What is Promotional Culture?

Promotional culture is the culture surrounding us, it is pervasive and inescapable  The global culture of the twenty-first century is a capitalist culture. Capitalism consists of a socio-economic and political ideology oriented to production with the goal of profit. Further, commodification, which consists of the attribution of price and value to all things for the means of profit, gives way to capitalism. The key component that fuels the global culture of capitalism is promotion, which can take many shapes and forms in its occurrence.

Andrew Wernick, the author of “The Promotional Condition of Contemporary Culture”, claims that “promotion crosses the line between advertising, packaging, and design, and is applicable, as well, to activities beyond the immediately commercial.”(8). The author also explains that advertising is the key component to capitalism as it has the promotional function of publicizing what is being sold in a positive light. It is commonly understood that for a purchase to occur, the target’s positive perception of the good or service is necessary. Thus, advertising is heavily used as means of promotion of products, services, and even ideas, in order to capture the public’s interest, attention and most importantly, money.

Image from http://www.google.com

Today advertising follows us everywhere- on the streets, public transportation, schools, work places, shopping malls, mobile phones, home phones, internet, and even washrooms. There is essentially nowhere you can go to escape advertising. Even by interacting with others you are being advertised to through the brands others are wearing and objects they own.

Marketers are not only going into private spaces to advertise, they are finding ways to effectively promote to us by using our private information. Not only that, but marketers are now basing their advertising strategies on social vulnerabilities. Since the 80’s, children, with all their vulnerabilities and critical judgement incapabilities, have been fair-game as targets to advertisers. 

Image from http://www.google.com

Basing my research on two documentaries which will be discussed on further posts, I extracted from them significant issues concerning advertising to children. I was left with the following concerns and questions:

1. As a parent, how do you feel about the fact that you children are now targeted by “adult” marketers, with MBA’s and psychiatric research on your child’s vulnerabilities?

2. How do you feel about the fact that your children’s preferences and desires are used as means for profit by the greedy advertising industry, which ultimately relies on you as the parent to support it?

3. The main question is: have marketers gone too far?

Stay tuned for further information on the significant influences your children are being exposed to daily, and help determine whether there should be more government involvement as well as moral judgement to limit the marketer’s advertising powers.

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