TMI: All The Brands Positive Messaging is Overwhelming Me

TMI: All The Brands Positive Messaging is Overwhelming Me

Credits: Photo - Anonymous, Styling - Sarah G. Schmidt, Location - Chinook Centre


Because of my work I am shopping in the malls, boutiques, and online all the ding dong day. The sheer volume and repetition allow me to see things. I can see what trends are being pushed, what colours in in season, and what brands are doing to try and get you to buy. It’s a lot.

What I notice, too, is what emotional need the brands is trying to trigger in the consumer. This is not new. Since the birth of behavioural science studies, companies were quick to use that knowledge for pushing their products. Make the consumer feel something. Each period in time – when we look back – becomes more clear what values were being pushed.  

Stroll down my version of memory lane with me, with a heavy grain if salt, would you? From books like, “the Feminine Mystic” we know post World War Two that a prominent value was creating a large, happy family. Moving into the seventies, cracks in that nuclear family idea started to show. Female liberation, wars without clear enemies, and political fraud played their part in fuelling this mistrust. By the time the eighties rolled around, it was every man – literally men - for themselves. Greed was in. Our homes got bigger per person, our cars got flashier, and one of my favourites, clothing got bigger. I’m talking strong shoulders, heck yes. Fast forward to the post Enron scandal of the late nineties partnered with the dot com bust we craved something different. By this point everyday people were open to challenging the status quo. It was about questioning the establishment as the establishment was letting us down. Enter punk, minimalism, and space for something else. Finally. The early aughts claimed (appropriated) streetwear for everyone, Casual culture was in. Now that we are firm in the two thousand teens, we know more than ever before about the consequences of all this change over the past fifty plus years and the production and the things. Now we are literally dying in our stuff and holding the planet hostage, torturing it along the way.

A large party of we humans wants to make it better.

This is why I think when I walk through the mall I am bombarded by positive, self-improvement backed affirmations and messages that we used to see in our childhood classrooms.

Do one thing a day that scares you…

Just for you…

Bloom where you are planted…

Owners care…

Everybody is beautiful…

Shoot for the moon, even if you miss, you’ll land among the stars…

Breathe deeply…

Self-care is important… 

(sub message: this thing will help with that!)

Part of me loves the positivity. Really, I do. Self-confidence is the only way to building immunity from unwanted influencers. But the former marketer in me is reticent. I’m suspicious. I question the motives of these brands no different than five, ten, twenty years before that. Brands know that to sell clothes, they have to connect on a deeper level with the consumer. They need to create a need. And these days - check your inbox for all the hyperbolic subjects for proof – they add a layer of extreme urgency with a touch of, “buy this or everyone will think you’re a fool,” messaging.

The messages are pounding us over and over, telling us what to think, feel, how to be inspired. Something like 4,000 a day! They are attempting to fill our heads with FOMO that it’s hard to think about what matters.

It is starting to get to me. It is so over the top that it starting to feel stale or a bit fake to me.

Anyone else miss the somewhat straighter forward days of “this product does that” and “that product does this?” Am I being a Debbie Downer on a really good party? Basically, is it just me that’s tired?

Tell me, is there anything in the various store messaging that is rubbing you the wrong way?

5 Takeaways in my 5 Years of Business

5 Takeaways in my 5 Years of Business