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Insights and unsolved mysteries from the crazy field of Consumer Culture Theory. More of the latter...
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Does the Apple Watch Look Good On? Assessing From a Fashion Point of View

Does the Apple Watch Look Good On? Assessing From a Fashion Point of View | Consumer Culture | Scoop.it
The long-awaited, much-anticipated Apple Watch. Don’t call it an iWatch; this is a new era, people. OMG! OMG! OMG! And all that.
Joachim Scholz, PhD's insight:

This article brings up a very good point I was thinking about when watching Apple's keynote yesterday: They carefully mimicked the appearance of a watch, including the traditional wheel, in order to gain acceptance of the device as a "non-device", more accessory than technology:

 

"In other words, unlike, say, the iPhone, which resembled no other phone on the market when it appeared, or the iPod, the Apple Watch is firmly in watch aesthetic vernacular – just not other connected watch vernacular. Rather, it speaks the visual language of ye olde-fashioned watches."


It reminds me of organizational theory articles that described how Edison mimicked the visual aesthetics of gas sockets in order to gain acceptance for his new technology - florescent light bulbs. History repeats itself.

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Why Uber's Fate Could Hinge on This Tragic Accident | Wired Business | Wired.com

Why Uber's Fate Could Hinge on This Tragic Accident | Wired Business | Wired.com | Consumer Culture | Scoop.it
Pedestrians are killed by cars with alarming frequency in San Francisco. But this accident was different: the driver drove for Uber.
Joachim Scholz, PhD's insight:

Lawers are about to mess up the emerging sharing economy. The question that is posed by a fatal accident on New Years Eve is whether consumers who make some money on the side by offering their services on social network sides like uber are covered under any insurance. Normal businesses have insurance, but insurance in the peer-to-peer marketplace is much more difficult to handle. When is someone working, for example, and when is one just a consumer? These are all important questions that can put an end to collaborative consumption just as it is about to take off.

 

From the article: "By the logic of the sharing economy, however, having an app open isn’t necessarily the same as the driver of a traditional taxi eying the sidewalks for a new fare. In theory, an Uber X driver can work as little or as much as he or she wants, and accept or reject any fare. Having the app open might mean a driver is looking for the next passenger. Or it could the driver is just checking out how many other drivers are on the road. Or the driver could have been working but then decided to head to a party without closing the app. Or the driver could be running errands and have the app open casually in case a passenger pops up somewhere between the grocery store and the mall. In those scenarios, whether a driver is “working” or not gets fuzzy."

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Slavoj Žižek on the Feel-Good Ideology of Starbucks

Slavoj Žižek on the Feel-Good Ideology of Starbucks | Consumer Culture | Scoop.it
Nowadays marketers tell us we can achieve personal redemption not through hard work, by consuming the right products. When you buy eco-friendly products, fair trade goods, etc, you don't have to think twice about the cost of your consumerism.
Joachim Scholz, PhD's insight:

Zizek on Starbucks, ethical consumerism, and a new-found protestant ethic through consuming the right products. 

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Feminist parody of Robin Thicke's 'Blurred Lines' removed from YouTube for being 'inappropriate'

Feminist parody of Robin Thicke's 'Blurred Lines' removed from YouTube for being 'inappropriate' | Consumer Culture | Scoop.it
A feminist parody of Robin Thicke’s “Blurred Lines” – a song that has been accused of blurring the lines between consensual sex and rape – was briefly removed from YouTube yesterday, leaving its creators mystified.
Joachim Scholz, PhD's insight:

Double standards about how to portray men and women in the media are not only found in advertising, but also at youtube. After being flagged as inappropritate, a reversed-roles paraody of Thicke's Blurred Lines was quickly taken down by youtube - shame on you guys!

 

A producer of the parody said in an interview:

 

"We think that women should be treated equally, and as part of that, we're trying to address the culture of objectifying women in music videos," 

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MCP

The Collision-Prevent-Assist-System of Mercedes works well. What if it would have been developed ages ago? What if it would be a lot better we expected? What would…
Joachim Scholz, PhD's insight:

Culture Jamming is the practice of creating public and often critical commentary about a brand through means of altering the brand's logo and/or claims, or by creating fake advertising or other forms of communication for the brand. Culture Jamming aims to ridicule a brand or company.

 

On the other side, there is Consumer Generated Advertising, which shares with Culture Jamming that is created not by the company, but it differs in that the consumers who create this CGA are generally favorable towards the company or brand. 

 

An interesting case in between is presented in this video. I can understand that Mercedes wouldn't want to be associated with its content, but the question is to what extent this video really hurts the brand? 

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Andrew Blum: What is the Internet, really? | Video on TED.com

TED Talks When a squirrel chewed through a cable and knocked him offline, journalist Andrew Blum started wondering what the Internet was really made of.
Joachim Scholz, PhD's insight:

The internet is a cloud, no? No, the internet are many wires that are spanning the globe. This is an interesting talk aout the materiality of one of the icons of the immaterial.

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Robin Chase: Excuse me, may I rent your car? | Video on TED.com

TED Talks A decade ago, Robin Chase founded Zipcar in the US, now the largest car-sharing company in the world. Now she's exploring the next level of car-sharing: Buzzcar, a French startup that lets people rent their own cars to others.
Joachim Scholz, PhD's insight:

Some really good talk about the sharing / peer-to-peer / collaborate consumption culture by an expert: the person who first founded zipcar and then buzzcar. She reflects about the differences and symbiosis between traditional / industrial production systems and collaborative /peer-to-peer production systems. She fuses these systems together in her Peers Inc. model: "Bringing the power of the company or coorperation and supercharging the individual."  

