Capitalism is an inherently expanding social order in which the goals and powers of profit-seeking, wages-for-worktime-paying private investors are the most important force shaping society.
Capitalists hate free markets, which force them to pass along technological advances in the form of lower prices. To protect themselves from that, in the late 1800s, leading capitalists lobbied state legislatures in the USA to win the right to form the giant conglomerate corporations that have since been the major units of the system. Thomas Edison explained this to The New York Times in February 1892, when he was merging Edison Electric with rival Thomson-Houston Electric to form General Electric.
Capitalism presumes that Earth can sustain endless economic expansion and whatever level of resource consumption that may require.
Honda Motor Company is running a marketing campaign packaged as a “social experiment.” The cover story is to see how much people “love” Honda automobiles by inviting them to post personal photos and blurbs on the Facebook “social” networking site.
The truth, of course, is that what Honda is really testing is how effectively they can convert people’s petty vanity and sheer programmability into still more irrational brand loyalty.
Have people been falling into this trap?
The results thus far have blown away Mr. Peyton, who felt at the campaign’s onset that “If we got a million connections, that would be cool.” He called the push “a pretty powerful piece of advertising because people are buying into it and we aren’t giving anything away.”
Honda initially supported the site with a sprinkling of ads on Facebook. “It wasn’t a big media buy, but it got a lot of attention,” said Tom Peyton, senior manager-national advertising. Earlier this month, TV was added to the mix, with 15- and 30-second spots featuring actual owners. The commercials were created by Honda’s longtime agency, independent RPA, Santa Monica, which developed the concept. The buy, also handled by RPA, encompasses prime-time programming such as “30 Rock,” “How I Met Your Mother,” “Dancing With the Stars” and NFL football.
The campaign got a huge boost after a one-day targeted homepage takeover Oct. 19 on high-reach sites, including ESPN.com, CNN.com and SportsYahoo.com. That more than doubled the number of Facebook fans into the range of 1.7 million. (As of press time Oct. 22, the number had topped 2 million).
Footnote: As of this morning, the number of victims of this campaign is approaching 2.5 million.
The Coca-Cola Corporation peddles its “Vitamin Water” brand of sugar-water as a vehicle for harvesting dollars from the long-standing (and largely business-implanted) public over-estimation of what vitamins are and what they do for human health and performance. A decent society would ban this pointless, cynical landfill fodder, and fine Coca-Cola for planning and promulgating it.
Something milder than that has happened in Britain, according to Advertising Age. There, the Advertising Standards Authority (an unthinkable institutional possibility here in the USA, of course) has told Coke it can’t run its normal ads for Vitamin Water, due to their blatant, exploitative falsity (which, of course, is the same thing as the brand’s very purpose and plan).
The news there, though, is more about the shameless, laughable lies Coke presented in its losing attempt at self-defense. As reported by Ad Age:
One poster was headlined “More muscles than brussels.” The complaints challenged the implication that the drink’s health benefits made it equivalent to eating brussels sprouts — a popular U.K. winter vegetable. Coca-Cola claimed that the phrase was instead a reference to former action-movie star Jean Claude Van Damme, who is commonly labeled the “Muscles from Brussels,” referring to his origins in the Belgian city.
Another ad claimed, “Keep perky when you’re feeling murky.” It jokingly advised consumers that if you drink Glaceau Vitaminwater you won’t have to waste your sick days on real illness, and can use them instead “to just, erm, not go in.” Coca-Cola insisted that the “perky” claim was about mood rather than health, and that it did not imply that the drink could prevent illness.
The ASA also received complaints that the ads promoted the range of drinks as healthy, when in fact they contain high levels of sugar. Coca-Cola’s defense was that the products are clearly labeled, and that 7.5 grams of sugar in 100 milliliters is not a “high sugar” content. However, the ASA upheld the complaints because the sugar contained in one Glaceau Vitaminwater represents 26% of an adult’s recommended daily sugar allowance.
It would make an excellent project to study the course of other corporate defenses to ASA charges. These speak volumes about the depth of dishonesty and contempt at the very heart of big business marketing.
In case you ever wondered what the real, insider definition is:
Corporate social responsibility is a hybrid PR/branding program that attempts to convert compliance into goodwill.
CSR attempts to align corporate needs (profits, revenue, growth) with social needs (people, community, planet). In the end, CSR is a compulsory exercise designed to limit liability, boost morale and add to the branding story of the company.
From the obnoxious corporate cheerleader Tim Sanders, Advertising Age, September 17, 2009.
Obama, in delivering on his campaign promise to the oxymoronic “private medical insurance” corporations, is going to make purchasing one of its defective, extortionary products mandatory for all U.S. citizens.
[Obama certainly delivers for his overclass patrons, doesn’t he?]
This, of course, necessitates a constant river of Reaganesque lying to voters.
One of the latest whoppers came right in Obama’s woeful and patronizing (one wonders what percentage of those who voted for him fit under the belittling label “my progressive friends,” i.e. all those who expected Obama to deliver at least some beneficial, public-spirited changes) “health care” speech last week. It was this:
This is patently, brazenly, Ronald Reagan-style, false.
Purchasing automobile insurance is not mandatory. If it were, it would long ago have been turned into the very kind of public, single-payer, not-for-profit system that was, is, and ever will be the only possible solution to the nation’s medical insurance scandal/disaster.
Clearly, we radicals, progressives, and realists need to find ourselves some actual friends.