Alex is delving into why people will fork out so much dosh, and are obsessed by luxury brands for computers, fashion and food. He wants to understand why Apple garners so much admiration, why the opening of a computer shop is like a Lady Gaga concert. He asks why people will spend $3,000 they don’t have on a handbag and why people will turn a department shop into a middle eastern war zone just to get a brand name belt on sale.
What he finds is disturbing. When it comes down to it people are moronic, shallow pack animals for whom brands are like religion – but without the care factor. Brands have successfully turned themselves into mini religions, with their iconry, logos, beauty, exclusivity and idea that we seek them out to obtain happiness and recognise a brand in others. (In fact the area of the brain most connected with religion lights up when people are shown branded products.)
You know the really INSANE thing? It’s just marketing. In the case of sunglasses they are all made in the same factory. On Secrets of the Superbrands we see a factory in Italy where it’s Bally sunglasses one shift, the next hour, same people, same equipment, same factory it’s Prada, next hour Coach. And so on. Evidence that the product is just a product like any others made in a factory. The rest is marketing.
Alex Riley’s treatment doesn’t say much for people or the future of the planet. And the scary thing is these people vote.