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No Logo (ONLINE DISCUSSION)

February 28, 2012

For those in class today, here is an online discussion

“According to Naomi Klein, we cannot simply choose to ignore brands – branding is everywhere. To test her argument, make a list tracking the brands that surround you for an entire day. Starting from the time you wake up, note what brands you see and where you see them. As you compile and review the list, think about how realistic it would be simply to remove these brands from your environment – or, likewise, to remove yourself from their presence. What would doing either of these things require?”

 

Using your list, write a blog posts that explores the idea that we are constantly being  “bombed” by brands.  Reflect on this idea as it relates to social justice and your experiences.  How does it impact your own identity and your relationship to both justice/injustice?  How does it reflect and embody globalization (how might it conceal globalization)?  How does it reflect the notion of post-democracy?  Additionally, think about the below questions as you write your post:

 

“What, specifically, did you notice and experience over the course of your one-day study? What kind of ads? What kinds of placement?

How did your experience fit with Klein’s argument in this section? (Be specific – about both your experience, and Klein’s argument.)

How does your relationship to brand and advertisements impact social change and social justice?

 

In the end, we are looking for responses that reflect on the impact of logos in your life and how that it impacts broader issues of race, gender, and inequality.   A successful response with integrate specifics from the film and reading

Last day to participate March 7, 2012 – you can earn up to 50 points for this post

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24 Comments
  1. Laura Zaro permalink

    After listing out the brands that surround me on a daily basis I was shocked at just how many there were. What I never realized before is that every item we have or own, is marked by a brand or logo. From the shampoo I use to the television I watch at, brands are all around me. They are so common and prevalent that I hardly recognize their presence anymore. As Naomi Klein stated in the movie from class, it really is a constant battle between brands to get our, the consumer’s attention. As Klein also stated, this battle continues until they reach “brand nirvana” and can no longer expand further. Until this nirvana is reached, companies seem to push their boundaries as much as possible. One such example of this is Starbucks who originally because popular because of their coffee beverages. However, today a Starbucks store now sells a variety of things not related to their original drinks, such as music and clothing bearing the Starbucks logo. This expansion of companies embodies globalization because almost any item you look at whether it is a plasma TV or a pair of sneakers, has parts that are from the outside the United States. In the movie, Klein gave the example of a pair shoes. She stated that a given pair of sneakers may be made of leather that was produced in a foreign country then shipped to another country where it was subcontracted and shipped finally to the United States. Another example that sticks out in my mind comes from the article titled “An Ethical Guide to your Home: From Mobile Phones to Sofas”. It gave the example of a mineral in all mobile phones that is found underground and is only reachable by literally digging giant holes. This mineral essentially becomes untraceable after it is “usually flown to the city of Goma in eastern DRC, trucked to Uganda, then onto Mombasa in Kenya, where it is smelted together with minerals from other parts of the globe”. This is just one mineral that is part of the many that make up the mobile phones we use today that could not exist without it. Once we deconstruct an item, it is clear to see the significance of globalization on our society, even if it’s not directly. So although we are bombarded by hundreds of brands every day, we don’t realize all the things it takes to make that company even exist.

    • Gretchen Worley permalink

      I agree with Laura in that branding is being pushed to the limit. Corporations are competing against one another and as a result, they are expanding at a rapid pace. She gave a good example of how large corporations, such as Starbucks are expanding to sell a variety of different items with their logo on it. For instance, instead of originally just selling coffee, Starbucks now sells music, clothing and many other items to consumers. As a result, I agree that these corporation embody the idea of globalization and how items originate from all different parts of the world.

