09 March 2012

brand slavery

Brand slavery

Without a shadow of doubt, we are living in an image conscious world.
The internet, radio, television and print media all have a sizeable stream of advertising. The media gain monetary reward, and the brands gain exposure. And what do the consumers gain? Well, the bragging rights of owning the “it” item, and being in possession of that branded item. And it does not matter what the item is, be it underwear, an appliance, a car, and even a pair of nappies!

When God created mankind, she did not include a suitcase with designer wear. She was satisfied in the work she had created, such craftsmanship. Adam and Eve proudly paraded the luscious Garden of Eden in their birthday suits. Since the face of fashion has evolved. From the leaves that God gracefully covered them in after they had discovered their sense of nakedness, and got themselves evicted from paradise. To the miniskirts, the Louis Vuitton clutch bag, the bellbottoms of the 70’s, and the “mashwabani’s” of the 90’s, we are label fanatics.

As the manufacturer, it is very important to position your brand in such a way that the consumer will be magnetised by it. From the toilet paper manufacturer, to football clubs. Forbes magazine calculates the “Man U” (Manchester United Football Club) name to be worth $285 million (16% of their $1.835 billion value).You see, we are brand worshippers.

We pass this onto our children, even in their infancy stage. By buying designer garments, which the baby will outgrow, they grow at a phenomenal pace at this period. Then, there are the branded feeding bottles, I admit, I am guilty of this one in particular. However, these bottles are specialised with baby’s health in mind, so you cannot go wrong with them.

But what baffles me most about the amount of oomph that we invest in acquiring branded wear, is when it comes to baby’s disposable nappies. By all means, I concede, baby’s comfort is key. And there are the big players in the baby disposable nappy market, yes they have innovative products. These high-end nappies are equally highly priced, and much goes into the advertising campaigns to bring in new clientele.

But it is advisable to the budget conscious parents to try all the less advertised brands. Atleast give it a try, to test its effectiveness. It is estimated the babies use up to 6000 nappies by the time they are potty trained (around age 2). A savvy tip would be to use the inexpensive nappy during daytime, and the branded ones at nighttime. In that way, you get the best of both worlds, and save a few rands which could go towards baby’s education. Because at the end of the day, that is what counts most, than brand mania.

And do clothes make the man/woman? Their practical use is to protect the body from the climatic conditions. Certainly it won’t hurt to look smart, and stylish while doing it. But one does not need to break the bank to do so. It is wiser to invest into your bond repayment, or education for a brighter future rather than slaving for brands.

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