How it started
Let’s say you invent a product, you think it’s genius, your friends give you a tap in the back, investors are easy to find, life is sweet. Obviously, in order for the product to actually be a success, people have to know it exists, so you start advertising, you create a brand, an image, and a few moments later you are caught explaining to a forty-five years old housewife why she absolutely NEEDS your product. And maybe she does. Maybe it will, indeed, make her life easier.
When Bendix Home Appliances came out with its first domestic washing machine, it was a revolution for a lot of homes, and, let’s be honest, especially for a lot of women at the time. Then when the brand started advertising on how it would change people’s lives, they weren’t lying. It was an authentic claim.
The beginning of the end
So what went wrong? It started to go down when someone started to sell you a more modern washing machine. Not that the one you had wasn’t working anymore, but you could have a BETTER one, a faster one, a more modern looking one, a more… whatever.
And we landed here almost a century later trying to sell a new iPhone to someone that just got one 6 months ago. What is wrong with this one? It has one less camera. Like, really?
Marketing started to get more and more aggressive while its romance with capitalism was growing to the point where they became a machine ready to crush people instead of a tool making their lives better.
Marketing and Capitalism, the power couple enemy of the people?
In the Marketing Journal, Philip Kotler asks the following questions : what role does marketing play in a Capitalist economy?
And his answer is : “It gets people to want and buy all the things that are made and it gets them to accept debt to obtain these goods. Capitalism flourishes as long as marketers can stimulate buying interest and gain public acceptance of debt.” Philip Kotler deplores then that “marketing job today is to sell materialism and consumption”. He adds: “an ethical company would confine its promotion to people who can afford these products and discourage would-be buyers who cannot afford the product.”
Maybe you think that discouraging people from buying things they can’t afford is a violation of their freedom. In a sense, I would agree. When we decided to buy our RV to go live on the road, the bank wouldn’t let me borrow the money I needed because I was working as an independent. But you see, because I was working as an independent, I knew what I could afford. I had spent nights and nights counting and recounting to ask for an amount I knew I could afford. I was denied, not for my own good, but because the bank was worried about its own wellbeing. It was not coming from a place of empathy and care, it was coming from selfishness and greediness.
There is a fine balance to find between making business ethically and allowing as much freedom as possible for everyone. Ethics say “don’t sell something to someone that doesn’t need it” but also “people know more than you what they need”. Let’s not forget that. Allowing people to make enlightened decisions is, in my opinion, what differentiates a good business owner and a bullshitter.
See, the bigger problem with marketers is not that they are trying to sell you things you don’t need, it is that they lie in order to do so.
Do not lie
We all know these stories. Companies that pay billions of dollars in lawsuits for false advertising. Miracle creams, weight loss magical pills, vitamins to cure cancer and so on… More often than not, it makes us laugh. Really, there are people that fall for that sh***?
The truth is, most of the time, it’s vulnerable people that would believe anything or anyone claiming that they can fix that thing, the only thing that seems to always get in the way of their happiness. These few extra pounds, the thinning hair, …
Katherine Gregory, in the magazine Medium, wrote something that resonated deeply with me : “While the business of advertising is inevitable in a capitalist society and has some positive side effects, such as stimulating our economy and creating healthy competition within industries, it’s effects can also be very damaging. The way in which advertisements manipulate our thoughts and feelings has slowly created a population that places too much value on material goods, leading to a struggle to find fulfillment and genuine happiness in life. […] We have false needs; we think we need to buy new designer clothes, a fancy new car, or an expensive new watch, when we actually are just filling a void in our lives with the instant gratification that is promised to us by advertisements.”
What we want to do differently.
It took us more than two years to launch the Tuyo Project. We weren’t sure how to approach it. We wanted to change people’s lives, we wanted to give them something they needed without creating a need they didn’t have in the first place. We wanted to be authentic and stay true to our beliefs. We wanted to be a marketing company without the marketing bullshit.
But the biggest question was : how the heck do we do that?
Sky Cassidy, in this article of the Mountain Top Data, wrote : “Very few companies have the luxury of starting from a lofty purpose. More often businesses are started by ‘finding a need and filling it’. The problem being solved isn’t climate change, it’s the business owner’s mortgage. In my opinion, very few companies are founded with a ‘purpose’, instead they are founded based on an opportunity. But these days nearly every company is touting their ‘purpose’ and story more than their product. Only problem is it’s made up to manipulate consumers.”
That was our problem. How can we claim that we are different without it being seen as a pathetic attempt to manipulate our clients ? Up to this day, we don’t know for sure if we succeeded or not. But at least we tried. Here is how:
On our website, we give you the prices for everything. We don’t try to talk you into a service unless we REALLY think it’s in your interest. And if you are on a tight budget but still need some help, we will stream down our offer so you can still grow your business without getting in debt.
We won’t lie, we need the money, we need the work. We, too, have debt to pay off and food to put on our table. However, our goal has never been to make as much money as possible. We just want to have enough to live with decency. And we don’t need to manipulate you in order to get it. It’s as simple as that. We believe that we can bring something to the table, we believe that our skills can really help you reach your purpose.
So if you need a website, more visibility or a brand identity, feel free to browse around or simply contact us, we will always be happy to help.