Saturday, August 17, 2013
WalMart, Advertising, and Marketing
Saturday, August 17, 2013
Someone mentioned on FaceBook this morning that the property where the old factory where I’d worked for almost 30 years is being turned into a Super Walmart. Walmart is taking over the country and because they can afford to have lower pricing, it limits where people can shop and the company is putting most small businesses out of business. How sad.
Not only are Walmarts being built in, it seems, every other town, the company is being shoved at viewers watching tv. One of the cooking shows I watch now touts the big box store as having the best meat and produce. I feel we are being forced to buy from Walmart. When you think about it, the more something is mentioned, and the more the signs, logos and advertising are flashed in our faces – it’s a kind of brain washing. We begin to think they are right. We go to the stores and buy and buy.
What happened to buying local and purchasing fresh, local produce? How fresh can products be that are shipped around the country? Where do most of Walmarts products come from? How many are imports?
This makes me think of advertising and a revelation of why I have such an issue in promoting my own work as an artist… I DON’T TRUST ADVERTISING! How long has the media been shoving products down consumers’ throats? How many companies try to convince you they have YOUR best interest at heart, that everything they do they are doing for YOU, to help YOU? What a crock!
Look at all the cosmetic companies. How many billions of dollars have they made throughout the years because they convince us that we are not beautiful without their products? These companies have sold the public on the idea that “regular” people will never be pretty enough or skinny enough or successful enough without their products. They have convinced us that we are inadequate and we spend billions on their products to try to make ourselves better.
What a bunch of crap! These big companies and advertising firms are only trying to SELL YOU! And it’s easy to get dragged into thinking that these products will make us better, whether it’s better health or making our lives better with fancy products. They get what they want. They sell their products. They don’t know US personally! They just know how to brainwash people. Marketing is all psychological. It’s all about how to convince the public that they can’t do without such and such product and what makes this company’s items better than the next company who is trying to convince people of the same thing.
Marketing is the name of the game and the more the business and product name is put out there, the more it gets ingrained into people’s heads and the more they are apt to go buy that product or from that company. (Why do you think during election time you see so many of the same candidate signs? It’s to imprint that candidate’s name in your brain!) Selling products or services is the same. It’s all about selling techniques and the product isn’t even important. It’s the SALE, how to make THE SALE.
What’s horribly sad is that most of it doesn’t even have to be true. Fruit juice always comes to mind when I think about this. The product only needs to be 10% fruit to be called fruit juice. How is that right? More and more people are beginning to realize some of these things especially with help from the internet. Is the FDA the people’s friend? Then how is Monsanto allowed to do what they do? It all makes me wonder about the validity of a lot of products.
All this makes me think about all the ads that are shoved at us constantly. How do we know what is the truth? I, myself, refuse to “buy into” the media pushes. I refuse to watch or listen to commercials. The prescription drug commercials are the worse! It’s sad to think of the number of people who actually WILL ask their doctors about those drugs. Then again, when people are in a bind or pain, they are willing to do almost anything to make themselves feel better.
So, what does this have to do from an artist’s standpoint? I don’t trust advertising and marketing. Yes, I want to sell my products, but the thought of trying to MAKE someone buy my work leaves an awful taste in my mouth. I don’t want to lie (or even a little white lie) or tell an untruth to customers. I am uncomfortable with a hard sell. Yes, I like to tell stories of where the photograph was taken or how the drawing came about, but that’s because I love what I do and I want to share my excitement and discoveries. Yes, I want to make money so I can buy more supplies. I want people to buy my pictures because they truly enjoy the scenes and like my work. I want them to walk away happy and not feeling they were forced to make a purchase.
In some aspects, I feel I’m caught between a rock and a hard place. I understand the need to market and advertise, but how can I be comfortable participating in something that can be so manipulative to the consumer? How can anyone compete with the big chains and bigger box stores? How can smaller businesses compete against these huge corporations that have the power and money to flood the market with their own ads and push all the little guys out. How can we “little guys” compete in a market where mass produced products, most of which are made outside this country with cheaper labor and cheaper materials, and therefore be able to be sold at a cheaper price than quality homemade or home grown products?
I have to admit, I’m as guilty as most everyone else. There are a few products that I prefer to buy at Walmart. I’ll occasionally stop at a McDonalds or Dunkin Donuts if I’m feeling desperate. I’ll go to Home Depot because of the pricing as compared to the local lumber and appliance places.
I’m not sure what the answers are. I’m not sure where this is leading this country. I do believe that it’s a problem. I am reminded of that old Tennessee Ernie Ford song “16 Tons” with “another day older and deeper in debt” and “I owe my soul to the company store.” I feel that Walmart has become the “company store” along with the McDonalds and Dunkin Donuts.