Sprite coined the phrase in their marketing campaign in 2001 starring the NBA’s Grant Hill and seemingly it’s been the reality for a generation, or two.
We base image as the number one advertisement of who we are and what we mean to society. If you’re making a lot of money it’s unlikely that you’re still driving that Datsun 120Y you had when you started out at college or university. Datsun 120Y’s scream “Poverty-stricken-teenager-that-can-hardly-afford-the-fuel.” This is not a great image if you’re a real estate agent or financial planner trying to woo your next client.
So, is “Image” everything? Could I honestly look at my last 5 purchases and say they had nothing to do with forming and reiterating who I think I am?
As a youth pastor, I love working with teenagers. This age group are like sheep when it comes to image. Us older guys, on the other hand, are so much more mature and no longer succumb to peer-pressure. We don’t care if people don’t approve of our ruggedly rusty golf sets, or our family car that’s been bruised and battered and it’s only a month off the showroom floor. Maybe the teenagers are just a bit more honest about it.
The problem with image, other than what psychologists will tell you, is that it costs a lot of moolah to remain loyal to a pre-defined image. Even ‘gothics’ who lounge around town centres in their hideous black garb have dolled out small fortunes to dress that way.
I went shopping with my wife to Target (pronounced Tar-sjay) last week and she picked out – yes, my wife is my image consultant – a new pair of torn denim pants and a very cool new T-shirt. I asked a couple of teens to try and estimate the cost of my new outfit to which they unanimously decided the pants would have been no less than $75 and the T around $20 – 25.
I took great delight in sharing with them the true cost: Jeans – $9.90, T – $3.80. Not bad for an almost $100-looking outfit.
Yes. Image is (almost) everything but to obey your thirst for this narcistic appetite you don’t have to take out a mortgage.