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Chapter 5

Sociology 2172A/B Chapter Notes - Chapter 5: Carnivalesque, Cui Bono, Consumer Capitalism


Department
Sociology
Course Code
SOC 2172A/B
Professor
Gale Cassidy
Chapter
5

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-CHAPTER 5- CREATING CONSUMERS
-The Economy and the Status System
-as wealth increased, the limiting factor became demand, which closely
became linked to desire
-recessions and depressions occur because demand drops- not because of
an inability to product and supply goods and services
-in postmodern societies, maintaining consumer confidence and a steady
demand is crucial
-status preoccupations and social pressures are different from the need to
feed one’s family, nonetheless experienced as very real to those who live
in such a social context
-Obsolescence demand for consumer commodities must be created
largely through obsolescence (the making of something else obsolete)
-making something obsolete is accomplished through:
-Innovation creating something newer, better, i.e. computer technology
-Making Products Designed to Wear Out American car companies
accused of this from 1950-1980
-fatal flaw of this technique: others making quality goods that outcompete
your product i.e. Japanese car companies
-Turn Products to Status Symbols the more an item has status value
(rather than practical value), the more subject it is to fashion
-fashion automatically creates obsolescence through making some things
old, new things popular
-therefore, very important that businesses make people deeply concerned
about their social status
-Businesses: Profiting From Teenagers
-teenagers play a much broader and more important economic role than
usually assumed
-Scope of the Teenage Market

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-teenagers often seek to maintain or enhance their status by the acquisition
of fashionable status symbols
-children and especially teenagers are important consumers for 3 reasons:
-Children as a primary market spending their own money
-Children as a significant influence on their parents’ spending
-Children as a future market when they become adults
-Teenagers are a Lucrative Current Market
-levels of spending by 12-17 year olds is unprecedented
-Peter Zollo, head of one marketing firm, said America’s 12-19 yr olds spent
roughly $94 billion of their own money in 1998, up from $63 billion four
years earlier
-other estimates are as much as 35% higher than this
-roughly comparable to the estimated direct initial cost of the US invasion of
Iraq in 2003
-youth market became apparent after WWII, but was accelerated by the
strong economic expansion during the 1990’s- real family income
increased 68%
-moreover, 25% less children meant more spending on each kid
-adolescents also began to earn more of their own additional spending
money in 1999, 41% (or 3.6 million) students were employed, and most
of their income as well as allowances from their parents go towards
consumer commodities and services
-Teenagers also Influence Adult Spending
-Ford has ads in Teen Magazine, BMW markets to adolescents, Hyatt Hotels
and Resorts assembled a group of 12-17 yr olds to advise them about
desired services
-while car, hotel, and airline companies do not see young people as the
primary customer, they recognize children have a major influence on
which products their parents choose
-Perhaps most important Teenagers seen as a Crucial Future Market
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-adolescence is the stage of life when people develop the sense of identity
they will draw on as adults
-this includes tastes and preferences likely to last a lifetime
-music is an obvious example adults show nostalgia and loyalty about the
music of their adolescence
-marketers are aware of the long-term impact of habits and taste developed
in adolescence
-Taking Aim at Teenagers
-because of the 3 markets outlined above, teenagers targets of massive
marketing and advertising campaigns
-American children graduate high school spending 13 000 hours in class,
compared to 18 000-22 000 hours in front of the TV- the only thing they do
more than watching TV and videos is sleeping
-advertisers pay a premium to reach young viewers, even if it’s just a small
amount of time to a small portion of the population, advertisers know
young people more likely to consume their product
-companies also attempt to associate their products with cultural images that
appeal to children- such as Disney characters, superheroes, celebrities,
music stars, etc
-very few ad-free zones exist for teens marketing is everywhere, internet,
TV, movies
-commercialization of schools Channel One- TV program in schools,
features 10 minutes of youth-oriented news and 2 minutes of advertising
daily
-12 000 schools nationwide opted to receive Channel One in 1993, serving
over 8 million teenagers, 40% of which 12-17 yr olds
-advertisers pay $200 000 for a 30 second spot on Channel One
-advertising products in an education context may further heighten their
credibility and impact
-in contrast, some postmodern theorists see advertising not as manipulation
or even a necessary nuisance, but as a central and legitimate part of
contemporary popular culture
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