I feel obligated to preface this harangue with the statement that the attached video is not a knock against any military or veteran-owned apparel company who’s out there hustling original ideas, concepts, content, and designs. Those companies are hiring vets and putting out well-thought products that often give back to the very people they’re selling them to. This is, objectively, a good thing.
That said, if I have to see one more Facebook ad hawking generic, vaguely-branded moto shirts that attempt to portray veterans as simpletons to turn a quick buck, I’m going to take my notional head and slam it through a notional glass window where I will notionally bleed out and notionally die, thus saving me from ever having to see one of those shirts again.
I’m sure you’ve seen these things pop up, too. It’s a simple formula.
- Step 1: Create a Facebook page where you habitually steal other people’s content to grow numbers with the specific intentions to sell a product.
- Step 2: Give your page a highly generic, SEO-friendly name that will mask as some sort of philanthropic organization.
- Step 3: Think of the gaudiest design and copy imaginable for your apparel products, then find a print-on-demand platform that will facilitate.
- Step 4: Master Facebook ads and target people who are highly susceptible to said ads.
- Step 5: Collect money and laugh your way to the bank as people purchase from a page that hides behind anonymity. Like, seriously, nobody has the ability to vet you, your intentions, or your background. They literally have no idea that you’re profiting off them in an egregiously disingenuous fashion.
And that’s how that works. If you’re buying from these Facebook pages, I promise you that you’re buying from people who are in the business of military- or veteran-themed apparel purely to take you for all you’re worth.
I used to be mad that they existed, but then I realized that the type of person who falls for that kind of stuff deserves to have their money taken from them for a product that will shrink after one wash and make people normal people completely disregard them as a human being.
These messages aren’t about pride in service. They’re a statement by insecure people who haven’t accomplished anything anywhere else. Let’s put it this way: If you’re a veteran who became independently wealthy, attained a high education, or went on to other notable successes, you’re not going to be wearing a shirt that screams “I’m overcompensating at a Ph.D. level” because chances are your military service is a pride-filled footnote in a well-lived life.