It's about life - not "lifestyle"
The television was yammering in another room. It was the Channel 5 Morning News, and since anchor Carlos Emescua has a surfing background I kind of rely on him to comment if their live beach cam is showing some decent surf. I usually turn the tv off after my wife goes to work, but I didn't this morning.

There was a segment about various cars, and as I came in the room to shut it off some sales guy or car expert who was showing the group these new cars said something that was Jay Chiat Brilliant.

"It's not just about life styles, but
life staging." Something to that effect.

Jay Chiat was the now-legendary ad guy behind the 1984 Super Bowl Macintosh computer commercial which didn't even feature the product. He passed away this Spring, leaving quite a legacy, but nothing he did for money could come close to the brilliance of something he once said in an interview. Since the clipping didn't make it into the archives, I'll have to paraphrase.

"People buy things based on who they think they are, not on who they really are."

Think about that one for a while. I doubt that anyone can deny it has applied to themselves once in a while. It may be the snowboard in the garage, the shortboard gathering dust under the beloved longboard, or the huge gas-sucking 4x4 truck which has never been off pavement. It could be something much smaller.

The guy on television this morning was probably repeating something taught to business school monkeys these days, but I hadn't heard it before. Life stages. This is so obvious when stated, but it isn't stated much in our marketing-drivien society. Especially in the action sports world, the notion is of "youth forever". It isn't realistic, but then that isn't the point of marketing. Some would have you believe that certain surfboards, wetsuits, trunks, or sunglasses make you 22 forever. These ads can be alluring. Young women bounce their bare breasts in your young face (uh, the wife might not like that!) if you ride a certain longboard. If Kelly rides a dry-land trainer, then maybe the 46 year old surfer could benefit from using one...the potential fiascos are endless.

Life staging. Something about this notion doesn't bother me. It seems more human. It acknowledges the inevitable as being natural. It isn't a failure for someone to grow older; in fact it's quite the opposite. Many companies incorporate a version of this notion already, if subtly.

Since there is a name for it now, I say the companies and media ought to embrace the notion.
View From The Beach
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