Monday, February 07, 2011

Subliminal messages lurking within Valentines Day marketing

This week is the home stretch in the race to make Valentine's Day 2011 a happenin' day. Do consider though what Valentine's Day -- or any occasion celebrated with a spectacular display of conspicuous consumption -- really means. There are many disasters going on around us, not least relevant to Filipinos is the devastation caused by heavy rains and unstoppable flooding going on outside the awareness of most citizens of the Philippines' Imperial Capital.

Many crusaders for righteous indignation directed at the multitude of the Philppines' "evils" would just as soon march zombie-like to the subliminal beat that constitutes the bulk of the payload of modern-day cut-throat marketing. Dig deeper into the consequences of our mindless heeding of these omni-present messages and you will find the root causes of many of the world's ills -- environmental degradation, piling waste, pathological neediness and dependence on petroleum.

Next time you (1) purchase a box of chocolates encased in polypropylene packaging and wrapped in paper made of wood pulp and dyed with all sorts of toxic chemicals, all of which, within a day of purchase, will end up in a bin destined for a landfill, (2) get in your SUV with this token of affection and spend 90 percent of your 2-hour travel time to your girlfriend's house idling in Manila's appalling traffic, and (3) stroll along the faux-cobblestoned corridors of a mall airconditioned with juice generated from coal-fired power plants, try to pause and think of what is inducing all this otherwise irrational behaviour that causes us unnecessary stress and anxiety.

I offer three key messages that lace the marketing blitzes mounted by Big Business every Valentine's Day on which the weak minds of the average consumer rely on to justify their love life anxieties.

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You need to make your partner feel "special".

If you fell for this one, you are probably suffering from some guilt issues over not delivering on your promise to induce feelings of specialness in your partner over the rest of the 364 days in the year. Perhaps consider then that deeper relationship issues may be at work here and that you and your partner may need to work on implementing a less flamboyant and more sustainable expression of affection for one another, perhaps one with real substance and not the lipstick-on-a-pig panelwork that a traditional Valentine's Day extravaganza provides.

You and your partner deserve to reward yourselves.

Ask yourself then: What exactly have you done to "deserve" this"reward"? Refer to the first point for a clue to answering this question. If you had done a really great reward-worthy job over the rest of the 364 days of the year making your partner feel "special", then what's the point in believing in the whole concept of a "Valentine's Day"?

You're a loser if you don't have a date on Valentine's Day.

Yeah, you are too -- same thing when Christmas time, semestral break, summer vacation, or Holy Week comes around the corner. Without that special squeeze to be seen with at those trendy clubs, beach resorts, and chow outlets all of which will be beckoning with one or the other Valentine's Day "special" offerings of their services and products, society will flash the big "L" sign at you. Loser. Even Philippine President Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino III is hard at work getting himself laid, what with his driving around in sporty German automobiles and exquisite Japanese luxury SUVs that flash Latin names on their front grilles, his gonads are most certainly bursting to sow the royal Aquino DNA in the lead up to the day of luvv.

* * *

So is Valentine's Day really a day for lovers? Think again.

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