Consumption Junction: Join the Revolution

by Lana Lynne on 10.17.2010

Check out this interesting essay from 1983 on advertising and global culture. As consumerism became an increasingly popular field of study in the 'seventies and 'eighties, critics turned from its effects on the U.S. and other western cultures to look at the bigger picture.

Author Noreen Janus looks at why a Brazilian advertising executive chose "Join the Pepsi Revolution" over "Join the Pepsi Generation" for ads in Brazil, and the implications of the ad man's insight: "most people have no other means to express their need for social change other than by changing brands and increasing consumption."

Janus also looks at the way western products are depicted in global television advertising. In 'eighties transnational marketing, Janus found these products were most often associated with modernity, whiteness, and progress. And as for the impact on economically poor areas, Janus argues, "the impact of transnational culture is greater among the poor - the very people who cannot afford to buy the lifestyle it represents."

It's interesting how television was once almost synonymous with consumerism. Now, although the choices have expanded a hundredfold and (the illusion of?) agency has come into the picture, much of what Janus wrote about the TV generation holds true today. Read the essay in our Scribd Library here.
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