Here we have buying bottled water–a product criticized for its environmental impacts–portrayed as a form of humanitarianism. Also, in smaller text the ad sneaks in a plug for a movie: “Ethos is a proud supporter of ‘Running the Sahara.’ In theaters this spring.” I presume Matt Damon stars in it. Why can’t celebrities just donate their own money instead of trying to get us to buy something expensive just so a tiny bit of it goes to a charity?
And in the tiniest print down at the bottom you learn that 5 cents from every purchase is donated to the Ethos Water Fund. The Impulsive Buy says Ethos costs $1.85 a bottle (I found that price listed elsewhere as well). Also, Ethos is owned by Starbucks.
I saw this energy drink this morning at a gas station. Notice that it’s sugar-free. According to the website, a portion of proceeds goes to fight breast cancer, though it’s unclear if they mean a portion of the profits of the drink, or just things bought at the online store. Another example of the idea of doing good through consumption, not by just donating money directly to an organization addressing an issue you care about (for other examples see here, here and here). Also, the website says Go Girl is not a rehydration drink (such as Gatorade), but a “functional beverage,” whatever that is.
This is an ad I found in The New Yorker for Patek Philippe watches. The text in the lower-left corner says “You never actually own a Patrick Philippe. You merely take care of it for the next generation.” So by buying an expensive, new watch, you’re creating a “tradition.” I’m going to use this in the future when I talk about inventing traditions.
This post is dedicated to my pregnant friends. You should buy this t-shirt.
In class this week my students and I are talking about the triple threat of production, consumption, and reproduction that characterizes modern capitalism. I use the cultural imperative that women have and raise babies (reproduction) and be beautiful and sexy while doing it (consumption), all of which is paid for by someone who is busy earning money at a job (production). Below are some of the images I use.
Be beautiful while pregnant (images from A Pea in the Pod and covergirls Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera):
Get your body back as soon as possible (as demonstrated by Gwen Stefani and Tori Spelling):
If you’re not sure how, buy some books (all the better)!
Resort to suspicious drugs if you need to:
Or get a Mommy Makeover. Extensive cosmetic surgery, that is:
Recommended by Parenting Magazine!
“The new women’s movement. Freedom from seams and stitches.”
This is another ad Lisa sent me years ago. I use it when discussing the de-politicization of social issues, and the commodification of freedom–it’s just something you buy. I also use this one from Lisa:
The Jeep Liberty–notice on the right it says “Glass Ceiling” and has an arrow pointing down below; so structural inequality at work is trivialized, and again, “liberty” is something we can purchase.
Gwen Sharp is an associate professor of sociology at Nevada State College. You can follow her on Twitter at @gwensharpnv.
This graphic from the New York Times illustrates the different environmental costs of meat and vegetable production (click on image to enlarge):
Click here for a “world clock” (by http://www.poodwaddle.com/) that constantly updates the total number of, well, lots of stuff: births, abortions, deaths of different types, prisoners, marriages, divorces, extinct species, gallons of oil pumped, and computers, cars, and bicycles built. You can choose to display it by how much has happened in the last year, month, day, or even from a moment, like right… now.