Market by Desire

I’ve been working on saving my money because I’ve been in the market to adopt a dog (which I finally did today!!! But shhh don’t tell my building, OR MY MOM, because neither of them knows.) But, as I’ve been doing this, I’ve become more conscious of my spending habits, especially when it comes to makeup.

Usually, I make it a daily activity to scroll through the new arrivals on the Sephora and Ulta websites. Not because I’m ever needing to buy makeup, but because I like to know what’s out there to be purchased. I like knowing that I can see a newly released product from Tarte or Urban Decay or wherever and just purchase it on the spot without even thinking about it. That’s how I’ve ended up with a drawer full of makeup products that I’ve never even touched.

I really started thinking about the marketing strategies makeup companies use when one of my friends started asking me about the different Naked palettes from Urban Decay. She just started getting into makeup and already has the original naked palette, but was texting me because she wanted to buy another one, but didn’t know which one to get. This really got me thinking because she didn’t NEED another naked palette (I mean technically she didn’t need the first one either, but I personally cannot speak for what people put in their starter kits).

Once she started texting me about this, I thought about all the makeup I had that I never used. I literally own every single eyeshadow palette Urban Decay, Tarte, and Too Faced have ever come out with simply because I like the brands. Like if you really think about it, why do any of us buy most makeup products?

I’m sure part of it has to do with who told you to buy it, or who you saw talking about it or whatever (i.e the ‘Youtube made me buy it’ videos). But another part of it has to do with brand loyalty. I’m not saying we’ve become such brainless individuals that whenever a company posts something on their Instagram or Twitter or whatever that we immediately HAVE to have it, but I think we’re getting close to that stage. I definitely am at least.

For example, Urban Decay (yo, sorry for talking about them a lot, I love them, get over it),  recently posted a series of images/videos on their Instagram that looked like crinkled up garbage bags or something black and shiny or whatever moving, with the words “Here Comes Trouble.” I’m not gonna lie, my heart skipped a beat when I saw those videos but I could just feel the satisfying clicking of keys as I entered in my credit card number to purchase it. But then I stopped and realized that I was already gearing up to buy this product BUT I DIDN’T EVEN KNOW WHAT IT WAS!

It’s like their makeup products are Pokemon and I’m trying to fucking catch them all or something. I don’t need 1000 different eyeshadow palettes with 100 different shades of brown that I’m never going to use. I literally use the same NYX eyeshadow stick every day. But, these cosmetics companies are SO GOOD at spending money for marketing to get us consumers to spend our money in turn. They’ve got us hooked. And it’s not only makeup companies that do it, but they’re the only companies that I pay attention to.

Now, I don’t know much about marketing because we only briefly covered it in college, but whatever the hell these companies are doing is working. Or maybe it just has to do with how much time we spend in front of screens that we just automatically become attracted to whatever we see dangling in front of us, like a Pavlovian response but in a consumeristic version.

I’m really trying to only spend money when I have to purchase something I’m out of, so this is going to be of test of willpower and restraint, but will also be interesting to be able to step back and observe these companies and their marketing techniques from a new perspective, and especially to observe how everyone reacts to these techniques.


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