Buying In: The Secret Dialogue Between What We Buy and Who We Are, by Rob Walker (LentBooks #9)

buyinginThis book was a random pick-up off the library display table, but I really found it interesting.  It’s about the new direction advertising has taken in the 21st century (since we’re no longer all captive to the same 30-second commercials on the same TV shows, so advertisers have had to get more creative) and the extent to which branding and marketing have become part of our everyday lives (a process Walker refers to as “murketing” — murky marketing, I guess, when we’re being advertised to without always realizing it).

It was intriguing to read this and think about the extent to which we as consumers identify ourselves and our lifestyles with certain brands, and are willing to actually become advertisers ourselves — explicitly, as in the case of companies that recruit ordinary people to plug their products to family and friends, or implicitly without even realizing we’re doing it.

I think of myself as a very anti-consumerist person who isn’t affected by advertising and doesn’t care about brands.  But then, a lot of us think of ourselves that way. I type this while sitting here in my Riders jeans (the only jeans I own) and a Land’s End polo short (almost all the clothes I’ve bought for myself in the last year have been from Land’s End), about to lace up my LL Bean sneakers (all my shoes come from LL Bean).  So, yeah.  I get the point. 

We can’t avoid the fact that we live in a consumption-driven society; we can be more aware of it.  This book helped.  Plus, it was a very entertaining read.

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2 Comments

Filed under LentBooks, Nonfiction -- general

2 responses to “Buying In: The Secret Dialogue Between What We Buy and Who We Are, by Rob Walker (LentBooks #9)

  1. Good way to minimize marketing exposure – kick out the TV and eliminate commercials from your life…

  2. True … but I think the writer would argue (and I would too) that TV ads are such a miniscule part of the “branding” that’s actually going on in society today. After all, most of us who do have TVs either PVR or (if you’re a dinosaur like me) tape shows and whiz past the commercials, or else use the TV (as we do, since we don’t have cable) only for viewing movies and shows on DVD. As we get better at avoiding commercials, advertisers have to get more and more sneaky about how to advertise to us.

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