Tuesday, April 05, 2011

Mating dance

When economists discovered "signaling", they were recognizing what the whole world already knew, that we spend a lot of time and effort trying to communicate strength and worthiness to everyone else.  It's part of the mating dance as well as the career dance.  In fact, there is even the possibility that the latter is a part of the former.  Men have been accused of choosing careers only for the money involved because it makes available a larger selection of females.

Advertising and branding are well established.  Much of their focus is on our selection of the signals we want to transmit.

This week's Economist includes "Status displays ... I've got you labeled ... Clothes may make the man, but it is labels that really count."  The story describes experiments that establish the point.  Show people photos of subjects wearing the same shirt, but with designer label digitally removed and note the different impressions on viewers.

It's the sort of news about who we are the upsets some.  The story ends with, "marketers can open another bottle of champagne."  Perhaps, but without the mating dance, where would we be?