When we read and discussed in class the “Consumer Attitude” coined by Zygunt Bauman, I felt the relation to the “Makeover Show” was incredibly appropriate. The main theory behind this was that for every problem there is a solution that can be related to consumption, that this problem should be solved, and that there is a product or expert available as a solution. It seems that in society we are so preoccupied with making life convenient, easy, and painless that we will accept any product offered as a solution to our issues. There are even products offered towards problems we didn’t know existed until there were advertisements telling us about them.

The “Makeover Show” started my thought process on seemingly silly solutions that we find fairly necessary in life. While parts of the show came off as sincere and valid I was curious as to when we started needing people to explain to us how to dress and instruct us to be confident. One of the first items that immediately came to mind during this show was a commodity created to solve a problem. The problem: “When I try to read my blanket slides down and my arms get cold.” The solutions: The Snuggie…

This absurd sounding product became a top-selling item and has somehow not yet lost cultural relevance despite being a backwards bathrobe. By telling consumers they have a problem, they are willing to purchase nearly any commodity to solve this problem. The Snuggie is just the start of the list. Companies like SkyMall sell primarily gimmicky products that lack any and all sorts of purposes and yet make lots of money each year. Here is a list of some of their silliest items.

One other “problem” that the Consumer Attitude has made us concerned with is the need to belong to specific consuming communities. Poster jk3169 talks about advertising exploiting this need and corporate tactics used to encourage purchasing to fill a void or to enable consumers to join an “imagined community”. It is amusing to see the ways products are sold as solutions to problems we weren’t even aware of. Who knows how many problems we actually have?

 

-Sophie

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