Consumer Sovereignty Essay, Research Paper
Consumer sovereignty is the determination by consumers, of the types and
quantities of goods and services produced by the economy. But in today s society, does
this sovereignty actually exist? In agreeing with John Kenneth Galbraith, I think not! I
say this simply because in today s world, advertising plays such a large role in the
everyday lives of consumers.
The concept of advertising is simple: It s central function is to create desires.
And in creating these desires, the sovereignty that consumers once had the luxury of
enjoying is taken away. I say , taken away , because only when advertising occurs,
does the want for a certain product exist, therefore creating a want that the consumer
feels obligated to pursue. This is a direct example of just how consumer sovereignty is
lost through advertising.
An advertisers primary objective is to influence the consumers decision. And in
today s world, it is not difficult to see just hew advertisers do so. Using commercials,
radio ads, billboards, etc., the advertisers are virtually everywhere you look. Whether it
be on the side of a bus, in a newspaper, or even in a movie, many of today s products are
marketed so heavily that the consumer is left with no other choice than to be influenced.
An example of just how we cannot turn without facing some sort of advertising is with
movie tie-in s. With the enormous success of advertisements linked with children s
movies, such as in The Lion King , which promoted products stretching from dolls to
clothing, movies aimed at adults are now getting into the act. Just when you thought that
movie-related products had reached its apex, new products such as The Bridges of
Madison County perfume, and the James Bond BMW, are entering the market.
Not only does the way that companies advertise have a huge effect on the overall
success of the advertising campaign, but just exactly how they do it plays a large role as
well. There are many techniques that advertisers use to try to reach their target market.
One being the use of celebrities, such as a sports and movie stars. Using such people that
are in the public eye, make people want to purchase that particular product which they
endorse. This is just one of the many powerful tools that advertisers use to influence the
With advertising everywhere you turn, there is no doubt in my mind that
consumers are in fact influenced, and that they virtually have no sovereignty when it
comes to purchasing decisions. Consumer sovereignty could truly exist in a society
where a consumer could clear his/her mind of all outside influences ,(TV, radio,
newspapers, magazines, etc.), when making a purchasing decision. But as we all know,
this could never happen. And with advertising in every facet of our lives, we have no
choice but to be influenced, meaning having no sovereignty.