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Why and in which ways – are Americans choosers?

Americans, except for American Indians and their descendants, live in America because
they, or their ancestors of a relatively recent past in history’s perspective, chose to settle
there. In this way, choice has invariably become a significant part of the American mind
set. Americans prefer to express their individuality and personality through choices. These
choices, however, tend to be primarily and predominantly on consumer goods and political
entities packaged like consumer goods, with no substantial difference, as both labels are
ultimately controlled entirely by the same corporate interests and by a small country on
the eastern shores of the Mediterranean.

Explain choice – is there such a thing as free choice?


Ultimately, reflection on this question is theological in nature, as it cannot be defined
merely at the existential level of pragmatic tools like marketing. The Puritans who settled
in the New England area and Virginia in the early 1600s were much influenced by the
Swiss theologian John Calvin, who held that salvation is ultimately rooted in God’s
effectual calling on the basis of His sovereign election. A person who is dead in sin may
choose only among various forms of sin, but is unable to choose to love God. However,
material prosperity was considered an outward sign of a life blessed by God, as presented
in Deuteronomy 26. In its popular form based on a simplistic and superficial reading of
Calvin, it has, to a certain extent, influenced Americans’ view of material prosperity that
seems to allow consumer choices as an expression of the inherent goodness of
consumption. This may be nearly incomprehensible to a post-modern mind set, in which
morality is defined, if it exists at all, by the lesser gods of global warming and animal
rights.

Define marketing
Marketing is a framework for analysing the entire process of identifying a
product, a good or service that people will pay to acquire, optimising the source,
determining a price at which the market is willing to buy, determining the best
distribution channel and market, and developing the best possible promotion in
order to generate demand. Although the overall concept of generating demand,
or pull, from consumers, the techniques applied to each step of the marketing
process are often highly sophisticated. Tedlow’s Phase III was created by
particularly Bernays’ use of his uncle Sigmund Freud’s psychoanalysis, which
was subsequently emulated and developed by armies of PR and advertising
consultants.
What is mass consumption, and how does American consumption differ from
that of other countries?
Does freedom to choose among many consumer products constitute the only or
the appropriate activity of free men and women?
Describe the three phases of marketing that Tedlow distinguishes
Mass transport created the national market – who controlled transport and
distribution during this phase?
Describe the conditions for the transition from phase I to phase II (railways,
telegraph) – from commodity to brand
When did the American market enter phase III? (soft drinks, cars, grocery
retailing, general merchandise)
Describe the initial development of brands
Describe the strategy of ‘profit through volume’
Describe the relationship between the necessary technological, economic and
social preconditions and mass marketing - a product with certain properties (e.g.
acethaminophen> Tylenol) and a successful branded good and the market it can
create
Describe Singer’s development of the sewing machine market
Explain forward and backward integration
Describe the advantages of the first mover
Describe the options available to potential entrants
Describe ‘consumption communities’ – in which sense do they replace other
communities?
Would you agree with Robert Heilbroner that advertising teaches children that
‘adults are willing to lie for money?’
American consumers have, by and large, considered their choices worth making
- which choices would that include, direct and implicit?
In which ways does mass consumption relate to the texts we have read up until
now?