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John Paul Getty, the oil tycoon said to be the richest man in history, once remarked: "If it appreciates, buy it. If it depreciates, lease it."

What’s love got to do with it?

Posted: Monday, 18 February 2019 @ 19:44

Gimmicks are a big part of marketing and advertising, but are we sacrificing genuine sentiment for catchphrases and cartoons?

Advertising is a powerful tool.  It’s important.  It’s part of what helps an economy thrive.  It’s how you know where to find a particular product or service when you need it.  You want to keep your house clean?  Buy a Hoover. You want a new computer? Get a Mac. You want to keep fit? Just Do It. 

Last week it was Valentine’s Day, and few dates in the calendar lend themselves to gimmicks and catchphrases as seamlessly as this.  Don’t get us wrong - we’d never say no to a box of Cadbury’s Roses, we’re certainly partial to a cuddly bear or two and we definitely think that the size of the card is in direct proportion to the feelings of the giver.  Valentine’s Day and all the commercial joy that comes with it is a fun, vibrant, pink and fluffy occasion that’s perfectly timed to keep us entertained and commercially engaged between Christmas and spring.  Nothing wrong with that.

The problem comes when we confuse the pink fluff with the really meaningful stuff. It’s a bit like when we think that the people on the front of magazine actually look like that.  Of course it’s possible to have both genuine affection and pink fluff - that’s all part of it, but Valentine’s Day itself is life’s Champagne dinners over home made chicken soup when you’re ill.  The big bunch of flowers to doing the vacuum cleaning without having to be asked. 

In finance gimmicks are pretty carefully regulated.  A couple of years ago a major bank had issues with their credit card advert complete with cartoon dogs and canon fire.  We are beholden to rules by both the Financial Conduct Authority and the ASA, including those that adhere to social responsibility.

We’re not really talking about rules and regulations however, we’re talking about meaning. The point is that it’s very easy to be swept off your feet by the hearts, the flowers, the big cards, the teddy bears, and as with all treats and gifts, those are lovely, joyous things to have.  But we should never confuse the gloss with the reality.  Or in the case of products and services, we shouldn’t be so blindsided by the cartoons and catchphrases that we forget about the real integrity and substance behind a brand.

We all like Champagne dinners, but the truly meaningful things, the commitment, is usually a little less flashy, a little less showy.  It’s quieter, it’s more sustainable.  Anyone can be romantic on Valentine's Day but to be truly romantic you've got to be invested. 

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