By Reaven D’souza
Kuwait’s advertising industry is witnessing a new phenomena of social media enticements, outdoor billboards and screens splashed all over the country trying to lure unsuspecting customers who fall prey to discounts and sales.
You just cannot escape it.
Someone once told me advertising is 85 percent confusion and 15 percent commission. I could not agree more.
Part of this confusion, I reckon, is the discount sales with fabulous once in a lifetime deals that shops advertise to lure unsuspecting customers. Are these sales for real? Or are they just making half-truths out of whole lies?
Imagine buying an item from a shop that goes on a 50 percent discount sale the very next day.Or a shop that lures you in with a 70 percent discount. only to find out that a small corner of worthless goods are the ones being discounted at that low price.
Or maybe, you shop at a store to win a car that the store advertises is being given as part of a lucky draw promotion. Or you buy fast food because you like the gift that comes with the food. Or it could be the money-back guarantee that auto dealers advertise, when you buy a car instead of paying for it.
Most of the unsuspecting victims of discount sales are ladies, who will shop till they drop, buy things they do not need, and still come back for more because they think they are getting a bargain.
Advertising gimmicks will never cease to lure you to buy things you do not need, even as the consumer appetite to buy more continues unabated. The buying spree has attained such pervasive proportions in Kuwait that one person’s consumption has become his or her neighbor’s wish. The more wants are satisfied, the more new ones are created.
A modern theorist of consumer behavior, Professor Duesenberry, explains this buying as, “the desire to get superior goods takes on a life of its own. It provides a drive to higher expenditure which may even be stronger than that arising out of our needs and evaluates people by the products they possess.
Therein may lie the problem
The fact that wants can be synthesized by advertising, catalyzed by salesmanship. and sharpened by the discreet manipulations of the persuaders shows that they are not very urgent. A man who is hungry need never be told of his need for food.
When people are so far removed from actual needs that they do not know what they want, they are then open to persuasion, inundated and coerced by lucky draws, discount sales and gifts, eventually becoming victims of the sale!