Watching Kardashians leave no doubts that today everything is for sale. The death of Terry Pratchett created an ‘excellent’ opportunity for PR and marketing people to recall his novels and display the books in the spotlight of the bookstores, but also to raise the issue of the Alzheimer disease. The birth of the second royal baby will soon start the media madness and the race for the best front page. Even the suspension of the Top Gear host, Jeremy Clarkson (see the last post), was commercially used by Lego to promote Legoland Windsor Resort’s Lego Driving School reopening, which is – we have to admit – a smart and creative PR tactic. What is it all about? Promotional culture we live in.
In 1991 Andrew Wernick introduced the concept of promotional cultures, which was then analyzed by Aeron Davis in his book, titled “Promotional Cultures. The Rise and Spread of Advertising, Public Relations, Marketing and Branding”. Davis claimed that “no object could be separated from the promotion of itself and all objects linked to it through communications” (p2). As the promotion plays a significant role in the consumer society, the spread of promotional professions and practices became inevitable. All the professionals working in the communications industry are the promotional intermediaries and wind up the carousel of consumption. In fact, the symbols and lifestyles produced by them are more important than the products themselves. Why would anyone buy Saint Laurent clutch bag worth £1,290.00 and not H&M similar purse, if not for a substitute of luxury and certain status of living, shown in the advertisements and press editorials?
Nowadays, we all co-create the promotional culture and often unconsciously serve it. Although there are a lot of people who try to follow the sustainable way of life and who are fans of minimalist trend described e.g. in the book “The art of simplicity” by Dominique Loreau, it is undeniable that wealth and possession of material goods is the evidence of a social status. Even though we might distance ourselves from the overwhelming amount of consumer goods, get rid of a telly and try to live a simple, minimalist life, it does not change the fact that every day “we are all selling something”, as Heather Yaxley pointed out.
Davis, A. (2013). Promotional Cultures. The Rise and Spread of Advertising, Public Relations, Marketing and Branding. Cambridge: Polity Press.