Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Advertising, Extortion and World Cup Revenues

Free things that are advertised are never free. Powerful companies will give away something free only to rake in subscription revenue later. The psychological effect of receiving the free item is often powerful enough to coat the bitter pill you swallow every month thereafter. You'd rather not waste that freebie's value (or hurt the environment) by throwing it away, right?

That free printer that you got with your new computer? Well, be sure that you will be buying ridiculously overpriced (unicorn) ink cartridges very soon. The profit on these will make up for it, and then some!

The free razor you were handed at the supermarket? Same deal; just try finding new blades (cost~10 cents) for less than ten dollars. How about TV subscriptions (free hookup!) Cell phones (free mp3 phone!)... this list goes on.

Far worse that this, though, is when the poor bear the brunt of these tactics:

Nestle's 'free' campaign for breast milk replacement formula that, no doubt, hurt the chances of survival for 1.3 million babies.

Ooh, how about Microsoft's campaign to give away computers to get poor people hooked on Windows, instead of letting people use the free-to-update, open source Linux alternative.

And finally to the World cup. The worlds biggest sporting event ought to bring in some revenue for the host nation, but no, South African's were duped into being the hosts. FIFA has moved aggressively against anyone who is using the FIFA World Cup name, or anything referring to it. Establishments have to pay FIFA, or lose out on the flood of football mania spending. This tips the playing field towards establishments who are well off already, and siphons off revenues from small businesses (read:bars). There is little in this event that I can imagine helping the poor (besides the obvious entertainment value.)

This whole 'restricted areas' idea just smacks of apartheid doesn't it?!

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