  2. Alex Carkner permalink

    I began listing out the brands that surrounded me once I woke up at 7 am today. As I got ready for work, I used several different brands just prepping myself for the day. I noticed that each of my toiletries had a different brand plastered across the product, some of which I had never noticed before. Each of my clothing items were a different brand as well, either hidden on the tag or displayed across the front. My day at work, and then after in class surrounded me with more and more people which of course meant more brands. I became overwhelmed and quit listing every brand I saw because there were just too many so I kept note of only the ones I personally interacted with like Coca-Cola, the North Face, and Sony. By noon I had personally associated with over fifty brands. Brands and logos become a means of advertisement, a way for a company to promote themselves as you use their product. Buying a certain brand becomes a way of life for some people, almost an obsession. Certain products, like a pair of jeans, can vary from $20 all the way up to $200 and people not only believe the product is better, but that they are superior as well for wearing such “expensive style”. It is absolutely impossible not to notice these brands because they are in your face everywhere you go. Branding has not only taken over the people we interact with day to day but it is also in Pop Culture and Entertainment. Celebrities are bombarded with, “Who are you wearing?” and are expected to answer with name brands if they don’t want to be chastised for poor taste. Advertisements are displayed everywhere we go-a simple trip to the bathroom could is even interrupted with posters reminding us to “Enjoy Coca-Cola”. The trouble comes when these brands that are so completely instilled into our day-to-day routine. The video in class on Monday talked about the travesties occurring abroad with Nike and their shoe-making process. Nike was getting products from factories that paid their employees as little as $1 a day, but then paying sponsors like Michael Jordan, obscene amounts of money to promote and wear their product. As unfair as the displacement of wages was between Michael Jordan and factory workers, it would be incredibly difficult to exclude Nike from the American market. It’s such a popular brand that it would almost seem un-American to boycott them or challenge their business practices. Seeing how many brands (Nike included) were on campus today, it’s hard to picture them just disappearing so I agree with Klein’s argument that “we can not just ignore brands”. It’s not even 4 PM yet and the logos and brands companies have made visible to me is honestly overwhelming. We’re living in a capitalistic world that is run by corporations and the legislation that is chosen to support them, doesn’t always support the people on the outside, or even outskirts of the operation. Given the Nike example, $1 a day for that person who has made who knows how many shows is absolutely ridiculous, especially considering I’ve purchased a pair of Nike shoes for $80 before. One of our class readings, “Race, Poverty & Globalization,” says, “The world economy is in a state of what is commonly viewed as unprecedented growth. But with this growth has come dangerous and destructive economic disparity,” which is so incredibly true. We forget that as the companies in America grow to enormous size, there are people who are suffering because of our success in other countries. I don’t mean to demote success as something to be ashamed of, because obviously the CEO of Nike is an impressive business-person. BUT, the truth of the matter is, like Spiderman’s uncle tells him, with great power comes great responsibility. Just like a superhero, these superpower businesses hold some responsibility for ethical treatment of all levels of their production line.

  3. Laurel Mahnke permalink

    When going through the course of my day being more aware of brands and how they effect my perception I realized brands affect every aspect of my daily life. I woke up this morning and put on my Minnestoka shoes, Lululemon pants, Honeydew underwear, Nike sports bra, and my Northface vest. Next I brushed my teeth with Crest toothpaste on my Sonicare toothbrush. I had been awake for 15 minutes and could name multiple brands I had already encourtered. Thinking back I wonder if this makes me a materialistic person which in a way it does, but more broadly makes me then inhabitant of a materialistic society. In terms of injustice I need to ponder social interactions and brands. As I walk on campus I notice what other people are wearing. Today I realized I favor people who are wearing Hunter rainboots over those who are wearing Bearpaw boots. The dichotomy of those two brands hints at socioeconomic status and weather I like to admit it or not I give into the meanings society has put on both brands. In terms of race I look at a white man wearing Southpole or Ecko I assume he is more ‘hood’ or if I see a girl wearing Babyphat I think she is a ‘hood rat’. Brands in our culture define who a person is and what group they in turn belong to. Klein says it would be easy to remove the presence of logos from our lives. In a way it would be easy to wear generic white shirts and pants. But brands are ingrained in how we define ourselves. More than that brands define us. I knowingly or not become a product of the brands I subscribe to. I guess in our post democratic society an element of choice has been eliminated. In a way it’s like the argument of what came first the chicken or the egg. Am I product of branding or is the branding a product of my choices/preferences or did the brand decide my preferences? Klein’s argument stated that brands and large corporations take away a lot of personal choice and of that I agree. I do think we are byproducts of what we consume. In that way our consumption leads to discrimination, prejudice and often even racism. I think being aware of the brands we consume in such short time period is necessary to develop a sense of self and to be better informed about people. Regardless of how we feel about it the brands we use show a great deal about where we sit in society.

