US News and World Report recently published an article on materialism and whether or not things make you happy. I go back and forth on this myself, but as a marketer that is dedicated to helping my clients (both in the luxury and the “masstige” arena) promote their products, it’s definitely a question to consider. After all, if everyone decides “things” don’t make us happy, then my clients might be out of luck.
Happy? That’s a relative term. Happy means different things to different people. In fact, many cultures don’t even have a word for happy
. Joy and satisfaction? Yes. Happy? Not so much. Maybe that’s the problem to start with—happy might be the wrong emotion to assign to the gaining of “materialistic” things… But happy aside, the article outlines studies that show people tend to have positive associations with spending money on “experiences.” So, the family vacation may rate higher on the happy scale than the new car. The studies also show that when an experience goes bad, like the scary family vacation
, there may be a heightened sense of unhappiness around the expenditure. The conclusion? Really think before you spend. If you have a bad experience you’ll regret it more than if you bought something you find you don’t really need.
Here’s my thought: Experiences come in many forms. Eating an incredible piece of chocolate counts as an experience. Sharing it with a friend is even better. Purchasing a fab outfit for an event will only make the event live larger in your memory. Ok, I do rep chocolate brands
and fashion designers
(Verrier and Cynthia Steffe), but I do believe products can add something special to any experience. Will they make you happy? Good question. Which brings me back to one of my original thoughts, should things make you “happy?” Maybe satisfied is better.