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IU / African Studies / AMST 315 / What is the definition of consumer culture?

What is the definition of consumer culture?

What is the definition of consumer culture?


School: Indiana University
Department: African Studies
Course: Advertising & Consumer Culture
Professor: Alexander swanson
Term: Summer 2016
Cost: 50
Name: Advertising and Consumer Culture Midterm Notes and Study Guide
Description: This is a review of everything you need to know for the midterm exam including a blank version to test yourself.
Uploaded: 07/19/2016
16 Pages 35 Views 5 Unlocks

Advertising and Consumer Culture Midterm  

What is the definition of consumer culture?

1. What is the definition of consumer culture?  

a. A form of capitalism where the economy is focused on the  selling of consumer goods and the spending of consumer  money  

2. What is the purpose of studying consumer culture?  a. Once you have knowledge about it you will be able to use it in advertising.  

3. Pick the term consumer culture apart- what does it mean to be a  consumer?  

a. Someone who trades money for goods as an individual.  4. How can the idea of being a consumer relate to an entire  culture?  

a. Consumers make up a culture.  

b. When you see a product you want, you will then consume  it and it will become a part of your culture.  

What is the purpose of studying consumer culture?

If you want to learn more check out What is ischiopubic ramus?

5. What does it mean to say that culture is aesthetic, archeological,  and anthropological?  

a. Aesthetic  

i. Symptoms of value, cultivation, taste, appreciation,  pleasure, sensation  

b. Archeological  

i. Artifacts, texts, architecture, material culture  

c. Anthropological  

i. The social customs, belief systems, a “whole way of  life,” this way of life was not totally given

complicated by sub-cultures and other oppositional  forces  

6. What are the differences between consumption and production?  a. Production is the act of things being made or produced  b. Consumption is the purchasing or interacting with the  things being produced  Don't forget about the age old question of What is the second largest reservoir in the hydrosphere, and where is it located?

7. What are the differences between consumption and  consumerism?  

Pick the term consumer culture apart- what does it mean to be a consumer?

a. Consumption is the act of using something  

b. Consumerism is how the social system operates  8. What is the idea of social tableau? (ESSAY QUESTION)*** a. Example of picture of family sitting watching TV with  mother serving drinks  

b. Stereotypical picture of the American dream and how  society is  

c. One boy and girl children  

d. Father relaxing after work with cigar and feet up  e. “TV happiness shared by all the family”  

f. Advertising may represent this as a kind of reality

g. Supposed to be a constructive image  

h. Can try to make you desire the image, for example, oh I  don’t own that shirt but maybe if I wear what they wear in  the advertisement my life will be like theirs

i. Distorted image of society  

j. Appears to be the only representation of American society  which is not the case, not everybody looks like that and not everybody can afford all of that  If you want to learn more check out What is hydrogen halide?

9. What produces ad clutter?  

a. Space/place  

i. Our world is filled with advertising for a distinct  

purpose so it can express something about itself  

ii. Outdoor/indoor space and public/private space  

iii. Our boundaries are being affected in some type of  way  

iv. We are becoming an increasingly more distracted  population  

b. Technology (billboards)  

i. Ranging from everything going on around us, to our  own mobile devices  

ii. Getting harder and harder to escape  

10. What is ad fatigue?  

a. A lot of advertising is junk now and we have no idea why it  is there Don't forget about the age old question of Define octet rule.

b. It is unnecessary and populates space  

c. Leads to ad blocking and the use of ad blocking software  11. What is consumption (and consumer culture) as social?  a. Exchange of ideas through talking or social actions  b. Example, TV can bring people together even people who  seem to be divided Catching up on shows  

c. Listening to the radio because you feel the need to stay in  the loop and be updated on the news  

12. What is consumption as productive?  

a. Example bought a kitchen table  

b. Produce memories at that table  

c. Those are the stories and memories that are made so they  are productive means of consumption  

d. Bought the table for that reason  

e. Producing a value because those memories will be  remembered years from then  

f. We add meaning to things because of our social beings  13. What is the relationship between consumer culture and  democracy in the US? (Thinking of cross chapter here)  a. Consumerism redefined democracy  

b. Consumerism reflected real social needs and fulfilled those  needs with little conflictIf you want to learn more check out What is the domain of the function?

c. Consumer culture is democracy’s highest achievement  i. Giving meaning and dignity to people when  

workplace participation, ethnic solidarity, and  

representative democracy have failed

14. How do we define Commodity Fetishism?  

a. A product that becomes an idol, when the product  becomes more than the actual meaning that comes with it. They take on new meanings and values.  

