Dec 15, 2011 at 1:43 am #1283059
excerpt below, more at link … BPL is no different ;)
In writing his book, Lindstrom carried out his own experiment. He hired a family — called the Morgensons — from Laguna Beach, Calif., and filmed them as they had friends over from the neighborhood and talked about 10 specific brands they were using. Their mission was to frequently mention these brands without letting their guests know of their secret motive.
Lindstrom was skeptical at first, but then realized that word of mouth is extremely powerful.
"This simple family, they within three months were able spread the word of mouth to 15,000 people across California," he says.
In fact, it was so successful that "nine out of 10 [exposed to the family] definitely bought at least one out of the 10 brands."
Even after Gina Morgenson, the mother, mentioned the brand Kiss My Face for the 10th time, people didn't realize it was part of a setup. Lindstrom says that's because we spend so much of our time talking about brands that it didn't seem unusual.
"You and I are talking about brands 25 percent of our entire time. … It has become such a big part of our lives, I would almost claim we would have nothing to say to each other if we can't talk about brands," he says.Dec 15, 2011 at 6:38 am #1812395
I was cleaning my Ferrari with the best Abec11 wheels and remembered how nice the Captain Morgan looked on the shelf next to Eric Chan's Marlboros. It reminded me of how many Feathered Friends might have a BPL Membership to assist them with Western Mountaineering at the Optimus time of the season.
Ah, back to the topic at hand. Baloney.Dec 15, 2011 at 6:46 am #1812399
@hknewmanLocale: Western US
Not really my field but brands do allow us to differentiate among similar products. Do the marketeers take advantage of this? Yes, but now with a little salt and pepper in my hair, having a big honking brand plastered on my clothes (and increasingly gear) actually has the opposite effect on me. Some manufacturers are a little bit better in this regard than others IMO.
The piece that actually gets the any compliments from the younger crowd is my non-branded, pure black, Feathered Friends Hyperion vest. It's now several years old but must have a certain "made in the USA" quality (unless the young ladies are thinking they could just beat me up and then take the vest for warmth).
ADD: My microeconomics prof had a good rationalization: if we all wore pure black, so-so quality Chairman Mao garb daily, life would be much simpler but only so many people can be employed making the same black clothes (probably automate the whole affair). Different brands create more jobs for employees and give consumers more choices. Counter that with
"The things you own end up owning you" from some movie 10 years ago, if we want to wax philosophically.Dec 15, 2011 at 8:45 am #1812433
… for the chaffstarta.Dec 15, 2011 at 10:37 am #1812464
fear leads to anger anger leads to hatred and hatred leads to the dark side dave …
didnt ya know that ;)
sometimes i think our entire economy is making stuff that we dont "need" for consumption …Dec 15, 2011 at 11:31 am #1812482
Of course we are. It starts when we (or our parents) buy brand names so the kids will be in style. My dad never bought into it, unless the product held up better. He found that Levi's lasted longer than Sears and JC Penny jeans and were cheaper in the long run. I did the same with my kids. They grew up in Orange County (were this story took place), and they knew they were not going to get any fashion brands unless the quality and value was superior to the run of the mill stuff. They also learned that when buying school clothes, there was a budget and they could get more things with the budget if brand names were excluded. Orange County, CA is one of the worst brandwashed, fad infected places I have ever seen. Just don't buy into it.
But this is not to say that brand names are not better. Just be a good consumer and research. I find that all my Montbell, Patagonia, and other brand name gear is well designed, lasts, and does exactly what I need it to do. And it does it better than cheap run of the mill stuff. Not saying everything these companies make is superior.
For business I wear expensive name brand suits and shoes. Most of my business dress is more than 10 years old. I buy styles that are 'classic' and not fadish. I also inspect each item for quality, not the name. In corporate meetings I am always the best dressed, and the dollar cost average of my wardrobe is less than everyone in the room. Again, just be smart.Dec 15, 2011 at 12:01 pm #1812489
spelt with a tParticipant
@speltLocale: SW/C PA
sometimes i think our entire economy is making stuff that we dont "need" for consumption …
Sometimes?! Consumption is the basis of our entire economic system!Dec 15, 2011 at 12:06 pm #1812492
Indeed! Most of the stuff on the market is put there simply to make a profit. That's it. Profit. Imagine if the world took a BPL approach to what they used and consumed…Dec 15, 2011 at 1:04 pm #1812521
Much of the world does take a "BPL" approach, but because of lack of resources and capital. They live with little because they have no choice! It is the industrialized nations that suck up the resources. I don't know what the ratios are now– 10% using 90% or something like that? The UL market is part of the 10%.