  4. Andrea Grade permalink

    It really is quite scary how brand names can affect our daily lives. Like most of the aspects of an American’s life, we consume various things throughout the day without knowing their origin or where exactly they come from. Everything from our food to the threads in our clothes can often be a mystery to us and unless one is making a point to buy fair-trade, organic, etc. then we could very well be consuming a variety of things that we definitely wouldn’t want to had we known what was in it.
    Klein’s argument that branding are unavoidable is extremely true. From the coffee we consume branded with “Starbucks”, etc to the clothes we choose to purchase and put on all affect the way we see ourselves and how others view us as well. It’s outrageous that we spend much more money on something brand name over a generic product, but I am guilty just like most everyone else it. If I’m shopping for a good winter coat, for example, I won’t go to walmart to purchase it but rather look for “trusted” companies such as Columbia, The North Face, even if it’s quite sad to admit that. These brands hold the idea that their products are manufactured with quality in mind. However, they could very well be using the same materials and construction that the coat at walmart uses too. I have to disagree with Klein that we “can’t do anything about it” though. I think that we can very well look at the origin of products, from food to clothing. But I don’t think that we will put that much effort into our consumption. Sadly, most of us don’t have enough time to research where everything comes from. We need instant gratification in most aspects of our life and that rings true for this topic as well.
    After considering what I stated above, however, I found a site that actually shows a consumer where a product comes from called sourcemap.org. Maybe if we as consumers tried to be more aware of what we’re using, putting into our bodies, and putting on our bodies, we could change the way we look at branding and logos and consumption differently. This could definitely impact social change. I know a few specific groups who attempt to address consumption differently, but I don’t think it would be enough to effect a population. I was driven to souremap.org by an article that discussed it. The article stated that an Ipod construction involves ” the flash memory comes from South Korea, the HDD input comes from Japan, chips come from Taiwan, assembly was most likely done in China, and design happened in California.” If we pay attention to what we’re supporting by buying brands, it would be a bit easier to not feel so much guilt after realizing just where our products are coming from.

    http://www.thedailygreen.com/living-green/blogs/recycling-design-technology/sourcemap-460210#ixzz1njcwzC2m

  5. Andrea: very cool website — I didn’t know about that one — we will be talking a lot more about globalization and “origins” of different products, so this is great. Last semester class did a similar project — check out here – http://socialjusticeces440.wordpress.com/

  6. Katie Nelson permalink

    After reviewing my list of logos seen throughout the day, I noticed there could easily be more than 1000, because of how frequently we run into them. While walking through school, Washington State University logos were plastered everywhere, including walls, signs, sweatshirts, and ever water bottles. Everyday labels like The North Face, Nike, and Ugg Australia were worn by some of my fellow colleagues. Mead Five Star notebooks were used in classrooms, and students wrote with Papermate pens. People carried Subway and Panda Express bags with their lunches in hand. Labels were everywhere I looked, forcing me to live within a product-driven society.
    One of the major things I noticed through this experiment is how companies use people and everyday things to advertise for their products. By forcing us to see and live within the brand we are encouraged to embrace it in our lives. These companies take advantage of things we like by monopolizing their logo and merging the brand with new and enticing ideas. The film “No Logo” presented the idea of constantly being “bombed” by brands, which is very much true. We see advertisements everyday when we drive and see billboards, or massive ads on buses. Or how about when we watch TV now, they are constantly filled with subliminal advertisements for products so we buy them, using the idea that if they (mainly celebrities) like it, we must like it too.
    This represents the impact branding has on globalization, and how a company’s logo can be familiarized internationally. McDonalds has done a great job at this by advertising to each audience in a special way, meaning that they might use different techniques to reach out to Americans compared to those used to reach out to Chinese. Especially with Facebook and Twitter becoming more and more of a staple for this decade, people utilize this space as a place to advertise and inform people of the ins and outs. For example, on Facebook when people “check-in” at a restaurant they are broadcasting for the company themselves, or how about when things, such as Chipotle, are “trending” on Twitter. This idea of forcing brands into everyday life has changed the way society goes about these days.
    With the constant presence of brands in our lives, we have formed a new way of relating to different brands. As the film “No Logo” stated, people started becoming “Tommy Hilfiger” people or maybe “ Nike” people; some people resemble an Abercrombie and Fitch style, while others embraced a Baby Phat style. It all depends on the prodoct and what image they merged with to create this idea and model for their company. P Diddy uses his partygoer and lavish image to portray his vodka, Ciroc, as one that is perfect for parties and classy for those that are wealthy. Gatorade uses a similar campaign by advertising towards athletes, they use celebrity athletes to get our attention and sound credible to their audience, and from now on we associate Gatorade as a product fit for athletes.

  7. Gretchen Worley permalink

    After keeping track of the amount of brands that I saw today, I discovered that branding affects me significantly. Before today, I never realized how much brands are apart of my everyday life activities. For instance, just in my morning routine only, there were multiple different brands that I used. Some of these brands included, the type of toothpaste I used, my make-up, hairspray, clothing, straightener, hairdryer, the type of cereal I ate and several more. As my day went on, I noticed even more brands such as, students’ designer jeans, backpacks, school supplies, Nike logos, different kinds of food, commercial ads on television, and many many more. Thus, after my discovery, I came to the conclusion that Naomi Klein is right, we can’t ignore brands because they surround us whether we like it or not. Branding is a multi-million dollar industry that will never go away. Therefore, we must accept the fact that brands are going to stay here for good.

