What is marketing? Webster dictionary defines the word as does the Oxford dictionary, and quite possibly the Urban Dictionary, which I think is a euphemism for "black," so all your bases are covered. You don't need me to tell you what it is. Yet many of you will agree that it is important to the life of a new product or movie or STD. "It's all in the marketing," someone usually says. Remember "Got Milk?" What a genius piece of marketing, who doesn't remember the guy who's eating peanut butter sandwiches and listening to the radio, when the radio announces a contest for a million dollars, and the guy's phone rings! What are the odds? He picks up, mouth full of peanut butter and it's the radio DJ! Astounding! Then the DJ asks, "Who did Alexander Hamilton shoot in a duel?" The guy's face hole is stuffed with peanut butter! What the fuck will he do? To make matters worse, there's a giant portrait of the duel with Hamilton and Aaron Burr right behind the guy! He says, "Aa-uhn Buhh," because his goddamn maw is smeared with Skippy, and the DJ can't understand the guy! Oh, the dramatic tension, then the screen cuts to black and the words "Got Milk?" appear.
People lost their shit when this commercial came out. "Got Milk?," the kids would say. It caught on like wildfire! Like in the boys locker room, if you had some flab and a little breast action going on, the other boys might give them a squeeze and say, "Got Milk?" Everybody wants to be included and be cool, so I may have been squeezed once or twice. I don't know. I blocked a lot of that shit out. Plus, Mrs. Herman my Health teacher said it was perfectly natural for boys to grow breasts during puberty, I'd cry out at my bullies, it's all perfectly natural and I'm never drinking milk or taking off my shirt in public again, so you see how well marketing can work in selling a product or sexually traumatizing teenagers with body issues.
Marketing really works when you embarrass or humiliate the consumer and then offer a remedy with your product. Nowadays this translates to dick pills and other products to deal with soul-crushing emptiness, but it wasn't always like that. People were actually pretty cool with what they had. This kills business. If you have a bunch of people satisfied with themselves and their possessions, who would want to buy anything? Everyone would just save their money and buy land or weed or something, so the genius minds at advertising agencies needed to come up with ways of creating insecurity in the consumer so that they could make a buck off of people's fear of being judged.
Did you know that women didn't shave their armpits until the early 20th century? Because nobody really gives a fuck. But savvy marketing bros recognized that women were insecure in general and that there was a secret weapon that could be used against them- other women. So what they did was hire a bunch of actresses to wear sleeveless blouses and carry on about how gross it is to see Chewbacca under a chick's arms. I've obviously updated the reference, you can use Cthulu or whatever 19th century literary reference that floats your boat. This isn't journalism here, this is obviously some guy (me) being an asshole. Anyway, women were aghast at their own hairy, she-ape selves and began shaving their underarms using new disposable razors and shaving cream marketed toward women. See men were still using barbers, so these new companies needed to penetrate a new market so that they could cash in on those insecurity dollars.
Ok, fine here's a link to something serious that backs up some of the crazy things I'm writing. Check out The Century of the Self. It's all about how PR and marketing co-opted psychology to help manipulate the masses. There's a whole section about how women used to not smoke and that cigarette companies hired this one marketing firm that hired actresses to "Light Up For Freedom" by staging a fake protest and press conference demanding equal rights or some shit all while smoking cigs. It was all about creating the image of the radical liberated female who smokes her own and doesn't need a man to help pay for her chemotherapy later when she develops pancreatic cancer.
But where did all this come from? Is it just human instinct to advertise and market things? When we were cavemen, perhaps we weren't just painting buffalo on caves, maybe those were ads for buffalo? Get your juicy buffalo right here! And then a competing buffalo painter could counter with another buffalo painting that's running this time. Look at this one, it's in motion. If you're going to be a caveman who's respected by the ladies you need to be getting these running buffalo, not those standing still ones? And then a third party could come in and say, "I'm covering all this buffalo with my symbol- the bloody handprint." Soon all the cavemen are enlisting in the Order of The Hand, worshipping blood, and starving to death because they stopped hunting buffalo and now spend all their time cutting themselves and putting their stupid handprints everywhere. Meanwhile the ladies in the village up the way are asking, "Where's the fucking steak, boys? What are you monkeys doing up in that cave, jerking each other off? I can tell by the blood all over your crotches. Would it kill you to go get some buffalo. Look there's one right there, just standing there."
So you see, marketing may have been an integral part of human development, like learning to take shits far away from the water supply. All kinds of things can be beneficial to humanity. However, it's real easy to see that there's a lot of bullshit, and a lot of that is found in marketing, because dolla dolla bill y'all.