Wednesday, 15 October 2014

Day 244: Shocking Discovery: The engagement ring is a SCAM created by clever advertising


Where did the ring come from?

engagementring_ad “But, actually, the point of placebo education is interesting. How many problems of life can be solved actually by tinkering with perception, rather than that tedious, hardworking and messy business of actually trying to change reality? Here's a great example from history. I've heard this attributed to several other kings, but doing a bit of historical research, it seems to be Fredrick the Great. Fredrick the Great of Prussia was very, very keen for the Germans to adopt the potato and to eat it, because he realized that if you had two sources of carbohydrate, wheat and potatoes, you get less price volatility in bread. And you get a far lower risk of famine, because you actually had two crops to fall back on, not one.
The only problem is: potatoes, if you think about it, look pretty disgusting. And also, 18th century Prussians ate very, very few vegetables -- rather like contemporary Scottish people. (Laughter) So, actually, he tried making it compulsory. The Prussian peasantry said, "We can't even get the dogs to eat these damn things. They are absolutely disgusting and they're good for nothing." There are even records of people being executed for refusing to grow potatoes. 
So he tried plan B. He tried the marketing solution, which is he declared the potato as a royal vegetable, and none but the royal family could consume it. And he planted it in a royal potato patch, with guards who had instructions to guard over it, night and day, but with secret instructions not to guard it very well. (Laughter) Now, 18th century peasants know that there is one pretty safe rule in life, which is if something is worth guarding, it's worth stealing. Before long, there was a massive underground potato-growing operation in Germany. What he'd effectively done is he'd re-branded the potato. It was an absolute masterpiece. - Rory Sutherland

That is one example of how easy it is to manipulate us humans. Throughout history people looked for ways to make people like something so that they can get something out of it. I remembered when I was a Kid and watched TV with all the commercials. There were many toy advertisements in there and allot of them were so cool to me. I watched the advert and then afterwards I wanted that toy and liked it. That liking it was not my choice really, it was the clever use of sounds and colors that made the product look awesome. When I had the toy in my hand more often than not it was a disappointment as most things are.

This brings to question all the things I liked that I saw on TV and did not like and most of it was based on clever advertising – just to make me buy the things. Another very god example is the Engagement ring scam. Ever heard of it? Why do you buy a diamond ring to get married? Where did this expensive tradition come from? Advertising.

Before the ring “tradition” ,people did not actually buy rings to get engaged. It was created by the same people who mined the diamonds. They were looking for a way to make more money by creating a demand for it. What followed was an extensive and elaborate, very effective marketing and advertising campaign to convince people that they need to buy a diamond ring to get engaged. The company spent Millions and millions to get this idea in our heads. Just how effective was this? We still believe in it today and made it part of our society as an absolute necessity to get married. It is already so ingrained that even knowing this info – you will still buy a ring to get married. The company made a fortune out of this of course. Edward Jay Epstein notes in his famous investigative article:

2816864e0fb51f8af987a67ce7841d4e421c5ad9 "In its 1947 strategy plan, the advertising agency strongly emphasized a psychological approach. "We are dealing with a problem in mass psychology. We seek to ... strengthen the tradition of the diamond engagement ring -- to make it a psychological necessity capable of competing successfully at the retail level with utility goods and services...." It defined as its target audience "some 70 million people 15 years and over whose opinion we hope to influence in support of our objectives." N. W. Ayer outlined a subtle program that included arranging for lecturers to visit high schools across the country. "All of these lectures revolve around the diamond engagement ring, and are reaching thousands of girls in their assemblies, classes and informal meetings in our leading educational institutions," the agency explained in a memorandum to De Beers."

So, the things we buy, do we know why we buy them? Is it all just based on impulses and a play on our emotions and feelings? Is everything we do basically based on how we feel? Yes, that is why it is so easy to get us to like stuff, because we ourselves are unable to make objective choices. How do we stop this manipulation and make choices objectively? Who can we start becoming the directive principle in our lives where we ourselves make the choices? Until we find a way to direct our feelings and emotions we will always be subjected to clever advertising.

1 comment:

  1. Very Informative Fidelis, thank you. Recently I have discovered a lot of interesting facts like this one but I wasn't sure how to share it in my blogs, this is a pretty cool model for writing on these subjects, as "Shocking Discovery" blogs.