15. How does Marx’s concept of Commodity Fetishism help us  understand the development of consumer culture?  

a. Industrialization  Mass production  new mass culture  and relationship to goods/services 

b. Idealization  

i. The object being a religious item  

ii. The item represents something but also takes on  many other qualities and context  

iii. Example. Jesus on the cross

16. What is alienation/ disconnection?  

a. Marx’s terminology specifically  

b. Disassociation from the means of production  

c. We get alienated from how our stuff is made  Don't forget about the age old question of How do iq tests provide accurate measures of intelligence?

d. Common in foods, what goes into the foods I’m eating?  e. Leads to things being released that are not properly made  or safe  

17. What is propaganda?  

a. Bernays called his work propaganda  

b. Advertising is being considered as this  

c. The same processes as analyzing the mind and body that  were used in the war  

d. Commonly used with the Nazi’s  

e. Usage of media to basically convince a whole public  (example that war was okay)

18. What is paranoia?  

a. The probing aspect  

b. To find out what makes us do what we do  

c. Then once we find out what influences our behaviors,  maybe we can influence those behaviors in some way  19. What is the relationship between consumption, production,  and labor?  

a. Production  

i. There is a middle step between production and  

consumption (sales)  

ii. When we see the rise of the industry across the US in the early 1900’s they could not stop producing stuff,  they got very excited, and new methods of making  stuff did not stop

b. Consumption  

i. Consumers will just want whatever we put out there  for any price  

1. That is not the case but people used to believe  

in this  

ii. The Great Depression did not allow people to buy  what they wanted  

iii. Things need to be on sale and discounted  

iv. They can still have high priced goods because people will buy them, but not everybody so they need to  


c. Sales (Labor????)  

i. Because they realize they have a surplus of goods  ii. How can they keep doing that if they are charging  such high prices on stuff  

iii. That is when they changed from a sales culture to a  consumer culture  

20. What does Bernays mean by “organized chaos?”  a. Society would be a free for all if there weren’t certain  people who could control it  

b. It would be chaotic if it was not only a democratic  democracy because there would be all different types of  people (example)  

21. What does Bernays see the function of advertising to be?  a. Advertising itself can be part of it and part of organizing  the chaos  

b. Trying to control the population  

c. Strong suggestions of how to behave and what to believe  22. What is the meaning and value of the ideas that Leach  introduces to us?  

a. The relationship of advertising to happiness  

i. Very basic idea to have in mind  

ii. It has developed over the time of advertising that  products can be the pathway to happiness  

iii. Gets developed overtime  

iv. Gets applied to a lot of different things  

v. It is significant that we can find happiness through so many different things  

vi. Example is how an automobile can provide the same  amount of happiness and pleasure as a bag of  

Doritos or in a friendship  

b. The “cult of the new”  

i. How can we be happy if we constantly need  

something new 

ii. When will we ever be satisfied with what we have in  our lives

iii. Leads to planned obsolescence (example. An iPhone  purposely has updates if you keep changing it but if  you use it for the basics it will be fine for years)  

c. The “democratization of desire”  

i. Everybody is allowed to desire these new products  ii. Becomes a driving force  

iii. Becomes a goal to get the newest products  

iv. It is peoples motivation to work so they can get what  they desire  

v. Something is being produces by various industries  that was unattainable by all social classes

vi. This helps create the middle class  

vii. If you work hard enough at something you can  achieve anything  

d. The idea that monetary value is the ultimate sign of  societal/ cultural value 

i. We have such a close relationship with money  

ii. It seems to really matter a lot  

iii. Signifying class status in terms of separating  

iv. These have been problems since before consumer  culture but this put a new twist on it 

23. What is the use value versus market value? (The shifting  focus of the culture)

a. Goes back to Marx  

b. Connects to the fetishized object  

c. Use may seem useless or just something random to put  things in (Example box from the show)  

d. Market value is what it is truly worth, very different from  the generic use (economically)  

24. What fears and concerns about advertising permeated the  post WWII years?  

a. Citizens now possess significant purchasing power  b. So the advertising industry can’t control the consumers but it’s the other way around 