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Joachim Scholz, PhD's curator insight, December 23, 2012 10:30 AM

Are Peer Inc. business model the natural evolution from community marketing?

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Azoi Unveils 'Wello' Health Tracking Case for iPhone

Azoi Unveils 'Wello' Health Tracking Case for iPhone | Consumer Culture | Scoop.it
Science and technology company Azoi has unveiled the Wello health monitoring case for the iPhone 4S, iPhone 5 and iPhont 5s, allowing users to track...
Joachim Scholz, PhD's insight:

This health tracking iPhone case does two things for me: First, it makes me excited to see what the Apple home brew version will be. Second, it is a great step closer to the digital self, potentially improving our health care system through constant measurement, empowering patients.

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The Six Things That Make Stories Go Viral Will Amaze, and Maybe Infuriate, You

The Six Things That Make Stories Go Viral Will Amaze, and Maybe Infuriate, You | Consumer Culture | Scoop.it
In scientific research on what makes articles go viral, amusing stories were shared more frequently than less amusing ones.
Joachim Scholz, PhD's insight:

Jonah Berger, author of Contagious, explores what makes news stories most read and most shared. Positive emotions and arousing content wins, promising practical value as well, and of course the quality of the story itself is another predictor. This study certainly has implications for understanding how, or better when, word-of-mouth spreads, and it helps marketing managers to finetune their approach in order to get their messages going viral.

 

One important passage from the article:

 

"Since his initial foray into the nature of sharing, Berger has gone on to research and test a variety of viral-promoting factors, which he details in his new book, “Contagious: Why Things Catch On.” Almost ten years in, he feels he’s discovered a formula of sorts: as sites like Upworthy or BuzzFeed would likely put it, The Six Things You Need to Know to Make Your Voice Heard. While emotion and arousal still top the list, a few additional factors seem to make a big difference. First, he told me, you need to create social currency—something that makes people feel that they’re not only smart but in the know. “Memes like LOLcats, I think, are a perfect example of social currency, an insider culture or handshake,” Berger told me. “Your ability to pass it on and riff on it shows that you understand. It’s the ultimate, subtle insider signal: I know without yelling that I know. When your mom sees an LOLcat, she has no idea what it is.” When Upworthy first started, not everyone knew what it was, and the videos seemed fresh. Now they are being derided as link bait and mocked. Other sites, including the Washington Post, are copying their formula."

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Illusion of the Week: Japanese Burger-Chain Breaks the Curse of OCHOBO! | Illusion Chasers, Scientific American Blog Network

Illusion of the Week: Japanese  Burger-Chain Breaks the Curse of OCHOBO! | Illusion Chasers, Scientific American Blog Network | Consumer Culture | Scoop.it
Joachim Scholz, PhD's insight:

How does culture impact consumption? In this case, Japanese national culture emphasizes a small mouth for women, which results in women shying away from showing an open mouth in public for example by covering their mouth when laughing. If you are trying to sell hamburgers, this is a problem. In comes this extra size wrapper that lets you keep your mouth shut while taking a bite.

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Not all unisex are created equal... how American Apparel displays male and female models wearing unisex shirts

Not all unisex are created equal... how American Apparel displays male and female models wearing unisex shirts | Consumer Culture | Scoop.it

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Joachim Scholz, PhD's insight:

About how differently American Apparel displays its unisex collection. Spoiler Alert: Only men American Apparently wear pants with their unisex shirts.

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Jo Paoletti's curator insight, August 23, 2013 9:09 AM

Wonderful observation of how a "unisex" garment can be gendered. Not rocket science, people!

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3 Ways To Make Wearable Tech Actually Wearable

3 Ways To Make Wearable Tech Actually Wearable | Consumer Culture | Scoop.it
Wearable technology is the next new wave of technology, and it’s bound to drive a lot of the innovation in the consumer electronics industry. We can expect to see a lot more watches, glasses, fitness gadgets, and wristbands in the years to come.
Joachim Scholz, PhD's insight:

Do you remember the first days when cellphones came up? How you turned your neck and gossipped about people who were carrying around these huge bricks? If the mobile revolution was disruptive to our experience, the Wearable Tech is rather subtle. More and products are creeping into our lives communicating with us directly, first in the fitness and health industry, and later in other parts of our lives.

 

This article gives an interesting introduction to Wearable Tech. Here a teaser:

"In these early days, we’re approaching wearables with a traditional CE mentality--it’s all about making a powerful gadget that we can bolt onto our bodies without considering the new aspects of what it means to wear, rather than carry, something. And if we are not careful, we will be on our way to becoming cyborgs: bolting gadgets onto our bodies will distract, disrupt, and disengage us from others, ultimately degrading our human experience.


The real opportunity is for wearable technology to enhance the human experience by seamlessly integrating the technology into the fabric of our lives."

 

We live in the future!

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Rachel Botsman: The currency of the new economy is trust | Video on TED.com

TED Talks There's been an explosion of collaborative consumption -- web-powered sharing of cars, apartments, skills.
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