Marketing could be the most cynical profession on the planet. I know there will be those of you who would contend that lawyers, estate agents and a few other professions are in with a shot at this particular title, but I’d have to disagree. While lawyers may charge ridiculous fees to pick up their solid gold Mont Blanc fountain pen and write a letter for you, and estate agents contort the English language to make even the most unappealing hovel sound like a palace, marketing goes a step beyond.
I’m not saying marketing professionals are bad people, but beyond the suspension of disbelief their ad campaigns require of you the consumer there is something else. It’s a total disregard for the social and psychological impact their activities have. It verges on double-think. For the duration of the conception, design and implementation of any campaign they must hold one set of ideas to be true whilst simultaneously knowing them to be false.
This was bad enough when they were simply trying to sell you something. That’s their job and to do it they have to create that alternative universe where a new brand of toothpaste makes your teeth shine whiter than white and has extremely attractive members of the opposite sex falling at your feet. They have a product to sell and how they do it doesn’t really matter.
What worries me is that for years some of these marketing people, let’s call them spin doctors, have been finding their way into politics.
Now I know politics has never been renowned for its honesty, transparency and straight talking, but this is different and represents an erosion of our fragile rights as human beings.
Politicians have always had their own agendas. Often these are actually good intentions, to lead the country to a prosperous and happy future, to reduce crime, all good things. But to become a politician and desire to do such noble deeds requires that you are driven.
Driven by what?
Consider a politician, an imaginary one, or worse an imaginary group of people backing politicians. Politicians who in turn depend on that group of people for their campaign funds and support in the media. Now what happens if that group of people behind the politicians have very strong views about what is or is not acceptable when it comes to sex, art, pornography, sex education …
Suddenly marketing and spin doctoring becomes a huge threat to all of our civil liberties. Employed by these groups, individuals and politicians they can inject ideas not only into some peoples minds, but into the law making process.