chapter  9
18 Pages

‘Drive it like you stole it’: a cultural criminology, of car commercials

BySTEPHEN L. MUZZATTI

Over the last decade or so cultural criminologists have been fascinated by the processes and products associated with what they have variously described as the ‘commodification of violence’ (e.g. Presdee, 2000; Ferrell, Hayward and Young, 2008) and the ‘marketing of transgression’ (Hayward, 2004). This visual representation of crime and transgression is, they argue, not only central to the production of news, but is also now a vital component of the entertainment media – gripping the collective imagination of television viewers, moviegoers, internet browsers, video-gamers and other audiences. To a certain extent, of course, there is nothing intrinsically new about the use of this type of imagery in the service of consumerism – certainly, crime and violence have been used to sell cinema passes, TV sets, video games and music for decades. However, what is new, as Ferrell, Hayward and Young illustrate, is the force and range of these ‘illicit’ messages (2008:140) and the effect this has had on the tectonic landscape of the late modern entertainment media. In particular, there appears to be a far greater willingness among mainstream corporations to utilize allusions to crime and transgression to give their products edgy appeal whilst still serving the conservative interests of consumer capitalism and its control functions.