This is a post from a man living in a fantasy world where people don’t manipulate other people for no other reason than to make money. Well, no. It’s a post by a man who wants to live in an impossible world where a certain group of people don’t make money by manipulating other people into consuming things that they simply do not need. It’s a post from a burbling, half-insane dreamland where reality is questioned and found wanting.
Marketing folks are forever trying to get you to behave differently. By which they mean that you should behave in a way that suits their needs more than your own. It’s their job. It’s a horrible job, which is why they give each other strange job titles and make videos like this one about Virtual Reality, Tesco and for some reason, Pelè.
The video features a Tesco supermarket shown to folks attending the TCC International Marketing Forum in Berlin. TCC prides itself on “Changing Shopper Behaviour” because god forbid the shopper wants to act autonomously.
Before we get to the video though, let’s examine a few angles on marketing more generally. Let’s start with the job titles the marketing folks give each other, while the rest of us call them, ‘Marketing People’.
- Brand Manager
- Children’s Marketing Officer
- Client Development Manager
- Communications Consultant
- Consumer Insight Planner
- Content Manager
- Digital Communications Officer
- Director of Content
- Global Brand Executive
- Head of Communications
- Media Relations Manager
- Mid-Weight Strategist
- Online Campign Executive
- Part-time Leadership Giving Officer
- RTB Campaign Delivery Manager
- Senior Account Executive
- Senior Research Executive
- Solutions Manager
- Special Projects Manager
- User Experience Director
Those came from two pages of job adverts today. I particularly enjoy both Part-time Leadership Giving Officer (“£34,000 pro rata for 4 days”) and Content Manager (“£45000.00 – £65000.00 per annum”).
That latter favourite in full, is a “Content Manager Skincare” and exists to, “define global business needs, digital consumer insights to develop content development strategies to support science and brand messaging.”
‘Science’ messaging? Yes indeed. Skincare sales and marketing is also ‘messaging its learnings’ about science to you. Of course it isn’t. It is manipulating a message regarding applied technology (skincare products) to attempt to provide an objective underpinning to its terrifyingly simple claim that, “Our product is better than competing product look over there science!”
To see how problematic this approach to selling stuff you don’t need is, read this article entitled “Liposomes in skin creams don’t work” from ScienceNordic but also read the garbled comment below it apparently from Dr Hardyal Gill, UCL School of Pharmacy.
“Develop engaging global content which is SEO optimised to support digital platforms social and website.” And other bollocks.
I digress. That pull-quote relates to this “Content Manager” job. It uses self-important, ultimately distancing language. The language is used in this way to distance the person doing the marketing from the people being marketed to. There are two reasons for this of course.
• It’s a verbal sleight of hand to distract the consumer (you and I) from the simple message of “Buy this thing you don’t need”. If you did need it, you’d go and find it.
“Man, it’s got science and it reduces the appearance of wrinkles. I appear to be less wrinkly. If I keep buying this stuff, people will love me more.”
• It’s a protection for the marketeer. It protects them from the basis of their daily grind: mendacity. To feel that what you are doing it is important and that you are important is exactly the kind of (“metric for”) self-worth that attracts people into marketing.
“I am delivery global content that is relevant to local markets and supports digital platforms social and website” makes the marketeer feel as if she or he is creating content that is supportive. They are up there with a helpline, they are the Product Samaritans (Skincare Branch).
Of course, they are not producing anything of any value or support whatsoever. They are certainly not delivering anything. They are making one-sided, subjective, sales pitches and not admitting to it. They are lying to everybody they know including themselves.
So, the video produced for the TCC International Marketing Forum uses a crowd sourced headset called Oculus Rift to create and was produced by a company called grandly, Figure Digital. It’s mission statement is: “Redefining Reality”, quire possibly the most meaningless combination of words ever produced. But don’t they sound important?
Figure Digital founder and managing director, Ben Paterson, says that, “We can now create 360-degree cinematic experiences and gamified interactive solutions that allow consumers to totally immerse themselves into a brand’s message.”
Note the use of “allow” there. Not ‘enable’ and definitely not ‘compel’ but the more godlike, ‘Allow’. This company is letting you ‘immerse yourself in a brand’s message’. Meaningless, mendacious, manipulative cowardly language. Double speak in fact.
The only message a brand has is: “Buy Me”. You cannot immerse yourself in anything other than liquids or things that behave like liquids, certainly not in a message.
Anyway, let’s see how marketing is imagining beneficial uses for virtual reality and see if your behaviour is changed.