Are Home Appliances Being Marketed the Same Way as Smartphones?
And why this is detrimental
Recently, I received a gift from a friend that consisted of a reusable Keurig pod (which I had never heard of until now) and a bag of ground coffee to use with it. This was a gift that immediately got me excited because it meant I no longer had to overflow my trash with one-use pods and contribute more to the irreversible climate change we’re living in.
Finally, when the time came that I ran out of my previous disposable Keurig pods, I cracked open the bag of coffee and loaded it into my new environmentally friendly pod. But once I went to close my Keurig and press the “BREW” button, the pod capsule wouldn’t close all the way.
After attempting to rearrange the pod around the machine and look closer at the instructions, it turns out this pod wasn’t compatible with the Keurig model I owned. As a matter of fact, it is one of the original and oldest models.
I went on their official website to look at the roster of every model that exists. While I was aware there are dozens of different kinds of Keurigs, I didn’t realize how overwhelmed I was actually going to be for having a Keurig most stores no longer carry.
But this got me thinking, why did it matter what Keurig model I have? They all do the same thing. They all brew coffee, so why does it matter whether or not I have the latest and greatest? Maybe it ultimately isn’t a big deal, but in the world of marketing, the stakes of having a newer appliance seem like they’re through the roof.
With technology drastically advancing every year, it seems as if everything we own needs to be up to date with it. And while this isn’t necessarily a bad thing, it’s odd. Companies that manufacture home appliances such as Samsung are making unconventional appliances into smart devices. A perfect example is an ad for the Samsung Family Hub 3.0 Refrigerator from 2018.
I was born in 1999 (making me an older Gen Z), and maybe it was just how I was raised individually, but my perception of a “luxurious” fridge was one that had a water and ice dispenser on the door.
But this fridge is just the next level in what feels like the worst way possible. Think about how excessive it actually is to make your refrigerator into a smart device. Within the first 60 seconds of that video, they were able to show this fridge using technology to turn on the lights in the house, show the time, show them the weather, show them every individual member of the family’s schedule, send a text message to someone’s phone, and instantly request an Uber to pick you up.
Similar to a commercial for a smartphone, many phones are showcased up close and personal and show you all of the specs it has in its processor, battery, and camera. A pretty memorable marketing campaign was in 2011–2012 when the iPhone 4S came out that showed everyday people using Siri in a variety of ways since it was still a brand new feature at the time.
These innovative features that are slowly being incorporated into our smartphones and other electronics are going places where they just seem excessive.
Home appliances are being marketed the same way. That fridge can make your produce last fresh longer? Well, this one can call your mom and request an Uber.
I truly cannot figure out who this appeals to or what is beneficial about smart kitchen and home appliances in general. The same people who would care to own and be able to afford a fridge like The Family Hub are the same people who probably already own several other smart devices that can do all of those things.
These are the same people that own a relatively new smartphone with an adjacent smartwatch, a home security device, a smart speaker (such as a Google Home or an Amazon Alexa), and a smart television or some kind of adaptable device for regular televisions (such as a Roku stick or Amazon Fire Stick). At what point do we need to draw the line between making regular everyday items into another smart device collecting our data?
It almost seems like if we own too many devices at once that are constantly doing every little task in our daily routine, we start to become zombies. We don’t ever have to stimulate ourselves with the small steps in our normal lives that we simply just go through the motions.
When we have a device in every corner of our own environment, and some of which can be activated without being touched, we no longer have to rely on our own mental stimuli to take care of us. We’re just becoming more and more codependent on technology.
Maybe I just prefer having a minimal and simple lifestyle or use my money in other aspects (like experiences instead of material objects). Personally, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with using a physical planner or a phone to keep track of your to-do list and tasks. A refrigerator should simply just be used to store your food.
I’m no stranger to technology, and it’s clear that it is here to stay in our lives until the world ends. However, at what point do we need to draw the line? It goes without saying everyone has their own opinion of how much is too much, but personally, a refrigerator calling your Uber is too much.
Start to minimize how many devices you let into your life, it’s going to prevent you from becoming a shell of a human being.