Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Strategies to see through the marketing in magazines

Magazine marketers love to show their products in the most favorable and attractive context.  They know that consumers aren’t just buying a product, they are trying to buy a “vision” of what they want their lives to be.     Just remember, every vision is made up of individual elements, and if you were to consider the individual pieces alone, you might not care so much about certain parts, and appreciate other parts more. 

When you see a beautiful picture and you want that for yourself, try using your imagination to eliminate elements from the picture in order to discover what about it excites you.  Imagine the walls a different color.  Imagine the piece of furniture without anything on it.  Imagine how your stuff would look there.   Doing this exercise helps you narrow down what exactly you like about the picture.  Incorporate only what excites you and nothing else. 

I was looking at the Container Store’s website and happened to look at their desks.  Their desks were very appealing.  They showed them with magazine storage boxes, little sculptures, a pretty wall color behind them, a laptop open on the working surface, and little flat file boxes in coordinated colors arranged on the shelves above.   I found these pictures so attractive, that I knew it was important to me to figure out what exactly I liked about them because if I was to go ahead and buy any of those desks, if I was buying the vision and not the product, I would be disappointed if I didn’t end up with a setup that looked just like those pictures.  So I used my imagination and pretended that everything on the desks were gone. 

Guess what? Looking at those totally bare desks, I could see they were completely boring!  If I had only bought a desk, I would be disappointed that it didn’t look like the pictures when I got it put together.   If looking at the empty desk was boring, then that meant that I found the stuff on the desk the attractive thing.  But this I found to be completely silly.  After all, it wasn’t my stuff arranged or organized according to my needs, so if I bought that stuff for myself and merged it what I already had, it wouldn’t look anything like that picture at all.  (And I could tell that based on the way I organize stuff, the color-coordinated flat file boxes would be completely useless!) 

I looked at some decorating blogs because I was trying to figure out how to decorate my fireplace mantel.  I saw this one picture that had a really artistic-looking fireplace—it had candles, some plants and topiaries, some pictures, some little knickknacks on pedestals.. I thought, “Now that is cute.”  But then when I started looking at each individual thing, I discovered that not a single one of those things would have been something I would have picked up excitedly in a store and bought.  Not one single thing was cool enough in and of itself to justify my buying it; it was only the artistic arrangement of all the elements that was attractive.   But that’s not the way to buy stuff!  You don’t buy stuff all at once because you have a vision of exactly how you’re going to arrange it (at least I’m not that skilled.  Usually you buy things one thing at a time because each little thing appeals to you somehow.  I still don’t have a decorated mantel, but I expect someday

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