The Emperor’s New Suit was written by Hans Christian Anderson in 1837 and the lesson in humility the Emperor learned through the actions of a young boy are as applicable today as they were when this book was written over 170 years ago. This lesson needs to be learned by those people who disrupt their lives trying to live up to the standards being created by marketers through fear of not fitting in.
The marketers in question are the ones who say a person is defined by their shape; they should aspire to look like a stick insect in order to look and feel good.
If you take a moment to look around; you will notice that everything that is aesthetically pleasing to your eye has curves, some examples are, the car you drive, famous architecture like the Sydney opera house or even the water and mineral bottles you use have curved surfaces. The ideas for the designs are taken from nature, for example coca cola bottles are in the shape of woman’s figure.
The reason for the curves is very simple; it is aesthetically pleasing to the eye and what is pleasing to the eye will be bought.
The marketers in question include but are not limited to the companies who market clothes, diet products, makeup and pharmaceutical companies, who take advantage of what today’s society are told they need in order to fit in.
The following is how the characters in the book fit into today’s world;
The chamberlain, guards and subjects are the friends and colleagues, who don’t want to rock the boat by telling emperor what they really think.
The little boy stands for the consumers who are not taken in by marketer’s messages.
The marketers in the emperor’s new suit are the two scoundrels who persuaded the emperor that they had perfected a weave that was so magnificent it was invisible to anyone who is too stupid and incompetent to appreciate its quality.
The scoundrels had created a need through the fear of being considered stupid or incompetent, this of course didn’t matter to the little boy in the story, he was too young to care what other people thought of him and did what all young people do, and they say what they see. In this story the boy stood up and shouted for all to hear, “the emperor has no clothes on,” it was at that moment that the adults realised they had been taken in by a couple of hoodlums.
How many marketers use the same techniques today?
Dove recently became that little boy in their advertising campaign, as can be seen in the picture above; they used real people as models, a rarity in today’s world.
- Real marketing should be about satisfying needs and not about creating imaginary fears. The world will be a far better place to live when we have a lot more little boys, who are prepared to stand up and speak the truth regardless of what society thinks.