Saturday, September 20, 2008

Internet, socialism and marketing (video games too) - Part I

We dislike marketing and marketeers. We may laugh or be impressed with this ad and that, but deep down we do not trust them. Even the marketing professionals, who seem to be passionate about their jobs, are quite cynical when it comes to being on the receiving end. Even as we push our products and services to the masses with marketing (because we all want to get rich), as responsible people we teach our nearest and dearest to be distrustful.

Click on the above picture, and you will see Grover and Kermit (Sesame Street) putting a perfect portrayal of what marketing supposedly stands for in our society: selling things to people who don't need them. If you have read my previous post, you will remember the senior milkman's keen observation to be a good testimony on this fact.

Before you sigh and nod your head in agreement from the vantage point of your moral high ground, take a moment to think if you might be responsible for doing the very same thing. How many of you tried to make yourselves look like the perfect candidate for a job you knew you were ill-suited for, just because you were desperate to get the bills paid? How many of you feigned (or denied) interest in this musician or that ideology just to get in someone's pants? How many of you dressed (packaged) yourselves differently than you normally would, in order to leave a good impression on people (customers) that could have lasting influence (profits) on your lives?

This is why our understanding and practice of marketing is warped. For most people, marketing and advertising are interchangeable terms. We push things at people. This is far from an ideal practice of marketing, which should have been finding the right product/customer for the right customer/product.

Rotten old days

Back in the old days, we could not possibly have been blamed for this. For what choice did we have, if we were not blessed with the good fortunes of being in the same geographical proximity as our perfect customers? If you did not have the perfect product, you made it look like the perfect product as much as possible, for finding instead the perfect customer for your product would be a costly adventure. We considered very little, if at all fathomed, the possibility of pull marketing; simply because as individuals and customers ourselves, we had very little means of pulling.

But things have changed.

(To be continued in: "Internet as a socialist revolution." Coming soon to a blog near you!)


Kayo said...

People have the ability to think critically. We are conscious beings and not always passive receivers of information, as much as marketers like to think we are.

Although I like to think that I am making choices and consciously aware of all the marketing around me across various media, I am still a sucker for marketing. It makes me feel good when marketers tell me that I will be much cooler and more important by using Apple products. And I fell for it. Of course Gillette is the more superior razors and shaving cream. Of course Collgate turns your teeth whiter. I am not ashamed. Good job marketers!

Kerem said...

"Even as we push our products and services to the masses with marketing (because we all want to get rich), as responsible people we teach our nearest and dearest to be distrustful."

The marketing people do deceive us, yes, and they do want to get filthy rich indeed, that's a given, but they're also on the receiving end of all those marketing bullshit and I do not think that they manage to avoid the traps they lay everyday themselves.

Considering the current economic order, the whole point of making shit loads of money is to be able to spend it on things you crave to buy. And if there's nothing you want to buy, then what's the point of working until those late hours? In other words, you validate your working efforts by buying expensive stuff you couldn't have bought unless you worked your arse off. So, even though we know that advertised product is shite, we go and buy it, just because we can, just because the feeling of owning something brand new makes us feel good.

Most people do know by now that when Apple launches a new product, the first batch that's released is actually of the beta test phase of that product and will come with several problems and issues. But people still queue in front of the shops to get their hands on them. Another example; we know the new n-bladed Gillette razor is not really any different than the previous ones in terms of the outcome, but people still buy it.

In the context of games, Assasin's Creed is a good example. Every single game review site mentioned that the game is repetitive like hell. But still it sold pretty good. Because people were actually desperate enough to buy it. You buy a somewhat expensive game console and you want games you can play on it. You go to a game store one evening and look at the titles there and see Assasin's Creed there with its fancy box and all, and you say to yourself 'This might be good for a night's entertainment' and you buy it. It's the same story with PS3. You go home with that title you just bought 2 hours ago, you put into the CD tray, play it for a couple of hours and after you finally get enough of that boring gameplay, you say "OK, I've made a huuuge mistake". But that doesn't really stop you from getting the upcoming titles which are on the same scale of shiteness. Because you need something to look forward to buy as you keep earning those sweet sweet money.

In the end it's a mutually created illusion; people want to be deceived and people deceive them. If marketing people is completely aware of this and they are free from the grasp of it, I feel sorry for them. They must feel miserable.

Taylan said...

Yes, it is hard to resist. Yes, this is seems to be the whole point of the contemporary economic reality.

But guess what? It is changing. I stopped myself from buying Rock Band 2 just a couple days ago (incredible, I know), thinking how I'd rather spend my time and money hunting for indie games online that could satisfy me for more than a few hours.

That happens to be the whole point of my quest in this blog. How to make people realize they have the option. How to make developers realize there is a big market out there demanding and supporting better options.

P.S. I totally bought Assassin's Creed. I liked the story though. I also have to say: that whole history coded into DNA idea was conceived by yours truely long before the game.