    Unfortunately the down side of brands is that as a society we tend to judge people based purely on the brands that they either wear or use. For example, if someone were wearing burberry or faconnable we would stereotype them as being “rich” or “materialistic”. In addition, if someone were dressed in Nike clothes, then we would stereotype them for being “athletic” or into labels. Some people buy materialistic items simply because of the type of brand and what that brand represents. As a result, branding affects the world on a much larger scale because it represents what someone is trying to prove or show the world. For me, logos greatly impact my life because I wear them everyday and see them everywhere I go. I’m sometimes guilty of buying specific brands because I think that it is better quality or looks nicer.

    • Aaron Verhei permalink

      I totally agree that people will judge people based off what brands they buy or use throughout their day. logos and brand names have become so much apart of our culture we subconsciously do things without even noticing it. They are everywhere and we cannot get rid of them unless we decided to go live in a cave for awhile, but sure enough we would look in the air and see a flying banner so that isn’t even safe anymore. People buy certain brands for the name because they believe it is better then something similar to it even though they are both the same object. Brand names are something that are here to stay whether we like it or not i think.

  8. Kate McNevin permalink

    Starting this challenge, I thought of our in class clicker question that asked something along the lines of, “How many logos are you exposed to in one day?” The correct answer to this was over 40, and so I thought that I would see about 40 logos throughout my day. I woke up early and got in the shower. I used Dove shampoo, Clean & Clear facewash, Crest toothpaste, PINK body wash, and a Gillette razor. Already, I had encountered 5 brands in the span of 5 minutes. I continued my day, put on my UGGs, NorthFace coat, American Apparel jacket, jeans, and a lulu lemon headband. In another 5 minutes, I encountered 5 more brands. I was about 1/10 of the way through my day, but I had already encountered a quarter of the brands I thought I would.
    Over the course of my day, I noted at least 175 brands or logos and I’m sure I missed some along the way. Walking on the hill, I see brands of other’s clothes and shoes. In the classroom I see brands of textbooks and notebooks. At my house I see brands of video games and fixtures. I see plastic or reusable bags advertising WalMart, Trader Joe’s and WinCo. I got on my computer to do some homework where I thought I might be safe from the “brand bombing.” I wasn’t. All the apps on the bottom of my screen are logos; there are ads on the sides of most Internet sites I go on. Removing these ads from my life, or removing myself from these ads, is completely impossible. There is no way I could function in a modern, globalized society without this interference; especially because the placement of these ads is in very inconspicuous spots – they aren’t always blaring in your face, but you always see them on the side.
    Today, I became conscious of how much I subconsciously notice brands and logos. Companies have made it normal for consumers to be constantly bombarded with all sorts of brands at almost every waking moment. I also became more aware that, like Naomi Klein said, companies are selling a life style, not a product. When I see a person wearing a certain brand of clothing, I immediately place them into categories. Based on what category this person is placed in, I can guess what their other interests and hobbies might be. For example, if I saw a person wearing Hunter boots, listening to an Apple iPod with Bose headphones, I could make the assumption that the person was from an upper-middle class family. While these inferences are not fair, and not always true, they still occur subconsciously.
    Many brands have become globalized, and while they haven’t reached what Klein calls “brand nirvana,” they have reached a place where their product tells much more about a person than anyone could imagine. This relates to the justice system because certain brands and products are associated with lower class people, and lower class people are in turn associated with more crime and violence. People who own things from expensive or “nice” brands, are generally regarded as non-violent, rule abiding citizens. That assumption could be far from the truth. For example, some Fortune 500 CEO’s get in a lot of trouble with law on how they handle their money. It is so odd to me to see a man walk out of a courtroom as a convicted felon while wearing an expensive Armani suit. On the other hand, I wouldn’t be surprised to see a man arrested while wearing a cheap Sean John coat.
    When all is said and done, this video and “challenge” really made me reconsider the way I think about brands, logos, and advertising. At first glance, I didn’t see the big deal. Upon closer examination, it is easy to see how brands have morphed into something much bigger than the materialistic products they sell. These brands impact the way people perceive you, and there is no way to avoid it.

