[OPE-L:1285] Re: Advertising and productive labour

From: zarembka@acsu.buffalo.edu
Date: Sun Sep 19 1999 - 08:00:58 EDT

On 09/18/99 at 05:54 PM, "Michael J Williams"
<michael@williamsmj.screaming.net> said:

>Paul, thank you for your patience.

Yours also.

>> Coke and Pepsi advertising
>> which has no use value vis-a-vis the production of means of production or
>> the production of consumption goods (whether subsistence or luxury

>Such advertising has a use-value for the marketting department of Coke or
>Pepsi. That is why they are prepared to pay for it, and why the service
>can be sold as a commodity. What I am seeking - in all good faith - is
>your reason why you think that this advertising service is not, in
>principle, produced by labour productive of surplus value? More
>precisely, what is it about the demand emanating from the marketting
>department of Coke or Pepsi that disqualifies the usefulness they
>patently find in the products of the advertising agency from counting as
>a use-value?

It doesn't matter if the ad is out-sourced or done in-house, how the
marketing dept gets its assignment done. What matters is that there is no
use-value in the ad. Coke and Pepsi have use-value, not the ad. You are
still using the 'success' (result) criteria--if it is paid for (whether
in-house or out-sourced) it must have use-value. You never actually tell
us, nor even speculate, WHAT the use-value of an ad consists. Coke and
Pepsi satisfy thirst with a taste people have learned to find appealing (I
understand that the taste for required sugar is an acquired taste, but I
don't know for sure).

>> By way of exception, I heard of some people in Poland who actually liked
>> to watch TV advertising when it first started because they hadn't
>> experienced it before under state owned TV. I could possibly be persuaded
>> that that "enjoyment" (whatever it is) was a product of productive labor
>> produced under capitalist relations of production, but we are far, far
>> beyond that

>This example suggests that your basis for attributing use-value to a
>product is that someone likes it. Fine. Someone likes the output of the
>advertising agency, and to put their money where their 'liking' is. So
>why is the labour that produces it not, in principle, productive?

Because this is not what is happening. What happens is that an ad empty
of substance is thrust on viewers--they do not "buy" it nor do they like
it (except in the very minor exception I mentioned). There are even VCR's
programmed to automatically record a program off the air while DELETING
the ads in the same program. Ads come, people go the bathroom or the
kitchen for a Coke or Pepsi to quench thirst, rather than water. The ads
have 'succeeded' in getting thirsty people to purchase Coke or Pepsi, but
the use-value is in thirst-quenching properties of the products.


Paul Zarembka, supporting RESEARCH IN POLITICAL ECONOMY at
******************** http://ourworld.compuserve.com/homepages/PZarembka

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