- ‘Consumption is Communication.’ Evaluate and discuss how a...
‘Consumption is Communication.’ Evaluate and discuss how advertisers might utilize this claim in their strategies. How might a sophisticated knowledge of consumer culture be of benefit to advertisers? Illustrate your essay with specific examples.
In looking at the 'Consumption is Communication' question it is
necessary to consult a range of theorists from those of the 1920s
Frankfurt School to those of recent years. This will in turn help
in the understanding of how a consumer culture has developed and
exactly what certain terms mean. Society's obsession with material
items in such a commercial world and the trends of consumption will
also be looked at as well as the investigation of some of the
advertiser's methods i.e. the utilization of celebrities. Finally,
a discussion will ensue into the effect of such a consumer culture
on the public and the role that the public plays.
Jean Baudrillard stated that 'Today, we are everywhere
surrounded by the remarkable conspicuousness of consumption and
affluence, established by the multiplications of objects, services,
and material goods.' (Baudrillard, 1988, p29). The term
'consumption' and 'consumer culture' are phenomena of the twenty
and twenty-first centuries, where the buying of material goods is
becoming ever more prevalent. This essay seeks to ascertain how the
knowledge of these phenomena can be used to the advantage of
advertisers to produce maximum profitability and competitiveness.
The theories of more traditional writers from the Frankfurt school
will be contrasted alongside a more modern approach with the view
of explaining what is meant by a consumer culture and its use to
advertisers. The negative aspects of this culture on modern society
will also be looked at.
Marketing, purchasing, sales, the acquisition of differentiated
commodities and objects / signs - all of these presently constitute
our language, a code with which our entire society communicates and
speaks of and to itself. (Baudrillard, 1988, 48)
Consumption communicates the wants and needs of modern society
and in an industry with millions of pounds at stake advertisers
need this to improve their own means of communication. Advertisers
need consumers to function but in order for the consumer industry
to thrive consumers also need the advertisers to make sure that
they have access to the very best products.