for the love of marketing

Happy Easter!

Oh, wait. You mean . . . That’s still six weeks away?

Oh, thaaaat’s right. We skip from one candy holiday to the next here in the States. It’s Valentine’s Day before New Years, Christmas before Thanksgiving, Halloween before the 4th of July. At least that’s what it looks like in American grocery stores.

The average American eats 22 pounds of candy per year. This is despite increasing evidence of sugar’s negative effects on literally everything, and I have to admit, I’m as guilty as any. Recently I’ve swapped frozen bananas for ice cream, but I still can’t get through a day without fruit snacks or gummy bears.

It’s a sad fact, really, and something that I want to change. In Taiwan (where obesity is the exception, not the rule), people prefer red bean and green tea desserts and typically find American desserts too sweet. This isn’t a biological difference. It’s trained. And it’s marketing. Candy is both the first and last thing Americans see when they enter and check out at grocery stores, and as numerous medical reports and TED talks will tell you, virtually all processed foods are created to be addictive rather than nutritious.

So what are we to do? What can we do? It all comes down to personal decisions. Marketers aren’t going to change their tactics (and products) until we as consumers don’t buy them anymore. It’s also about challenging the status quo. Just because Hallmark said you should buy expensive valentines and candies for your child’s class doesn’t mean you actually should. Simple cards with smiley faces are just fine. They last longer, and they’re healthier, too!

 

Happy Valentine’s Day!

 

4 thoughts

  1. What I also find annoying is the so-called diet products which are lower in fat, often have higher quantities of simple carbohydrates and sugars in them. While a lower fat content is good, increasing the intake of carbs including sugars is doing nothing to curb obesity and the associated problems of late onset diabetes and the huge cost burden that places on families and the population in general.

    • I agree. Basically, the further we can stay from processed foods, the better. I’ve completely quit buying even protein bars for that reason. It’s sad that our food industry is money- rather than health-driven.

      • Exactly right Jessica. I don’t mind a moderately capitalist mindset for an economy to grow, but it should never be at the expense of public health.

  2. I won’t claim to be immune from marketing, but for years I have these kinds of conversations with my wife and kids.
    One of them comments on a commercial that just showed up on TV. Maybe it was funny or weird or stupid and they want to comment on it. My response is always, “Oh, was I supposed to be paying attention? It’s a commercial.” When i watch TV, which is becoming more and more rare, I stop paying attention as soon as a commercial comes on. I feel like I’ve always been like that.
    And sure, there are other ways that marketers get to us. On the internet now, there are pop-up ads and click through ads, and video ads that show up in the middle of the video you wanted to watch. And I treat them the same way. I just don’t pay attention to them.
    What’s really sad … as you point out … is that so much of the marketing aimed at us is for things that we don’t need, that are unhealthy, and/or are just absolute wastes of money.
    What’s even sadder is that the marketers have won.

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