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“Marketing is no longer about the stuff you make , it’s about the story you tell”. Seth Godin

Whole markets are shaken by logos, the face of commodities.

David Beckham for instance, put a new meaning into advertising. Calvin Klein must have sold millions of boxer shorts on the back of Beckham. I wonder how many footballers now play the beautiful game with managing agents more interested in royalties than the beautiful game? There’s always someone behind the professional who is pulling strings. I wonder what this does to a person who wanted to play football without all the layers of contracts and complexities? What does this do to a footballer when he is worth £190m? Can he / she manage the ego fallout?

We often don’t know the full story behind these empires, we know that gambling and service provisions go hand in hand in the sports arena. It seems to me that these industries have it all ‘taped up’. Watching TV sees a host of marketing breaks on the screen for Betway and many other gambling organisations. South African TV isn’t too far off American TV when it comes to advertising. These companies don’t give a thought to the families and individuals who will be broken by their persistent marketing ploys. We have a choice they say, “don’t make me laugh”. Maybe footballers take a bended knee against the unhealthy marketing? “Oh sorry, we can’t because they are our biggest sponsors”. How can we take a bended knee to some ‘social evils’ and not to all just to suit ourselves? You can bet on pretty much anything these days.

Money Money Money

I love watching football. I don’t get to watch enough of it (which isn’t a bad thing), but I really enjoy the drama (its my form of escapism) and remind myself that it’s just a game. It isn’t though is it? It’s not just a game anymore. Just like everything else, as soon we identify all the little niche markets attached to anything, we go big on exploitation. The minute we know we can evoke emotions and get paid for it, we go large.

I like to remember that any sport brings people together. I like cricket and golf too. Not as many displays of aggression in these sports. Football seems to attract a certain type of fan on occasions. The aggression when it comes to local Derbys seem to have gotten less over the years in the UK, perhaps the law has got tougher?

In the Dressing Rooms at LFC

A business like football generates huge revenue, creates jobs, provides entertainment, inspires youngsters to train hard for that day when they too will come on to the pitch in a number 10 shirt perhaps. There is much to celebrate when it comes to pitch fever. There is also the collective approaches against issues like homophobia and racism. Celebrities have a huge responsibility and opportunity to support these kind of initiatives. A youngster may not listen to me, but he may listen to Mo Salah, Liverpool’s ‘Egyptian King’. Yet, when it comes to Boardroom decisions, I think it is hypocrisy to ‘out’ certain practices and not others.

There was a story once where Sadio Mane was asked why he did not replace his cracked phone and replied that he didn’t need a new phone, this one was just fine, he had all the money in the world and could buy 20 phones. He is known for his philanthropy in his home country of Senegal. There are many household names who we can be inspired by. I like to remember that no matter how many hat-tricks these guys get, they are still human. It is suggested that one of the Roman Emperors had a servant stand behind him and as he fanned him, he constantly said, “remember you are just a man”. We could all do with that reminder every day.

Walt Disney’s Granddaughter begged the US Government to tax 75% of her income, as she said she would have still had too much. She said “we rich need to start turning on one another”. Until this happens, there will be no change among those who have a sickness when it comes to greed. Greed isn’t the issue, the ego is the issue. Always needing more, to be better than others, to win…………if we all lived in mansions, there would be no need for greed, the yin and yang is there to remind us of how extremes continue to sabotage our world . Greedy behaviour invokes more greedy behaviour.

There are so many wonderful brands. Brands for adventure, brands to help the poor and frail. Brands to support those without hope, brands to make us laugh, brands to heal…… What brand do you sit under for your work? Can you sleep at night knowing full well that your brand is being fair to the consumer? I might seem naive but what of these marketing ploys and major appointments that promise so much and deliver so little to humanity?

Will a person taking up a position in a company which is not ethically driven find it very hard to change the mind-sets of stakeholders where there has been a climate of exploitation? Changing a face doesn’t often change the mission statement. Sometimes we cling on to mission statements which were once ethical, but no longer. Is it a calculated move to try and appease the people and pretend that we care when the product, service delivery and charges haven’t changed for the better? Most corporations have profit as their ‘why’. Here is not to say that profit and reinvestment is not important but too many companies put profit as their ‘why’ and will do anything to get.

It’s amazing what people will do for money.

Would a merchant stop selling something if they knew that the product was killing people? What does our balance sheets actually tell us about our impact on humanity? If you don’t sell it, they will go somewhere else, but doesn’t that mean at least, that your soul is free? Whether they get it from somewhere else,  is that your concern when you are trying to aid humanity? Does it take a person in a particular category to be the lead in something? Is the business viable without all the ‘bad’ products?

Does anyone know what money is ‘clean’ and what isn’t anymore? For all the rigorous checks, can we honestly say that someone along the money chain is not involved in some shady deal? When is shady eloquent? Societies which are not equal and kind to women for instance, do they get a look in as well when it comes to buying up businesses in societies which actually do not support these kinds of human freedoms?

I am overwhelmed by the manipulation and corruption in this world. How many times do we say to ourselves, “we can’t change it?” Because losing money even if we are no longer exploiting other people is very difficult for those who have now set themselves up to earn big profits from the demise of other human beings. The holidays and the cars depend on it! Dare we sit and reflect on it and come up with reasons not to? If we keep insisting as we have done for hundreds and thousands of years, humanity will not grow in wisdom, not a lot will change.

We must be the change in this world if humanity is to stand a chance. Can we avoid the question of fault by association any longer? As I enjoy the game of professional football, I have to remind myself of the seduction of the beautiful game and what it means on a much grander scale.

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