25. What produces post war consumer culture? What sustains  it?  

a. The post-war period in America is often understood as one of:  Economic Prosperity

 Population Increase (the “baby boom”)

 Suburbanization

b. All of these three things bring about new categories of  consumers

26. Explain the following concepts  

a. Economic prosperity- flourishing in wealth

i. Planned Obsolescence

1. Business/marketing strategy where the  

obsolescence of a product (it’s becoming  

unusable) is planned and built in production,  

distribution, and advertising practices  

ii. Goal: Create consumer “need” for the new  

b. The Baby Boom  

i. Prosperity and economic security: sense of certainty  about providing for one’s family  

1. “My family can have all the things I never had”  

2. Idea: Abundance of material goods= lack of  

wanting anything  

ii. “Baby Boomers” become a whole new market  

1. Purchasing power of the teenage, influence of  

children on parents’ consumption practices  

c. Suburbanization Role  

i. Linked to the baby boom  

ii. Mass movement to mass produced, affordable  

housing outside of urban areas  

iii. Emphasis on the family  

iv. Television becomes a key product in this process d. Television as Ad Medium (home and use within the family)  i. Repetition is key  

ii. Emphasis on visual element  

iii. Unique selling proposition (USP)  

1. Break a barrier for the consumer  

2. Make way in the consumers mind  

3. In order for the ad to remain in mind, have a  


a. Set yourself apart and show why you’re  

better than others  

iv. Loyalty is very important

e. Development of youth/teen market  

i. Purchasing power  

ii. Parent’s involvement with control over how  

much/what their kids watch  

iii. Baby boomers become a whole new market  

27. How are children marketed to?  

a. Repetition and building brand name loyalty.  

b. They get songs and ideas stuck in their head and want it.  28. What are the problems with the ways children are  marketed to?  

a. They get hooked on one advertisement and cannot move  on to another product.  

b. They won’t drop the idea of it.  

29. What is planned obsolescence?

a. Business/marketing strategy where the obsolescence of a  product (it’s becoming unusable) is planned and built in  production, distribution, and advertising practices  

30. What is unique selling proposition (USP)?  

a. It breaks a barrier for the consumer

i. Unique: rational feature  

ii. Selling: Value, what meets, even goes beyond,  

consumer expectations?  

iii. Proposition: promise of specific product providing  specific benefit  

31. How is the relationship between Counterculture and  consumer culture developed and negotiated?  

a. Idea: Modern capitalism/consumer culture= not one of  total domination and order, but a messy negotiation  between consumer resistance and capitalist re


b. 1960’s countercultural idea co-opted by consumer culture  c. Changing attitudes toward war, sex, gender, race, the  environment, age, authority, and tradition become  


d. Counterculture conflated with youth culture  

e. Youth culture, and thus consumption= “COOL”  

f. Advertisers embrace notions of freedom, individuality, rule breaking, defiance, and mockery of the establishment  g. “Cool Capitalism is the incorporation of disaffection into  capitalism itself”

32. What exactly gets co-opted by the advertising  establishment?  

a. The advertising establishment merges with the company  their advertising for.  

b. The idea they create for the advertisement gets co-opted.  33. Why does the above answer get co-opted by the  advertising establishment and what are the consequences?  a. Feeling out our hidden weaknesses to influence behavior 34. Is consuming brands or living in space as production or  labor?  

a. Labor- consumption is an activity that involves work  b. Production- In this new age we must use our organization  skills to get work done  

35. What is the incorporation of disaffection into capitalism?  a. Disaffection is not willing to support authority  

b. If you’re not willing to support authority of the  

advertisements, why would you support the actual product  being advertised?  

36. What does “capitalism as flexible and adaptive” mean for  the consumer? For the industry itself?

a. As new products are produced, consumers will have to be  flexible and adjust.  

b. It is important for both the industry and the consumers to  be flexible and open to change.  

37. What does the development of “cool”consumption mean?  a. Youth culture and thus consumption= “cool”  

38. Frank chapter and changing notions of the ad culture: shift  from “science, reason, and order” to…?  

a. The use and talent and creativity over the use of science  b. Creativity is the key term  

c. Creativity is viewed as a disorder or a rebelliousness  39. How do we use brands?  

a. It is a social status and shows your connection and  involvement with the brand idea.  

