How Corporate America Blurs the Line Between What We Buy, Who We Are and Those We Help
Pink ribbons, red dresses, and greenwashing—American corporations are scrambling to tug at consumer heartstrings through cause-related marketing, corporate social responsibility, and ethical branding, tactics that can increase sales by as much as 74%. Harmless? Marketing insider Mara Einstein demonstrates in this penetrating analysis why the answer is a resounding “No!” In Compassion, Inc. she outlines how cause-related marketing desensitizes the public by putting a pleasant face on complex problems. She takes us through the unseen ways in which large sums of consumer dollars go into corporate coffers rather than helping the less fortunate. She also discusses companies that truly do make the world a better place, and those that just pretend to.
Compassion, Inc. at Amazon
Brands of Faith: Marketing Religion in a Commercial Age (Routledge, 2007) takes a hard look at why religion is, and needs to be, aggressively marketed in a society overrun by commercial clutter. In order to be heard above the noise of other advertised products – and make no mistake religion is a consumer product – religion and religious products must use every trick in the marketing arsenal. In a category that used to be guaranteed an audience – if your mom said you were going to church, you were going to church – now there is a competitive arena filled with both other faiths and a myriad of more entertaining, more convenient leisure time activities.
In light of this competition, faiths have become brands – easily recognizable symbols and spokespeople with whom religious prospects can make immediate connections. Joel Osteen is a Sunday morning Dr. Phil. Kabbalah is that thing practiced by Madonna. To some even Oprah is a faith brand, dispensing a populist form of televised religion.
This blending of the sacred with the secular, however, has consequences – both for religion itself and for the culture more broadly. We have to question whether religion will survive if it becomes so of the market that it loses its unique selling proposition – the very ability to raise us above the commercial culture.
Brands of Faith at Amazon.com
Media Diversity: Economics, Ownership and the FCC
…this book represents a refreshing look at the television industry and the government’s treatment of it.
Media Diversity: Economics, Ownership, and the FCC (Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 2004) provides a detailed analysis of the regulation of diversity and its impact on the structure and practices within the broadcast television industry. As deregulation is quickly changing the media landscape, this volume puts the changing structure of the industry into perspective through the use of an insider’s point of view to examine how policy and programming get made.
Author Mara Einstein blends her industry experience and academic expertise to examine diversity as a media policy, suggesting that it has been ineffective and is potentially outdated, as study after study has found diversity regulations to be wanting. In addition to reviewing diversity research on the impact of minority ownership, regulation of cable and DBS, duopolies, ownership of multiple networks and cross ownership of media on program content, Einstein considers the financial interest and syndication rules as a case study, due to their profound effects on the structure of the television industry. She also poses questions from an economic perspective on why the FCC regulates structure rather than content. Through the presentation of her research results, she argues persuasively that the consolidation of the media industry does not affect the diversity of entertainment programming, a conclusion with broad ramifications for all media and for future research about media monopolies.
This volume serves as a defining work in its examination of the intersection of regulation and economics with media content. It is appropriate as a supplemental text in courses on communication policy, broadcast economic and media management, broadcast programming, political economy of the mass media, and media criticism at the advanced and graduate level. It is also likely to interest broadcast professionals, media policymakers, communication lawyers, and academics. It is a must-read for all who are interested in the media monopoly debate.
Media Diversity at Amazon.com