The one addiction we all share is the one for stories.
When visiting the local supermarket or the grocery store on my way home, I don’t see just bananas and produce. It’s all stories and habits.
The taste or qualities of a product don’t matter, it’s all about what it will make of me and my life. The cereals that make kids happy are different than the ones making grown-ups slim and the ones for poor or boring people who don’t care about this. The milks can be classic, organic and nuts-based but they’re also for healthy people, gym maniacs or hipsters. Even the bread is for working-class machos gobbling it down with huge pieces of meat or fair ladies who shyly bite it over their all-mixed-leaf salads. Then the choice is about where do you fit in these stories. Do you want the calm morning coffee or the super active morning-winner coffee?
This is the magic of marketing when it works outside the TV screens or the Cannes Lions. The story made up by swelling marketing teams, ambitious copywriters, and overworked agency people is the one that changes how you feel about yourself when the inevitable purchase becomes a fact. Even if you haven’t seen a single ad people around you did and they judge you by it. That milk you’re having has a story that’s bigger than you, even if you don’t know it, similar to that book you’re reading and the music blasting out of your car.
That’s the greatness of capitalism, right? I can sit in front of a shelf and ask myself existential questions. Do I want to be the man drinking almonds milk? Do I have to be a person who bakes with alternative flours? Am I made for sugar substitutes? Can it be a Cheetos day today?