    • Laura Zaro permalink

      I agree that there really is no way to avoid the impact of brands and logos in our daily lives. I too was amazed at how many brands I see or come in contact with during the day that I never realized before. Since it is nearly impossible to avoid exposure to different brands every day, do you think theres a way for them to become less important? Such as when picking out a pair of shoes, choosing one based on something else besides the logo on the side?

      • Kate McNevin permalink

        Today, I think the hip and trendy lifestyle is leaning towards more “green” and environmentally friendly things. For example, TOMS shoes became popular and their whole campaign is the one for one; for every pair of shoes we buy, they will give a pair to kids in need. This is what made them popular, not the actual look of the shoe. People wanted other people to see them as a good person, so they bought these shoes. I think that this shows that even when brands stand for something philanthropic and good for the world, they are still important. I do not for see any society where people are exposed to brands and logos everyday, but these brands are not important.

  9. Jake Hiller permalink

    Globalization is something that is inevitable for larger corporations looking to expand. There is no denying that it is advancing and advancing rapidly. There is also no doubt that technology is increasing and will continue to increase in the coming years. And with increased technology comes expansion into the global marketplace. These corporations see an opportunity to expand and become more successful in new global markets. Klein saw the same opportunity when she put a copyright on “No Logo” and had it published with a multinational corporation. Globalization may be seen by some as negative, and there are definitely negative aspects that need to be approached and fixed my large corporations. But the ability to overcome problems and adversity is what makes business and life such a wonderful and competitive adventure. Would we be better off never trying to expand and innovate the world we live in?

  10. Joseph B. Gentzkow permalink

    I take great umbrage at the very premise of the “No Logo” film. I consider it to be lunacy and in no way relative to any issues pertaining to discrimination or ethnicity or racism. It is anti-capitalist political silliness, compiled by simple-minded individuals with no understanding of economics or what it means to live in a free society – people to whom there is a such thing as a “free lunch” and people who are so naive that they seek to curtail free commerce.

    Are we bombarded with brands? Perhaps. What is that called? Free speech. Companies or private persons have the right to disseminate advertisements of any sort. Doing so pumps money into the economy and provides employment. Klein argues that one cannot simply ignore the ads. What does she suggest we do as a solution to this problem? Ban advertisements? Ban the marketing of brands? She fails to understand what constitutes a free society and does not feel the need to protect free speech or our other basic liberties.

    Klein speaks at length about how Western companies are outsourcing work to those in the Third World who earn little. Her ignorance is stunning. The only reason that the so-called “rise of China” is in any way occurring is because Western companies are opening factories there, employing Chinese, and then shipping the goods back home. This is called foreign investment. It is required for any economy to develop. That is what occurred in Taiwan, which is now a world economic power; and that is what is presently occurring in India. “The people earn less than a dollar a day” – What do you think they earned heretofore? Did you ever consider that goods cost 90% less in Indonesia than they do here? For people who intend to help the economically downtrodden, they sure would do the opposite if they had their way. It’s OK: Do your protesting and run your political ads – in spite of the fact that you intend to limit these freedoms – and the capitalist innovators will keep you employed.

    The idea of “globalization” is quite amusing to me. It is nothing more than a buzz word for those so naive as to believe that protectionism is a viable economic policy. In a market, everyone ought to be able to compete for the business of the consumer, free from outside restrictions on the part of government of anyone else. Protectionist policies remove competition and make it so that American businesses do not have to provide the best product for the consumer.

    I have never understood the phrase “social justice.” I consider it to be a bastardization of the otherwise noble notion that all people ought to have equal rights under the law and that discrimination ought not be tolerated. I have very nearly dedicated my life to anti-racism and the prevention of discrimination. I support civil rights laws, open immigration, and same sex marriage. Nevertheless, I cannot fathom how socialist political propaganda has anything to do with a class about ethnicity.

  11. Reed Clarridge permalink

    Like the video said, brands mass produce individuality. This cheapens personal selection, when the culture around us grabs a hold of the hype. I remember being constantly criticized for wearing a peacoat in eighth grade. Mind you, this was before the recession, and peacoats have this habit of coming back in style around those times, but among many other things I was called a matrix nerd, the columbine kid, and other mocking names. Had I worn quicksilver, O’Brien, or other skateboard/snowboard style brands during that time, I could have avoided such derision. When a brand associates itself with a lifestyle, the brand has the ability to steal your self-esteem and try to sell it back to you.
    I like to consider myself part of the resistance to such effects of corporate globalization ideology, but I, myself, fall victim far too often to paying attention to brands. I always felt that those who grew up good-looking and popular were able to dictate what’s cool to wear and what behavior gets you noticed, but after paying more attention to brands and how they advertise, I’ve grown fond of the idea that it’s brands that decide who’d cool and who’s good-looking more than the other way around.
    The fact that brands on clothing give us hints about people we don’t know is a testament to the strength of brand bombing, today. Individuality, at a glance, is little more than revealing how you conform or what products (lifestyles) you endorse.

