Posts Tagged ‘Advertising’
Today’s phrase is Consumer Culture! While this may be true of advertising and society, it is also relevant to film studies. Here’s why:
This refers to the society in which consumption of goods is the major theme. In this idea, culture is commodified as an object of trade. Entrepreneurs bank on low self-esteem and make products which are associated with social dimensions such as relationships, socio-economic status and identity.
In film and television, we can relate this to how television is advertising and every program is filled with ads (be it product placement, or during commercial breaks). Television becomes a vehicle for mass consumption, each show being targeted to a specific audience, such as talk shows geared towards the female, and then advertising products related to them such as hygiene-related, food-related products: products for the household.
In the article, “Answering Advertisers’ Prayers,” the author Cashmore talks about how television audiences cannot escape advertising and the way products are advertised (such as Nestlé’s coffee blend) and how television is advertising. The author talks about how advertisers create problems and then create solutions which they sell to the audience as consumers. The author gives insight and further explains using various examples in history and the rationale behind the forms of advertising.
An example of consumer culture is Sex and the City. There is extensive advertising of a particular high lifestyle with dining out a lot, clubbing and expensive clothing.
Another example of consumer culture is Melrose Place which sells the idea of young singles living in a posh apartment in Los Angeles.
As the Twelve Steppers say, we must acknowledge our powerlessness. We cannot knowledgeably make even a fraction of the appropriate choices available. Say it out loud. Today I will make several wrong choices. Now, whether you’ve selected an inferior vacuum cleaner, bought the large soda when the jumbo was a better deal, or accidentally prayed to the wrong god – forgive yourself. If we took some joy in being bad choosers, or at least placed less value on being stellar consumers of unimportant things, we would be training ourselves to accept a few extra drops of imperfection in our lives. Somehow, that would seem more like progress than having the choice between polyproylene arch brace contours and a solar-powered argyle.
Steven Waldman, my friends.
Over the past four months I’ve been studying advertising and its effects and roots in our North American society. Over the course, I have read from authors possibly down a couple centuries about the consumer culture. Many authors have talked about the benefits of advertising, such as giving us the ability to make informed decisions; while on the other hand, many authors claim this as a myth, stating that with puffery and imagery, we are dumbed down even more. I believe that since advertising impacts people at individual levels making each consumer a unique (and important) addition to the consumer culture, the judgement as to whether ads really dumb down or help make decisions about buying the correct product lies in the hands of these unique members of this society. Needless to say, history shows how the FDA and similar organizations give way to the big fishes in corporate America, knowingly allowing them to exploit the loopholes in policies, leaving major repercussions to be felt in the American society.
Another imporant observation is the bleeding of consumer culture, a very, purely American thing – well, until recently – into third world countries such as Pakistan. By the way, it should be important to add here that advertising and the culture has already risen above the boundaries of ethnic demographics (although targeted advertising is a major, effective practice). I call this supervening, superceeding repercussions. All over we are now starting to see private fashion labels, advertising following the patterns of the American style (Create a problem or need, provide a solution), with images and extravagant claims which float viewers up to cloud number nine and therefore, need to have certain products or service. The important of family life is being targeted in advertisements by the services sector (financial stability, credit cards, cars and houses, loans, etc.), individuality by certain products which appeal to the self (such as an imported, branded colognes), the sense of belonging by minimal advertising (niche coffee bars and cafes), and so on. Already, this is reminiscent of Maslow’s Heirarchy of Needs.
My question to you – and think about this – is where do we draw the line between wants and needs? Is there a difference between wants and desires?