Intangible Added Value by Craig Covello

Craig Covello
October 22, 2009 Posted by Craig Covello

Here is a short articles written by Craig Covello that I found very interesting.  Let me know what you think.
Intangible Added Value
A liberal friend of mine posted to Facebook what he considered to be an interesting and entertaining speech. It was made by Rory Sutherland, who is in advertising and not to be confused with the professional bicycle racer. In fact, Rory is the Executive Creative Director and Vice-Chairman, OgilvyOne London and Vice-Chairman, Ogilvy Group UK. The 15 minute video clip posted on this link was indeed entertaining, as testament by the laughter coming from his live audience. Rory made several assertions about public behavior based upon observations in his long career in advertising, but the over-arching point was rather unsettling. He contends that there are limited resources in the world which require all of us to do with less material things. In order to achieve a reduction in product innovation which fuels consumption, the masses need to be taught to see existing goods and services from a new perspective. A perspective not based in reality or objective analysis, but on spin. He calls this idea “Intangible Added Value”, which asserts that you do not need to change the actual product to add value. You simply need to readjust the consumer thought process so that they believe the product has more value than it really does.
It can be argued that politics and advertising are interchangeable at times, so it is natural to view this concept in the context of liberal ideology. Rory’s very notion of “Intangible Added Value” is really the celebration and advocacy of manipulating people under the assumption that the majority are stupid and need to be “tricked” into “desired behavior”. (As opposed to Bill Maher’s philosophy that you will never get popular consensus, so you must “drag them to it!” His words, not mine.) The desired behavior proposed in this clip can be summed up as making do with less without complaining or worse, rioting. But there is more. The clip also purports that perception is more important than reality if the desired objective is met. In this case, the objective is getting people to like something that they normally would reject.
So the next question is obvious. Who decides what people should want? Rory’s rather disturbing assertion represents an elitist philosophy that only the few know what is best for the many. Sound familiar? We are to accept that the world’s evils come from consumption. We are to accept that the earth cannot sustain us. We should believe that innovation in the tangible, material world is now secondary to advertising spin. Rory contends that it is much easier to change someone’s perception than to create something of tangible value. Great stuff, right? We can all move this great nation forward by simply imagining things are good instead of working hard to create something new, something of value. There is only one problem with this. Many of the liberal elite in Washington and the entertainment industry seem to be hooked on consumption. Private jets, multiple homes, fine restaurants, new cars and the best, most innovative health care. These things are born of incentive which fosters innovation and entrepreneurism. Take the incentive away from the masses and these things eventually dry up. So why do the liberal elite think the rest of us should do with less while they continue living what some would term as extravagant lifestyles? Don’t they realize that what goes around comes around? Perhaps they feel immune, but if they are wrong, perhaps their potentially diminished lifestyle can be embraced through “intangible value added” perception.
Here is the clip. Come to your own conclusions…
© 2009 by Craig Covello – All Rights Reserved

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3 Responses to Intangible Added Value by Craig Covello

  1. Victoria Perez on October 22, 2009 at 2:50 pm

    The sad thing is that whether we agree with Mr. Sutherland or not, the masses which I call the 80% want someone to tell them what to do, make it better or appear to be better. It's only the 20% of which I am of and you are too, that have the blinders off and can see clearly.

  2. KK on October 23, 2009 at 12:59 pm

    Well said, and oh so true of the liberals who think they are much smarter than the rest of us.The sad joke will be on all of us though since we will suffer for their stupidity.

  3. RHS on December 18, 2009 at 4:59 am

    Just for the record, I am the Rory Sutherland featured here and my own politics are of the fairly right-wing Libertarian variety – at least by European standards.

    Just two points: most people on the left believe there is some objective standard of value: I don't. I believe that value is in the eye of the buyer: something subjective and individual. Hence any attempt by someone else (governments included) to decide what is good for someone else is at best economically inefficient and at worst wrong.

    Second, I don't think intangible or perceived value is necessarily superior to tangible value (I am never going to buy an entirely intangible car) but I do believe it needs to be considered as equally valuable.

    My view is that the purchase decision should always rest with the individual. However, since individuals derive pleasure from intangible value, companies should do their best to create it, and not regard it as a poor substitute. And it is perfectly acceptable to me as a libertarian for organisations to use free speech to generate intangible value.

    I, like you, hate people to be told what's good for them. But I am happy for people to be persuaded. I still believe it is much better for Frederick the Great to re-brand the potato than to mandate its consumption.

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