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Everything But The Coffee Analysis

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In his book Everything but the Coffee, Bryant Simon discusses the emergence of Starbucks and how it is able to exemplify the atmosphere of 21st consumer culture. One manner that Starbucks excels is through the powerful meaning behind its name, creating a link between its products and the social issues that Starbucks supports. The power of branding is described by Sarah Banet-Wiser in her chapter Branding Consumer Citizens focusing on the company, Dove. She points to the term commodity activism, or how a consumer is able “to act politically through consumer behavior”, as well as how personal empowerment can result from buying (16). In her example, Dove created a movement to empower young women through the Dove Campaign for Real Beauty. By purchasing…show more content…
and the world. But given its history and the climate of today’s consumer culture, it begs the question as the how it can continue to adapt to fit future generations. One thing that is apparent is the improbability that it will simply disappear. During the economic crises following the Second World War and the 1970s of inflation, Americans refused to abandon the purchase of goods, and in fact “became even more attached to goods during those two periods” (Cross 247). Even when American youth fought against consumer culture in the 1960s, they were largely unsuccessful. Identified by their “personal objects and physical expressions – torn blue jeans and long, wild hair”, they still purchased goods as a means to rebel against consumerism. This demonstrates how engrained consumer culture is in the American way of life, and the desire to consume is one that is not likely to leave the minds of consumers anytime…show more content…
During the civil rights movement of 1950s, African Americans were able to make their voices heard through boycotts. The purchase of goods was a stepping stone to achieve equal rights in other aspects of society (Cohen, 173). Later in the 1960s and 70s, boycotts emerged over high prices and product information and safety of the materials or products themselves (Cohen 349). As a result, political leaders created regulations and companies worked for transparency so that the “flourishing mass consumption economy could be safe, democratic, and equitable (Cohen 385). Today, boycotts still occur to hold companies responsible for their products, and also to communicate to companies the demands of consumers. In Not going to Starbucks: Boycotts and the out-scouring of politics in the branded world, Bryant Simon highlights consumers protesting Starbucks because of their use of genetically modified milk and lack of free trade coffee (159). By 2009, Starbucks was exclusively using ethically bought beans for espressos (Simon 161). This shows the power consumers have in the marketplace to make their own needs and desires known to corporations. As problems such as genetically modified organisms and the environment continue to be hot topics in the future, consumers will have the ability and the right to hold organizations accountable for their products and
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