Essay: Brainwashing and Branding, Wants and Needs
As the cashier at one of the largest supermarket calculated the bill of my shopping, the small amount of my bill couldn’t stop him from asking
“Is that your weekly shopping?”
“Yes”, I said, “Here is your money!”
I quickly handed over the money to him as I tried to leave the place as quickly as possible before I see something irresistible. On my to the door, I did notice something more vividly then before. Nearly all trolleys in use were full, with significant amount of stuff that can only be classified as want rather than need, which made me realize that we, the American, have slowly turned into shoppers crazily buying stuff that we want rather than the stuff we need. In other words, we have become shopping addicts. I believe this conversion has not only been due to the extensive product marketing by companies but also a result of the change in how American perceive their wants and needs brought in by the marketing strategies of these companies.
Americans, nowadays, have certainly forgotten how to differentiate between what they want and what they need. The marketing campaigns carried out by product companies have increasingly focused on understanding the psychology and capitalizing on the urge of consumers. Gone are the days when the product advertisements use to focus on only the product and its quality. They now focus on telling how the consumer can improve itself by using the product and instigate the desire for it if its not there. Advertisements showing size 0 models carrying expensive leather bags or precious jewelry or a male model wearing a perfectly fit suit make the consumer think they would achieve the same uniqueness, style and looks if they buy such stuff, thereby pushing the consumer to think what they want is actually what they need. According to Linda Kulman
“The piling on of such images gives us a sense that we need more and we need it sooner” (Kulman)
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