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In the Garden of Eden, all of the apples were (likely) delicious & satisfying and they probably even looked the same.  In a sense…they were commodities.  So how was demand created for the apple hanging from the tree of the knowledge of good & evil?

Reframing Value

The serpent knew that people very often buy into benefits and don’t only choose products on the basis of price.  People have different value equations.  The serpent smartly found a way to turn a commodity product with a big downside (leaving a worry free life in the garden, for a consumer life on a cursed earth) into something incredibly desirable with immediate benefits.

Keeping it Simple & Memorable + Minimizing the Costs

The serpent didn’t make things complex.  He didn’t go into a long manifesto about how great it would be to understand good & evil…nope, he kept his message short, simple & memorable (Your eyes will be opened).  And, the serpent never mentions the significant number of downsides; he keeps his message about the apple upbeat & positive.

Building Advocacy

The serpent also knew that Eve wanted to feel like a smart apple consumer. Eve wanted to pick the superior apple in the garden in order to show her husband that she was a brilliant, savvy shopper.  The serpent knew that Eve would pass on the news about the apple to her husband…

Culture Catches On

Dietrich Bonhoeffer once wrote:

Possessions delude the heart into believing that they provide security and a worry free existence–but in truth, they are the very cause of worry.

Eve didn’t fully understand what she was getting into when she went after the death laced apple.  She’s the first woman to step into the circle of consumer worry and stress.  From the moment she eats the apple, she’s forced to work hard to keep her image as a smart apple consumer.   She even passes the flawed product design & lifestyle to others (Adam).  From now on, they will both need clothes, shoes, and a big McMansion, etc.

Why Adam decides to take the apple recommendation from his wife without asking questions highlights another human failure that’s being discussed in our culture today.  A new movie The Joneses is wholly devoted to the theme of being “sold” by your closest friends and family.  In the Joneses, neighbors befriend neighbors and hide their true intentions (they are really corporate product advocates in disguise) to sell more product.  Though I have not yet seen it, I’m sure the film is a great converation starter about what’s behind word of mouth programs.  

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