Many years ago a good friend asked me if I owned anything that didn’t have someone’s advertising emblazoned all over it.
After some reflection and a lot of closet cleaning, I’d discovered that I’d indeed fallen prey to the corporate world’s subliminal manipulation. It was a day and age when radio promotions were strong and getting listeners to wear a station’s call letters on a T-shirt, ball cap or Jockey-jacket might mean an extra point or two in the ratings.
It wasn’t just radio station apparel though. I was wearing ball club logo-wear of teams I wasn’t even familiar with – but hey, it was free and disc jockey’s like, no strike that, LOVE free-wear. I also had soft drink advertising, motorcycle brands, band and record label paraphernalia – a real Madison Avenue advertising agency client list hanging in the closet. But not very many plain, CLICKordinary, no-message attire. I felt like I at least ought to have a few in there with an open area surrounded by a thin border and some text printed that said, “YOUR MESSAGE HERE”.
The real rub was that not only was I advertising for free for most of these companies, but for some, I’d actually purchased the clothing … wait, how did I get sucked in that far?
I remembered back to an early childhood incident when I accompanied an uncle on a car buying escapade. It took what, to me, seemed like forever to close the deal because ol’ Unc insisted that the car dealer remove the company logo riveted to the back or pay him to drive their advertising around. I can remember the unbelievable response from the salesman. I can remember the uncompromising position my uncle took and once the salesman and manager realized he was walking away from the purchase they agreed to have the logo removed. Whew … now that was done and we could finally drive home in his new car … whoa … not yet. Unc said to the sales manager, “Did you have the body shop fill in the rivet holes and repaint?” Oops … the frustration that became evident in the room could have filled the air like a fog machine. They couldn’t believe he was that serious. But he absolutely was. “You don’t expect me to pay for a brand new car with holes where rust will start to form do you…?”
Why didn’t that early lesson take hold? Here I was well into adulthood and I was a sucker for every corporation large and small. Out it all went, and still to this day, you’ll have a hard time even seeing me with the Levi’s size tag still stitched down on the waistband on the back of my jeans.
Today we have a new way for the corporations to capture our unsuspecting and free assistance to increasing their mega-million dollar profits:
I don’t really care what kind of razor blade my Facebook friends use but if you click the “LIKE” button on Gillette’s web page, Facebook page or anywhere on the Internet, they’re going to use that information to bombard all of your Facebook Friends with an unsolicited message on their Facebook news feed.
Now that’s easy enough to just skip over and continue reading the other news. But, oh, if it only were that simple. You see we have this Great American concept that MORE IS BETTER and that means more Facebook Friends are included in that school of thought. I didn’t think I really had that many – at least not compared to several others. But when one likes Gillette and another likes Pampered Chef and two or three others like Blake Shelton’s latest album and still more have clicked the “LIKE” button on The Cystic Fibrosis page, the louder than hell-amplified electric guitar store page, and Facebook’s own “GAME” pages, well the time it takes to weed through all of that is worse than waiting at a stoplight when there is no opposing traffic.
So what is the solution? You may really LIKE something and far be it from me to say you shouldn’t. Nor should I begin to assume that I could tell you what to click or not click. But let me ask, before you click … ask yourself “Why am I clicking?” “What will it do for me?” “What do I get if I do or what do I not get if I don’t?” Really, if just one of those companies would share some of the profits with those who help them spread their message, it might be somehow worthwhile.
According to CNN Money, Coca Cola’s profits from just their main brand (Coca Cola) was over $46M in 2012. The Gillette Brand alone is worth over $16 BILLION dollars for Proctor and Gamble.
So maybe thinking about things in those terms will help you decide: “To Click or Not To Click?!”