Summary: This excerpt is from the documentary The Corporation (based on the book by Joel Bakan), which examines the role of corporations in our lives today. This brief clip moves between commentary from Barbara Linn (professor of Psychiatry at Harvard's Baker Children's Center) and Lucy Hughes (a marketing executive at Initative Media), a Co-creator of "The Nag Factor." The Nag Factor is a scientific study of how children nag their parents to to "help corporations to help children nag for their products more effectively." Hughes notes the study found that "20% to 40% of purchases would not have occurred unless the child had nagged their parents" and emphasizes the use of psychologists and media technology to better advertise to children. Professor Linn is highly critical of the industry that spends $12 billion/year to market to children, and argues "comparing the marketing of yesteryear to the marketing of today is like comparing a BB gun to a smart bomb." Viewers may be asked if it is ethical to market to children? While Professor Linn argues against it, the marketing executive says she doesn't know, emphasizing that it is her job to sell products. What is the role of marketing and advertising in society today and has it gone too far? How is it related to capitalism (e.g. the Marxian concept of false needs) and the corporation? At 7:40, the clip ends with the story of two college students who became "corporate sponsors" to pay for their college tuition. See other educational uses of the documentary here and see also this NYT video on advertising on college campuses.
Submitted By: Paul Dean