UL backpacking is a highly materialistic market. I've called it hypermaterialistic. The materials and technologies used are expensive and exotic. There are some recycled materials used, but very little in the original form (like using recycled spring water bottles). Much of the UL gear market is a "best of" game, seeking high performance and light weight, but we speak very little of pollution or the working conditions of the people who make our toys. I think the concentration on quality over quantity comes out more in the gear selection, design and construction than the amount of gear we purchase; I'm afraid many UL gear freaks have more toys in the locker than "traditional" hikers.
I do find the anti-profit sentiment odd. If a business doesn't make a profit, it doesn't exist for long. Making a profit and leaving a wake of pollution or taking advantage of Third World workers is wrong and those are the type of business practices that should be scrutinized. Making a profit with no concern for others involved in the process is just plain greed. I want to deal with companies who have a social conscience and responsible business practices, but remain financially healthy. That financial health directly reflects on design, product quality, customer service and warranties.Dec 15, 2011 at 1:10 pm #1812525
Nice post. +1
:)Dec 15, 2011 at 4:06 pm #1812588
@ouzelLocale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
"for the chaffstarta"
Stiff upper lip, Dave. It's going to be a looonng winter. ;)Dec 15, 2011 at 7:43 pm #1812645
I'm not against profit, and of course business needs profit to survive. I was just merely commenting on that things are invented and produced purely for the sake of profit and not need.
And I should have been more clear when I referred to the "rest of the world." I was ignorantly referring to industrialized nations like the US and Europe. I know better.Dec 15, 2011 at 9:29 pm #1812673
"I was just merely commenting on that things are invented and produced purely for the sake of profit and not need"
Seems that if no one needed a product, no one would buy it? Or is it a fool and his money are easily parted? I can't remember :) but it seems someone said it in the 16th century.Dec 15, 2011 at 10:35 pm #1812691
I think many things are invented for the need, some are "discovered." Some have improved our lives, some have wreaked havoc and mayhem and threaten the survival of the planet. Each needs to be assessed on a case by case basis.
As far as "needing" a product, well…
I once wrote a post on a forum with the idea that everyone could have a one meter cube to store all their worldly belongings. I asked everyone to consider what they would put in the cube. My audience was 100% Americans (this was on a BBS, before the Internet). Most of the responses were to the point that there was no way they could live with the contents of one cube. Of course, a large portion of the world population gets by with much less.
The cube exercise is much like our UL gear lists, so many of the folk here could pull it off without too much mind-bending. It is very educational and I recommend trying it. Read Thoreau's chapter on Economy from Walden before you start :) http://www.kenkifer.com/Thoreau/economy.htmDec 15, 2011 at 10:39 pm #1812692
>The cube exercise is much like our UL gear lists, so many of the folk here could pull it off without too much mind-bending.
AH! That's what I was getting at when I said "…if the world took a BPL approach…" :)Dec 15, 2011 at 10:46 pm #1812693
AH! That's what I was getting at when I said "…if the world took a BPL approach…" :)
Then life would be boring. Everyone would think alike. No diversity.Dec 15, 2011 at 11:11 pm #1812701
>Then life would be boring. Everyone would think alike. No diversity.
True, but I think the point of the exercise is to think about how much excess crap is bought and sold and collected/hoarded. My wife and I have a rule. If we buy something that has a similar function of something we already own, then something has to go. For instance, if I buy a new shirt, then I have to get rid of an old one that I don't wear often. Usually that stuff gets donated to charity or brought to Goodwill. This prevents us from collecting more and more things and it makes us think about what we buy.
