Saturday, August 25, 2012

A Strong Burger

Marketers can't figure our generation out. They don't seem to have a way to convince us to consume their products, so let me explain in clear terms. We don't trust you, and we are tuned to repel marketing bullshit of any magnitude.

For me and assuredly many others who grew up with me, this started in my childhood. Advertisements for toys and games were shoved down our throats. We listened eagerly, and our expectations grew. When we broke open that toy, and the results looked nothing like we were promised. I may have enjoyed Super Soakers as a kid, but actually using one was nothing like this:

On top of it, they always managed to come up with a bigger, better Super Soaker, one that my childhood budget couldn't afford. The disappointment from each round of commercials compounded when I did manage to get my hands on a new one.

So what happened? You taught us, toy-by-toy, not to trust marketing. No product ever actually delivers on making the consumer as cool, confident, or happy as the product claims to be able to. That's a lesson learned we won't forget.

What do we buy, then? Things we genuinely need and want. For example, I buy music. How do I make decisions on these things? I first ask friends. Consider a conversation I had with a friend of mine the other day:
"I bought Bitte Orca the other day."
"No shit, I love that album."
"Yea man."
"You should hear the new one. I was not disappointed by it."
So, the new album was a quality product, as verified by my friend. This convinced me to buy it.

But sometimes, a friend's recommendation isn't the whole story. Friends convince me because they are genuine. They don't have any motivations except their own desire to express joy for something they enjoyed. This isn't always they case; when they have ulterior motives, I don't really take their opinion at face value--eg, they got caught up selling knives or Amway.

That means that what convinces me to buy things isn't what anyone says but what a genuine reviewer says, like this guy:

This guy is so genuine, it hurts. It convinced me to go to Five Guys for the first time in years. That was a good burger, a strong burger; I was glad to have eaten it. I was glad to have listened to someone with a genuine opinion.

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