40. How might brands use us?  

a. As advertisements, by giving out stickers we advertise for  their brand.  

41. What is product placement?  

a. When the product is in a source of media intentionally even without being mentioned just to show that it is being used  which makes it more desirable.  

42. What is product integration?  

a. Using a product in a show, for example a daughter using  an Apple computer, rather than it just sitting on a table.

315 Midterm 

The exam will consist of the following:

20 multiple­choice questions3 out of 5 short answer/definition questions1 out of 2  long answer / essay­style questions.

KEY TERMS & CONCEPTS (General Overview)

1. How do we define Consumer Culture? What is the purpose of studying it, of being  critical of it? 

Consumer culture is a form of capitalism in which the economy is focused on the  selling of consumer goods and the spending of consumer money. (Most people would  agree that the US is a consumer culture.) 

2. Pick the term consumer culture apart – what does it mean to be a consumer? How can  that be configured as an entire culture? 

3. What does it mean to say that culture is aesthetic, archeological, and anthropological?  Aesthetic: symptoms of value, cultivation, taste, appreciation, pleasure, sensation  Archeological: artifacts, texts, architecture, material culture 

Anthropological: the social customs, belief systems, a “whole way of life,” this  way of life not totally given­ complicated by sub­cultures and other oppositional  forces 

4. Differences: Between Consumption and Production? Consumption and Consumerism?  Turn to McGuigan’s chapter for help on the above items. 

Consumption VS Production


Consumption and Consumerism 

5. Idea of Social Tableau is key (Marchand) 

6. What produces Ad Clutter? Related to that (and discussed in other weeks) 

1. Space/ Place 

 Our world is filled with advertising for a distinct purpose so it can express         something about itself 

 Outdoor/indoor space and public/private space

 Our boundaries are being affected in some type of way 

 Distraction is key in terms of what people have and the clutter 

 We become an increasingly more distracted population  

    2. Technology (billboards) 

 Ranging from everything going on around us, to our own mobile devices   Getting harder and harder to escape 

7. What is Ad Fatigue?

 A lot of advertising is junk now and we have no idea why or how it is there  and goes right into the recycling bin 

 It unnecessarily populates space 

 Leads to ad blocking and the use of ad blocking software 

7. Key concept: Consumption (and consumer culture) as social. Key concept:  Consumption as productive.

8. What is the relationship between consumer culture and democracy in the U.S.?  (Thinking of Cross chapter here, among other things)

9. How do we define Commodity Fetishism? How does Marx’s concept help us  understand the development of Consumer Culture?

10. Key concepts: Alienation and Disconnection

11. Key concepts: Propaganda and Paranoia

 Bernays called his work propaganda 

12. Once again: relationship of consumption, production, and labor.


∙ There is a middle step between production and consumption (sales) ∙ When we see the rise of industry across the US in the early 1900’s they could  not producing stuff, they got very excited, and new methods of making stuff  did not stop

Sales 

∙ Because they realize they have a surplus of goods 

∙ How can they keep doing that if they are charging such high prices on stuff  ∙ That is when they changed from a sales culture to a consumer culture  Consumer 

∙ Consumer will just want whatever we put out there and for any price  o Not the case, but that is what they used to think 

∙ The Great Depression did not allow people to buy what they wanted  ∙ Things need to be on “sale” and discounted 

∙ There needs to be differentiation 

∙ They can still have high priced goods because people will buy them, but not  everybody so they need to differentiate 

13. What does Bernays mean by “organizing chaos”? What does he see the function of  advertising to be, and what role did he play in the industry?

14. What is the meaning and value of the following ideas Leach introduces to us:  (1) the relationship of advertising to happiness; 

(2) the “cult of the new”; 

(3) the “democratization of desire”; 

“The democratization of desire” – Leach 

∙ Linked to our freedom of choice which leads to democracy

∙ We are able to make these choices and the democratic process has  tied into desire in a way of consumerism that only allows our 

democracy to flourish 

∙ Idea of desire can be something we try to strive for 

(4) the idea that monetary value is the ultimate sign of societal/cultural value 15. Key concept: Use Value versus Market ValueKey concept: The shifting focus of the 

culture (from ProductionàSalesàThe Consumer)

16. What fears and concerns about advertising permeated the post­WWII years? (think of  what Vance Packard details in Hidden Persuaders)

17. Deep analysis of postwar consumer culture ­ what produces it? Sustains it?Ideas of  Economic Prosperity, the Baby Boom, and SuburbanizationRole of Television as ad  medium (especially within the home, as used by the family) Development of youth/teen  market ­ how are children marketed to? Problems with this?

