A few days ago I was out with a friend who I hadn’t seen in quite some time. We agreed to meet on Oxford Street and then decide where to go for a coffee. A die hard Starbucks fan, my friend had already made up our minds for us and we walked towards Selfridges, crossed the road and walked into Starbucks. The next day I met with another friend of mine who came to visit from London. We also met on Oxford Street (yes I know it gets boring) and guess where she decides to take us? Yep, Starbucks. Only a few blocks away from where I had met my friend the previous day, we found another Starbucks. Apparently there were a few more round the corner too.
I know quite a few people who share the same brand love as my friends do. Starbucks have spent ludicrous amounts of money to create and brand the ‘coffee culture’, one that has cost many local coffee shop owners their livelihoods while simultaneously building a massive base of fanatical Starbucks fans.
Pepsi and Coca-Cola have done the same. These giant corporations spend more money than the GDP of some countries on their marketing campaigns in any given year. There are people who are loyal Pepsi customers and others who claim Coca-Cola tastes much better. I cannot relate to either because both products taste exactly the same to me.
When you think about how the brands we spend our hard earned money on have consumed our worlds it is quite scary. The corporations of today pretty much own the space we live in and they populate it with very well thought through messages about why their brand is so much better than the next. While there may be truth to some claims, many are exaggerations or versions of the truth at best. We readily accept their claims as true because we want to believe them so badly. Many women want to believe that Adios pills will ‘speed up weight loss’ (whatever that means) and that if we use Nivea creams, we will say ‘Good-Bye Cellulite’. Many men want to believe that when they use Axe deodorant; gorgeous women will come swarming their way and drinking Coca-Cola Zero will make them more macho. The list can go on and on but the bottom line is that just because the product has been backed with a multi-million pound campaign, it does not necessarily mean we should believe every advertising slogan we hear, see or read. Fact is Coca-Cola Zero won’t make you any more of a man than Diet Coke or even Tesco Cola for that matter! When you use Axe deodorant, the good looking waitress at the deli won’t write her phone number with ketchup on your sandwich and sorry ladies but while some creams may reduce cellulite, you will need a lot more than cream to say good-bye to it!
Perhaps if we all gave a little more thought to the brands we consume and the claims the corporations behind them make, we would make different choices. Maybe we would realise that we don’t need half the things we think we need…..