Existential thoughts on marketing


As sellers eagerly reach out to buyers, the cacophony of the many promoting their products eventually blurs into a din. Seldom do words or images – let alone complete thoughts – elevate themselves to a perspective sufficiently high enough to be recognized as distinct one from the rest; and so it has been for as long as the first caveman attempted to barter an exchange.

Like so many things, the centuries have taken the simple and made them complex. The basic process of promoting purchase, fundamentally innate to us all, is now called, among other things, the science of “marketing.” While it takes many forms, among them is the use of existing images and thoughts to tell a story more quickly and with greater impact.

A story display referred its product to the iconic 1972 film Cabaret and inspired me to wonder what message was being leveraged? Moving through the day, it stuck with me. Like stepping on gum it was not enough to ponder, but just enough to take pause. The film rightly speaks to the ambiguity and uncertainty of human interaction. Things are often not as we perceive them and motives are in constant flux.

People watching, I think, is observing the movement of other humans in a crowd. But more than considering coiffure or sartorial whit, one imagines the story. Why are they in this place? Where are they traveling? What paints the countenance on their face? Who might they be and how might they live?

Macmillan defines cabaret as entertainment in a restaurant or club, performed while you eat or drink. The film proclaims that “life is a cabaret.” As I work on this piece in a public place surrounded by strangers, I wonder if I am in the audience or on the stage.

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