Friday, 11 July 2008

Advertising - "Buy More" vs The Planet - "Please for God's sake buy less"

I've been reading a few articles recently that have got me thinking about the role of Marketing in the future and how this potentially clashes with the way the world has to start behaving. If we need to start consuming less and advertising on the whole tells us to consume more, then surely something needs to change with advertising.

Even Martin Sorrell, the Chief Executive of WPP, one of the largest communications groups in the world, has commented recently that "conspicuous consumption is not productive and should be discouraged" (as quoted in Campaign Magazine).

So what does this mean for marketers? If, for example, the stigma related to being a conspicuous consumer grows and grows to the point that it becomes a stereotype to be avoided, in what ways will advertisers and clients for that matter have to change their game in order to appeal to the new generation of thrifty, planet-conscious consumers of the 21st century?

Well, I think the challenges that advertisers will have to face will have to answer the following questions that the new consumers will be asking themselves about the products they are researching, (some of these are extremely obvious)-

Do I really need this?
Do I have "ENOUGH" of this product already?
Will I be able to repair it/maintain it/upgrade it myself?
Will it be obsolete this time next year? If so, why?
Has it been constructed by fairly paid workers and constructed in a way that does not harm the environment?
What does this product tell those around me about my beliefs and environmental credentials?

In the same way that the internet is democratising media coverage around the world, it's also fundamentally changing the way in which people view the world and their role in it. People are now looking online to find communities to be part of and moving away from the idea that materialism is the be all and end all.

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