Thursday, December 07, 2006

A Whimsical Musing on Advertising and Materialism

There are so many things in this world that do not function as advertised. Products and services often fall far short of expectations and promises. The purpose of advertising, obviously, is to compel or inspire people to buy something, to make us believe that our lives will be enhanced if we acquire this newfound item or capability. Often, we are disappointed.

I am certain that, in realms where money is no object, a tiny percentage of the planet’s population is able to afford and enjoy the very best of whatever is available to satisfy their desires for luxury, comfort, and convenience. While I in no way begrudge them their satisfaction, it is nevertheless not surprising, for example, to find that a Porsche Carrera GT may brings its owner a high degree of satisfaction and thrill. Anyone will appreciate the beauty of form, the engineering, and the technical excellence that goes into this kind of accomplishment as well. And it is very good that in every industry, it seems, there are some few individuals and companies whose passion is to achieve the very best quality, rather than to be the most popular or the most sold.

But it is even more remarkable when similar success occurs in much less rarified fields of endeavor. There is a gentle satisfaction, even delight, that settles over me for a time when I encounter something that really does what it is supposed to do, or which actually exceeds the claims of its advertising. I am especially impressed when this success occurs in fulfilling a common everyday need. The simpler and more mundane it is, the more I appreciate it. Things like ...SHAVESECRET!

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