Products R Us: Are We 'Brandwashed'?
Display Avatars Sort By:
eric chan
(bearbreeder) - F
Products R Us: Are We 'Brandwashed'? on 12/15/2011 02:43:24 MST Print View

excerpt below, more at link ... BPL is no different ;)

http://www.npr.org/2011/10/23/141470152/products-r-us-are-we-brandwashed

In writing his book, Lindstrom carried out his own experiment. He hired a family — called the Morgensons — from Laguna Beach, Calif., and filmed them as they had friends over from the neighborhood and talked about 10 specific brands they were using. Their mission was to frequently mention these brands without letting their guests know of their secret motive.

Lindstrom was skeptical at first, but then realized that word of mouth is extremely powerful.

"This simple family, they within three months were able spread the word of mouth to 15,000 people across California," he says.

In fact, it was so successful that "nine out of 10 [exposed to the family] definitely bought at least one out of the 10 brands."

Even after Gina Morgenson, the mother, mentioned the brand Kiss My Face for the 10th time, people didn't realize it was part of a setup. Lindstrom says that's because we spend so much of our time talking about brands that it didn't seem unusual.

"You and I are talking about brands 25 percent of our entire time. ... It has become such a big part of our lives, I would almost claim we would have nothing to say to each other if we can't talk about brands," he says.

Erik Basil
(EBasil) - M

Locale: Atzlan
Is it visual, too? on 12/15/2011 07:38:14 MST Print View

I was cleaning my Ferrari with the best Abec11 wheels and remembered how nice the Captain Morgan looked on the shelf next to Eric Chan's Marlboros. It reminded me of how many Feathered Friends might have a BPL Membership to assist them with Western Mountaineering at the Optimus time of the season.

Ah, back to the topic at hand. Baloney.

HK Newman
(hknewman) - MLife

Locale: Western US
Re: ... Are We 'Brandwashed'? on 12/15/2011 07:46:12 MST Print View

Not really my field but brands do allow us to differentiate among similar products. Do the marketeers take advantage of this? Yes, but now with a little salt and pepper in my hair, having a big honking brand plastered on my clothes (and increasingly gear) actually has the opposite effect on me. Some manufacturers are a little bit better in this regard than others IMO.

The piece that actually gets the any compliments from the younger crowd is my non-branded, pure black, Feathered Friends Hyperion vest. It's now several years old but must have a certain "made in the USA" quality (unless the young ladies are thinking they could just beat me up and then take the vest for warmth).

ADD: My microeconomics prof had a good rationalization: if we all wore pure black, so-so quality Chairman Mao garb daily, life would be much simpler but only so many people can be employed making the same black clothes (probably automate the whole affair). Different brands create more jobs for employees and give consumers more choices. Counter that with
"The things you own end up owning you" from some movie 10 years ago, if we want to wax philosophically.

Edited by hknewman on 12/15/2011 08:21:56 MST.

Dave T
(DaveT) - F
another one... on 12/15/2011 09:45:04 MST Print View

... for the chaffstarta.

eric chan
(bearbreeder) - F
Re: another one... on 12/15/2011 11:37:38 MST Print View

fear leads to anger anger leads to hatred and hatred leads to the dark side dave ...

didnt ya know that ;)

HK ...

sometimes i think our entire economy is making stuff that we dont "need" for consumption ...

Edited by bearbreeder on 12/15/2011 11:39:48 MST.

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: Products R Us: Are We 'Brandwashed'? on 12/15/2011 12:31:50 MST Print View

Of course we are. It starts when we (or our parents) buy brand names so the kids will be in style. My dad never bought into it, unless the product held up better. He found that Levi's lasted longer than Sears and JC Penny jeans and were cheaper in the long run. I did the same with my kids. They grew up in Orange County (were this story took place), and they knew they were not going to get any fashion brands unless the quality and value was superior to the run of the mill stuff. They also learned that when buying school clothes, there was a budget and they could get more things with the budget if brand names were excluded. Orange County, CA is one of the worst brandwashed, fad infected places I have ever seen. Just don't buy into it.

But this is not to say that brand names are not better. Just be a good consumer and research. I find that all my Montbell, Patagonia, and other brand name gear is well designed, lasts, and does exactly what I need it to do. And it does it better than cheap run of the mill stuff. Not saying everything these companies make is superior.