    • Joseph B. Gentzkow permalink

      Mr. Clarridge:

      Your issue ought to be with the individuals who bullied you and not the “corporation” that produced the brands that you were not wearing. That connection is illogical. Before brands were popular, children were making fun of one another for other things. That sort of abuse is horrific, but is regrettably a component of human nature and a part of growing up.

      You should not be blaming or attempting to take out your anger on the “corporations” that produced the clothing that you weren’t wearing. What you fail to understand is that no one company produced the “Quicksilver” shirt to which you made reference. The cotton to produce the shirt probably came from the American South. The dye to produce the shirt came from some other part of the world. The shirt and all of its contributing components were shipped around, all over the globe. All of these steps and factors and contributions employ people and provide for their sustainment. You ought to be considering the ramifications of what you intend to do.

      You say that you are part of this “resistance” to business. Who do you think employed your parents so that you can be attending school here? They’re part of the global economy, to which those wretched “Quicksilver” shirts contributed.

  12. Michael Anderson permalink

    An interesting point was brought up in class today about how certain brands provide consumers with trust that their product will meet a consumers needs. Consumers may buy a slightly more expensive item if it is a popular brand that they know they can trust. Sometimes, the brand might not even be the best but people will buy it if the item is popular with the general public. For example, when comparing two running shoes (lets say one being nike and the other being a brand that you have never heard of), most people will assume that the nike shoe is a better quality and provide better performance without knowing anything about the other shoe. I think this type of example can be interestingly related to race and privilege. In a sense, nike has a privilege over no name companies when it comes to consumer choice. Similarly, certain races have privilege over others. Just like we learned in class, whites have privilege over blacks when it comes to getting a job. Through stereotypes, whites receive a certain brand that may classify them as trustworthy to employers. I think this shows how humans have a tendency to put a brand on everything, material or not, and supports Naomi Klein’s idea that branding is everywhere. How consumers will judge certain brands as good or bad based off what other people say is like how people judge certain races based off stereotypes.

  13. A reminder to all, while debate and critical discussion is great, personal/ad hominen attacks do little to advance the discussion. Lets keep the focus on analysis and critical discussion rather than personal comments.

  14. Maddie Steiner permalink

    I’ve never thought about how many brands I see everyday, until I actually stopped to think about it. From right when I wake up, to when I go to bed, I am surrounded by different kinds of brands. Our world is becoming more and more materialistic, with more focus put on the brand name of a product, rather than the value of the product itself. The first time I really started to notice the value of brands was when I was a freshman in high school. I went to a private high school, where most people were pretty wealthy. Everyone at my high school had designer jeans, designer purses, brand name backpacks, etc. I felt that I needed these brand name items because they would show people what kind of a person I was and help me to fit in better at school. It would show that my family could afford these expensive things too. I began to value brand names so much and would look down on people that didn’t have them. As I continued through high school I began to see how materialistic I had become and how it was changing the way I viewed people and what I valued in my friends. I was so wrapped up in the brand names, that I was blind to how these products were effecting me. In today’s society brand names and logos carry so much more than the companies name. The best example I can think of, for me, is designer/name brand jeans. I can tell what kind of jeans someone is wearing based on the pocket design, and I can tell you about how much those jeans would cost someone to buy. Comparing the types of jeans people wear would make me assume certain things about the person wearing them. If someone is wearing a pair of designer jeans I would think certain things about them, compared to what I think about people that wear Old Navy or American Eagle jeans. This association of brand names to ideas about people is something that I am working on, and have been since high school. Its hard to develop our own ideas and values, when society is forcing certain views and values on us, particularity the importance of brands. I agree with Klein’s argument that you can not ignore brand names, because they are all around us. Even in things as simple as pencils or toothpaste. Every brand carries a certain idea and the people using the brand name expect to be treated a certain way. The importance of brands is so ingrained in our system its hard to ignore the messages they send.

