Yesterday, our receptionist/den-mother came up to me and asked if I wanted a set of Hoyts discount vouchers – a part of some advertorial/promotion.
I surprised her and maybe hurt her feelings by outright rejection of them. Not that I feel I have to explain myself, but it wasn’t until this morning that I managed to articulate the reason for rejecting them to myself and I felt like sharing.
It’s to do with the fact that it’s some branded promotion that signals to Hoyts in a quantitative way that advertising in some medium is more or less successful than advertising in others. I’d rather pay full price, even at the rip-off ticket prices for movies these days, than contribute to the consumerist onslaught on our lives – and that’s now at an instinctual level. Not that I pay full prices most of the time, due to my AFI membership, but the promotional discounts are usually significantly less.
In a similar fashion, I refuse to partake in marketing exercises at the local fresh food market, where they ask for your postcode at the checkout. If I’m feeling nice, I’ll indicate that I’m refusing to play by the rules by telling them to make something up or I’ll say something that’s obviously false data such as 6 or 0000. Not being so nice, I’ll use a real postcode at random. 1430 is a nice one, since it’s real but sounds false, given that normally NSW postcodes start with 2. However 1430 is real and local, but not mine, and thus a good way to pollute the marketing data.
I find that, more and more these days, I’ll walk into a shopping centre and start feeling fuzzy – the lights, music, smells, crush of the crowd all contributing to crushing critical thought and making people into shopping automata. For me, the effect is perhaps more drastic than on the average shopper, who seems to have been acclimatised. They go there to shop, and swim with the current; I go to buy a specific few items and find my mind blanking, so that I end up look at shelves of items wondering if I had wanted this one or that one. I end up leaving as soon as possible, not getting some of what I wanted and with a headache to boot.
I’m totally in agreement with Jonathon Richman; I want them to put back that old corner store.