Manufacturing Desire


How do you feel about advertising?

I’m having a hard time articulating why certain businesses (and individuals) are simply telling me about interesting things they offer, and others make me feel like they are trying to manufacture a want in me. But, I now know it when I see it.

I recently bought a dress and opted in to the email communications of the company. What followed was atrocious. Emails every. single. day. about new items for sale. I felt exhausted by this relentless push to get me interested in more clothing. Every trick was used — new! limited quantity! only 5 left in you size! Emails saying we noticed you viewed XYZ (creepy!). I quickly unsubscribed from the emails, but the damage was done — and not in the way the advertisers would like.

I started questioning everything that enters my inbox, Pinterest feed, and twitter. I am currently in the middle of unsubscribing from all of the communications, feeds, businesses, and individuals that feel mercenary in their approach. It’s incredible how I could have ignored this for so long — to think, *I* signed up to be abused in this fashion!

Yet another reason this challenge is so great (and how deeply imbedded in one’s psyche advertising is). It took me over a year of actively pursuing non-consumerism to have this breakthrough.


Clothing: 47 out of 66
Soap: 10 out of 12
Tea: 28 out of 30

(image: funny cartoon from!)


  1. I hate the hard sell – it makes me very angry and much less likely to buy.But maybe I’m the exception rather than the rule! 🙂

  2. The same here… active, relentless email selling puts me off. I opt out from every mailing list or unsubscribe immediately after I place an order. And if anything is described as a “must have” I automatically disregard it.

    Advertisers manufacture desire and much of the media manufactures consent. As a society we buy into the culture of stuff due to aspirational living dangled in front of us in magazines, newspapers, TV…

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