Today’s blog title is a quote from a recent post called Marketing Fear by the astute social thinker Seth Godin. The picture to the right comes from his blog as an illustration of how a convenience store used the fear of terrorism to market duct tape.
“Marketing with fear is a powerful tool. Fear is a universal emotion, it’s viral and people will go to great lengths to make it go away…
…Sometimes, fear is used as a marketing tactic even if it doesn’t benefit the prospect at all. That’s because news organizations like CNN and various organizations and politicians can benefit…
…Without terror, you can’t have terrorism.”
His point, as I see it, is that the tactics of terrorists couldn’t work if everyone didn’t live in terror of them. The whole point of terrorism is to try to frighten people into doing what the terrorists want. So, if our very own marketers and news media make us more scared in order to sell us their products and make us watch their shows, then they are helping the terrorists: “Without terror, you can’t have terrorism.”
I point this out because, having got rid of the TV and canceled the magazines as part of the No Impact project, I benefit from having unplugged from advertising’s intravenously-injected fear, not just of terrorism, but of not fitting in, never having any fun, not being good looking enough and, God forbid, going bald or not having a sufficient erection (to wit, the ads for Rogaine and Viagra).
I feel downright mad that the marketers are trying to scare me and make me feel inadequate. They are trying to make me feel scared in order to control me. This is not my idea; this is a fact of advertising theory. As I type, I am close to tears that all that horrible media toxicity could enter the tender little mind of my two-year-old Isabella.
To me, global warming is a wake up call. It is the straw that breaks the camel’s back. It is the canary in the coal mine that might finally call us not just to clean up the planet but to examine whether our culture is really going in the direction we want it to go in.
Some say that slowing growth for the sake of the environment could severely damage our economy. But do we want to preserve the kind of economy that has as its basis the marketing of fear into the minds of our little children? Or should we begin thinking of an alternative way?