Our obsession with material goods and constant quest to find newer, shinier, blingier replacements can perhaps be partially to blame for landfills from here to Timbuktu being stuffed to the gills. How do we get locked into this endless cycle of conspicuous over consumption? More often than not, brilliant marketing machines convinces us with clever words, compelling imagery and psychologically effective messages that we need new stuff, and we need it nowww!
The new stealth marketing satire The Joneses, starring Demi Moore and David Duchovny, plays into this theme of hyper consumerism with its storyline of a fake family of salespeople assembled together by a marketing company to pimp out high-end products in affluent neighborhoods. The idea for the story came to writer-producer-director Derrick Borte after seeing a profile about how sales for products such as beverages jump when they are purportedly used by attractive looking people and realized that the same concept applies when “fake family” actors are brought into open houses to create a certain warm-and-fuzzy, ‘you want to be like me!’ element. His film tackles this notion to great effect, exploring how people always seem to crave what everyone else has…even more so when they’re easy on the eyes and seemingly content.
While Moore has taken steps to green her personal lifestyle by banning plastic water containers in her home and instead using a water filter along with Crate & Barrel reusable glass bottles, her independent film set wasn’t able to follow suit due to budgetary constraints. Duchovny explains, “the ugly truth is that we probably are more wasteful than a set that has a lot of money and can actually do these things” but thinks that as awareness and eco-consciousness both become even more mainstream, it will be easier and more affordable for film sets no matter what their financial backing to green up their act. Commenting on our society’s consumerism, Moore adds that that wanting nice things isn’t so much the problem as mistakenly equating our personal value with the amount of possessions we own.