Customs and traditions are varied in many different parts of the world. And it is often said that every new generation creates a new variant of customs. We rarely question where most conducts came from, and simply follow along. But let’s look at some popular ones that were started as brilliant marketing ploys that the whole world fell for.

  • Wedding registries: Giving gifts was a common practice at all weddings, however – wedding registries were definitely not the norm. That is, until 1924, when a Chicago based departmental store called Marshall Field’s came into the picture. They came up with the idea of a wedding registry so that the couple could choose the gifts they wanted instead of being disappointed later, and also so that guests could get out of the hassle of gift buying. It greatly helped the weddings, but also made the store’s sales skyrocket – making other stores copy the same tactic, until it became another usual custom. 
  • Bottled water: Nobody till date really understands why bottled water made it big. Water is a resource that is predominantly available in all countries where bottled water is sold in huge quantities everyday. Apart from being an enormous waste of money, it is also a huge environmental issue. Many companies – like Dasani, have been shown to simply fill up their bottles with filtered tap water. All in all, it sure is a great marketing scheme – considering that manufacturing costs are next to nothing. 
  • Body hair: Shaving legs and armpits for women was not a common practice earlier. But in the late 80s to early 90s, women’s fashion started creating designs that showed a lot more skin. Gillette simply cashed in on this opportunity, launching campaigns that encouraged women to shave their body hair so as to conform to a newly formed ‘beauty standard’. People bought into it, and this has become routine ever since. 
  • Diamond engagement rings: Engagements were commonly marked by the exchange of rings, however the presence of a diamond was not mandatory. In 1947, the De Beers Group of Companies started a television ad campaign called ‘Diamonds are Forever’, that emphasised the importance of a diamond in an engagement ring. They even went as far as to place significance on the size of the diamond as well as how much of his salary a man should spend on the ring (2 months). The gesture was interpreted as a form of common romance soon enough, and it has been carried out ever since. 
  • Mother’s Day: Mother’s Day was not entirely a marketing ploy, as it was invented and popularised largely by the film industry. However, Hallmark began commercialising the event by creating cards and trademark gifts so as to help shoppers find the ideal gift without much effort. They even launched ad campaigns to popularise the custom and it hasn’t died down since. 

These are only a few examples (that we know of!), which stirred the world while creating a lasting impression and put money in the bank for these companies simultaneously. If you know of any others, do drop a comment down below. Stay tuned for more like this!