Re: ECON: Advertising
Mon, 25 Jan 1999 08:43:34 -0800 (PST)

Lee Daniel Crocker [] wrote:
>Ever buy a diamond engagement ring? Anniversary gift? Birthstone?

No, no, and, uh, no.

>Those "traditions" were created entirely by jewelry advertising, and
>are now so entrenched in our society that most people don't even
>realize that.

So the questions would seem to be:

  1. Are people buying them because of the advertising or the "tradition"
  2. Just how much of people's budget consist of such items, rather than those they really want?

I'd certainly agree that there are such traditions which many people follow, but I think that it's a different issue; people buy diamond engagement rings -- if they do, most people I know didn't want to spend that kind of money on something that isn't really useful -- because they're expected to, not because they see an ad on TV and think 'oh, I think I'll buy a diamond engagement ring today'. Galbraith's theory seems to be the latter; we see an ad on TV and follow the meme to go out and buy a diamond engagement ring even though we're not going to get engaged.

Kids see toys advertised on TV and immediately want them. Most adults -- with the exception of the few people I know who really have more money than sense -- don't. Tradition seems to be a different issue; buying the diamond engagement ring when you get engaged serves a purpose, whether or not that purpose was originally created by advertising.