For business I wear expensive name brand suits and shoes. Most of my business dress is more than 10 years old. I buy styles that are 'classic' and not fadish. I also inspect each item for quality, not the name. In corporate meetings I am always the best dressed, and the dollar cost average of my wardrobe is less than everyone in the room. Again, just be smart.

spelt with a t
(spelt) - F

Locale: SW/C PA
! on 12/15/2011 13:01:13 MST Print View

sometimes i think our entire economy is making stuff that we dont "need" for consumption ...

Sometimes?! Consumption is the basis of our entire economic system!

Travis Leanna
(T.L.) - MLife

Locale: Wisconsin
Re: ! on 12/15/2011 13:06:12 MST Print View

Indeed! Most of the stuff on the market is put there simply to make a profit. That's it. Profit. Imagine if the world took a BPL approach to what they used and consumed...

Dale Wambaugh
(dwambaugh) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: consumption, profit, greed, etc on 12/15/2011 14:04:18 MST Print View

Much of the world does take a "BPL" approach, but because of lack of resources and capital. They live with little because they have no choice! It is the industrialized nations that suck up the resources. I don't know what the ratios are now-- 10% using 90% or something like that? The UL market is part of the 10%.

UL backpacking is a highly materialistic market. I've called it hypermaterialistic. The materials and technologies used are expensive and exotic. There are some recycled materials used, but very little in the original form (like using recycled spring water bottles). Much of the UL gear market is a "best of" game, seeking high performance and light weight, but we speak very little of pollution or the working conditions of the people who make our toys. I think the concentration on quality over quantity comes out more in the gear selection, design and construction than the amount of gear we purchase; I'm afraid many UL gear freaks have more toys in the locker than "traditional" hikers.

I do find the anti-profit sentiment odd. If a business doesn't make a profit, it doesn't exist for long. Making a profit and leaving a wake of pollution or taking advantage of Third World workers is wrong and those are the type of business practices that should be scrutinized. Making a profit with no concern for others involved in the process is just plain greed. I want to deal with companies who have a social conscience and responsible business practices, but remain financially healthy. That financial health directly reflects on design, product quality, customer service and warranties.

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: Re: consumption, profit, greed, etc on 12/15/2011 14:10:16 MST Print View

Well, Dale.........























Nice post. +1

:)

Tom Kirchner
(ouzel) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
Re: another one... on 12/15/2011 17:06:51 MST Print View

"for the chaffstarta"

Stiff upper lip, Dave. It's going to be a looonng winter. ;)

Travis Leanna
(T.L.) - MLife

Locale: Wisconsin
Re: Re: Re: consumption, profit, greed, etc on 12/15/2011 20:43:05 MST Print View

I'm not against profit, and of course business needs profit to survive. I was just merely commenting on that things are invented and produced purely for the sake of profit and not need.

And I should have been more clear when I referred to the "rest of the world." I was ignorantly referring to industrialized nations like the US and Europe. I know better.

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: Re: Re: Re: consumption, profit, greed, etc on 12/15/2011 22:29:01 MST Print View

"I was just merely commenting on that things are invented and produced purely for the sake of profit and not need"

Seems that if no one needed a product, no one would buy it? Or is it a fool and his money are easily parted? I can't remember :) but it seems someone said it in the 16th century.

Dale Wambaugh
(dwambaugh) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: Re: Re: Re: consumption, profit, greed, etc on 12/15/2011 23:35:54 MST Print View

I think many things are invented for the need, some are "discovered." Some have improved our lives, some have wreaked havoc and mayhem and threaten the survival of the planet. Each needs to be assessed on a case by case basis.


As far as "needing" a product, well...

I once wrote a post on a forum with the idea that everyone could have a one meter cube to store all their worldly belongings. I asked everyone to consider what they would put in the cube. My audience was 100% Americans (this was on a BBS, before the Internet). Most of the responses were to the point that there was no way they could live with the contents of one cube. Of course, a large portion of the world population gets by with much less.

The cube exercise is much like our UL gear lists, so many of the folk here could pull it off without too much mind-bending. It is very educational and I recommend trying it. Read Thoreau's chapter on Economy from Walden before you start :) http://www.kenkifer.com/Thoreau/economy.htm

Travis Leanna
(T.L.) - MLife

Locale: Wisconsin
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: consumption, profit, greed, etc on 12/15/2011 23:39:29 MST Print View

>The cube exercise is much like our UL gear lists, so many of the folk here could pull it off without too much mind-bending.

