Consumer or Consumed? BusinessWeek reviews two books about brands
June 27, 2008
Yesterday Dylan did a nice job of summing up the latest reviews and discussions about business books in business magazines. Sometimes it's hard for us to keep up with everything, so here's one from a few weeks ago. In the June 19 issue of BusinessWeek, writer Susan Berfield reviewed two books that "explore the question of whether brands control us, or vice versa": Buying In: The Secret Dialogue Between What We Buy and Who We Are by Rob Walker, and Obsessive Branding Disorder: The Illusion of Business and the Business of Illusion by Lucas Conley.
Here's a snippet from the article:
My girl's request [for a Go-Gurt in her lunch]--fleeting, trivial, and unrepeated--nonetheless says something profound about our high-impact, omni-consuming culture. But what? Is she--are we all--just easy marks? Or is there a more complex dynamic between the marketer and the mark? Rob Walker, the author of Buying In: The Secret Dialogue Between What We Buy and Who We Are, argues for the latter view. Walker, who writes the "Consumed" column in The New York Times Magazine, offers a sophisticated and sometimes lighthearted take on how consumers interact with brands, defining and controlling them as companies struggle to keep up. By contrast, Lucas Conley, a contributing writer for Fast Company, takes a grimmer view. His book, Obsessive Branding Disorder: The Illusion of Business and The Business of Illusion, is a bleak assessment of how defenseless we are against ad creep, as he calls it.Check out the BusinessWeek article to see which perspective Berfield tends to agree with more.