Revision 2: The Symbolic Meaning Of Goods

May 1, 2009 at 8:14 pm (Uncategorized)

Ok, so this is the biggen and its definately gunna be in the exam, and the question is likely to be something like:

Examine how an understanding of the symbolic meaning of goods may be used to develop effective advertising.

This is pretty much as broad as they come, and the meaning of goods is a MASSIVE topic, so it’s recommended that you pick one topic that u either agree or disagree with and bring in other theories to back up your answer.McCracken’s meaning transfer model (1985) seems like an obvious choice and I pretty much agree with it.

It’s a 3 stage model that suggests that the culturally constituted world is made up different cultural categories which are packages of meaning. Mccracken’s culturally constituted world is based on Mary Douglas’s work which suggests we can change our culture by what we buy because if we all make the same moral judgements pointing in a particular direction, culture will eventually change accordingly. We buy goods according to what our cultural categories tell us to, e.g: age, gender, seasons. On the other hand, Csikszentmihalyi states that what we buy is dependent on previous experience of goods, and therefore, although what we buy influences cultural change, culture influences our purchase decisions.

The second stage of MTM is transfering meaning onto goods. This is done by advertising or fashion systems. For example, Harley Davidson organise events and sponsorships to show consumers what they stand for and how they’re ‘retro’ etc…Celeb endorsement also works using the meaning transfer model because you can project the values and beliefs of a celeb onto the product. For example, l’oreal use jane fonda for their anit-age products because shes seen as beautiful and really good for her age. Which is exactly what they want to convey the product as.

Next, McCracken says the meanings are almost instantly transfered onto the consumer using different rituals depending on the product. Possession rituals, grooming rituals, divestment rituals and exchange rituals. Possession rituals involve appropriation, so by saving up for something or spending money that was given as a gift on something in particular we make the product our own and give it more meaning. grooming rituals are when we use a good to make us feel better about our selves. for example, people who wont leave the house without makeup or perfume. To go back to the l’oreal example, we may not leave the house without our anti-age cream because we want to look like jane fonda, or have the qualities that jane fonda has. divestment rituals are when we want to get rid of any previous meanings on a product and make it our own. for example, people who clean out a recently-bought second-hand car to make it their own and erase any of the previous owners…’stains’.  exchange rituals are when we do certain things to a product before handing it over or lending it to someone else. for example, if we were to lend a dress to a friend we would always make sure it was clean and dry before doing so. This is how we make something purely our own, and the exchange rituals mean we erase those meanings before we give them away. This could relate to csikszentmihalyi’s work where he suggests we need things to reveal continuity of the self through time. because putting those meanings on products projects the self onto them, and we can see involvement in the present, souvenirs of the pasts and signposts to future goals in those goods.

Thats pretty much all i know…and it doesnt REALLY answer the question on advertising but with a few more examples i reckon it could…and with an amazing introduction which janice loves then it’ll be all good.


Got it? Good!


Permalink 1 Comment

Revision 1: Classical and Operant conditioning

April 25, 2009 at 10:28 pm (Uncategorized)

So, revision can apparently be fun if we blog about it? Which is good cause u can read and i can write n hopefully we’ll all remember it a little better and i wont have the trouble i always have of reading my own handwriting!

Consumer Behaviour – Classical and Operant Conditioning and it’s applications to marketing.

Classical Conditioning is based on Pavlovs research where he found he could make dogs salivate at the sound of a bell if he produced the sound everytime the dogs were fed over time. occurs when a conditioned stimulus (usually the product or the brand) is repeatedly paired with an unconditioned response (the celeb endorsement or emotions), eventually resulting in associating the two things together(the assocation is the conditioned response). By repeatedly pairing these stimuli marketers can evoke an emotional response. It can also work to create negative feelings towards something like smoking – the anti-smoking campaigns by the government repeatedly show  smoking with negative stimuli so over time we associate one with the other.