AH! That's what I was getting at when I said "...if the world took a BPL approach..." :)

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: consumption, profit, greed, etc on 12/15/2011 23:46:45 MST Print View

AH! That's what I was getting at when I said "...if the world took a BPL approach..." :)

----------------

Then life would be boring. Everyone would think alike. No diversity.

Travis Leanna
(T.L.) - MLife

Locale: Wisconsin
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: consumption, profit, greed, etc on 12/16/2011 00:11:46 MST Print View

>Then life would be boring. Everyone would think alike. No diversity.

True, but I think the point of the exercise is to think about how much excess crap is bought and sold and collected/hoarded. My wife and I have a rule. If we buy something that has a similar function of something we already own, then something has to go. For instance, if I buy a new shirt, then I have to get rid of an old one that I don't wear often. Usually that stuff gets donated to charity or brought to Goodwill. This prevents us from collecting more and more things and it makes us think about what we buy.

I have a hard time buying gifts for people. I think its partly due to the fact that I refuse to buy anyone a useless trinket simply for the sake of giving a gift. I can't count how many times I got a coffee mug, or a figurine, or candle holder, or some kind of "decorative item" and it went straight to the garbage or donation bin. I would rather the person had kept the money or donated something to charity. I really do appreciate the thought and I never let on that the gift will soon end up trashed, but there are so many THINGS that get tossed immediately. Then imagine the resources put into producing that item and multiply that by Lord-knows-what-number. Whenever I walk into a touristy gift shop I cringe at all the useless crap. Now, I realize that much of this is my own opinion on certain goods, but if we look at our needs, much of that stuff really doesn't have a solid purpose.

Edited by T.L. on 12/16/2011 00:12:53 MST.

Dale Wambaugh
(dwambaugh) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: consumption, profit, greed, etc on 12/16/2011 01:53:14 MST Print View

I sold recycled electronics for three years. The sheer volume is absolutely amazing. To give an idea of the scale, Washington State enacted an electronic waste recycling program several years ago. The program takes computers, monitors, laptops and televisions without a fee. In first year, 26 MILLION POUNDS of material were recycled. That is one state with about 6.6 million people and just a small slice of the things we buy and toss and that is the better stuff. The deluge of trinkets and junk is just obscene.

Hiking Malto
(gg-man) - F
Hmmmm! on 12/16/2011 06:04:36 MST Print View

"AH! That's what I was getting at when I said "...if the world took a BPL approach..." :)"

Ok, someone has to call BS. The average BPLer is NO better than the average American in regards to amount of stuff (BP gear) they have. While only a small amount of stuff goes out on any given trip I suspect the shear number of shelters, packs and sleep systems that folks have in storage could outfit a boy scout troop or small third world army. And I'm no better the most.....

2 packs plus two dry packs.
4 sleeping bags or quilts, not counting a couple of more non-BP SB
3 shelters that I've taken BP plus another larger tent

But it used to be worse. I sold 4 packs prior to buying my current pack. One had never been used but I snagged it to replace the pack I used to use when it wore out.

So bottom line, this looks like the Titanium pot calling the Aluminum pan black. Oh yeah, I have a few of those too! Got to go make up my Christmas list, there's some really cool new BP gear.

BER ---
(BER) - MLife

Locale: Wisconsin
Brandwashed on 12/16/2011 07:45:29 MST Print View

Travis said:
"I have a hard time buying gifts for people. I think its partly due to the fact that I refuse to buy anyone a useless trinket simply for the sake of giving a gift. I can't count how many times I got a coffee mug, or a figurine, or candle holder, or some kind of "decorative item" and it went straight to the garbage or donation bin. I would rather the person had kept the money or donated something to charity. I really do appreciate the thought and I never let on that the gift will soon end up trashed, but there are so many THINGS that get tossed immediately. Then imagine the resources put into producing that item and multiply that by Lord-knows-what-number. Whenever I walk into a touristy gift shop I cringe at all the useless crap. Now, I realize that much of this is my own opinion on certain goods, but if we look at our needs, much of that stuff really doesn't have a solid purpose."

Oh my, YES! Fully agree.

And by the way Travis, I'm not getting you a Holiday gift this year, but we can both THINK I did... :)