[NTLK] Cults and other fun topics

From: RossO (newton_at_ordersomewherechaos.com)
Date: Tue Mar 29 2005 - 15:32:52 PST

From: http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2005-03/uocp-tco032905.php

The cult of consumerism
How consumers bind together to religiously worship a (sometimes=20
deceased) brand
Everything that is crucial to religion--shared values and beliefs,=20
community interactions, storytelling, and an acceptance of the=20
supernatural--can also be found in the worship by consumers of many=20
marginal brands to hit the marketplace, propose Albert Mu=F1iz, Jr.=20
(DePaul University) and Hope Jensen Schau (Temple University) in their=20=

published in the March 2005 issue of the Journal of Consumer Research.

"Our findings reveal something about the nature of the types of brands=20=

that foster brand communities. Clear examples of brand communities have=20=

been found in cars (Bronco, Jeep, Saab, Volkswagen), computers=20
(Macintosh, Newton) and even science-fiction (Star Trek, Star Wars,=20
Xena: Warrior Princess, X-Files). All of these brand communities have=20
been demonstrated to be capable of producing transformative experiences=20=

in their consumers and all have traces of magic, religion or the=20
supernatural," write the authors.

The researchers examined the intense relationship that certain groups=20
of consumers forge not only with a specific brand but also with each=20
other. As a result of this research, Mu=F1iz and Schau argue that the=20
true underlying principle of this behavior stems from "followers" of a=20=

brand demonstrating cult-like worship--a consumer culture driven form=20
of modern religion. In particular, for this study they focused on the=20
now defunct brand, the Apple Newton.

"The consumers of the forsaken Apple Newton brand are now charged with=20=

the responsibility for the entire brand-sustaining experience:=20
modifying, repairing, and innovating the product, writing brand=20
promotions and performing the brand experience," the authors explain.=20
"As part of this brand performance, they engage in consumer-to-consumer=20=

narrative interactions that bind the community together and reify its=20
values and beliefs. Supernatural, religious, and magical motifs are=20
common in these stories, including the miraculous performance and=20
survival of the brand, as well as the return of the brand creator. We=20
see traditional religious stories, players, and parts played out in the=20=



Religiosity in the Abandoned Apple Newton Brand Community. By ALBERT M.=20=

RESEARCH, Inc. - Vol. 31 - March 2005


Newton Owner since 1999: MP2000, Wi-Fi, OS X syncing, Avi's Backdrop,=20
MMC/SD-based storage via ATAdapter, occasional Web server.

Q: "What should I do with my life?" A: "Agitate. Agitate, Agitate." -=20
Frederick Douglass

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