This type of conditioning has been proven to be enduring over time – so once the association between stimuli is made its very hard to take back.

Consistency and repitition are vital. and the link between stimuli must be logical and consumers must be aware of it. also, its less affective if the unconditioned stimuli has too many assocations.

Alreck and settle suggest two different types of classical conditioning:

Need Association – the product or brand is repeatedly linked to satisfying a need. Those exposed to this learn to asssociate the ned with a certain product/brand. Saturation advertising is needed to drum it into peoples skulls! It’s pretty much used for building name awareness and not much else.

Mood Assocation – the product/brand is repeatedly linked to a particular mood/good feeling. It doesn’t work if theres links to many different moods. the idea is that whenever consumers are exposed to product/brand they experience a pleasant feeling.

Operant Conditioning – this type works on reinforcement and punishment of a certain behaviour which affects the probability of it happening again. If there is a good feeling of satisfaction after a purchase, the consumer is rewarded and the probabilty of a repeat purchase is hightened. If there is a negative feeling, some form of dissatisfaction with the product, the probability of a repeart purchase is less. If a consumer has a purchase tactic (eg buying the cheapest product) and they are then dissatisfied with the product, it will lead to a change in tactic (not buying the cheapest anymore). Reward and satisfaction will reinforce the chosen tactic, and the tactic will be used again. This is usually used on goods with social and psychological rewards – works well on goods with strong sensory satisfaction (fags and booze). If marketers are using this model, quality control and assurance is vital because consumers need to be satisfied every time.

However, peter and nord found that operant conditioning can also work on a variable ratio schedule – so the reinforcement doesnt have to be every single time but every 2 times or 3 times.

Example of operant conditioning is a loss leader – people are more likely to buy other more expensive products if they are already in the shop which is known for having something particualrly cheap.


In a nutshell: operant conditioning works on rewards and punishments after the behaviour and classical conditioning is learning through association.

Got it? Good!

Permalink Leave a Comment

The All Nighter

April 21, 2009 at 9:01 pm (Uncategorized)

The first day back at uni after a long break is always tough. we all know that, but when you have a mini-dissertation and a french exam in the first two days back – things get a little bit worse.

Those on my course will not want to read the next paragraph:

5,000 words split into two halves – One per term. Literature Review of any previous crap thats gone on in the random field you’ve chosen to look at, Research proposal of what ur gunna do on a subject you obvi dont give a crap about.

Term 2 – 50 questionnaires and 3 30min interviews with randomers who also dont give a crap about your assignment, and can tell you don’t really either. 1,500 words on what you found/made up and another 1,000 words on how u feel it went: thats almost 100 different sentances on: i made it up, i do not care – nothing was proven interesting or useful.

The assignment itself went disasterously – as i may have mentioned – i just did not give a crap. and i think it showed. anything above 40% will be a miracle. However, and this is what I really wanted to talk about is the facebook relationships you make with people at 1am when you know everyone else is in the same boat – knackered, powered on various stimulants with 1000+ words to go.

you find youself commenting or ‘liking’ peoples status’s when they update it to: “oh fuck”  even though you’ve never had a real, and especially not sober conversation with them. But that’s just – STANDARD.

Oh and what have we got this year that we didnt have in freshers year? The good ole FACEBOOK CHAT. Never one for the ‘online status’, I find myself logging on and saying to myself – i wonder who else is on? who on earth can i chat to instead of opening this damn SPSS document? And you always know who to expect. you see the same profile pics assignment after assignment and it almost becomes a comfort. Until that person, the one person you always know if behind you…goes to bed. This is a bad sign. this is when you know – oh shit, im fucked. even “so-and-so” has finished!

And then…all of a sudden, its done. And you’re a little bit perplexed by this. You’ve been staring at this screen for well over 24hours straight and now…you don’t have to anymore. first things first: must change the facebook status.

