lifevslifestyle.jpgThe word “lifestyle” really gives me the shits. Apart from the fact that it is yet another meaningless gumpf word endemic in advertising, it belittles Life itself.

Someone said to me last week that when they bought an Apple computer, they were not just buying a computer, but rather buying the Apple “lifestyle”.

All well and good for Apple, but isn’t the idea of buying a “lifestyle” somewhat shallow and disturbing if you thought about it?

What is a “lifestyle” product anyway? Is it merely for the sake of looks, and has no real impact on Life itself? Quite possibly.

Instead of focusing our efforts on building a rich, rewarding (and therefore meaningful) Life, marketers prefer us to take the short-cut and just buy a style. After all, the great advantage of a style is that it is subject to the ever-shifting tides of fashion. This means you as the hapless consumer, can be goaded into buying forever the next “lifestyle”. I wonder who this benefits?!

What marketers are saying when they sell us a “lifestyle” is: “Don’t bother building a life, that’s too hard and requires thinking about and experiencing the grind of daily existence. Instead, just buy a lifestyle from us. It is simple, neatly packaged, and guaranteed to impress the right people. You don’t even have to know what to buy because we will tell you what is in vogue.”

Mass marketing is a tempting quick-fix for many companies with poorly differentiated products or services. Instead of developing offerings of real value to meet real needs, it is easier to invent a false need and sell a simplistic answer. Whoever said marketing and advertising is based primarily on fear is correct; unfortunately.

To advertisers: Cleanse up your act damn you!

To consumers: Value and leverage your ability to think for yourself, to make independent and appropriate decisions for yourself. And yes, you can choose to buy “lifestyle” products, as long as it is a real choice on your part.