lifestyle, authentic, concept, solution, cohesion and impact. Impact is a good one. I often think of the man that was trampled to death in a Wal-Mart last year for the want of a discounted flat-screen television. I have come to see marketing as an attack on my own sensibilities, and an intrusion on my personal life.
I too have believed that I can be a particular something if I just have that particular thing. Eventually, you have too many of those things and are just as confused about who you are as when you started. Each day I ask myself, what do I want? What do I need? At this moment, with the exception of my husband’s physical presence (and after twenty years, it is a need right now), a new stick of deodorant, some gesso, and some canvas, I have what I need. As to what I want, that remains a challenge that requires consistent reflection.