Evaluating Attainment By Children: Bridging Conspicuous Consumption With Fundamental Elements Of Obtaining Commodities

2119 words - 9 pages

Thorstein Veblen once said, “Conspicuous consumption of valuable goods is a means of reputability to the gentleman of leisure” (Veblin, 1899). Respectively, Veblen argues that individuals consume commodities and services to demonstrate a high socio-economic position, from the perspective of others in society (Tepperman, Albanese, & Curtis, 2014, p. 117). This can be seen as a social problem, issues that require community acknowledgment and action to respond to issues at hand. (Tepperman & Curtis, 2011, p. 3). This paper will discuss the growing concern of materialistic children as a global crisis and recognizing catalysts that fuel the adolescent addiction to consumption. The current capitalist system that looms over society relies on the principle that children from an early age must become consumers to ensure global economies prosper through mass individual spending on goods and services (Preston, 2005; O'Barr, 2008). Mass organizations market young people as a lucrative source of profit by consuming commodities (Tepperman, Albanese, & Curtis, 2014, p. 66). Advertisements focus on explaining a commodity to children, by exciting their interests and how it can be used, whereas marketing focuses on pastime activities and behaviours of children (Preston, 2005). Children view approximately forty-thousand advertisements annually (Ramsey, 2006; Strasburger, 2006). The first part of this paper will discuss the history and techniques of advertisers to train children to be consumers while the second portion examines how to effectively deal with materialistic juveniles and the grim future if action is not taken. An analysis of the historical development of advertising to children, corporate techniques to influence consumption of child products, proactive attributes to promote equilibrium between consumption and responsible appreciation and the inevitable consequences of ignorant profit driven marketing will demonstrate that unlimited consumption by children is toxic for their future.
Television viewing became a pastime in the 1940s, creating short duration programs, tailored to catch the audience of young ones after school or weekend mornings (O'Barr, 2008). Cereals with sugar were created in 1948 and were marketed in television ads by animated characters, for example Tony the Tiger for Frosted Flakes (Kurnit, 2005). In the 1950s, children were employed as actors in television programs in order to connect with the adolescent audience (O'Barr, 2008) creating the initiation of marketing to children (Kurnit, 2005). Advertisements for children between the 1940s and 1970s were for small toy items, not worth a significant monetary value (Barbaro & Earp, 2008). These toys were often included in the cereal boxes, making kids consume large amounts of cereal by urging their parents to purchase many boxes (Kurnit, 2005).
Josh Golin states in the film Consuming Kids – The Commercialization of Childhood, that during the late 1970s, the Federal Trade Commission...

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