Making choices, and accepting the consequences, is a simple fact of life.
One of my early introductions to the realities of choices came with my first employer. I was in a Union area, and had a strong disagreement with a decision of the Union which resulted in me withdrawing my Union membership. As most of you will know, withdrawing membership from a Union, in a Union controlled environment, effectively makes one unemployed!
Having a young family at that time, an income was critical and so the search for anything began. I was offered a position of “cold selling” (no appointment) personal accident insurance. The company provided full training at no cost to me, but the pay was commission only… and I was desperate! The training was a whole new experience to me because it not only introduced me to PMA (Positive Mental Attitude), but also to the question of ethics.
The training was heavily dependent on me learning the presentation word for word. We were even taught all the usual negative responses and what the appropriate rebuttals would be. “I’m sorry I cannot afford it” was negated with “If you cannot afford personal accident insurance, then you certainly cannot afford not to have it!” The monthly premium was broken down to pennies a day after all, who wants to admit that they cannot spare a few pennies a day! We were even told where to inject humor into the presentation. The first line of the presentation was “I believe this will interest you also!” The word “also” was the driving force because it establishes the fact that other people were interested. The end result was that I sold quite a lot of PA insurance to people who really did not want it and, after about 6 weeks, I decided that was not for me!
I see the same techniques all the time on TV. The friendly dentist (actor) who just oozes confidence about a certain toothpaste. The commercials that make you feel rather incomplete without some product, and the ones that show a lifestyle that clearly tells you that you are missing out on so much! Commerce has been telling us for years that bigger is better and, in so many ways, they have been very successful. Ethics? I really do not see many examples in the market place. It would seem that sales and the resulting profits can justify anything (the tobacco companies for example)!
However, every now and then, I come across an ad that uses the full power of mental persuasion, to project a message that I can support! It is refreshing to see that the expertise used in misleading and/or unethical marketing, can also be used in a manner with which I can relate.
Ethics and choices?
The ad below is one of the “hardest hitting” messages that I have seen in a very long time, and I see no ethical issues. It also effectively conveys the ramifications of our choices, and the resulting consequences.
Now if only commerce in general could be so brutally honest! Not only would we save a lot of money, but we would all probably be a lot happier as a result!