Cultural production and consumption of images in the marketplace

Authored by: Laurie A. Meamber

The Routledge Companion to Visual Organization

Print publication date:  August  2013
Online publication date:  January  2014

Print ISBN: 9780415783675
eBook ISBN: 9780203725610
Adobe ISBN: 9781135005474


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In the aesthetic or image economy of today, marketing strategies focus on creating and communicating appealing images of organizational offerings. Consumers respond to these images, and productively consume them in order to mold themselves and their everyday consumption experience. Take, for example, Jim, a 49-year-old executive, married with children, who comments on his visual experience inside a retail store that he likens to an art gallery.

[There was a lot] of the stuff, so you were attracted by the whole kind of ‘gestalt’ of the whole thing. … But what the guy really made the money on was the small items, the under $5 items of which he had a lot of, kind of cutesy things that might have been dime store items but in the context suddenly became something else. So [it] was very much kind of a show in there and he was very successful … Like if you go to an art gallery, you may not buy a picture. If you went to this place, you may not buy that [high-priced artistic piece] but you would buy something else.

(Meamber 1997b)

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