3/10/2012

When I am King: Truce in Advertising

When I am King...

Marketing phrases will be more useful.

I stopped by Home Depot today to see what kind of recessed-speaker options they had, and ran into a real gem of a product, the Leviton Spec-Grade Sound SpeakersTM. Even the model name makes me quiver (good thing they trademarked that brilliant and unique phrase).

The best part of these speakers is the marketing language used on the box to really sell you:
"using features, technologies, and materials associated with some of the most famous high-end audio brands."
That phrase is a work of art. I don't think I've ever read a product description that said less about the product. It’s beautiful the way that it distracts you from the cheap piece of junk in your hands, calling your attention elsewhere, to higher-quality products that you are now forced to imagine. Why go on at length about the cost-cutting micro-filament wires used to barely conduct the signal, or the tweeter cones made from used napkins, or the watered-down paint used to meticulously coat at least some of the speaker grill? Instead, they allow the consumer to envision all kinds of tantalizing ideas of their own, creating a much more appealing picture of the product in their mind than the one that actually exists in the box.

When I am King, this comparison marketing will be more widespread. No longer will consumers be forced to deal with real facts, but will instead be given useful analogies and comparison points from which they can more easily make an uninformed purchasing decision. Why force the consumer to research technologies and materials when you can tell them what to think about instead? Why waste time, ink, and brain cells on superfluous items like ingredient lists when you can simply mention other similar foods? In fact, why say anything concrete about the product at all: shopping is not about the product, but rather the experience and a temporary sense of fulfillment in our shallow, vapid lives.

In honor of this new approach to consumer education, I’ll avoid giving specific details. I will, instead, offer some examples of possible phrases to consider and compare:

  • Food packaging: “Containing ingredients often found in other food.”
  • A book: “With many words used in classic literature.”
  • A movie: “Action scenes, as seen in many popular films.”
  • Music: “Using notes also heard in pieces by Beethoven and U2.”
  • College: “Offering many subjects commonly studied at good schools.”
  • Dating site bio: “I have internal organs, appendages, and skin which functions similar to those of famous actresses. And I like quiet walks on the beach in the rain.”

I feel great about this plan. It shares many attributes with other successful and popular plans.
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