This post is brought to you by New England Coffee Colombian Supremo.
Recently I received a blog matter request via Facebook from my friend Christine:
“I would like Leo to write a blog on “decaf” being essentially just a reduction in caffeine, but yet not close to caffeine free — can’t anything be straight forward and not just marketing to make you think you are doing something right…”
My initial instinct was to research the outrage of “de-caf” actually containing caffeine, but that’s been pretty much covered here. Yes, the average “decaf” contains about 10% of the caffeine in full-on Joe. By the way, New England Coffee’s decaf selections are 97% caffeine-free via a “direct solvent” process. Their website states, “The green bean is softened by steam and then flushed with methylene chloride to remove 97% of the caffeine.” Wow. I can just see the commercial… A beautiful woman looks seductively at the camera as she sips with perfect painted lips from a steaming cup. Her gaze heats from the pleasure as she pierces your soul and says, “Mmmmm… methylene chloride.”
Personally, I don’t get the decaf thing. As I sit here pre-dawn, sipping my first cup and feeling more and more “ALIIIIVEEEE,” I’m thinking, “What’s the point?” OK, so Joe and NoJo aside, Christine’s bigger question is, “can’t anything be straight forward and not just marketing?” We’ll answer that, right after this.
We’re back, jacked up on Joe, and sadly, the answer is largely “no,” not in the world we live in. I contend our capitalist system requires sustained economic growth and one of the most effective competitive tools to control the masses in the battle for ever higher revenues and profits is marketing, and its ancillary practice, advertising. So, as long as there is a profit to motivate them, entities will continue to bombard us with their multi-media messages to persuade us to not vote for the other guy, ask your doctor if [insert pharmaceutical here] is right for you, sue someone who’s potentially done you wrong, or buy their (not so) decaffeinated coffee.
There are some things still outside that giant silo of spin, and most occur in nature, although that’s not to say those things aren’t exploited. I think about this scene from last week. It was stunningly beautiful and didn’t need any commercial to promote it. That is until I took a picture of it and plastered it on Facebook as a reflection of me. “See? I took that. Doesn’t that make me good? Cool? Worthy?” I just wanted to share it, but there’s a subconscious need for us to stand out from the crowd, to compete for attention, to advertise. Maybe it’s just me.
Oh, and Christine, you’re doing quite a bit right. Now it’s time for another damn fine cup of coffee.