Capitalism, Cultural Disintegration, and Buzzfeed

  • In a capitalistic society, companies show images to people to influence them to assume new identities in order to get them to consume more of their products
    • In the past, people’s identities were found in signifiers from religious iconography, historical figures or art pieces like paintings and sculptures, but today, the signifiers come from mass media like entertainment and advertisements
      • “Because advertisements link identity with the need to purchase products, the acceleration of visual culture promotes the hyper-consumption associated with late capitalism.” – Jonah Peretti
  • In order words, capitalism needs schizophrenia because, in schizophrenia, people are constantly changing their identity. This is want capitalistic companies want. They want you to change your identity and associate with their product so that you consume it.
    • “It is this identification ­­with a model, athlete, or actor­­ that encourages the purchase of the product being pitched. In order for an advertisement in GQ to be successful, it must provoke an ego formation that makes the product integral to the viewer’s identity. This fragile ego formation must persist long enough for the GQ reader to purchase the product.” – Jonah Peretti
  • What does this have to do with Buzzfeed?
    • Buzzfeed does a lot of native advertising which means they incorporate the ad in their content (like personality quizzes). Then their answers to the quiz are connected to a branded product. And since the product is in line with their identity, it makes it more likely for the viewer to buy it. 
      • “Your self-identity is directly connected to the brand you’re being exposed to and ideally, it makes you feel like consuming the branded product will then affirm the identity you have formed”Jonas Celka

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Notes By Alex Wiec

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