You read it right: the sentence doesn’t have a typo. I could have said we are ‘consumers’ or we are people who buy crap we don’t need to impress everyone around. But the truth is far more heinous: we’re advertisements.
Somewhere, a group of people, are getting paid outrageous amounts for having us — to put it mildly — as a walking billboard, promoting their brand for them. The game is twisted: advertisers make us believe that it is our privilege to use their product.
We’re lucky; our stars are fucking aligned, getting a chance to go out and be an advertisement so that they can earn more money.
Here’s what being an advertisement sounds like:
I am typing this on my Mac, as I sip my Starbucks Coffee with my name wrongly spelt on the cup. iPhone organises my notes: I have to finish writing this post in an hour. It’s 4 PM right now, as per my Rolex. Afterwards, I will change into my Adidas running suit and Nike running shoes. I will take my FitBit and run while listening to inspirational music through my Beats. In between, I will stop and drink water from my overly expensive bottle that filters the water every time I take a sip. Also, I also have a unicorn in my basement, and it will tell me fairy tales as I fall asleep.
Okay, the last part is a bit exaggerated.
Again, am I saying there is something inherently wrong with buying or even buying these brands? No.
All I am trying to point out is how we’re being used to advertise, and how we partake in it every single day without noticing or flinching.
The message is loud and clear: we’re inadequate, worthless, and incomplete until we have certain specific stuff made and designed by individual brands. The promise of the entry into wonderland once you cut that fat cheque to multi-billionaire corporates.
We need to snap out. And it’s hard to do so.
Advertisements are everywhere: television, radio, roads, public transportation, footpaths, the internet, and even public bathrooms. And since a long time, they have it figured: humans are the best advertisements. So, with all their might and money, they are here to convert us.
What can you do to avoid being an advertisement for someone?
It all comes to down to not buying to impress. Why do you need to buy a branded product if a less-expensive (but still good quality) substitute can carry out the same function? Are you afraid that other people will judge you for not keeping up with the trends? Good news: they’ll judge you either way.
So, read this brilliant article by Wait But Why and step out of this shitty-advertiser cycle.
At this point, you might be wondering: You’re talking about the concepts. But is there anything I can do to apply them?
Don’t buy any brand for a month. Find cheaper alternatives. If you want to go into a hardcore mode, don’t purchase anything for a month. See how it makes you feel: are you anxious? How does not wearing recognisable brands make you feel? Do you feel vulnerable? Do you feel liberated?
Tweak around, experiment, and curate a lifestyle that suits you.
I don’t buy brands, and my clothes don’t carry a logo. Will I never purchase a brand? Again, I have nothing against buying: the idea is to make a conscious choice with the intention of plain utility and not showing off.
Next time, you think about purchasing something just because of a brand: imagine yourself running naked on the streets with nothing but different coloured logos stuck all over you.
Like the imagery in your head?