What if Karl Marx and Jeff Bezos
are Really One and the Same?

Karl Marx vs. Jeff Bezos. Combat exceeded?

We’ve come to a point in our wokeness journey where even brands have adopted an anti-consumerist discourse. Have we seen it all? Whether it’s a simulacrum of opportunistic responsibility or a major turning point in capitalism, one thing is certain: This is only just the beginning.

Flirtatious catchphrases, promo of the day, 12-packs. There’s a huge chance that you’ve fallen into the mass consumption trap – and the self-flagellation that inevitably follows. This doesn’t make you just another member of the herd, just a human being who desires comfort, leisure, and pleasure.

Slight paradox: At the same time, you are acutely aware of the social, cultural, economic, and ecological impact of your purchasing actions. Can we really use Uber AND protest against pollution? Ikea furniture AND a concern for deforestation? “Liking” everything AND vilifying over-connectedness? Brands are at the heart of this dilemma : they are at the root of the problem… But  could they also be the solution?  Seenk’s strategic planners ponder this question herein.

“Don’t Buy This Car”

An interesting approach from a car manufacturer. Nonetheless, in a recent ad, Volvo even goes so far as to appropriate the counterpart of the anti-consumerist Fight Club : "The things you own always end up owning you". In short, don't buy anymore: rent! Or how to make you feel like you are pulling away from the car… while rolling around in it.

Who has been playing in the same yard? WeTransfer!, which urges you to disconnect, to go for a run in the wheat fields, to let yourself be tucked in by the waves, to flourish in art. Paradoxical for a pure player? Not if the promise is lightning-fast document sharing to get you back online even faster.

In both cases, brands have taken to criticizing the capitalist system’s grip on our lives. The principle is the same: to oppose consumption in order to better benefit from it. This is the Banksy paradox: criticizing the system and at the same time living off it.

Just Another Marketing Trick

Not really, actually. Other brands have made sincere gestures meant to transform the system.For example, French insurance titan MAIF is becoming one of the first  "mission" companies, », Inscribing in black and white a societal objective in its statutes. 32 large groups sign the “Fashion Pact” for fairer fashion. Ikea launches a furniture rental offer. Evian offers a connected water fountain to reduce plastic consumption. same luxury industry  is testing rental and clothing repair initiatives.

Welcome to  “guilt-free consumption” ”Or win-win-win consumption for those in the know. Triple win? Take Tesla. Its cars are electric (win for Mother Nature), design (win for social status) and sell like hot cakes (win for Elon Musk). What to buy with a light heart while enjoying an unaltered experience.

The only downside to this idyllic picture: the price. It will cost you € 91 for a Tesla Model S. Without options. And what to think when Evian releases a limited edition reusable bottle designed by designer Virgil Abloh during Fashion Week? If responsible consumption remains the prerogative of an elite, the change will prove to be minimal at best.

The End of Compromise

Between beautiful promises and inaccessible solutions, the equation seems insoluble. To help us solve it, let's listen to the enlightened advice of the most mathematician of philosophers, Edgard Morin. “Faced with complexity, you have to think globally. "

His maxim is all the more true in the era of post-truth. Distrust of brands is increasing.. Those who do not create unanimity have everything to lose. Everyone tries to disentangle the true from the false, to differentiate real progress and revolutionary speech but without great impact. The planets must be aligned otherwise there will be a backlash. Only those who offer concrete solutions and adopt a systemic approach around the meaning they want to give to their brand completely blur any doubts.

For Hegel, the future is the reconciliation of opposing ideas in the present. The future of brands may lie inact of listening to and even working with their biggest critics  to succeed in their transformation. Should Jeff Bezos invite post-Marxists to his table?

Maybe Jeff Bezos should invite the post-marxists over for dinner.