#Idea – Marketing: The Great Con / Wants vs Needs

You may, at one point, have used the word ‘want’ or ‘need’ and meant it as the same thing.

But it isn’t…

You have very simple needs
Food, shelter, love, etc (see Maslow’s hierarchy of needs for a pretty concise summary)
But, as long as there have been things to sell to other people
There has been an entire industry
That exists solely
To create the idea
That you should want so much
When you need so little

This industry will complicate things
Complicate your life
It will sell you the idea of happiness and fulfilment
Pictures of beautiful smiling people
Leading beautiful smiley lives
It will sell you the idea that
If you buy (into) these products and services
You can join the club
You can arrive
You too can be a beautiful smiley person
Living a beautiful smiley life
And perhaps live happily ever after

black and white happy rich people photo
Photo by Ctwirler12

Of course it never says this directly
Merely by implication
(and an unfathomably large budget)
All this is further reinforced by the unspoken,
(yet almost everpresent) culture that we are immersed in
It is a culture of expectations
Of ‘keeping up with the Jones’
People instagramming the highlights of their existence
And all your friends ‘getting on with life’

It’s hard to fight against this culture
Since you probably are this culture

But this culture is a distraction.

A while back, your reptilian brain was probably taught
To make a strong emotional association:
“fulfilling my wants will make me happy”
“the people who have x look happy”
“Everyone else is doing it, and look how happy they seem!”

And so
Every month
You get your money
You spend your money
In the hope
That you’ll get what you want
If you’re lucky
You have some money left over
And if you’re really lucky
You *actually* get what you want

You look back:
You got what you wanted
The high lasted a while
Why wasn’t it enough?
Soon you have more wants
And more money must be spent to reach them

consumerist black and white photo
Photo by frankieleon

And what, later still, may or may not come as a surprise:
It doesn’t matter how much money you make
Or how much you get
You will always want for more
The industry will see to that

And so,
You can quite easily spend your entire life
Trading all you really have
(which is your time)
For money (and by extension, the fulfilment of these wants)
And so
You quite suddenly
Find yourself on a fucking treadmill
With bills
A mortgage
Credit cards
And more

Is this adulthood?
And how did you get there?
Can you go back?
And do you still want all of this stuff?

What’s worse is that
You might get everything you ever wanted one day
Then what the fuck do you do?
Start again?
Come up with more wants
And keep going?

This process
Of trading your time for money
Wanting more,
Getting it
Then wanting more still
May very well distract you away
From the important things
The things that you may need to do with your life
The thing is
You can’t find out what these things are
Let alone do them
When you’re so busy making a living

consumerist black and white photo
Photo by frankieleon

And why are you so busy making a living?
Because you wanted so much
And maybe you still do
And so
There’s definitely something to that old saying
‘be careful what you wish for’

Remember that our current, culturally entrenched concept of ‘success’
Was, is, alarmingly
Influenced by people in marketing departments
And PR agencies
And banks
What you have been told to think ‘success’ is
Might not be what it actually is for you
You are not like everyone else
And neither is anyone else

And all this
Is why you can come so far
But feel so hollow inside

Don’t let people try to tell you
What to want
Nor let them imply
That the things they want you to have
Are the things that you actually need
And definitely don’t let them make you think:
That living someone else’s life
Will work for you

What you want right now
Might not be what you need
What do you need, really?
Nobody really knows that but you

TLDR: isn’t it time we stopped buying stupid shit?

billboards photo

Leave a comment

Please be polite. We appreciate that. Your email address will not be published and required fields are marked