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Millions of Canadians Fall Prey to Millennium Marketing

Written by Posted On Tuesday, 28 December 1999 00:00

Millions of Canadians are spending madly to celebrate the new Millennium on December 31, 1999, even though the next Millennium does not actually start for another full year. Drawn in by a barrage of "the biggest night in history" advertising and marketing, Canadians are helping businesses cash in on the new Millennium a year early. Canadians will probably be hit again next December when "the biggest night in history" promotions are recycled.

Since there was no year zero, the twentieth century and this Millennium do not end until December 31, 2000. The real next Millennium starts January 1, 2001.

December 31, 1999 marks the calendar change from the 1900s to the 2000s. You must decide whether this is a significant event or it is the significant event.

Celebrate what you like, the way you want to but make sure you know what you're celebrating and why. Too many people are being swept up in a media and marketing tidal wave that has people feeling that they must follow along or they'll miss the celebration of the century. Ads insist you spend for that knockout outfit, timeless memento or splashy party. Ratings-hungry media are pitching their New Year's Eve coverage as the ultimate event of the evening -- and the century.

So many Canadians have been sold a false start on the Millennium that it may be a good time to take a closer look at how increasingly we let the media and advertisers dictate the patterns of our lives. Those tackling real estate or retirement goals should stop and think about how easily so many have been drawn into a celebration that is 90% hype and largely staged for other people's gain. Look at how you have reacted to this "mass misleading" and ask yourself whether a scheme or marketing ploy could distract you from your financial goals or retirement plans.

Remember the lemming rush to mutual funds and "gold mines" like Bre-X? Are you aware that millions are lost each year to misleading and fraudulent financial schemes and scams? The "Millennium starts in 2000" pitch may be relatively benign financially but is it really any different? Were you swept along by the marketing hype or have you made a conscious decision to celebrate 2000, for your own reasons, in your own fashion?

Developing a skeptical nature can save you from following a perceived leader into something which may undermine your finances and put your home at risk. All it takes is asking a few questions, such as "Was there a year zero?"

Have a happy New Year whatever you're celebrating. May 2000 bring you all the health and prosperity you and your family deserve.

Editor's note: Readers in the Metropolitan Toronto area will be able to catch PJ on CITY TV's Breakfast Television on Wednesday December 29. PJ also has a series of articles on the future in the National Post on Wednesday.

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    PJ Wade

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