By Christopher Zoukis
In his delightful book, The Tipping Point, Malcolm Gladwell inadvertently underscores the idea of status when he writes about teenage smokers. Gladwell explains the reason the anti-smoking movement has failed is because the tobacco industry has made smoking cigarettes cool. The anti-smoking movement’s response was to present smoking as uncool. As Gladwell writes, “But that’s not the point. Smoking was never cool. Smokers are cool.” Image courtesy wallpaperstock.net
In other words, the idea of cool carries status. Status is the goal. Therefore, teenagers smoke, because it provides them with status.
This idea of status and marketing to it is especially true in the toy industry. In fact, The Toy Zone, which is an online site devoted to analyzing the latest trends in toys, states that the toy industry is completely marketing driven. The reason toys are so driven by marketing is because “need” does not sell upscale toys. “Desire” is what sells luxury toys. Luxury toys sell because toymakers instill in children the desire to want to own them. This desire is instilled by means of marketing, which includes:
~Affiliation with popular brands and current media products, such as blockbuster movies.
~Generating artificial shortages of a luxury toy by limiting production of the toy.
~Communicating the idea that ownership of the luxury toy carries popularity and status.