Is Antiсonsumerism a Secret Weapon of Advertising

Document Type:Thesis

Subject Area:Sociology

Document 1

This is based on the fact it has been likened to branding. Branding does not just refer to the product or company; it also represents a perceived symbol that evokes a number of meanings that has an interpretative and emotional effect on the consumers (Rice, 2013). The result of this is that brands have ended up hugely influencing consumer behavior than even the product itself. For example, even though the APPLE computer being of good quality, the brand and logo of APPLE have become more important than the actual computer. This paper will explore the social movements that championed anti-consumerism and how advertising has used the concept of appealing more to the masses. Additionally, the Adbusters Movement emphasizes that advertising as a marketing tool, greatly influences a person’s desire, clutter, consciousness, and landscapes of daily life.

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Advertising has been found to turn people into passive consumers who are always long to continue consuming more and more goods (Joy & Li, 2012). The aim of the Adbusters Movement is to turn people from passive consumers and turn them into active citizens who understand the downturn of over-consumption. According to Basci (2014), not only does advertising promote consumption as a way of life but also facilitates accommodation of the plurality of images that encourage more consumption. Further, the Adbusters Movement argues that consumerism has turned people into branded individuals. Therefore, it is important to that advertising consumes us as much as we consume it. The idea of culture jamming seeks to liberate the mental environment of consumers from the existing powerful grip of market-structured consciousness that is aimed at propagating ideas as opposed to plugging products.

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In other words, the main role of culture jammers is to generate a completely new idea from the original commercial advertising messages (Gerth, 2013). The term “cultural jamming” was first used in 1984 by a college band Negativland. Culture jamming was used extensively by the Adbusters Movement in sending their messages to the public. Simple living encourages that with even moderate or limited consumption of a product, one can gain adequate satisfaction. Moreover, a number of researchers inclusive of the Ussher (Simplicity Institute) and Alexander perceive the Voluntary Simplicity Movement as a social movement that is post-consumerist in nature. The movement offers a transition alternative to sustainable, just and flourishing human civilization (Brown &Vergragt, 2016). The movement identifies over-consumption as one of the major factors contributing to the global poverty, increased environmental degradation and uneconomic growth and consumer malaise.

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One of the underlying goals of simple living is reducing these global problems. On that regard, anti-consumerism has grown to be a critical weapon of advertising because of its effectiveness in stressing the quality of the product or commodity being advertised. With the increased competition in the contemporary society, the number of substitutes available in the market has increased exponentially which has seen companies come up with new advertising strategies to penetrate the market more and maintain the existing consumer base. Bossy (2014) asserts that the result of factoring in anti-consumerism in advertising is that there has been a gradual shift in advertising from encouraging the purchase of the increased number of units of products or commodities, to the assurance that even with a few units one can get the same amount of satisfaction.

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The beverage industry and in particular the Coca-Cola company has extensively encouraged anti-consumerism as a strategy of improving the quality of its products. It emphasizes that even just one drink, one is able to derive so much satisfaction which gives it a cutting edge over its competitors. Advertising has shifted from the semi-disguised and ambiguous messages to the self-cynical messages for a jaded generation ((Joy & Li, 2012). The satire in today’s messages has been largely embraced as a paradoxical crutch that reflects the existing power structure in the contemporary society. Just like the advertisement of Chipotle’s, the contemporary advertisements do cover the need to educate the masses which has seen them increase their market share through increasing the number of customers who will prefer to buy such a commodity or product.

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