Marketing Made Me Do It!

We all buy products and invest in services to enhance our lives in some way. To save time or money. To be heathier or happier. To have fun or fuel success. While the motivations that move us to make a purchase often seem self-evident, the forces working to exert influence on our decisions are often cleverly camouflaged.

Marketing, those in the business say, makes the world go ‘round. Here’s an amusing – and sometimes amazing – look at the spin that sets brands and trends in motion.

  • The “two to three months’ salary” a guy should spend on an engagement ring was a marketing campaign by diamond mining company De Beers.
  • Casual Friday was the product of a guerrilla marketing campaign by Levi’s’ new khaki brand Dockers during the early 90s recession.
  • Many Japanese people traditionally eat KFC for Christmas dinner thanks to a successful marketing campaign 40 years ago. KFC is so popular that customers must place their Christmas orders two months in advance.
  • Portobello mushrooms are just overgrown, mature common button mushrooms. The term was invented as a brilliant marketing scheme in the 1980s to sell the previously unpopular product.
  • The T-shirt was invented in 1904 and marketed to bachelors who couldn’t sew or replace buttons.
  • Bacon and eggs were not considered breakfast foods until the 1920s when Sigmund Freud’s nephew was hired by a packing company to create a marketing campaign focused on increasing bacon sales.
  • Joanne Rowling, better known by her initials J.K., does not have a middle name, according to her birth certificate. The use of the author’s initials instead of her full name was a marketing ploy designed to make her work acceptable to boys, who typically choose not to read books by women.

So, next time you’re eating a bacon and Portobello omelet in your casual Friday khakis and t-shirt while reading a J.K. Rowling novel, consider the motivators that draw you to certain products and services. More than likely, it’s a little bit you, and a little bit those students of human nature – marketers.

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