The Ease of Marketing to Marketers

Why you could sell me anything…even oxygen

Catherine Bell
4 min readJul 27, 2022
Woman skipping with shopping backs in low light against a colourful wall
Photo by Harry Cunningham on Unsplash

Hand on heart, when I say you could sell me ice cream in the middle of winter, sand in the desert, salt water in the sea, I really mean it. Whatever it is, just slather it in clichés, slap on a catchy slogan, pop it under a sale sticker and sign me up.

I have bought flavoured instant coffee when I would never order one in a café; two-for-one laundry detergent that I knew irritated my skin ( I thought maybe the brand new luxurious scent would be different); and I always, always stick to Kerrygold, even though the “own brand” butter here in Ireland is pretty much the exact same (the ads make me feel so warm and fuzzy inside that I simply just can’t help it).

Worse still - I have worked in marketing, both client and agency side. I know the tricks.

Let’s appeal to emotions, we’ll leave them laughing so that they associate us with that sweet, sweet dopamine hit, or, how about we stun them with a clever slogan so that they know our product is equally as clever? Greenwashing you say? I love it. I’m here for it. You tell me I’m saving the environment and I will whip out my Greenpeace t-shirt and wear it for a week solid while claiming my IKEA furniture is in fact environmentally sound.

Colleagues of mine have agreed on this phenomenon…and their partners too. They wonder, why? Why, when we’re so entrenched in storytelling and manipulation of meaning, are we so completely blind to marketing ourselves?

I’ve thought about this a lot…and maybe the answer is in that we’re not blind, on the contrary, we are acutely aware.

DISCLAIMER: These are my own opinions, based on personal reflection and experience.

  1. Marketers appreciate the art form that is advertising

Marketing is hard. You have to consider every angle from which an advert might be perceived. You want to be punchy, but not off-brand. Cutting edge, but not so far out there that it goes over people’s heads. Therefore, when it goes right, we appreciate the graft and the success.

2. We’re tuned to Advertisement FM.

Advertising is our world. Architects look at buildings, farmers at sheep, and hairdressers at hairstyles. As marketers, we’re naturally more attuned to marketing. We don’t really need to see a campaign the recommended 7 or 8 times to fully notice it — if it’s good, you’ll get us in one go.

Two examples of McDonalds advertisements. One featuring a burger bun as the moon phases, and the other the yellow interior of the fry box as a new moon against a black background.
Did I want MaccyDs there and then? Yes. (Creator: Leo Burnett, Milan)

3. Similarly, we root for our tribe

A win for one of us is a win for us all! (Unless, of course, they’re our direct competitors.) What better way to support your own by supporting the product. We’re all just cheerleaders.

We know what it means for someone to love our product and for our ad to have made your day, and so we will root for you…in the hope you’ll root for us too!

4. We appreciate detail — especially good packaging

When I see a brand carry through from an advertising campaign to either its packaging or user experience I am FOOLED. Completely, and utterly FOOLED.

An image of Revolut’s packaging for their cards which was created to slide out like an atm.
By far one of my favourite un-boxings ever. (Revolut by Burgopak)

Regardless of the rat-a-tat product that might be in question, solid follow through tells me that a brand has a solid marketing team, and so I make the leap from top-notch team to top-notch product. Take my money.

5. We’re constantly seeking the feeling of success

We spend all day looking to nail that feeling of connection, of belonging, of need, that when we find it, even with another brand, we want it, we need it, we buy it.

6. We’re suckers for a good brand story

MooGoo has a fantastic brand story. I love their products, but even more than their products I love their origin: a caring son creates a bespoke product for his dear mother who has been using udder cream on her psoriasis. My heart breaks… so does my bank.

It is a great product too, don’t get me wrong, but by god, if you ask me what moisturiser I use, you better believe you’re getting the background too.

There is absolutely zero scientific basis for the above. Unfortunately, I haven’t done the market research on this one, but I have had numerous discussions with like-minded people and endured many a defensive argument in the supermarket when I insist we HAVE to try this product because LOOK at it, LOOK at the BRANDING (apparently not a valid reason).

Of course, I would love to hear your thoughts if you work in a similar field and have experienced the same susceptibility to advertising. Likewise, if not — tell me PLEASE: how do you tune it out?



Catherine Bell

Irish native. Current student teacher with a past passion for marketing and PR. Once upon a time actor/theatre maker. Continuous lover of creative pursuits.