Economic Prosperity 

∙ Planned Obsolescence 

o Business/marketing strategy where the obsolescence of a product  (it’s becoming obsolete­ “unusable”/”unfashionable”) is planned and  built in to production, distribution, and advertising practices 

∙ Goal: Create consumer “need” for the new 

Population Increase (the “Baby Boom”) 

∙ Why does this happen? 

∙ Connection to advertising and consumer culture? 

o Prosperity and economic security= sense of certainty about 

providing for one’s family 

 “My family can have all the things I never had” 

 Idea: Abundance of material goods= lack of wanting for 


o “Baby boomers” become a whole new market 

 Purchasing power of the teenager; influence of children on 

parents’ consumption practices 


∙ Linked to “baby boom” 

∙ Mass movement to mass produced, affordable housing outside of urban areas  ∙ Emphasis on the family 

∙ Television becomes key product of this process 

o Why is TV­ in terms of advertising­ understood as so important  compared to radio and print? 

o What is TV’s relationship to the family? To the family as a group  of consumers?

TV Ads 

∙ Repetition is key 

∙ Emphasis on visual element 

∙ Aural elements key too! (“Jingles”) 

∙ Unique selling proposition (USP)­ Rosser Reeves 

o Break a barrier for the consumer 

o Make way in the consumers mind 

o In order for the ad to remain in mind, have a unique selling 


 Set yourself apart and say why you are better than the others 

TV Ads 

∙ What gets a potential and indecisive consumer to not only choose a  product/brand, but also become loyal to it? 

o Loyalty is very important 

∙ Unique= inimitable feature, rational feature 

∙ Selling= value, what meets, even goes beyond, consumer expectations?  o To not just sell the product one time, but to sell it over and over  again 

∙ Proposition= promise of specific product providing specific benefit 

18. Key concept: Planned Obsolescence

∙ Planned Obsolescence 

o Business/marketing strategy where the obsolescence of a product  (it’s becoming obsolete­ “unusable”/”unfashionable”) is planned and  built in to production, distribution, and advertising practices 

19. Key concept: Unique Selling Proposition

∙ Unique selling proposition (USP)­ Rosser Reeves 

o Break a barrier for the consumer 

o Make way in the consumers mind 

o In order for the ad to remain in mind, have a unique selling 


 Set yourself apart and say why you are better than the others 

20. Counterculture and Consumer Culture ­ how is their relationship developed and  negotiated?

Consumer culture/ Counterculture 

∙ Idea: Modern capitalism/ consumer culture= not one of total domination and  order, but a messy negotiation between consumer resistance and capitalist re appropriation 

∙ Cannot be about domination, has to be about negotiation 

∙ 1960’s countercultural ideas co­opted by consumer culture

∙ Chaning attitudes towards war, sex, gender, race, the environment, age,  authorirty, and tradition become “marketable” 

∙ Counterculture conflated with youth culture 

Consumer Culture/ Counterculture 

∙ Changing attitudes towards war, sex, gender, race, the environment, age,  authority, and tradition become “marketable” 

∙ Counterculture conflated with youth cuure 

∙ Youth culture, and thus consumption= “COOL”

∙ Advertisers embrace notions of freedom, individuality, rule­breaking, and  mockery of the establishment 

∙ “Cool capitalism is the incorporation of disaffection into capitalism itself”  21. What exactly gets co­opted by the advertising establishment? Why? Consequences?

22. Key concept: Incorporation of disaffection into capitalism.

23. Capitalism as flexible and adaptive – what does this mean for the consumer? For the  ad industry itself?

24. The development of “cool” consumption ­ what does it mean for a product to be 

“cool”? (Think: social relations)

25. Frank chapter and changing notions of the ad culture: shift from “science, reason, and order” to....?

26. BRANDS (a lot to draw from here!)Klein and Arvidsson (perhaps quite obvious at  this point). Branding and concepts of place and spaceBrand cultureHow do we use  brands? How might they use us?Consuming brands or living in brand­space as production or labor Key concepts: Product Placement / Product Integration

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