Thursday, October 20, 2011

Caveat Emptor

Caveat emptor originates from Latin meaning "let the buyer beware." This phrase holds so much truth in modern times since we are bombarded continuously with marketing where ever we turn. Advertising is ubiquitous in our day to day lives and has gotten to the point where we tune it out. Although we may not be paying attention, whether it's the billboard on our drive to work or the TV commercial in between the programs we love, subconsciously the advertising seeps into our minds.

The idea of branding is the marketer's main tool to seer images of quality and trust in one's mind. Whether this is based on fact is irrelevant. The idea is to create some kind of loyalty to brands we have come to associate with certain feelings. When we see the Nike "swoosh" we think athleticism, when we see the iconic Apple logo we think sleek sexy technology.

The important thing to note is that as a consumer we vote with our dollars. We make decisions based on price and quality of the product or service. We would like to believe that our choices are purely based on logic, but when we are bombarded with multi-million dollar marketing campaigns our logic may be subdued by these forces. Being an educated consumer is the way to consumer sanctuary where we can escape the iron grip of corporate branding.

Ralph Nader is perhaps the most influential consumer advocate of our time. With his landmark book entitled "Unsafe at Any Speed," he shattered the motor industry's paradigms that vehicle owners were responsible for their own safety. Today, car industries are required to meet safety standards which make the roads safer for all of us. Ralph Nader has fought relentlessly for consumer rights, without him there would be no such thing as false advertising.

In our quest to spend our dollars as wisely as possible, it is critical to become an educated consumer to ensure that when we spend our hard earned dollars we are not just joining the heard guided by corporate marketing agencies. Instead we must stay vigilant and proceed with caution when making purchases. It's important to be skeptical about advertisement claims and question your purchase patterns. Like the saying goes, buyer beware!

I've included a link below to Consumer Reports which is a great resource when considering any purhcase (

Meet Ralph Nader!


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