I am taking a marketing refresher course these days. In that course, marketing is defined as an exchange of values.

Seller gives products/ services/ experience in exchange of buyer’s money/ attention/ time/ trust.

The thing that struck me is that that in real life this exchange is not equal at all. The professor’s talk made it sound like marketing was a noble cause of increasing, providing value to a people in exchange of money, attention, trust given to it by free will of people. Yes, markets have enriched our lives tremendously. The exchange is bedrock of human civilization. But the 21st century exchange is a tad bit murkier. The globalised exchange is far too skewed in the balance of power between seller and buyer.

Marketers steal my attention, time and trust to make me think that parting with my money is completely my choice. But the exchange is rigged. The options are false. Where is the option of me to slam the door on marketer’s face? “I am not interested, please go ahead.” You can’t do that anymore. The marketing virus is as ubiquitous as air. Advertising industry, after all, is employed solely to hack the minds and hearts of consumers – to ‘incept’ brand ideas, as their own.

In absence of free will, can it really be called an ‘exchange’? its not between equals.

In that sense a better metaphor would be a colonised ground. Our minds are colonised by brands. They are fighting for our mind’s share. and there is no way for us to shoo them away. We can only chose between such and such consumptive lifestyle. You can’t escape brands completely in the 21st century.

Your minds are completely colonised. And marketing is the effort needed to expand their colony.

An opt-out option

In India, we can opt out of telemarketing sms/ calls facilitated by nation’s telephone regulatory authority. How about an opt-out option for consumers from all kinds of marketing?

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