Selling packaged lifestyles – By @Aaron_Furman1

By Aaron Furman 


Selling packaged lifestyles

Disclaimer: This SCAB is inspired by a wellness installation at Somerset House.

Wellness means to be good with your emotional, mental and physical health. It describes being in a state of health and happiness; feeling good in, and about, ourselves.

All of us have the right to feel good and to seek wellness for ourselves. After all, wanting to be healthy and happy has always been an essential part of being human.

However, in recent years wellness had developed into a seductive set of commodified ideas and ideals that compel us to behave in certain ways. ‘Being well’ threatens to become the focus of life rather than its substance.

As consumers, we feel that we are required to cultivate a lifestyle aimed at improving ourselves. At no time is this campaign most heightened than in our built-up metropolises. Marketing and social media promotion are rife, bombarding us with novel approaches to self-improvement.

The ubiquitous promotion of wellness seduces us into a preoccupation with ourselves, sometimes to the exclusion of others. We are compelled to spend and strive towards a socially sanctioned vision of our very best selves. We must be equipped to succeed in a competitive world.

Inevitability, we become frustrated when we don’t measure up to the expectations, yet the ideology of wellness has become so deeply embedded in our culture, we now feel morally obliged to stay on the treadmill. As a result, feeling good has become indistinguishable with being good, meaning those of us who don’t subscribe to wellness risk being demonised as lazy, weak or feeble.

As a practitioner of persuasion, how can I feel okay to perpetuate this culture?

The short answer is I don’t.

I believe that a part of advertising has become a parasite feeding on the insecurities of the individual. We target these people to buy and consequently join an exclusive club of the elite to make them feel special. They are deriving their happiness solely from purchasing the products we peddle.

The term ‘retail therapy’ has invaded pop culture with its allure of fixing your emotional wellbeing in times of internal crisis. We should seek strength from within. I am no stranger to buying to make me feel happy. However, I know that this is a short term fix and not the long term solution.

I know that my functional purpose in this industry is to sell and that I must in order to thrive. I do feel this can be done without pressing the ‘buy and fix your problems button’. I feel there is an approach that can simultaneously sell and not make people feel shit about themselves for not being like the person on screen.

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