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Can't Buy My Love: How Advertising Changes the Way We Think and Feel Paperback – November 2, 2000

4.3 out of 5 stars 40 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

Susan Faludi author of Backlash Jean Kilbourne's work is pioneering and crucial to the dialogue of one of the most underexplored, yet most powerful, realms of American culture: advertising. We owe her a great debt.

Self magazine Backlash meets The Beauty Myth....a scathing attack on the powers that tell us what, how much, when and why to buy.

About the Author

Jean Kilbourne,Ed.D, is internationally recognized for her pioneering work on alcohol and tobacco advertising and the image of women in advertising. A widely published writer and speaker who has twice been named Lecturer of the Year by the National Association for Campus Activities, she is best known for her award-winning documentaries, Killing Us Softly, Slim Hopes, and Pack of Lies. She lives in Boston, Massachusetts.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Free Press; 10.3.2000 edition (November 2, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0684866005
  • ISBN-13: 978-0684866000
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 0.9 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (40 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #66,463 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
I encourage you to buy and read this book. It's a source of reason, enlightenment, passion, love. It's meaningful, revealing. I read it in a few days, subtracting time to my other activities. Each time it has been difficult to stop reading and close the book. If you are going to read only one book this year, choose this one.
This book is focused on a few, fundamental, issues (excerpts are between "quotation marks").
1 - It explains that advertising works. Most people think they are not influenced by advertising. But advertising works best precisely because people don't think it works on them.
"If you are like most people, you think that advertising has no influence on you. This is what advertisers want you to believe. But, if that were true, why would companies spend over $200 billion a year on advertising? Why would they be willing to spend over $250,000 to produce an average television commercial and another $250,000 to air it? If they want to broadcast their commercial during the Super Bowl, they will gladly spend over a million dollars to produce it and over one and a half million to air it. After all, they might have the kind of success that Victoria's Secret did during the 1999 Super Bowl. When they paraded bra-and-panty-clad models across TV screens for a mere thirty seconds, one million people turned away from the game to log on to the Website promoted in the ad. No influence?"
2 - It makes you understand that the message mass media and advertising repeat us moment by moment ("The average American is exposed to at least three thousand ads every day") is that happiness comes from products. Alas, products are only things: no matter how much we love them, they won't love us back.
Read more ›
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Format: Paperback
I loved this book when it was originally published at Deadly Persuasion. Be careful when ordering...in TINY letters on the cover it says "Originally published as Deadly Persuasion."
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Format: Paperback
As Kilborne suggests, advertising is responsible for fanning the flames of nicotine addiction, alcoholism, violence, & female submissiveness through the powers of imagery and proliferation.
Kilborne claims that these advertisers, in their efforts to generate revenue, (sometimes inadvertantly) design ads that subliminaly create a collective consciousness that affects our ideas about relationships, sex, and the male/female dynamic. In this new world, cars take the place of partners, food substitutes intimacy, and alcohol becomes a best friend.
_Can't Buy My Love_ artfully combines the intellectual punch of a well-researched thesis with the heart and conversational tone of a personal narrative. This makes for easy, insightful reading. (Case and point: I read it in one day -- in one sitting.)
At times this book is hard to read. I winced countless times, recalling many of these advertisements (Many are pictured in the book), wondering how much I had/have been affected by them. Even more chilling is the realization that, as time goes on, we are continually bombarded with more and more advertising -- saturating our subconsious, and perhaps peppering our behaviors.
If you've ever needed a cigarette to relax, longed for the comfort of a cocktail, or craved ice cream but still felt you need to lose those "extra 15 pounds," you should read this book.
Very highly recommended.
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Format: Paperback
This book was a real eyeopener to the way the I am presented images and expectations as a teen in society. I bought this book when I was 16 and just finished re-reading it after my first year of university. I will admit that I did not understand some of the concepts at age 16, but Kilbourne certainly started to open my eyes to the way that advertizing and the cutural enviroment views people in general, and now, at the age of 19 when I go back over the topics, I see that her reflections are very acurate of the enviroment in which I judge myself. I WOULD RECOMMEND THIS BOOK TO ANYONE, and especially to teens, so that they can realize how our self-image is affected and manipulated so that we will be more suceptable to addictions. This is one of the best reads I have had in a very long time.
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Format: Paperback
This book should be required reading for every female high school freshman. Every woman who has dieted, picked herself apart for her appearance or stared longingly at a magazine layout needs to read this book. It is such a fantastic book. You know you are living under myths and lies to a certain extent but just how many is amazing. I love all the excerpts about how magazines try to pull in major advertising dollars. I have recommened to all of my friends who have young female children. I wonder how much smarter I could have been if this had entered my life as a younger woman.
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Format: Paperback
Can't Buy My Love is an extraordinary book, insightful, critical, and without a doubt, an eye-opener. This book should be required reading by all Americans! Personally, it has played a pivotal role in my life. I would say I'm your average American citizen. I grew up in New York, immersed in the typical American culture. I watched plenty of television and movies and thus was exposed to an endless array of advertisements. As most people, I didn't think that my thoughts and actions were influenced by these advertisements. But after reading this book, I clearly saw how the messages and images of the media had a huge impact in my life. Until I read this book, I was sort of unconscious of this influence. I just went shopping as though it was a ritual and followed the mainstream culture. I went out drinking and pretended to have a good time while engaged in superficial conversations in loud smoky bars. Essentially, this book brought me to many realizations and my mentality started to shift for the better. I started to see things for what they are. Jean Kilbourne does an excellent job of analyzing numerous ads and clearly demonstrates the manipulation and false promises imbedded within these cleverly designed ads. Corporations spend millions of dollars on advertising and psychological research. As the targets of these ads, we as citizens need to be critical thinkers and media literate. In this day and age, we need to have an understanding of how the media industry works and in particular, the advertising industry, which constantly bombards us with messages on how we should live our lives and what is considered "normal." I highly, highly recommend this book. It's clear, concise, understandable, and will definitely have a positive impact in your life.Read more ›
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