  15. Amanda Fu permalink

    Throughout my one-day study, I mainly examined the people throughout WSU and noted that the most common brand you will see is Northface. Walking to class, I saw at least ten different girls and boys wearing northface merchandise. Sitting in one large lecture of 300+ people, I just looked at the people around me, and I could count about twenty different brands, clothing, food and accessories. In fact, just looking in my own room I can see around fifteen brands, all of them proudly displaying the brand name right in the front of my backpack, jacket or even my computer mouse! I also noticed that with the items that I would see while shopping at the grocery store, I seemed to prefer things that I had heard of before whether it was a small mention in a commercial on the television or something that I see advertised all the time on billboards or other ads.
    My experience with both places, at school and at the grocery store showed that Klein was correct. I felt that those things that I saw or heard of more commonly were things that I could trust more than those that I barely hear about. For instance, I had been watching shows on Hulu lately, and one of the sponsors of the site is Truvia, some type of artificial sweetener that prides itself on being a natural, true, sugar-free type of sweetener. So when I went to the grocery store for sugar, society tells me that we are all too fat and therefore I should consider buying “sugar-less” sweetener. Although I know that this is not true and most things artificial can be extremely detrimental to your health, one of my first thoughts were “maybe I should get some Truvia…” This very easily fits with Klein’s arguments about how you cannot escape branding, it is all around us and affects us in many aspects of our lives. From just my example of going to the grocery store, there would be Safeway, Hulu, Truvia, and Subaru.
    I think that my relationship with brands and advertisements is very similar to what I imagine most peoples to be like, where brands make things popular and wanted while ads may suggest that something can be trusted and that life will be better with the product. I understand that when I buy things that have brands, it can be fueling certain sweatshops in other countries. But if there was a way to purchase high quality merchandise with the salary that college students make without the merchandise going through sweatshops, then I would be happy to make that change. I would like to think that there will be some way to fix the problem of sweatshops and companies using those employees only for the sake of cheaper labor. If they even decided to pay their workers more fairly and gave them more rights even at the sake of their merchandise becoming pricier, then I would fully support that.

    • Michael Anderson permalink

      Branding is a huge marketing strategy used to give a specific personality to a product or company. This is a large reason as to why all of the brands involved in our daily lives can be a reflection of who we are through appearance and personality. Each brand of a product has a distinct personality which then can be associated with the consumer. Even the brand of clothing you purchase could predict the type of people you associate with, or your income level. People finding out about sweatshops can effect the brand of the company negatively. As more and more people gain a negative opinion on a brand due to these sweatshops it may cause companies to stop these sweatshops in order to keep a good reputation. This is one way branding could actually act to prevent social injustice rather than to promote it.

  16. Alex Clark permalink

    Throughout my “one day study”, I noticed things that weren’t too surprising. I was on the lookout for advertising everywhere and well advertising is literally everywhere you look. Over recent years companies have been doing more and more advertising based on the increase of products being introduced around the world. It has become somewhat normal to be bombarded with adds in every aspect of our lives, and I feel that most people have accepted that or haven’t even noticed.

    I first tried to categorize all of these brand placements, but soon learned that was impossible due to the fact that brands are everywhere!! On your toothbrush, backpack, gloves, phone, pencil, and so on. I strongly believe that brands are forced into every aspect of our lives. Moreover, I seemed to notice a lot of the same people walking in the same groups, wearing the exact same outfits. Currently it seems that brands like The North Face, Nike, UGG, Jordan, and so many more have a monopoly on the popular thing to wear. I definitely agree with Klein’s argue meant, unless you live under a rock, it is impossible to just “ignore “brands. Klein said that these brands weren’t selling a specific product; they were selling a certain “lifestyle”.

    Most people feel uncomfortable when they don’t follow the lifestyle that everyone else is attempting to follow. This is the reason why companies advertise and brand bomb on every occasion they can; to get it in your head that if you don’t have this you are not the person you should be. This is definitely an injustice and can have some serious side effects to people nationwide. In conclusion, Klein’s theory seems to be correct, as individuals are constantly surrounded by brands, and by no mistake.

