Conflict Over Commercialism: Adversaries, Advocates and Adbusters


Richard W. Pollay (1992) ,"Conflict Over Commercialism: Adversaries, Advocates and Adbusters", in SV - Meaning, Measure, and Morality of Materialism, eds. Floyd W. Rudmin and Marsha Richins, Provo, UT : Association for Consumer Research, Pages: 207.

Meaning, Measure, and Morality of Materialism, 1992      Page 207


Richard W. Pollay, Faculty of Commerce, University of British Columbia

The 1990's have already witnessed the launch of a now magazine and the formation of a public interest think tank and another advocacy organization, all three intent to counter commercialism and commercialism's role and influence in our contemporary culture. The goals, resources and activities of each of those nascent institutions are briefly described and illustrated with sample issues, ads, brochures and reprints.

Adbusters is a non-profit quarterly magazine intent 'to change the way we think about advertising." Motivated by the observation that "in spite of the (ecological) forces imperiling our planet, advertisers are telling people to consume more than ever," the magazine provides a forum for people concerned about advertising such as .environmentalists who want to break the consumption binge, women who are fed up with the way they are portrayed in ads, and parents and teachers who are fighting the battle against the values advertising encourages in children." Distributed to 20,000 educators, environmentalists, business leaders and advertising agencies by the Media Foundation, this 72 to 96 paged medium has completed two volumes. It provides an "environmental strategist' column, advertising satire, and articles with provocative titles such as The McBraining of America, American Excess, The Buy-ological Urge, The Casino Society, and Guerilla Advertising. ft is proactive with its education of environmentalists and with several ongoing campaigns such as a 'Tubehead' public service announcement campaign against TV addiction. A recent issue also launched "The Dirty Dozen" campaign which calls for a boycott of the top twelve magazines most supported by, and hence supportive of, the cigarette industry. For more editorial or subscription information contact: The Media Foundation, 1243 West 7th Avenue, Vancouver, B.C., Canada, V6H 187, [6041736-9401.

The Center for the Study of Commercialism (CSC) has been formed in Washington, D.C., 'to draw the public's attention to the insidiousness of advertising." Initiated by the experienced advocates of the Center for Science in the Public Interest, CSC already has a distinguished board of directors and advisors to "study, monitor, document, publicize, and seek to stop commercial interests from taking over....' In establishing its agenda, priorities and tactics "to challenge rampant commercialism in a systematic, persistent way," it is considering mass media publicity, public service announcements, specialized conferences, TV specials, popular books, and school curriculum materials. It also contemplates a legislative and regulatory agenda at both national and state levels addressing advertising taxation, advertising to children, covert promotional placements, so called "infomercials," and alcohol and tobacco advertising. For more information contact: Michael Jacobson, Director, Center for the Study of Commercialism, 1875 Connecticut Avenue - NW, Washington, D.C. 20009, [2021332-9110.

The Cultural Environmental Movement (CEM) hopes to foster "The Second American Revolution,' a reaction against the increasingly centralized, globalized and massmarketed media environment, with the goal of a more democratic media and cultural policy. Specific intermediary goals include building a new coalition of teachers, human rights groups, journalists, consumer groups, etc.; abolishing censorship by commercial interests; aiding local autonomy and decentralization of trade and media; supporting journalistic integrity and enterprise; promoting media literacy; and placing cultural policy issues on the socio-political agenda. The organization is led by George Gerbner, former Dean of the Annenberg School of Communication, University of Pennsylvania and a leading researcher into TV as a media environment. CEM can be joined by contacting him there, 3620 Walnut St., Philadelphia, PA 19104.



Richard W. Pollay, Faculty of Commerce, University of British Columbia


SV - Meaning, Measure, and Morality of Materialism | 1992

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