Michael R. Solomon

Archive for the ‘self-concept digital identity marketing advertising’ Category

Swimming with the (Digital) Fishes: The Perils of Screen Addiction

In Consumer Behavior, self-concept digital identity marketing advertising on May 22, 2017 at 12:25 pm

It’s no secret that many kids (and quite a few grownups as well) are spending a big chink of time everyday in front of a screen (about 11 hours per day on average by some estimates). Some are shopping, some are sexting, maybe a few outliers are doing homework. Many get drawn into immersive multiplayer videogames and literally lose track of time as this alternate universe replaces “reality.”

Parents may find this concerning, but they may be unsure how –or if — they can address the issue. How’s this for “tough love?”A Chinese man got so upset about the amount of time his adult son spent playing videogames that he took a novel approach: He hired “digital hit men” in the form of other gamers to kill off all of his son’s characters in the games.

Psychologists compare screen addiction to chemical dependency, to the point of inducing symptoms of withdrawal when users are deprived of their fix. As one expert noted, “Everyone is a potential addict—they’re just waiting for their drug of choice to come along, whether heroin, running, junk food or social media.”

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When Lo Cal is a No Go

In self-concept digital identity marketing advertising on May 11, 2017 at 9:33 am

Weighing scales

The way an offering is presented carries a lot of weight. To read more, please go to http://www.michaelrsolomon.com/blogs/

The (Svelte) Chicken or the Egg? Does “the Media” Make us Fatophobic?

In Consumer Behavior, self-concept digital identity marketing advertising on May 1, 2017 at 9:07 am

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“The media” gets a heavy dose of  criticism when it gives us what we crave:  Images of slim, hot women or buffed men.

Are advertisers to blame for showing us what we expect to see?  Fattism is deeply ingrained in our culture: As early as nursery school age, children prefer drawings of peers in wheelchairs, on crutches, or with facial disfigurements to those of fat children. During one two month period, four young Brazilian women died in widely publicized cases of anorexia, which sparked an international debate about body image and eating disorders. The first to die was a 21-year-old model who stood 5 feet, 8 inches tall but weighed slightly more than 80 pounds when she collapsed at a fashion shoot in Japan.  In one survey, more than twice as many female respondents said they were concerned about their weight than about cancer, heart disease, or diabetes. Only 40 percent said they were satisfied with their physical appearance.

Can – or will – “the media” (whatever that is) change this predilection?  In Spain, the government imposed a controversial ban on extremely thin models as measured by their body mass index, or BMI (a formula that takes into account both height and weight). It requires a BMI greater than 17.4 for female models younger than 18 years old, or 18.5 for models older than 18 years old. For a 5-foot, 9-inch model older than 18, that translates to a weight requirement of 126 pounds. Unilever, in turn, banned the use of so-called “size 0” models in its ads for products ranging from Lux shower gel and Sunsilk shampoo to Slim-Fast diet drinks.

In one of the most blatant (and effective) government-sponsored propaganda efforts in recent history, bureaucrats during World War II blanketed our country with images of Rosie the Riveter, a heavily-muscled factory worker.   The campaign aimed to change women’s expectations about themselves and drive them from their homes into factories to take the place of their men who were otherwise occupied on the battlefield.  Rosie’s success is but one illustration that “the media” can in fact engineer the way we think about ourselves.  But, be careful what you wish for:  Whoever is in charge gets to decide what a “desirable” body should be.

The Digital Self: You Are What You POST

In Chapter 6, Consumer Behavior, self-concept digital identity marketing advertising on April 24, 2017 at 9:25 am

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In a recent post, I wrote about the prevalence of “fake news” with regard to the images of men and women we see in advertising:

http://michaelrsolomon.com/2017/04/17/the-photoshopped-self-fake-news-or-the-new-reality/

I noted that people have been manipulating their images for centuries. But the big news today is that mainstream consumers now employ the same methods that used to be available only to the rich and famous as they actively manage their digital selves.

At the risk of stating the obvious, the entire cosmetics and apparel industrial complex owes its very existence to the desires of the masses to manage their social identities. Professional “identity managers” assume many forms, from hairstylists and cosmetologists to wardrobe consultants and resume writers. Doctors perform nearly 860,000 cosmetic-surgery procedures in the U.S. each year alone.  In some circles nose jobs or breast implants are part of the rite-of-passage for teenage girls, and an increasing number of men spring for pectoral enlargements.

We may still need a trained surgeon to reshape a troublesome nose, but we can undertake other makeovers on our own. This is especially true when it comes to the identity we express on digital platforms. As I noted previously, Hugh Hefner probably owes his fortune to the abilities of the technicians who created Playboy’s centerfolds beginning in the 1950s – these airbrushed women literally do not exist, at least as they appear in the magazine.

Today, many techie teenagers can effortlessly produce the same results with PhotoShop or even SnapChat.  Millions of us manage – and embellish — our digital identities when we strategically populate a Facebook profile page or post a self-aggrandizing entry (perhaps with vintage photo from 20 years ago to match) on an online dating site.

Many marketers don’t seem to grasp the steady expansion of their customers’ energies and even their very identities into online realms. Indeed, the firm line many of us draw between “real world” and “online” activities grows increasingly porous; the distinction will probably seem quaint to our grandchildren.  Already many millions of consumers commute back and forth between their real and digital selves multiple times each day. It’s unlikely that the 10 million kids who visit a virtual world like Habbo Hotel for an hour or more each day would regard that aspect of their lives differently from the time they spend running on the playground.  A lot of kids really are what they post, and so are their parents.

TO BE CONTINUED…

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