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The lifestyle cult December 2, 2005

Posted by Matt Hurst in Uncategorized.

In the economic resurgence of the mid-1990s, advertisers were in the middle of a revolution in marketing. People having grown resistant to simpler brand impression techniques, the most successful marketing scheme advertised not products but lifestyles associated with a group of products.
Praying on a people deviod of spiritual inspiration, drained by the business of modern life, and isolated because of it, the adverstisers set their campaigns of ads as if they were running cults. Appealing to our desire for acceptance and to be part of something bigger, and playing on our fear of isolation, the marketing aganeices built brands like a religion. Nike would be an expeience of the impossible being achieved, Starbucks would be the community center lost in the suburban sprawl, and questions of it all would be answered by the entertainment industry.
Life’s answers written for you in a 30-second spot, spelled out in music clips, and offered for the cost of a product we pay our tithe to the church.
Not just a company, not just a cult, but a culture of industry and consumer in collaboration. The gates of their smokestack spires reach into a destructive horizon somewhere across the world. We bow before the American Dream and its monetary deities, collected by welcoming preiests of influence preaching from the pulpit. Dare we challenge, we will become socially excommunicated. The new god is money, and our sacrifice is what we work for, and we recieve serivce/product for it.
Often before realising it, we build associations between a product subconciously and a away of life. A car is not efficient but fast and sexy – not a transportation device like the bus but a way of life that connects us to others. The things we bought defined who we were, who we aspired to be. Ultimately of course that is the furthest from the troop, but we judge people about it all the time. We even judge those inside the system of it all for having bought into it (literally). Why else would a company make several brands seeemingly independant companies for practicly the same products. It sells, it works, because we buy into it.



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