Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Conversations with my 6 year old...

Having a chat with my son Hunter is rarely boring. Here are some of our conversations this morning while getting ready for school:

Me: Come here, Cutestuff.
Hunter: Like I always say, there is no such thing as Cutestuff.
Me: Then you must not exist!
Hunter: Now why would I be such a thing?


Hunter: What is for lunch today on the school menu?
Nancy: Hotdog.
Hunter: No.
Nancy: Chili.
Hunter: NO!
Nancy: Peppy pizza salad.
Hunter: What is that?
Nancy: I don't know.
Hunter: Ok, then no.


Digg this

Friday, October 03, 2008

Are You What You Buy?

I finished the book Buying In by Rob Walker and thoroughly enjoyed it. The last chapter ends with the question: does what you buy define who you are?

I have the belief that every person is intrinsically valuable. If this is true, then what you buy or what you have does not make you more valuable as a person. But the objects that you surround yourself with does answer another question:

Who do you wish you were?

That is why advertisers tell stories now rather than promoting the practical usefulness of their item. They are working on your insecurity. You know this. I know it. It works anyway.

As one contemporary ad agency executive has put it: "Few stronger emotions exist than the need to belong and make meaning. And brands are poised to exploit that need." (257)
We need food, basic clothing, and basic shelter. Everything after that is novelty that wears off fast because of our adaptive behavior. We adapt to the object, and it isn't as exciting for as long as we thought it would be.
But, I asked, what exactly does it mean to say "the wrong reasons"? If someone creates a symbol that has meaning, if it's Polo or Ecko, and I buy into it and it makes me feel more classy or urban, isn't that okay?
"Yeah," they answered in unison, and Andrew clarified: "You're spending the money to pay for the advertising that they paid for to make you believe that. That's the snake-eating-its-own-tail of it all." (260)
It's okay to buy things, to own things. But before we do, we need to really think about who we intentionally want to be.


Digg this