I have a hard time buying gifts for people. I think its partly due to the fact that I refuse to buy anyone a useless trinket simply for the sake of giving a gift. I can't count how many times I got a coffee mug, or a figurine, or candle holder, or some kind of "decorative item" and it went straight to the garbage or donation bin. I would rather the person had kept the money or donated something to charity. I really do appreciate the thought and I never let on that the gift will soon end up trashed, but there are so many THINGS that get tossed immediately. Then imagine the resources put into producing that item and multiply that by Lord-knows-what-number. Whenever I walk into a touristy gift shop I cringe at all the useless crap. Now, I realize that much of this is my own opinion on certain goods, but if we look at our needs, much of that stuff really doesn't have a solid purpose.Dec 16, 2011 at 12:53 am #1812720
I sold recycled electronics for three years. The sheer volume is absolutely amazing. To give an idea of the scale, Washington State enacted an electronic waste recycling program several years ago. The program takes computers, monitors, laptops and televisions without a fee. In first year, 26 MILLION POUNDS of material were recycled. That is one state with about 6.6 million people and just a small slice of the things we buy and toss and that is the better stuff. The deluge of trinkets and junk is just obscene.Dec 16, 2011 at 5:04 am #1812729
"AH! That's what I was getting at when I said "…if the world took a BPL approach…" :)"
Ok, someone has to call BS. The average BPLer is NO better than the average American in regards to amount of stuff (BP gear) they have. While only a small amount of stuff goes out on any given trip I suspect the shear number of shelters, packs and sleep systems that folks have in storage could outfit a boy scout troop or small third world army. And I'm no better the most…..
2 packs plus two dry packs.
4 sleeping bags or quilts, not counting a couple of more non-BP SB
3 shelters that I've taken BP plus another larger tent
But it used to be worse. I sold 4 packs prior to buying my current pack. One had never been used but I snagged it to replace the pack I used to use when it wore out.
So bottom line, this looks like the Titanium pot calling the Aluminum pan black. Oh yeah, I have a few of those too! Got to go make up my Christmas list, there's some really cool new BP gear.Dec 16, 2011 at 6:45 am #1812752
"I have a hard time buying gifts for people. I think its partly due to the fact that I refuse to buy anyone a useless trinket simply for the sake of giving a gift. I can't count how many times I got a coffee mug, or a figurine, or candle holder, or some kind of "decorative item" and it went straight to the garbage or donation bin. I would rather the person had kept the money or donated something to charity. I really do appreciate the thought and I never let on that the gift will soon end up trashed, but there are so many THINGS that get tossed immediately. Then imagine the resources put into producing that item and multiply that by Lord-knows-what-number. Whenever I walk into a touristy gift shop I cringe at all the useless crap. Now, I realize that much of this is my own opinion on certain goods, but if we look at our needs, much of that stuff really doesn't have a solid purpose."
Oh my, YES! Fully agree.
And by the way Travis, I'm not getting you a Holiday gift this year, but we can both THINK I did… :)Dec 16, 2011 at 8:30 am #1812819
@sarbarLocale: In the shadow of Mt. Rainier
Greg, you are 100% on. Yeah, sure there are a few on BPL who live a small footprint life but please, most are just typical humans. And if anything are worse at gear buying – pretty shiny new gear that promises so much for so little weight.
I don't claim to live that life – I am more than willing to admit I have brands I love, brands I preach and even would huckster. (And this applies to both hiking and everyday life – for example I fully admit a bias to MSR pots, Snowpeak stoves and just the same to Huggies diapers and REI purses……)
I have so much outdoor gear that while we remodel our house it sits in a storage shed…..and if that isn't being American I don't know what is ;-)Dec 16, 2011 at 8:39 am #1812827
"but if we look at our needs, much of that stuff really doesn't have a solid purpose."
Ah, young Travis, if the world's population didn't continue to increase then I'd say you're right. But there's only so much paid work for making the things we 'need.' If we're going to continue to increase our population, then all those future members of society have to have something to do to make money.
Complicated, as most things are!Dec 16, 2011 at 8:40 am #1812828
>Ok, someone has to call BS. The average BPLer is NO better than the average American in regards to amount of stuff (BP gear) they have.
Ok, something's getting lost in translation. :) I wasn't referring to how BPL'ers live their normal lives or how much stuff they own. All I meant was that when we load our pack, we've taken the time to scrutinize everything and have eliminated extra things we don't need. We've gotten rid of the extra stuff. We've become more efficient with less. Taking that approach in life by the public at large, including BPL members, is what I was referring to.Dec 16, 2011 at 8:53 am #1812835
@mikefaedundeeLocale: Under a bush in Scotland
Everyone likes shiny things. It's human nature.
From the moment a guy swapped 2 shells for 1 pebble, we were f****d. :)Dec 16, 2011 at 8:59 am #1812838
>From the moment a guy swapped 2 shells for 1 pebble, we were f****d. :)
I hear that guy got ripped off.
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