Not Sexism

rat pressing lever Big business marketers like to pretend they have social consciences, despite the world-historic immorality of their trade. One way they strike the pose is to prattle on about racial and gender diversity within their professional ranks.

Along the way, they often throw in suggestions that such concerns somehow validate what they do to those of us on the receiving end of their labors.

Consider this plaint from Scott Karambis, “VP of marketing and brand strategy at SapientNitro, a creative, brand and technology agency,” who adds this aside as he reports on his professional diversity travails in today’s edition of Ad Age:

“Women control roughly 85% of consumer purchases, yet 91% of women say advertisers don’t understand them.”

Mr. Karambis thinks this has to do with marketers’ sexism toward their target audiences. While sexism and racism in advertising are utterly foundational and remain core selling strategies, in this case, that 91% reaction is about something the Karambises of the world simply can’t admit to themselves.

Think about it: What percentage of men say advertisers don’t understand them? Despite mens’ comparative intellectual and attitudinal deficits, it’s undoubtedly very high, too.

And that is because advertising is manipulation, not a form of empathy or a genuine service. By definition, effective marketing is always a form of non-understanding, for the simple reason that corporate marketing exists to push people to do things that are not in their genuine interest.

Everybody but the diligent, self-admiring wheel-turners knows this.

3 Replies to “Not Sexism”

  1. These critiques are always relevant and accurate, and well-appreciated.
    In the interest of further exploration, does the word “marketing” need to be jettisoned? The advertorial deluge, the bombast of incessant and omni-directional surveillance-state visual/mental attack, should not to be placed alongside the quaint images of a “market,” the historic vision of burro-drawn carriages bringing melons into the town square for the grandmothers in babushkas.
    Transnational corporations do not operate in any venue resembling a “market” – they are aggregations of criminal conspiracies, R&D procurement cells, computer-driven intrusion and defense apparatuses, industrial espionage. Shale gas companies and greenwashing girl’s toys companies are not using the techniques of the venerable “market” to spread their sinister wares – they are attacking, destroying, infiltrating engines of manipulation.
    So, for my little purpose, instead of “market,” I will “Find/Replace” with “manipulate.” Instead of “marketers,” – “manipulators.”

    Perhaps that is also too charitable. Re-inventing popular terms is a tough game – witness the TCT’s onging “consumerist” battles…

  2. You are quite right about the outdatedness of the word “market,” which was always a metaphor anyway, once capitalism grew past its original late-medieval scale. But I think it’s worth retaining “marketing” because that’s what corporate planners and worker bees call their core endeavor. But, it’s also our effort as TCTers to spread the news that “marketing” is, in proper plain language, behavior engineering.

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