Teaching Sociability

As social creatures, sociability is an idea that will always be relevant and fundamental to the daily lives of human beings. For this and other reasons, companies have been able to profit from advertising campaign that focus on defining, and teaching sociability so that their target market will feel compelled to consume the company’s product. For instance, companies that sell alcoholic beverages often try to highlight the social implications of alcohol in their advertisements. In many alcohol commercials, the subjects of the ad are often shown surrounded by friends and having a lot of fun to try and show the viewer that this is what happens when they consume the product. Depending on the type of drink, these commercials are often targeted at different demographics. Many beer commercials are targeted at men in their twenties or thirties and try to depict these men doing what men are “supposed” to do when drinking beer. Watching football, picking up women at the bar, or just hanging out with friends are common activities that are shown in commercials as a way to teach sociability so that men will want to buy that beer. More expensive and fancier drinks are targeted at perhaps older men and depict them in positions of power and influence, while women are often depicted in a sexual manner. This promotes the idea that luxury alcoholic beverages are a sign of power for men and create a path toward sexual satisfaction. All of these are examples of how alcoholic beverage companies have attempted to define how alcohol should affect sociability and make it seem like it can help people to be more successful socially. When it comes to companies that sell alcohol, these types of sociability ads seem to prove very successful and are abundant across a variety of media.

This example of teaching sociability is similar to the case outlined in Claude S. Fischer’s “Touch Someone.” Fischer discusses how telephone companies discovered that teaching and selling sociability would be a profitable advertisement strategy. For instance an ad from 1929 target at parents said “No girl wants to be a wallflower” (44). In this case the company seems to be trying to tell parents that they should by a phone for their daughter so that she doesn’t have to feel socially isolated, which according to the company is bad thing. The company has created a problem so that they can then say that their product is the solution. The case of alcohol advertising uses less direct language and more indirect implications to get its point across to viewers while many of the telephone ads aimed to directly tell the viewer how the product could help their sociability. Despite this, the two cases are based on the same basic idea. These companies try to create and teach the viewers of their ads a convention about sociability that would earn the company a lot of profit if it were to become mainstream.

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One thought on “Teaching Sociability

  1. Excellent job relating the marketing principles of sociability used by modern alcoholic beverage companies to the marketing principles of sociability used by telephone companies in the late 1920’s and 1930’s. You are correct in saying such a marketing tool is crucial for social beings like ourselves and subsequently to the success of the company. However, companies are unique in the way they choose to market the sociability aspect of their product. As you say, the alcoholic beverage companies more implicit means to get the idea of sociability across whereas the telephone companies of the past used more explicit terms. I agree, and I think the distinction between companies that market their product through either implicit or explicit means can be seen across the board for marketing principles other than the sociability aspect. When it comes down to it, like you say, it’s all about what angle will make the company the most profit.

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