Consumption and marketing

READ the Boorstin AND the Klein pieces PLUS AT LEAST THREE other pieces in the Session of your choice. In your FIRST post describe how you see the changes in marketing over time in the U.S. AND analyze them – what’s good? problematic? why?
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MGT-403-01 Spring18 CC…
Discussion 11 – Consumption &
Marketing
Reminder: you have 1# course
evaluations to complete. Please submit all
course evaluations before the end of the
term. Thank you.
Introduction
Alyssa Stewart
Each of the “truths”/maps/caves that we have been
looking at so far can be thought as “lenses” for
viewing the ethical and sociall aspects of business.
Depending on the lens that we use, different aspects
of what’s going on around us are highlighted. Our
relationship to the goods and services that we use is
another lens. In this session this relationship is
framed in terms of marketing and consumption. As
always, my intention is to promote reflection on the
truths/ that we tend to experience as Truths and
necessary assumptions.
The two issues overlap but are not the same. In its
basic forms consumption is inherent to being human.
We all need to eat, drink and protect our bodies from
the elements. Marketing, on the other hand, is an
optional sort of experience. Marketing involves
promoting the sale of specific goods and services,
generally with the goal of realizing a profit (there
certainly are non-profit marketing efforts). We can
see that in our own lives not everything that we
consume is marketed. (Or can we? While the water
that comes out of our taps is not marketed to us many
of us do buy water in bottles that has been
“marketed”, packaged and advertised in certain ways
to promote certain images).
It is not therefore a Truth that marketing is an
essential part of consumption. In addition to the tap
water example (which holds – at least for the time
being) there are plenty of times and places (I’m
thinking about rural Nicaragua, in the 1980s, for
example) in which consumption is very much not
affected by marketing. Marketing is a phenomena
associated with particular conditions, similar to the
scientific paradigms that Kuhn described. It depends
on many economic, social, and technological factors.
In rural Nicaragua in the 1980s, for example, there
was no television to promote products and images.
There was also a U.S.-imposed blockade that
severely limited the variety of consumer goods
available. In the particular conditions of our society,
on the other hand, most of our consumption is closely
intertwined with marketing. See, for example, the
Cathy cartoon (below). What factors influence
Cathy’s consumption in what ways? See, also, the
car ad (also in Files, I apologize for the poor
rendition). How does that marketing affect
consumption? consider also Gladwell’s article from
the New Yorker, below: why is it that we are willing to
pay more money to buy and fuel cars that are more
dangerous than others? What kind of social context
is assumed? Can you think of a context in which
such an ad would not work? (if you aren’t already
familiar with Janis Joplin singing “Mercedes Benz”, I
recommend listening to the Youtube link).
The development of marketing in the U.S. is briefly
charted in the two readings that I have assigned. In
the The American Experience, Boorstin begins with
the pre-Revolutionary period and follows the
emergence of advertising its development into the
marketing industry (for it wasn’t always an industry)
up through the 1960s. One of the really nice aspects
of Boorstin’s piece is how he places the changes in
advertising and marketing in the context of historical
events: wars, technological breakthroughs, social
movements, etc. Klein picks up where Boorstin
leaves off, in the 1970s, and focuses on the
development of “branding”, a particular variant of
marketing.
Part of our understanding of ourselves in the U.S. is
that we have choices. Choices to occupy different
social positions (remember de Tocqueville), choices
as citizens etc. This understanding is very prominent
in consumption as well. It is certainly true that we
have many choices about what and how we
consume; breakfast cereal, deodorant, cars…(on its
website for the new Scion, Toyota has a link that says
“build your Scion – we relinquish all power to you”
(http://www.scion.com )
It is also true that our environment is influenced in
new and powerful ways by marketing. You are
probably all familiar with the studies that document
the effects of TV advertising on young children. The
Christian Science Monitor reports that by the time
U/S. children reach first grade they are aware of
something like 200 brand logos http://www.csmonitor.com/2002/0401/p15s02wmcn.html . See also, the website of the American
Academy of Pediatrics
(http://www.aap.org/family/mediaimpact.htmfor
commentary on the persuasive effects of advertising
on young children. As adults we tend to think of
ourselves as more sophisticated and better able to
filter the marketing messages that we experience. It
is interesting, therefore, to consider Malcolm
Gladwell’s article on SUVs that appeared in The New
Yorker magazine. He describes the complex and
contradictory relationship between our consumption
of these vehicles and their characteristics in terms of
safety and the environment. The rationality of our
consumption decisions is a very unique one.
Marketing has also become part of areas of life that it
didn’t occupy before. This is a key part of Klein’s
argument. After you have read her piece I would
suggest looking at the USA Today article on
advertising on police cars
(http://www.usatoday.com/news/nation/2002-10-30ad-usat_x.htm ) and the NYT article about branding
public infrastructure in NYC (see below).
Finally, as we will touch on a bit more in the
discussion of globalization, there are issues of the
uneveness of consumption around the world, as
suggested by the map below. The interdependencies
between consumption and marketing are very
complex. I hope that this discussion helps you to
consider them in new lights.
Finally, as we will touch on a bit more in the
discussion of globalization, there are issues of the
uneveness of consumption around the world, as
suggested by the map below. The interdependencies
between consumption and marketing are very
complex. I hope that this discussion helps you to
consider them in new lights.
The interdependencies between consumption and
marketing are very complex. I hope that this session
helps you to consider them in new lights.
Naomi Klein, “No Logo” (1999) Chapter 2,
“The Brand Expands”
Boorstin – The Democratic Experience
(excerpt)
Gladwell article from the New Yorker
Cathy comic
The Waste of Consumption – and business
response
2014 NYT article.
NYT article: “How Big Business Got Brazil
Hooked on Junk Food”
Read this article and watch the 3-minute video.
PRIZIM segmentation system – ZIPCODE
lookup
The PRIZM system is owned by Nielsen. It
breaks the U.S. population up into 65
“segments” based on their cultural preferences,
demographics, income and brand a?liations for
the purposes of marketing. Check out this page
– plug in your own zipcode to see how your
community is characterized.
Radio clip about how FB uses data for
marketing purposes – 4/18
This radio clip (9:43 minutes long) is an interview
with a professor who studies social media. It
highlights some of the more powerful ways that
online data is used.
“How Facebook’s Ad System Works” NYT 10/17
This explanation of how Facebook uses and sells
user information to marketers. This article
predates the 2018 revelations about the
“harvesting” of FB data by Cambridge
Analytica (for Trump 2017 campaign) and other
apps.
Discussion 11 – Consumption & Marketing
READ the Boorstin AND the Klein pieces
PLUS AT LEAST THREE other pieces in the
Session of your choice. In your FIRST
post describe how you see the changes in
marketing over time in the U.S.
AND analyze them – what’s good?
problematic? why?
In your SECOND post , comment on your
classmates’ first posts.
Discussion 11 – Current Events
For your first post, summarize and discuss an
article from recent news related to consumption
and marketing. For your second post comment
on your classmates’ first posts.

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