Themes in American History: Capitalism, Slavery, Democracy

Blog Post #4

Within the post war period, American businesses sought out creative advertising  tactics to boost their sales and profits and in turn, America’s then, rehabilitating economy. Lizbeth Cohen in “Culture: Segmenting the Mass” (from her book The Consumers’ Republic) discusses and elaborates on this, stating that  the notion of a “… unified, often referred to as  the “middle-class,” market where the mass consumers shared a consistent set of tastes and desires”(Cohen, 295), was abandoned and instead replaced with the marketing strategy of  Market Segmentation that catered products to the general populace of American  consumers based on their notable social and class differences, in which, ultimately affected their economic interests. This strategy was effective in its task to provide improved and stable profits as it allowed for an expansive range of products to sell. Case in point, being, the family owned cosmetic company, Estee Lauder’s, move to segment their market geared towards men through the introduction of a male line of Aramis toiletries around 1965 that brought them plenty of profit on top of what they were already gaining from cosmetic products for women (Cohen, 296). Specified marketing has now become an integral aspect in the maintaining of the American economy, with it extending into today’s world. The rise of technology brings about new digital inventions such as social media in which, among many other purposes, serves the mass consumption of products and content under our modern economy. Platforms like Instagram and Tik Tok through their use of analytic programs to gather general data on the age, race and gender demographics of their users are able to accurately speculate and determine the content and products  their users are likely to engage with. Such a system generates a constant cycle of mass consumption that either boosts or depletes our economy, depending on whether the outcome of such cycles have to deal with overproduction, (too much supply and little to no demand) or not.

One thought on “Blog Post #4”

  1. Great post. As I wrote in my comment for somebody else’s, I wonder if Cohen would be surprised to see the rise of micro-targeted marketing and tracking of consumer habits on social media, or if it would change her narrative had she written her book 15 or 20 years later. In other words, does the rise of our current model of online shopping and social media marketing represent continuity, or rupture?

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