And now…to battle the printer. Note to self: next time, check printer levels before 4am on the day its due in.

that is all.

Permalink Leave a Comment

Dolly – The Most Hated Sheep in Bournemouth

April 20, 2009 at 4:42 pm (Uncategorized)

It is probably best to give a bit of background info, as I remember it as to how we acquired such a monstrosity:Dolly. The Bitch.

One thursday night of what was an amazing freshers year Jacqui, Essie and I ventured out with our post-grad-acquaitance “C”. We were heading to dusk til dawn for what ended up being a rather messy night. 20 mins after getting to D2D, and 5 insults later, C is sick in the toilets and demands to go home. So we jump in a taxi and trek the 25min taxi ride back to Poole with C perking up every now-and-again to say ‘I’m gunna be sick’ (although she never was). Sympathy was running low at this point so we staggered out of the taxi and pushed C into the lift and attempted to put her to Bed (it was only after we undressed her to put her nightclothes on that we realised C DOESN’T WEAR UNDERWEAR). For someone so sick, she still managed to her Clinique 3-step cleansing process and take photos of us before she got into bed.

It was then we noticed Dolly. Shoved under the desk in the corner with a glow stick around her neck, was Dolly – the creepiest, filthiest, life-size, paper-mache sheep ever to grace Corfe House. When asked where she got it this is the response we got: Found it in Cranborne House Trash. There were no follow up questions – all we new is that we NEEDED that sheep. So we managed to persuade her to give dolly up to me as she was going back to South America at the end of the year anyway.

Dolly spent the summer tucked away in my garage back in Towcester (my mum couldn’t bare to look at it), although dolly did make a few appearances at some summer-garden parties – if not only to ward off PAT KELLY.

Come September, it was time to move back into Corfe so my mum, dad and I treked back down to Poole with all my stuff + a sheep. Term was pretty eventful, and drunken times seem to being out the funnyness of the most mundane household objects (esp. the ironing board), so a sheep was quite entertaining. Ride Dolly.

Term 2 however, saw a turn around in how we felt towards dolly. Perhaps through no fault of her own, she became quite possible the most annoying, ugly, scary thing ever. Put this in our kitchen, during our most stressful assignment-writing, placement-hunting term and you’ve got yourself 3 angry flatmates and a sheep to take the wrap.

Things have calmed down since we smashed the wine bottles over her head and gave her a coat to hide under (the story of the coat is a seperate blog)

Her Fate?

Pinata at the end of the year.



That is all.

Permalink 1 Comment

HIV Utopia

April 20, 2009 at 2:29 am (Uncategorized)

It’s isn’t very often I get a bright idea. So you should make the most of this:

I’ll start with where my idea came from – I read ‘The Island’ (well half of it) about a leper colony in crete. And I thought why don’t they do that now?

Well I totally think they could. If they just gathered (in the nicest, most voluntary way) all the HIV positive people and put them in one big, sterile place where they could never catch any infections, diseases or illnesses then all these people would live the long and probably happy lives. There will be no contact with the outside world and the ‘Utopia’ is totally self-sufficient for food and water. Everyone who lives and works in the Utopia has HIV, and it would be a place where people could meet other sufferers and start a whole new life.

The downside? You can never see your family and friends again. But if it means a longer, happier life for those already with HIV and if it means less people catch the disease in the future – then who’s complaining?

I have written my letter to Barack Obama and expect my response any day now. Will keep you posted.

Permalink Leave a Comment

Blogging is officially ‘cool’

April 19, 2009 at 5:07 pm (Uncategorized)

So I have a million and one things to do but when there is no one left to stalk on facebook and everyone has been ‘followed’ on twitter, then what better way is there to procrastinate than with a pointless blog?

So it’s all set up and I’m ready to go…I just need a fresh idea.

When it comes to me, you will be the first to know. Or perhaps it will appear on facebook first.

Until then!

Permalink 2 Comments