Sunday, April 5, 2009


Brandist bastards

For decades, society has pushed toward an atmosphere where perceptions and conceptions are delayed until learning more. Where prejudice and stereotypes are "bad" and "wrong, or among those more educated, "ill-conceived".

The only forum where the philosophy of preconception is fostered is in the marketing industry. Branding is about creating and managing stereotypes. By aligning yourself with the right brands, you can develop a personality, a set of well-defined criteria that determine how you are perceived by others.

Brands allow you to mix and match, like a paper doll, to create the persona you desire. Whether that persona has any basis in reality is suspect.

I often wonder what my personality is based on the data collected on my AirMiles card. Or my Canadian Tire Options Mastercard. And what my use of these cards have on my perceived persona.

I suppose my periodic use of my AirMiles card has branded me as Flighty. I'm interested in saving money to a certain degree, based on the number of sale items I've bought on it. However, my use has been sporadic. Were they to see the purchases I made without the card, they might see that I started shopping at A&P when we purchased a home, instead of shopping at Loblaws where the aisles are nicer but the food is more pricey. Then I stopped shopping at A&P when I lost my job... to shop at the Food Basics, where the shopping is even cheaper. I can't imagine that they assume that I still do most of my shopping at A&P, and that I'm existing on a ball of mozzarella and three boxes of pizza pops every couple months.

Perhaps they have some greater system that knows the Food Basics doesn't carry my particular brand of cheese or microwavable pizza-like pastry. If they did know that, they might realize I'm highly brand loyal. However, they might just figure I'm there to take advantage of the sale on pizza pops. for some unknown reason, they've been on sale 5 out of the last 6 times I picked them up.

The marketers may think I'm a healthy eater based on the number of vegetables I purchase. However, more than 3/4 are consumed by our rabbits and guinea pigs, and the others veggies generally go bad in the fridge.

I wonder if there are people who make conscious decisions on when to use their loyalty cards just to confuse the marketers. I know my standard was to provide false information for store savings cards. Lied about my age, my income, my gender... to throw the data off. They must have thought there was a very kind guy who bought his female companion's personal hygiene products.

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