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September 14, 2008

Why Do We Overspend in America?

by Michael Langlois

Take a look at this:

Clicking on the image will take you to the flash app created by the New York Times.  What it shows is the per capita consumer spending habits by nation, divided by country.  The bigger the block, the bigger the spend.  Click through each tab, and you’ll notice that we Americans always have the biggest block.  We spend more, per person, than anyone else on everything.

Why is this?

I’m going to go out on a limb here and say it’s not because we’re vapid consumer whores.  Okay, we’re not vapid consumer whores for no reason.  Let me share a statistic with you.

We see an average of 1600 ads per person every single day.

I know, right?  Maybe it’s more amazing that we don’t wake up every morning and sing jingles at the top of our lungs while sticking logos all over our bodies.  Although it’s close.  Popular songs are now jingles, so I guess we do sing songs that have become advertising anthems, and of course, people have been paying money to wear corporate logos for some time now.  But the victory isn’t complete yet, and with any luck, it never will be.

When you see an ad from now on, think about what it says and how it says it.  Beautiful people high-fiving each other over Product X is not what how I want my culture defined.

Pervasive advertising is an assault on your judgement, treat it as such.

Read more from Blog Posts, Essays

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