chapter  5
10 Pages

Commentary: the cultural approach to branding


The moral dimension of marketing to children is a hotly debated subject as witnessed by a recent flurry of best-selling titles such as Toxic Childhood, The Commercialization of Childhood and Born to Buy. This chapter explores the more subtle and complex roles that consumption culture may play in the moral development of children themselves, an area that has received far less attention. Celebrities have become a pivotal part of our consumer culture and their importance can usefully be understood through Kellner's critique of media culture and the triumph of the spectacle. The chapter considers some of the ways in which the culture of celebrity and spectacle contribute to the construction of role models and cultural icons, and the ways in which children might draw on such constructions in developing their own moral discourses. Moral discourses emerged not in self-conscious, forced or abstractive ways, but naturally, in the ebbs and flows of conversation.