[sigh] People are so desperate to believe in something that they'll believe in anything, whether it's faeries in crystal balls or the magic bearded pixie in the sky. Wiccans, Christians, whatever else. It's all so silly, this tragic search for purpose that can only be fulfilled by a fictitious deity or series of deities. Are people's lives so devoid of meaning and significance that they will throw their belief into such ridiculous vessels in their desperate search for purpose in order to justify their empty little lives?
The need for meaning is one of the most fundamental drives that humans, as a species, possess. Some might say that it's what separates humans from the animals. Of course, they're labouring under a mistaken assumption. But anyway, the need for purpose, for significance is overwhelmingly powerful, and there's no greater, more weighty question anyone can ask her/himself than "Why am I here?"
This question has driven some of the most intense searches that have ever been undertaken. It's driven religious fanaticism, dedicated spiritualism, and advanced scientific research. The real question, then, is "How can I capitalise on this?"
Any business person, any marketing specialist will tell you that the secret to making money is locating a need, and finding a way to satisfy that need with your product.
So. People want purpose. They want to know that they aren't like the ants and the sparrows and their dogs. They want to know that there's a reason for them to be here, that there's a big picture of which they are a part, and the more important that part the better. They want to be something special, not just another animal scurrying about its life, making a nest, finding a mate, and eventually dying without a trace. They want magic, and meaning, and frankly, they aren't going to get it. Just like they want to be attractive, and successful. And that's why, according to the commercials, if you drink X beer, you'll get Y type of girl, or have Z lifestyle. If you smoke X cigarette, you won't end up in a hospital long term care unit with 4% lung capacity, you'll be successful and sophisticated. Diet cola, cars, clothes, salad dressing, whatever you're selling, you have to capitalise on people's need to be something special. They want success, they want to be special, they want to be loved, or at least get some lovin'. Advertising campaigns are all about that. They're all about telling potential suck.. customers that they can be special, but only if they use the Ab-Thumper. That's how you sell your product. Cater to that need. Perpetuate that need. Not only will the Thigh Roller give you longer, sexier legs, but it'll make your teeth perfect, your hair shiny, and your bust the right size. That's if you believe the commercials. The fact is, if you buy the Thigh Roller, you'll still be the same person you were, and it will eventually go into the closet with the other wonder products that are Guaranteed to show you results in a month.
Bottom line, it isn't results that people want. It's the feeling that comes with results. At last, when I have long, sexy legs, people will think I'm worthwhile. I won't have to worry about people making fun of me for not having the right hairstyle or the right clothes because the Thigh Roller will give me long, sexy legs, and then everything else will just fall into place.
Ok, so you aren't going to change who you are, your deadbeat husband, your dead end job with a leg exerciser. Duh. So no one loves you because you don't have long, sexy legs, or killer abs, or great looking hair. Can't you be special without those things? Can't anyone love you for who you are?
Why sure. Did you know that there's a big bearded pixie in the sky, and he loves you just the way you are? And did you know that when you die, you'll go to this wonderful place where everyone is your friend, and everyone loves you, and there are no Thigh Rollers or killer abs, or anything that makes you feel bad? Yes, though things are bad now, it will all be worth it. After all, you're going to a better place when it's over.
Yes, you're Guaranteed to see results after you're dead.
Well, that's quite a guarantee. Wow, so this one doesn't have to be tossed into the closet with the JuiceMaster 4000 because you didn't get your hair back after thirty days, guaranteed. You're not going to see results, so you don't have to get upset that you haven't. You've got warm fuzzies because someone you've never seen has told you, through their marketing department, that they love you. Who needs Lite Salad Dressing when you've got god? he doesn't care how chubby you are, or what kind of car you drive.. he loves you, killer abs or not. Just like with the commercials, if you believe, everything will fall into place. Of course, you still have a deadbeat husband and a dead end job, but now it's ok because you'll get your rewards after you're dead.
And best of all, you don't have to pay anything for this wonderful service. Oh, you've got a better chance of getting into heaven if you scrape together any spare money you can for collection, certainly, but you're not obligated. I'm sure that the pixie will love you just as much as someone who gives generously, and that the other people at your church won't talk about you behind your back.
So it's like saying "We're having a sale. You don't have to take advantage of it, but if you don't, no one will love you and you'll burn for all eternity."
Ok, so your campaign needs a figure. People aren't going to just believe. You need to give them a target for their belief. Someone who embodies the ideals of your product. The Marlborough Man, The Kool Aid Guy, Bill Cosby for Jell-O, and jesus christ. Yes, people are soon wearing Hilfiger shirts and jesus jewelery. Get that trademark cross out there so that everyone can see it. It's all about product placement.
Cable Internet service is better than DSL Internet service. That's just the way it is. It doesn't matter what your speed tests say, cable is better. And not only that, but if you use DSL service, you'll spend an eternity suffering perpetual torment. Only cable Internet can grant you eternal happiness, and only Big Cable Company loves you unconditionally. Oh, TelMe DSL service will tell you that they love you, that DSL is better. They'll point to facts, speed tests, unbiased evidence, and lots of other data. You can believe it if you want. We're not saying that you have to go with Big Cable Company. As a customer you have the right to choose. But if you do choose, you're going to hell because Mr. Big will be very disappointed in you. He gave you the freedom to choose and you dared to use it. Mr. Big still loves you, but he's going to have to cast you into the pit of eternal torment because you were misled by the facts of the evil DSL service. What? You're coming back to cable? It's not too late. Mr. Big will forgive you for making your choice. Isn't he gracious?
Thanks for choosing Big Cable.
Why can't other companies say that? They get slapped with libel and slander suits. They can't come out and say "Coat Cola is better than PetPee Cola" because they'll get into trouble.
It would be so much easier for other companies if they could all threaten the customer, wouldn't it? "If you wear clothing from The Sap, we'll break your kneecaps."
But then, that's actual physical harm. How about "You have something inside you that no one can see, and it's what makes you different from the other animals on the planet. It's called your.. um.. soul. Yeah, and if you don't make your coffee with Fogey's Crystals, we'll come around there and break this thing that you've never seen, and didn't know you had until we made it up.. er.. told you about it."
Well, you wouldn't want to lose the thing that makes you special, would you? The only thing that makes you more special than a rabbit. Dear god, I'll use Fogey's Crystals. Just don't make me a rabbit!
That's how you deal with your competition? It's no wonder we have laws. Having said that, those laws don't seem to apply to every business, do they? And yet no one really questions this sort of business practice.
I'm sure that there are government officals who drink high class Chateau Grenouille Graisseuse and smoke sophisticated La Morte Spiacevole cigarettes, just as there are many who use god for their spiritual needs. What I want to know is, why does the god corporation get tax breaks and things, while wine companies, car manufacturers, etc don't? Frankly, I'm sure that the catholic church makes more money than Hyundai. It certainly has more branches. As a non-subscriber to god High Speed Salvation Services, I'd really prefer that they didn't get the tax breaks. After all, they don't pass the savings on to their own customers, let alone me. If Hyundai got the tax breaks, my car might have cost me less. Maybe there aren't enough fanatical Hyundai drivers in the government?
"Ok guys, I've got this great idea for a business. We get the customers to come to our store and give us money."
"That's great Ed, but they've got to get something back, right? I mean, they're not going to give us money for nothing, are they?"