Thursday, September 24, 2009

Douglas Rushkoff on Branding and Life Incorporated


Douglas Rushkoff is the author of ten books on media, technology, and society, including Cyberia, Media Virus, Coercion, Nothing Sacred, Playing the Future, Open Source Democracy and Get Back in the Box: Innovation from the Inside Out. Rushkoff also wrote the acclaimed novels Ecstasy Club and Exit Strategy, the graphic novel Club Zero-G and the comic book series Testament. He has written and hosted two award-winning Frontline documentaries - "The Merchants of Cool", which looked at the influence of corporations on youth culture, and "The Persuaders", about the cluttered landscape of marketing, and new efforts to overcome consumer resistance. He is currently working on PBS' new multiplatform project, Digital Nation, which will culminate as a Frontline documentary. Rushkoff’s commentaries air on CBS Sunday Morning and NPR’s All Things Considered, and have appeared in publications from The New York Times to Time magazine. His column on cyberculture is distributed globally through the New York Times Syndicate. He is Advisor to the United Nations Commission on World Culture, on the Board of Directors of the Media Ecology Association, The Center for Cognitive Liberty and Ethics, and was a founding member of Technorealism. He has been awarded Senior Fellowships by the Markle Foundation and the Center for Global Communications Fellow of the International University of Japan. He regularly appears on TV shows from NBC Nightly News to Larry King and Bill Maher. He developed the Electronic Oracle software series for HarperCollins Interactive. He currently hosts the WFMU radio show The MediaSquat, and teaches at the New School University. His latest book, Life Inc.: How the World Became a Corporation And How To Take It Back, was released in June 2009.


  • What in "The Persuaders" surprised you (or not)? Name one new thing you learned about marketing or politics from watching the film. Name one new thing you learned about yourself from watching the film, or one thing that the film reiterated about yourself.
  • "The Persuaders" begins by questioning the increase in the amount of advertising we typically encounter in our daily lives. How would you assess the amount of advertising you see? Too much? Too little? Just right? In your view, what difference does it make to know that people today see much more advertising in their daily lives than people 20 or 30 years ago?

  • What surprised you in the descriptions of how much demographic information marketers have about potential customers? What kinds of information would you be willing to share about yourself or your family in order to: enter a contest? Get a discount? Get online? Get a cell phone? Use a credit card? Would you be willing to reveal your name, address and phone number? What music you listen to or your favorite snacks? How much you earn? What medications people in your family take? What kinds of information would you want to keep private and why?

  • Where are things headed in the future? What are some possible scenarios that could play out as far as the direction that future persuaders may take their marketing techniques.

No comments:

Post a Comment