PR, Films and Fantasies

Consumer culture in action…

Posted on: May 9, 2010

I was asked to identify a media text that breathes consumerism and the first thing I thought of was Elle magazine. Yes, I know it is a FASHION mag and that it suppose to show us what the latest trends and collections are so we can spend, spend, spend on all of them, but my problem with it is different.

My love for Elle comes from it’s photo shoots. The photographs and photographers are beyond words in each issue so I always spend the 3.95 just to watch the pretty pictures. One other great aspect is its features. Most of the time it has very interesting articles on powerful and successful women, on places around the world and on global issues. Also, the clothes and accessories are really matching my taste (even if not my wallet). It obviously targets the rich, strong and independent.

BUT what’s with the ocean of adverts? I know the magazine has to survive economically, but if I am to count the pages, adverts and commercials are more than half in an issue. So I pay 4 pounds for 150 pages of adverts of the 265 of the entire magazine. Now I wouldn’t necessarily mind, but they seem to be the same issue after issue. Not to mention that another 3 quarters of the remaining bits are shopping tips.

I know that the products in the ads match the magazine’s audience perfectly: watches, perfumes, make-up clothes!!!, cars and holidays, but personally I feel it is too aggressive. In Romania, Elle was a lot thinner. It had the exact same amount of photographs, similar headlines and identical structure, but the number of advertisements was very, very small.  Thumbs up for that!

So, if this isn’t consumer culture in action, then what is?

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1 Response to "Consumer culture in action…"

Great blog, I definitely agree with you here Oana. Vogue is the luxury glossy I am most familiar with, and although like you, I do adore the stunning photography, I feel a little conned. Most forms of media today are saturated with ads which is understandable for the smaller budget publications, but vogue and elle? I don’t think they have the same problem. You nailed it – a perfect example of consumer culture!

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