Tuesday, November 09, 2004

Marketing and the Persuaders

Tonight I am watching the show Frontline on PBS. This episode is called the the Persuaders. It's a very interesting documentary style show. This one in particular, because it is discussing, marketing and branding. One of the issues it was talking about was the noise that is out their for us the consumers to have to wade through. The other is how they sell to us. One of the ways is basically they sell to us on an emotional level. They try to sell to you on a psuedo-spiritual level. They work to make the products they are trying to sell you an experience. What I am getting from this show, is that it's scary how much research they do to figure out how to sell anything from shoes to coffee is amazing. Ad adjencies are even working at combining the TV shows we watch with the products they want us to buy. I know thiis is true. One of my favorite shows does this rather blatantly. Extreme Makeover Home Edition, is sponsored by Sears and you see the Designers from the shows going into and shopping at Sears.  This show does the emotional level selling and tugs at your heart, and says hey good things do happen, and sears does it.

The thing that gets me is the combination or relationship of Design and Marketing. It's a very lovehate relationship. Marketing needs design to get it's message across, and design needs marketing to pay for it. Design, the design that I learned says, less is more, that whitespace is king and that the more whitespace you have the more the element you have on the page is pronounced. By marketing says, hey, we have this space right here, what if we put an ad here. Of course as a designer, you go, no you can't do that. That will throw off the entire design. Of course that no, doesn't stand, and after a losing the battle you, trying hard to design an "ad" that you didn't want to make in the first place and knew would throw off the design. So you work hard to create an "ad" that, while still throws off the design, it doesn't throw it off as bad as it could be. So you create the "ad" and create a template so that marketing can create the ad themselves and it stays within the design schema that you worked so hard to create. So after feeling better about the fact you lost the battle, you hand them this design framework, which is quickly thrown out the window.  So as a designer, you feel that you have soldout on your design. In the end it turns out being something you aren't proud of anymore, where the inital untouched design, you were so proud of.

In the end it amazes me how much marketing affects our lives.

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