Wednesday, November 25, 2009

The Lifestyle of Things

No longer are things just things. All sorts of objects are now marketed as an integral component of a wider, complementary lifestyle. The type of refrigerator you buy, the type of car you drive, and especially the type of home you live in signal, both to yourself and to the world, exactly what type of person you are. All of these purely inanimate things are now both the cause for and the result of a particular life path.

Although advertisers have leveraged this reality for some time now, the standard approach has been to link particular products to one's level of wealth, to one's material status. Today, a car can signal wealth - but it can also signal an outgoing lifestyle, a conservative lifestyle, an urban lifestyle, a rural/rugged lifestyle, etc. The same goes for nearly all widely advertised objects - from toilet paper to personal jets.


This is neither good nor bad. It is part of the materialistic culture which still dominates our society. But it does present both a challenge and an opportunity to those looking to produce and market virtual goods - the backbone of new economic models developing on the web.

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