I have talked about the important role marketing can play in societies and its power in influencing peoples’ ideas and values. Yet as uncle Ben famously said: “with great power comes great responsibility“. The dark side of marketing is manifested when companies focus solely on selling their products or services rather than providing true value to society. This “dark side” is clearly communicated in the following song by Lily Allen:
The song expresses how many people experience confusion, fear, distorted values, and loss of a true purpose in life. Even though some might argue that being shameless, indifferent to worlds disasters, possessed over consuming products and getting the perfect body shape, are all good values to have, I believe they bring nothing but disintegration of a society and dissolution of a virtuous human character.
Yet, haven’t we collectively, the marketers, created this reality? We can blame consumers all we want, stating that they are the ones who make decisions with their free will, but we are the ones who continuously communicate that possessing products make them happy, set standards for beauty, and shamelessly lie in the news. Heck, we even define what national culture is:
So, shouldn’t we be held accountable for influencing perceptions, attitudes, and beliefs of the people around us? Shouldn’t companies focus more on spreading values of love, empathy, collaboration, involvement, and contribution? Well, maybe that’s utopian in a system where value is measured only by shareholders’ financial well-being…
Anyways, I’d better go and get myself “The Most American Thickburger”! Who’s joining?