Musin’ with Susan 9/14/21 – Consumerism

I’ve been wondering lately about how and when people thought it was a good idea to pay companies so we could advertise for them.

Just look around at all the people in sports apparel, with huge logos across their chests or on their shoes. 

It’s not like those companies are paying us for those ads. They’re actually charging us more.

What’s that all about?

I’m sure people wore logos when I was young, but I guess I don’t really remember because my family couldn’t afford the clothes that had logos on them.

I do remember thinking, when white-raised-letter tires first came out, “Why would anyone pay to advertise for a tire manufacturer?”

Now look.

It’s bonkers.

Yes, I do have a computer, an iPad, and an iPhone that all have that bitten-into little apple on them. But I don’t display any of them. I have Apple products because I’ve been loyal to that company since the first word processors came out, long before the days of the internet. Apple supplied schools across the country with word processors, or what we called computers. It wasn’t the most profitable move by a company, but it was the most needed. I actually taught word processing after school on those machines.

So I have a history with Apple, and I do love how user-friendly their products are.

Speaking of teaching, I taught a unit to my 8th graders about propaganda in advertising and it was fascinating. 

Did you know when “they” first made a cake mix, women wouldn’t buy it? They took the egg out, changed directions to add an egg, and women swarmed to it.

Whoever they is also made a vacuum cleaner that was almost silent, and it didn’t sell because it didn’t sound like it worked! So they made them louder.

And the quarter pounder? A quarter pound sounds a lot bigger than 4 ounces, doesn’t it?

The video I showed my kids also showed that Nike and other brand name sports shoes were no better than the cheaper versions.

It was interesting. Nearly all of my students didn’t care. They wanted their Nikes no matter what.

I do wonder sometimes about American consumerism and how awful it really is.

If we ever get some of the real attacks on our democracy taken care of, and health care and overall inequality and a slew of other serious problems we have, maybe we can turn our attention to how superficial we’ve become.

Wouldn’t that be nice?