You don’t want it or need it but somebody will convince you otherwise.
The economy is in the toilet, and people are buying less stuff. The point of advertising is to entice people to buy more stuff, even if—especially if—they don’t want it, but failing to add an addictive element in your product, means a rough road for anyone trying to hawk merchandise. Out, then, with traditional merchandise, and in with new stuff, stuff that’s easy to sell and even easier to buy.
Benneton is leading the way in this field, aggressively advertising a product called UNHATE across the world. Benneton doesn’t actually produce UNHATE, they make clothes, but in this economy, why not serve up some bullshit and then market the hell out of it? It’s not really fair to advertise for the lack of something that doesn’t actually exist materially anyway—I mean, I don’t hate yellow mustard now the way I did when I was sixteen, so does Benneton get credit for the “sale” there? I’m not so sure, but you’ve got to applaud their efforts.
In New York, Manhattan Mini Storage is selling political progressivism, albeit with a decidedly pro-remote-storage agenda. As with UNHATE, Manhattan Mini Storage’s advertised product doesn’t really have anything to do with the product it sells (i.e., mini-storage), but these days, lest we forget, It’s the economy, stupid. This campaign even implies a kind of stick-to-your-guns or at least a stick-to-your-stuff conservatism generally associated with the political right, but in such a Democratic city, well, who cares?
Patagonia, no stranger to socially conscious salesmanship, might just take the anti-marketing cake. This holiday season, they’re instructing consumers not to buy stuff at all. (I know, the campaign is about buying less, but you’ll have to buy all of nothing at least few times in order to achieve that less-ness.) Ironically, this works in Patagonia’s favor, as few of their items come bundled eschewing the desire to buy more actually leads you back up the mountain. Brilliant!
In 2010, Nike launched a campaign aimed at normalizing the societal status of a big butt. As a sample taken from any mall will show you, the rump chosen by Nike here is by no means normal, but given America’s obesity epidemic, male and female, it would seem that most people are happy to accept anything, big asses included. Bear in mind, of course, that Nike isn’t selling the actual big asses themselves – Nike is marketing their acceptance.
Finally, there’s this from Bjorg Jewelry, which can really only be summarized as ennui-cum-sociopathy. Granted, the spot is titled “Heresy,” and this season’s “anti-marketing” certainly embodies a heretofore heterodox form of capitalism. But where Benneton asks you to kiss your enemy if you can’t afford their stuff, Bjorg asks you to immolate a beautiful young woman. Since fewer people can afford Bjorg than Benneton, it’s only a matter of time before we see sacrificial pyres erected from sea to shining sea. Yikes.