Thursday, August 30, 2007

Branding: Are we being conned by capitalism?

Ross Gittins, the Sydney Morning Herald's Economics Editor normally writes about economic policies, etc but in yesterday's paper he wrote a piece - Why we put tickets on ourselves - that young people today "don't consider they're giving the brand free advertising" when wearing clothing and accessories which are heavily branded. He says that they are not interested in "what they're doing for the brand, it's what the brand's doing for them."

His conclusion to the piece is that "you have to be pretty shallow to imagine your identity and personality is something you can buy, wear or drive. A victim of materialism, in fact."

"And if such delusions prompt you to run up huge credit card debts or work long hours in a job you don't like while neglecting your family, you've been conned by capitalism," he says.

It certainly is food for thought for us marketers. While you may not agree with everything that Ross Gittins says in this piece I think it is worthwhile taking a step back from our roles, especially in B2C and look at whether we are being socially responsible. Are we acting in the best interests of society.

It is very easy to get caught up in what we do, in our KPIs, bonuses, in the success or otherwise of our businesses that we sometimes forget about the impact our marketing and products have on the end users, whether it be good or bad.

Obviously this is part of a much broader social debate around marketing which we might discuss further in the future.