WMU News

Kinder, gentler consumerism predicted

Dec. 4, 2001

KALAMAZOO -- On the heels of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, will the 2001 holiday season be less commercial than in years past? Not likely, says advertising expert Dr. Betty Parker, but perhaps we'll see a kinder, gentler consumerism.

"I haven't seen a lot of dramatically different advertising yet, but marketers across the board are analyzing consumers' attitudes and behaviors, trying to find out how the current anxiety will impact the way they celebrate the holidays," says Parker, an associate professor of marketing in WMU's Haworth College of Business.

"It seems that people are being kinder to each other overall, having a bit more patience or giving others the benefit of the doubt. Marketers are certainly not just going to throw their hands up and walk away. They're getting in tune with the nation's mood, and I think we'll see a kinder, gentler approach to advertising," Parker adds.

As an example of this softened approach, Parker points to the new series of celebrity-studded commercials aimed at boosting New York tourism. "The ads are funny, gentle and unexpected," she notes. "I'd be on the lookout for more ads like these."

Media contact: Jessica English, 269 387-8400, jessica.english@wmich.edu

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