Nobody ever asked me, but if they did happen to challenge me to come up with a first-thought one-word response to the word marketing, I would probably respond with either powerful or pervasive. It’s both, and with experts estimating that the average American encounters between 4,000 and 10,000 marketing messages a day, we’d better realize that because it’s designed to do something to us, we must learn how to do something with it. Because marketing is about control (shaping and influencing individuals into purchasing behaviors), I want to be a guy that controls marketing rather than allowing marketing to control me. Perhaps even more importantly, I want to be a guy who teaches the kids I know and love to do the same.
Here at CPYU, we’ve preached and increasingly believed that the greatest power of marketing is not to sell product, but to sell a worldview. Worldviews include beliefs that, in turn, inform and shape our behaviors. Simply stated, marketing is a lot more powerful than we think, imagine, or know. . . which is another way of recognizing just how manipulative and influential it is. We have no idea.
Over the years, we’ve developed a simple little framework through which to filter any ad, all in an effort to control rather than be controlled by the individual and sum total of these daily thousands of encounters. Our “Simple Seven Ad Filtering Questions” are worth learning, teaching, and practicing. Use them enough and they become second nature. We must teach them to our kids when they are young.
Every now and then, a series of ads pile up in my queue (not a real thing, but rather a place in my brain) that are worth evaluating (with the “Simple Seven”) and chatting about. They make for great teaching opportunities as they are both mirrors of who we are as a culture, and maps charting the course for us to figure out who. . . according to them. . . we should be.
So, here are three ads I’ve been seeing over and over again during this intense season where marketers jockey for our Christmas dollars. Give them a look. Talk about them with your kids. Process them through the “Simple Seven” . . . and learn how to think critically and Christianly about marketing.