Class and products

The New York Times is still running their series on Class in America. Their latest article is about Class, Consumption, and Marketing. Whatever you think you know about class in America, you still need to read this.

I have been thinking about good and class for a long time. There is a big difference between being able to afford to own a house and being able to afford a luxury car. For a long time no one would buy a luxury car if they were renting an apartment. That is no longer the case. There are lots of people who would rather live in luxury then security. The marketers are only happy enough to sell products to these people.

I found this to be an interesting idea.

"'The market dynamics have changed,' said Idris Mootee, a marketing expert based in Boston. 'It used to be clearly defined by how much you can afford. Before, if you belonged to a certain group, you shopped at Wal-Mart and bought the cheapest coffee and bought the cheapest sneakers. Now, people may buy the cheapest brand of consumer goods but still want Starbucks coffee and an iPod.'

Merchandisers, for example, might look at two golfers, one lower middle class, the other wealthy, and know that they read the same golf magazine, see the same advertisements and possibly buy the same quality driver. The difference is that one will be splurging and then play on a public course while the other will not blink at the price and tee off at a private country club."

I love this series because it is not looking at class as a code word for anything else. It is looking at class on its own. I think this is much more telling then most of the conversations or articles about class I come upon. There is so much here and the New York Times is only scratching the surface so far.


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