Resistance to Consumerism
I resist ‘typical’ consumer behavior by making shopping lists and thinking about whether I need this or that thing. I noticed that I could sometimes succumb to bright and intrusive advertising, making me make impulsive purchases. These purchases are the core of excessive consumerism, within which there is a reaction to a momentary stimulus. This incentive can be understood as nostalgia, sadness, pity, or a desire to join the company (Schor, 2014). Making a shopping list or wish list is, I think, a great way to take a close look at your needs from different angles. In addition, such lists help save money, for example, from scholarships or a small salary. Supermarkets are filled with products that only seem varied and original; it usually detracts from the original purchase plans.
Changing Attitudes Towards Consumerism
My attitude towards consumerism has changed over time, as I am educated in marketing and read a lot of literature. I gain new knowledge in advertising, marketing, economics, and international relations, which helps me assess the moves that help consumerism flourish soberly (Brennan, 2011). Nevertheless, it is paradoxical that, despite the rational understanding of marketing processes and the influence of advertising on the human psyche, I am subject to the rhetorical figures of advertising (Brennan, 2011). Sometimes I go into the store and choose some ‘limited’ flavor chips to relax watching a TV series in the evening. I understand that these chips and the concept of a ‘limited’ taste of something do not contain anything exotic, but my emotions often take over. In general, my attitude towards consumerism has become more conscious. I can see where I show weakness and give in to emotions. I am more aware of advertising and shopping than my peers.
Demographics and Consumer Behavior
My buying behavior, in general, coincides with the ideas of the authors. I often buy what my peers and people of my gender buy (Brennan, 2011). However, this is especially noticeable not when shopping in a clothing or food store but when buying some services. I am interested in most of the services in channel subscriptions, and I also pay extra for some apps to unlock additional features. Some of my peers spend money on donations for streamers or bloggers, but I do not do this; I also consider it excessive consumerism. In this, perhaps, I differ from some of my peers. However, I donate freely to bars and creative spaces where young and unknown performers give concerts. I think this is appropriate and does not contradict my views on consumerism; in this situation, donations support bars and performers.
Brand as Social Status
There are no particular brands that I would pay more attention to than others. Some brands are ingrained in my mind that has become a habit of buying. Some brands are very familiar to me because my family has bought products from them to trust them (Schor, 2014). I think that preference for certain brands should be situational. Several factors to consider, as a brand that is right for me may not necessarily be suitable for my friend. Factors may include price, availability, and others that are more flexible.
For example, I can wait a long to deliver jeans from the Spanish brand MANGO because I trust them. At the same time, it is not suitable for my friend, although he admits that this brand makes beautiful clothes. Social networks help the development of various brands, increasing the significance of the symbol, the direct image of the brand. I eschew overpaying for a name, as I understand that at this moment, I am buying not clothes or accessories but a social status (Wulfeck, 1945). Branded clothing often serves as a tool for gaining privileges in society and raising the social level.
The brand has an abstract idea, and in itself, it is entirely abstract, constituting only people’s emotions. The brand contains a set of associations and symbols fixed in society with the product and is the basis of the consumption process. The creation of a brand is a connection between a product and a phenomenon that has nothing to do with the product itself. Good examples are Pampers and happy childhood in abundance, Heineken beer and social conversations, popularity, and a noisy party.
The conclusions of psychologists would concern, first of all, my hobbies and ways to spend my free time. They could infer my eating habits: fast food, lots of meat, and cheese. To my mind, they would understand that I am not very good and cooking a lot, so I prefer to buy easy food to cook. My vacation is quite diverse, as it would seem to them, I attend the same events, donating money to unknown performers. They would be interested in the dynamics of spending money and the lack of stability. Psychologists might suggest that this is due to nervousness against the background of fear of being left without cash. In one period, I freely buy certain things, and in another period, I try to accumulate money and save the remaining amount (Schor, 2014). In this regard, I can deny myself attending events, meeting friends, and, of course, buying extraordinary things.
Perhaps psychologists will find it interesting that I always spend money meeting friends since we always stop by for coffee or food together. If we go to visit someone, we always buy food or sweets (Brennan, 2011). I agree with these conclusions, one way or another, and would like to receive recommendations from such psychologists. I should perhaps develop a different attitude towards spending money to balance the costs.
Further Development and Possible Changes in Consumer Culture
The material I read (taking into account the theorists of the Frankfurt School with their notorious critique of consumption) inspires me to reconsider my attitude towards consumerism personally. People have a hard time parting with comfort, so I do not hope to influence others, but I can try to adapt to annoying advertising by my example. In addition, the works of Roland Barthes devoted to advertising inspire me to change my behavior. I often notice rhetorical figures on TV while commercials are on (Wulfeck, 1945). I would say that at the moment, I am more interested in the study of consumerism and advertising than in opposition. I like to analyze the language of advertising and how it affects the psychology of an ordinary person, a consumer (Schor, 2014). In the future, I may develop a more systematic model of the language of advertising and the rhetorical devices used in it. In the end, I would like to understand better what feelings and emotions are sold and be able to predict which ones will be better sold later.
Brennan, B. (2011). Marketing to women: The difference between sex appeal and gender appeal. In Why she buys: The new strategy for reaching the world’s most powerful consumers (pp. 183–208). Currency.
Schor, J. (2014). The new politics of consumption. Boston Review. Web.
Wulfeck, W.H. (1945). The role of the psychologist in market and advertising research. Journal of Applied Psychology, 29(2), 95-102.