While reading Miguel Korzeniewicz’s article, “Commodity Chains and Marketing Strategies,” I was intrigued by the fact that Nike has profited substantially from sales directly related to drug and gang money”(166.) Most often, drugs and gangs are associated with predominately Black or Hispanic, poorer communities. Korzeniewicz argues that this profit making shows little concern for the social and financial stability for the predominately Black and Hispanic communities, where sales account for 20% of the total athletic footwear market(166.) This statement is very much true. In fact, I can personally attest to this. I attended a predominately African American high school, in which a lot of students were from lower socio-economic backgrounds. Despite this, a large percentage of students wore Nike and Jordan sneakers. Whenever a new pair of sneakers were released, which was about every two weeks or so, everyone would have the shoes on their feet. I definitely agree with Korzeniewicz’s argument.
It appears as though Nike could careless about the socio-economic stability of the Black and Hispanic populations; their ultimate goal is to make a profit. Indeed, advertising and marketing play crucial roles in all of this. African American communities are constantly bombarded with different forms of advertisements that showcase Nike sneakers. For example, there are several commercials featured on BET (a television channel watched by predominately African Americans) that advertise the “swoosh.” Also, there are frequent references to Nike shoes made by popular rap artists. For example, Wale has a song entitled, “Nike Boots,” in which he is repeatedly referring to his “Goadome Nike boots.” If young African Americans are the constant targets of these advertisements, they begin to desire these sneakers. Accordingly, they become consumers of Nike shoes, using whatever means they have to in order to get them. Certainly, most youth want to be with the “in crowd” and be “hip.” Nike sneakers are definitely a way in which these youth feel like they are included and excepted by their peers.
Relating all of this to Monsanto:
After reading Korzeniewicz’s article, and several articles about the Monsanto company, I began to truly understand the impact that advertising and marketing have on communities around the world. The interesting thing with Monsanto is that their advertisements and marketing relay totally different messages than their actual practices. Monsanto markets itself as a very sustainable agricultural company who produces more, conserves more, and improves lives. There is no doubt that the company is producing more. However, there are a lot of lawsuits and people against the company because of the manner in which they produce. If one looks at the Monsanto corporate site, they would receive a totally different picture of the company than if they were to google the Monsanto company and read a few articles. It is apparent that the Monsanto company seeks to target lower-scale farmers who may not have the resources to produce mass amounts of crops. They way in which Monsanto promotes itself to farmers is very appealing. Farmers expect that this company has their best interest at heart. Of course, Farmers are shocked once they find out they have to pay high prices for Monsanto’s products, which ultimately destroys many of their crops.
Both, the Nike and Monsanto examples, illustrate the impact that advertising and marketing have on audience members. Companies strategically use marketing and advertising to their advantage as a means to appeal to a certain group of people. When you look at a complete picture of these companies, it is apparent that money is the motive. There exists severe contradictions in the market ing and advertisements versus actual practices. I wonder, is it possible to combat or place restrictions on such large and powerful companies like Monsanto?