  17. Amy Leonard permalink

    Going around and noticing and recording all the brands I saw on any given day was very hard. We see brands so often that we don’t even think about it. I know I found myself forgetting to look for brands and so there were probably brands I missed seeing when I accidentally stopped paying attention. Of the ones I saw and remembered I was supposed to be recording, I saw 142 brands on Tuesday, February 28, 2012. (Several of these I grouped under the main company that produces them such as “Western Family” or “Kraft”) Not including clothing or shoes, 54 of those brands are in my room, out in the open. That means that anyone’s brain that walked into my room would instantly be bombarded with at least 54 brands!
    Being on a college campus, I feel that the most commonly placed ads are clothing, laptops, coffee cups, backpacks, and posters with advertisements on them.
    Removing all brands and logos from our environment would be quite the challenge. Wiping every slate clean of advertisements, brands, and logos would be impossible in our world today. Had we known what this constant bombardment of images would do to us, logos might never have been created. Then again, if we had no logos, how would we be able to tell the difference between products and companies? I don’t think it would be possible to tell the difference between different brands or companies if there were no such thing as logos. This would change our world entirely. Would there just be one company for every type of good, would there be any companies at all?
    I think in a lot of ways there is quite a big connection between brands and social justice and equality. The way people view anything has to do completely with the way it is marketed to consumers. If a marketer tells you a product will make you cool, you believe it. If they tell you a pair of jeans makes you sexy and irresistible you immediately want to buy that brand of jeans. If an advertising campaign were to make you think that you were supposed to not like someone because of their ethnicity, eventually many people would listen, and racism would be heightened. A solid example of how brands negatively influence our perception of people is how women are used and objectified to sell products. Scantily clad women are used to sell anything and everything from cars to cosmetics. These ads get men’s attention, while silently telling women they will look like the woman in the ad if they buy a certain product.
    I definitely agree with Klein, we cannot ignore branding. Brands and logos are everywhere and we cannot get away from them. Even if you see a brand or logo and don’t actively acknowledge it, your brain still takes it in and sees it, remembers it, and is affected by it. I’m sure that brands and logo’s I have seen throughout my life have affected my identity, but I don’t know specifically how, but research shows that everything we see effects the way we think, our dreams, and our future ideas.
    Many companies are trying to be politically correct in their advertising, showing people of many different ethnicities in their advertisements. These are usually for family-oriented companies or products. But things usually meant to sell an idea or product having to do with pop culture or sex appeal, is usually portrayed using white people because our society has told us that the only way someone can be beautiful is if they are a thin Caucasian, usually blonde woman and muscular Caucasian man.
    The globalization of products and companies from a company standpoint is to be desired. More consumers and stores means more money. But is globalization of brands and logos necessarily good for our world? We are “Americanizing” the world one advertisement at a time. As mentioned in my previous paragraph, this changes standards of beauty. There have been numerous reports of people of other ethnicities in foreign countries trying to change their appearance. They do this by attempting to bleach their skin or having plastic surgery. People in other countries also want to live like us, and consume at the same rate Americans do, which is not always possible or sustainable. Globalization also helps spread ideas and knowledge throughout the world, which is good but it definitely has its consequences. There is also the question of labor when it comes to globalization. Workers have been taught that pushing companies for better wages, benefits or working conditions will backfire and result in a company moving offshore to source or produce their product in order to get cheap labor. They’re been taught this, because this is what lot of companies do when their employees make a fuss! The globalization of labor affects the amount of jobs available in a company’s home country and foreign countries. A lack of jobs creates a need for government welfare programs, which strains a company’s home economy. This could lead to a recession, and a change in government.
    In conclusion, brands and logos are inescapable, affecting our everyday life and thought process.

  18. Aaron Verhei permalink

    Throughout my day i looked around and tried to notice and kept track of all the brand names and logos that are around me throughout just one day of my life. As i was going about minding my own business i got attacked by a swarm of millions of logo right of the bat. Right at the hour everyday Terrel mall gets filled with human billboards and we never even notice it. I myself while walking around noticed that i was wearing at least 3 different logos that other could easily see. Logos are a part of our normal day routines and i don’t think anyone ever notices it until they actually get told to look around for it. This goes with the video and Kleins point about how we can not escape the ads or logos because they are everywhere and any where that the business could possibly put them. Even in sports video games you will see actual sponsors inside of the video games. Ads and logos are everywhere. I dont watch tv anymore because it feels all i watch is commercials and not the actual show i turned on to watch in the first place. Another thing you start to notice about logos is how the describe someone or how they describe a area based on the ads or logos you see in them. If you see a guy walking around wearing a bunch of nike clothing your first thought is going to be that he likes to work out and likes sports. Or like the point i brought up in class about how nike makes the worst wrestling shoes ever and if you wore them we all thought you had no idea about the sport just because of the shoes you wear. Girls will judge other girls because they didn’t buy there clothes from the best of the best. Logos should not define the person, but yet sometimes we let them do that. Another way ads and logos are getting into our world and we don’t even notice is everyone’s favorite friend Facebook. There are ads all over Facebook, and whats even better is that they tailor those ads just for you based on the info you put into Facebook and everything you like. Logos and ads have become just apart of our normal day as breathing is and i don’t think it is even possible to go a day without seeing one.

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