Consumerism in the 21st Century

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The article tries to connect the writings of Karl Max with the way that the society is working currently especially when it comes to consumerism and the people’s ability to ignore all other aspects of life as they concentrate on material things (Jhally, 2002). People seem to be concerned about the commodities that are being sold by corporations to an extent that it can be compared to fetishism as the 21st century is head over heels on the commodities that are being advertised left, right and center. Advertising has become such a core function in the society to an extent that no morals can be considered to have been spared as long as the advertising agencies get their messages across and the target audiences seem to be overwhelmed by the constant bombardment of the advertisements.

Advertising agencies that work hard to input more resources in the venture so that their message stands out from the “clutter” and “noise” meaning that the industry in itself feels like they have chocked the consumer with a lot of gibberish on what they should be buying (Jhally, 2002).  There should be a cultural perspective on which advertising works on but currently, the commercialization of the process makes it seem that they are more inclined towards the marketing role. It is obvious that advertising is created to ensure that consumers are aware of new products in the markets which in itself is boosting the prospects of the sales but the new wave of advertising toys with the emotions of the consumers by imposing on them product which they may not need. The society that people knew and associated with before no longer exists as people are consumed by commercial messages that assure people that the only way they can acquire happiness is through the consumption of objects bought in the marketplace (Jhally, 2002). If the consumerism is not kept in check, the world will self-destruct as people continue to exhaust the resources so as to satisfy their consumerism which is brought by the insatiable advertising media.


Jhally, S. (2002). Advertising at the Edge of the Apocalypse.

Project Muse Analysis

The American culture thrives on advertising and commercialization of products and services and without those two activities infotainment would be dead or society would be totally different from how it operates currently. Agencies have been set around the world where the main objective is based on selling the information which they have acquired to corporations so that they can create products that people have desired in their lives even though they have never had the chance to own. The creation of infotainment that is filled with allures of desires that people want to fulfill is termed by the author as Adcult (Twitchell, 2000). Adcult is in every aspect of our daily lives as long as someone opens up their eyes to see how different forms of advertisement have taken over our core existence.

            The Adcult is entrenched on the senses of touch, sight, and smell which are commonly used to create desire and the urge to acquire a product as long as someone has labeled it well and presented it as the next best alternative. In this regard, the example that is offered is why we feel the need to have different brands whereas they represent the same things Ford and Chevrolet, Miller and Budweiser, Evian and Mountain Spring, Colgate and Crest and the conclusion is in the way these products have been advertised (Twitchell, 2000). The 20th century America is too materialistic and narcissistic which has been brought about by advertising through manipulation and exploitation. Mass media was created with the aim of ensuring that the public was aware of what was what happening around the world but the means to make money and turn the media platforms into conglomerates came through advertising.  However as all things come to an end, advertising may find itself being consumed by the same monster it has created in the media because mass consumption may end up being expensive. Adcult flourishes on surplus and no one can guarantee that our society will always have more than it needs.


Twitchell, J. B. (2000). But first, a word from our sponsor. Advertising & Society Review, 1(1).

August 04, 2023


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