Charles Revson the founder of Revlon, the cosmetics giant, is quoted as saying, “In the factory, we make cosmetics, in the store, we sell hope.” The hope of being beautiful after applying a mere lipstick made him a billionaire and he died one. Hope seems to be that silent unseen product or service dimension we often overlook and yet it’s behind some the biggest industries in the world: Politics, Gambling, Religion and Fraud, whether legitimate or not. It follows that the poorer a society is the more ‘Hope’ should be valuable and attractive. No surprise then to note the rise of online betting in Nigeria. Men and women troop to betting centres every day to lay a wager, not on the results of football matches as such, but more on the hope of a favorable outcome. They ignore the risk of losing the little that they have: As my people say ‘a man who’s already flat on his back no longer fears been thrown down in wrestling match’. And then there’re are the churches and other religious congregations who have no interest in selling Gospel truths, just the hope of miraculous transformations from poor to rich.
Politicians promise a better tomorrow, whatever that means and we buy into their manifestos even though we know that it’s just another round of story-telling again. Fraudsters come in equally strong in the Hope industry. They promise a lot but usually deliver zilch.
Hope is a human need to be abused or nurtured. When nurtured it enriches a society, when abused, it leads to all kinds of illness and social repercussions. The annoying thing is that Hope sells, whether well intended or abusive, legitimate or not.