Claxton: the magic of marketing

In the spirit of past heretics, ranters and agitators, our resident angry outsider Claxton tells you what’s getting his goat about this industry.

It’s easy, especially for me, to be hard on marketing. But it is truly magic, isn’t it? 

On the one hand marketing has convinced the chronically unfit to shuffle around all day in running shoes designed for elite athletes, while the other ‘fashionable’ people wear clear glass spectacles for eye complaints they don’t suffer from. We talk young people into expensive clothes built for sports they never play, and sell beer to men by parading the sort of women who sneer at men with big, farty beer guts. Sometimes I wonder if all marketing is really done by aliens hovering behind the moon pissing themselves at the antics of their pet Earth chimps. 

Surely the ludicrous marketing claims can’t be the words? Take Head and Shoulders. It spent decades convincing us that a few flaky bits of skin was the social equivalent of the bubonic plague. Now it sells its chemical gloop to us by saying it guarantees ‘up to 100 percent dandruff free forever’, which, when you read it carefully, doesn’t actually mean anything at all for an individual case. I could have 99 percent of my dandruff cascading down my shoulders like the winter Olympics and still be ‘up to’ 100 percent dandruff free. On its webpage it even has one of those little asterisks, which means ‘I am sort of lying’ and leads to the statement “up to 100 percent dandruff free, visible flakes from two feet with regular use,” which also doesn’t mean anything. I earn ‘up to’ a million dollars a year, have ‘up to’ 25 inch biceps and an ‘up to’ ten inch penis. And if you believe that, you definitely believe in magic. 

  • This originally appeared in the Jan/Feb edition of NZ Marketing

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