Marketing schemes for “cool” have bombarded us since the moment we stepped onto the playground and discovered that everyone wasn’t quite as accepting as mom and dad. Hey kids! The advertisements would prod. Why face social rejection when you can just buy “cool”? Why risk trying, failing and being laughed at when all you have to do is buy this one product that will put those worries behind you? Drawn in by the promise of immunity to all of life’s woes, many of us eventually fell in line at the nearest vendor—we bought our way to being “cool.”
There was a catch, though—the sellers only shared their apparently limited stock of “cool” to the customers they deemed worthy. Hell-bent on the purchase, we had no choice but to disguise ourselves into something that would hit the mark. We’d twist and hide and reconfigure who we were, smothering the things we really cared about with what we hoped the sellers would consider “cool.” Come get your “cool” today for the amazingly low price of your individuality!
Here’s an insider’s secret those commercials won’t tell you: “cool” is a complete and total scam. The product is a worthless counterfeit, and yet the buyers always come back, starving for more. So why have we allowed the “cool” company to stay in business for so long? And what would happen if we stop buying into this fraudulent franchise—that tactfully leaves so many on the outside—and invest in something much, well, cooler?
Becoming a Mindful Consumer
Dr. J. W. Wiley, professor at SUNY Plattsburgh, consultant, author and strong advocate for the no-quotations-mark cool movement, encourages anyone currently buying into “cool” to take the first difficult step of breaking this vicious cycle by becoming aware. “You have the capabilities,” he assures prospective boycotters. “You just have to want to do it. It takes a disruption to heighten our awareness.” So, if we want to distance ourselves from this harmful “cool” business, it’s time to come to terms with what keeps us in it. We must recognize that this sham survives on two things: fear and compliance.
As said, the marketing department for “cool” is pretty spot-on in targeting the things all of its potential customers fear the most: hardship, failure, vulnerability and rejection. When buyers are led to believe that the product will make them virtually invincible to these frightening things, they likely aren’t going to seek out information that would discredit it. Secondly, the “cool” business cannot continue unless its market justifies the fact that not everyone has equal access to its product. As long as customers measure their worthiness (and the worthiness of others) against the vendors’ evaluation of who can have “cool,” the product will stay in demand. As soon as the validity of this standard is called into question, the scam is under the threat of being exposed. What would happen then, fellow prospective boycotters, if we decided to be brave?
Time to Boycott
Once we’ve braved the facts about “cool,” it’s time to stop being a consumer. “It’s not going to be as easy as it has been,” Dr. Wiley warns. “You’ve been flowing for a certain time and seeing things in a certain way, but now when you begin to think deeper, it’s going to be more of a struggle.”
Boycotting “cool” exposes us to everything we try to avoid. We will face failure, we will face social backlash, we will face the fact that we are in fact no cooler than anyone else. We leave our “cool” behind and are refunded with simply who we are, and who we are doesn’t necessarily fit in with the popular playground crowd.
However, when we relinquish “cool” we allow for something amazing to happen. That is, we re-gain access to the very thing this scam has pretended to be—cool. In other words, selling your soul for “Fool’s Cool” has kept you from seeing that the genuine cool was buried inside you all along, no purchase necessary. The only marketing ploy that this cool uses is its shining manifestation in those who recognize its value, who, as it turns out, are the majority of the people we most often deem successful. This means that the prolific leaders in social change, the innovative entrepreneurs, the standout artists/performers/athletes, and so on who have reached the heights we’ve always secretly hoped for also had to face the hardships of the boycott in order to find the cool that got them there.
Investing in The Real Deal and Joining the Alliance
As college is a time of self-discovery and preparation for success, the true cool is no doubt an investment worth making right now. “People are cool when they are being themselves, as long as being themselves doesn’t oppress others,” Dr. Wiley puts simply. This very accessible cool is a pretty great deal, considering with no lost individuality and no extra loans, you’ll reap all the following barrier-breaking benefits:
1. You will realize you are far more resilient than you thought. You’ll find empowerment in your ability to face your fears head-on and challenge what you once thought were your limits.
2. You will feel liberated. No longer are your insecurities binding you to an external product and no longer do you have to do anything that goes against or suppresses your truest self. You will release the wonderfully unique parts of you that “cool” talked you into locking up.
3. You will care a lot less about what the “cool” vendors think of you.
4. You will begin to recognize the cool in everyone you encounter, and treat him or her accordingly. By extension, the relationships you form will be genuine and lasting because they will stem from the authentic core of who you are.
In considering people and taking the time to see how truly cool everyone innately has the potential to be, we must also recognize our need to be an active member of the Cool Alliance. Boycotting “cool” is a choice that has to be made daily, and everyone experiences difficult days that push them toward succumbing to the “cool” commercials’ promises. Members must therefore support one another so that everyone remains able to invest in their valuable, unique cool. As the Alliance grows, the “cool” market gets closer to going out of business, and the world gets a whole lot richer.
So, cool kid reading this article right now, which brand are you going to buy into today?