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Lecture 4

Sociology 2172A/B Lecture Notes - Lecture 4: Buy Nothing Day, Robin Leach, Gordon Gekko

Course Code
SOC 2172A/B
Gale Cassidy

of 3
Lecture #4) 01/27/2015
3 approaches in Advertising
2) Positioning approach:
Parity products- products that are basically the same, like Pepsi and coca cola
3) Soft Sell approach
Mostly about lotion products.
Consumerism- Consumerism is the preoccupation with the acquisition of goods to
satisfy needs through material things. Things have changed over 50-60 years from people
buying only the things they need to buying things they don’t need to impress people they
don’t like.
How have we reached the point where we developed unsustainable consumptions
Role of advertising is to manipulate us into buying with little reflection; it wants us to
buy on an impulse.
Appeal to insecurities
Solve our problems
Achieve happiness and freedom (the more you have, the better you feel)
Restrain our distastes
Lower-Class marketing: associate success & social standing with a product.
What are the consequences of consumerism?
Decreased savings
Consumer debt
Personal bankruptcies
Credit Card ownership
1870s Marshall fields in Chicago
John Wanamaker in Philadelphia.
In 1919- General Motors Acceptance Corporation
Henry Ford- “You could have his cars in any color as you wanted as long as it was black”
In 1925- General Motors introduced yearly automobile model change.
Post World War 2: in 1945, pent-up consumer energy because that’s when men went to
the war, optimism, economic growth.
Credit Cards:
1950s, Diners club- they were time saving devices not buy now pay later
in early 1960s-other companies.
1960s- hippies rebelled.
Mainstream Americans- viewed them with contempt, adopted the hippie look
Ironically, millions made by marketing hippie culture.
Doubts re consumer culture- 1970s
1973-74 Arab Oil embargo
Ecology became a subject to be taught in schools and universities.
Flood of writings- the limits to growth & small is beautiful
Hundreds of environmental groups- the Cousteau society & Greenpeace
Jimmy Carter – 1979 speech. This is not a message of happiness or reassurance, but it is
the truth and it is a warning.
Decade of Greed- 1980s: Ronald Reagan – contempt for reducing consumption – and
disdain for environmental movement
By 1984- “big is better”
Gordon Gekko – Starred in 1987 in Wall Street
“GREED IS GOOD! Greed will save the U.S.A!”
Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous- host Robin Leach- ‘dreams money can buy’
End of the 1980s- 33% of all personal wealth In US was in 1% of its households
Buy Nothing Day- a global phenomenon that originated in Vancouver by TED DAVE In
1992 November 28th (the day after American thanksgiving).
Do we really need all the stuff we buy? Are the products produced with care for people&