When I was young, I remembered coming across an ad selling diamonds that has a tagline that goes “Diamonds are a girl’s best friend”.
I never knew that.
I thought friends are human beings. I didn’t realise that stuff could be our best friends too. Well it depends on our definition I guess. I know individuals who call their pets their best friends too and you can’t fault that.
A best friend is probably something that everyone of us need. To share our joy and laughter, to share our lives ups and downs, to share the happiness and sorrow. Basically you know for girls (or even grown up women), we always take pride in having that girls’ night out don’t we?
Similarly, by giving a tagline as such, the advertisers are trying fool you into thinking that yes, you need them! They are our best friends!
But if you think through it practically, the scientific component of diamonds are basically carbon, and that’s what you are paying for. Well of course it looks pretty and all but paying thousands and even millions of dollars for something like that is a perceived attempt by advertisers to coax you to believe that you need them. That’s the reason why advertising agencies are been paid that much to come up with these adverts.
Think about it. Diamonds – yes they are pretty and they would probably jazz up an outfit. But do we really need them? The answer is a flat now. Theses are luxurious products, which means you can afford to have them if you have some extras and want to splurge and indulge. Such advertisements also seek to blur the lines between need and want and try to convert a want into a need!
With a career that spans a decade built around marketing, I have always been rather skeptical on advertisements and products (since I have seen how much marked-up retailers do to sell products from their original cost price). After all, they seek to sell you something which you might or might not need. Of course, not all products are useless or that bad, I have bought and purchased many that served me well and even made repeated purchases. However, the skepticism normally comes into play when I am trying to evaluate whether I need them or I want them.
It’s definitely not easy to discern a need or want. But it can be a straightforward process too. Here’s how to separate them:
- Create a shopping list – Needs are items that should go into shopping lists. One way to curb impulse buying is to shop in accordance to what you need. One way to do that is to come up with a shopping list and listing down the items that you need. You would seldom into any wants here as you are writing down a list of things which you are currently lacking.
- Replacements – Most of these are replacement items. You already have them and have been using them. But for some reason, they might have disintegrate over time or the quality might have been compromised. As such, the need to purchase a new one.
- Do I need this? – This is an important question and forms the foundation between the separation of a need and want. Ask yourself this question regularly, whether you really need them, or is that purely a want.