Sunday, December 2, 2012

Consumerism In America


[kuh n-soo-muh-riz-uh m]    
1. a modern movement for the protection of the consumer against useless, inferior, or dangerous products, misleading advertising, unfair pricing, etc.
2. the concept that an ever-expanding consumption of goods is advantageous to the economy.
3. the fact or practice of an increasing consumption of goods: a critic of American consumerism.
Above is the 'Official Story of Stuff (2007)' which to start with talks more about the statistics and the formation of Consumerism.  However, around 12 minutes in, the video refers to economist and retail analyst Victor Lebow, who states:
'Our enormously productive economy demands that we make consumption our way of life, that we convert the buying and use of goods into rituals, that we seek our spiritual satisfactions, our ego satisfactions, in consumption. The measure of social status, of social acceptance, of prestige, is now to be found in our consumptive patterns. The very meaning and significance of our lives today expressed in consumptive terms. The greater the pressures upon the individual to conform to safe and accepted social standards, the more does he tend to express his aspirations and his individuality in terms of what he wears, drives, eats- his home, his car, his pattern of food serving, his hobbies.
These commodities and services must be offered to the consumer with a special urgency. We require not only “forced draft” consumption, but “expensive” consumption as well. We need things consumed, burned up, worn out, replaced, and discarded at an ever increasing pace. We need to have people eat, drink, dress, ride, live, with ever more complicated and, therefore, constantly more expensive consumption. The home power tools and the whole “do-it-yourself” movement are excellent examples of “expensive” consumption.'

This suggests how America has flourished over the years and become a society based on materialistic ambitions, wants and needs.  Furthermore, the video explains how all areas are conflicted by this notion; even the Government, as the video portrays how Eisenhower's Government would rather spend their money on attracting and advertising consumer good to increase America's wealth, instead of focusing on healthcare or eductation. 

Above is the US advert for Pepsi, which is a very popular and well known brand all over the world.  The advertisement focuses on two people who are seemingly eligible to walk into different circumstances and take part in the momental situations, due to the fact they've drank the drink. This is suggesting to the audience that Pepsi is a brand that targets the younger generation who want to be have these 'exciting experiences'.  Also, it features Nikki Minaj, a popular artist in the US, which would also target the younger generation and suggests that as Minaj drinks this drink, so should you.

This advert highlights how consumerism, not just in America, generally focuses and advertises to the younger generation; because of reasons like how companies compete, and to target younger people is almost like 'catching them early', and to almost persuade them first to like their product.  Also, younger people are more than likely to be busy and want the sugar rush. Lastly, it targets a generation that all want to have the same things, eat the same things and drink the same things.  To target a young person is an attempt to persuade the whole cohort of younger people to choose their brand. 



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