The Influence of Multinational Corporations
Do you agree or disagree that multinational corporations exert influence through the media?
I absolutely agree that multinational corporation use their influence through the media. Brands utilize media to communicate their opinions in every ad. I also agree with Klein that the ads are rarely just about the product they are selling. They are about how the product will change you and your life.
The perfect example of multinational corporations using their influence through media would be Super Bowl commercials. There are people that don’t even like football, but they watch the Super Bowl because of the advertisements. Corporations pay an extraordinary amount of money to have their commercials played during the Super Bowl, and many times the ads they show are shocking and controversial.
The companies that are most often creating these ads are the multinational brands that are very well known and have a tremendous budget. They are able to target millions of people, influencing them through the choices they make in the commercial, whether it’s the wording, music or actions of the actors in it.
Klein talks about how the big brand empires appropriate ideas and ideals to their own advantage. How does this work, according to her explanation?
Big brand empires appropriate their ideas and ideals to their own advantage essentially by brain washing the consumers. If a brand consistently shows a group of people in their ads having a great time, laughing, traveling, healthy and beautiful, the consumer starts to believe that they will have that kind of social life if they use the product. A perfect example of this is Axe body spray. Axe body spray ads show a seemingly unattractive male turning into an irresistible hunk after using the spray, and he’s able to get the girl of his dreams. Or, after using the spray women start to notice him. The brand is hoping that consumers will think they will get the attention of women by using their product, and they’ll buy it.
Tapping into the minds of the consumers, and figuring out what their ideals are, and then using it to market those consumers is a crystal clear example of companies using their ideals to their advantage.
According to Klein, what specific threats to democracy are posed by the emergence of global brand empires?
According to Klein, there are fewer and fewer places that people can relate to each other as regular people, and not consumers. Basically, what she’s saying is that we are being marketed everywhere we go. From billboards, to grocery bags, to the back of receipts, and at the gas pump. We are even being marketed inside of movies and video games. There is no escaping it, no matter how hard you try. The fact that we are constantly being marketed in and of itself is a threat to democracy.
Another threat made by global brand empires is that you can almost never purchase a product that was manufactured entirely in the US. These brands manufacture different pieces of their products in different parts of the world, and then put them together and sell them in the US. She used the example of a sneaker and how all the different components of the sneaker were made in different parts of the world, and although some consumers believe that are purchasing a product made completely in the United States, when you look more closely, that is not the case at all.