I’ve often had difficulty explaining to people just how ruthless and exploitative marketing campaigns often are. In fact, there have been times when after an in-depth presentation, people have just sat there in utter amazement.
To me this stuff is second nature, I spent quite a number of years working in consumer market research and later information technology; I know how to dice and slice data. Just by way of illustration, here is an online article for you to have a quick browse through, it’ll give some examples.
For example: milk is milk, it comes from a cow via the udder, the fat content in the end product may vary but from brand to brand it is essentially the same stuff. The own brand milk that you see in supermarkets is essentially the same as the premium brand milk costing a fair bit more and yet the claims made by the marketers of these premium brands make some quite extraordinary claims for their products.
Sugar and flour are the same basic ingredients and there are many other examples of this, including my favourite example: Ibuprofen. You can buy an unbranded pack of ibuprofen for probably a pound or maybe even less, or you can if you’re feeling flush opt for the designer branded version: Advil.
Ibuprofen is ibuprofen, your headache doesn’t care if you feed it unbranded ibuprofen or the much more expensive Advil. The methods and techniques that marketers and retailers alike use to convince us to spend our hard earned cash on their overpriced brands is quite complex but one of these methods is market segmentation.
There are any number of ways to segment a consumer marketplace, for instance: life stage, income or socio-economic, demographic to name but a few. For example:
If you were to visit two different stores from your favourite supermarket chain, one in a select, affluent part of town and one in a rundown part of town with a more working class or even unemployed population, you would find that they stocked some very differently branded products.
Perhaps in the poorer part of town you would find cheap cooking oil or a variety of generically branded products such as ibuprofen, here’s an example:
In the posh part of town you may find ibuprofen but it would be more hidden and the Advil would be more prominent. You’d also find more olive oil or premium cooking oils instead of cheap cooking oil and many more expensive branded products. It makes sense doesn’t it, to market the more expensive products to those that can afford to pay.
From Waitrose to Lidl or whatever cut price supermarkets there are in Britain now (I’m out of touch), everybody is catered for in the marketplace as a whole and very often we’re all buying more or less the same product, just dressed up a bit differently.
You may be wondering by now, what has this got to do with politics? Well, in Britain we’ve historically always voted into power the same mainstream political parties, in more recent times these have been either Conservative or Labour.
The Conservatives market themselves to the upper middle class and upwards, the Labour Party market themselves more to the proletariat, the lower middle class and downwards. To put it another way, on the socio economic scale (a bit dated but still used), Conservatives market themselves to the A, B and C1 socio economic groups, Labour market towards the C2, D and E socio economic groups.
As I’ve said, the socio economic scale is dated. Many businessmen in the B group earn a lot more than, say, a doctor in the A group and so a certain familiarity is required when analysing this data. You should get the general idea; these though are the more simple concepts in marketing, many are flabbergasted at just how sophisticated these techniques can be.
Politicians use marketing techniques every bit as sophisticated as supermarkets or any other big business. Tony Blair was well known for his use of focus groups to refine his image. Like the supermarkets though, no matter which party we choose to support, despite the promises and reassurances, we get basically the same product.
We get more debt, more offshoring of industry, more immigration and more European Union. Many other things never change either; the agenda is always the same, covered up with lies and deceit.
I suppose the one good thing that has come from the Brexit farce of the last three years is that now, more and more people are able to see just how little our politicians actually care for the people they were supposedly elected to represent.
When you look at the vast majority of people in our country today, all face similar problems, low wages, unemployment, a housing shortage, an overburdened and frankly barbaric National Health Service and I could go on, as I’m sure you could too.
When we look at our country today and the lives of its citizens, with their ever increasing problems, what we are looking at is the sum total of the efforts of our mainstream political parties, the LibLabCon. These political parties promise us wonderful things, promises that are soon forgotten once elected; at least whether it be ibuprofen or Advil, they do what it says on the box. Our politicians never do, trust them at your peril.
We won’t improve our lives until we can wake people up and move away from mainstream politics.