Rituals for sale

“Advertising is a means of contributing meaning and values that are necessary and useful to people in structuring their lives, their casual relationships, and their rituals”

- Frank, Thomas. 2000. One Market under God: Extreme Capitalism, Market Populism, and the End of Economic Democracy. New York: Doubleday.

Quoting a pamphlet on account planning (ie. marketing strategy) Thomas Frank highlights the deployment of anthropological concepts - ritual, value, and meaning - in contemporary “marketing theory” as evidence that branding has become one of the primary means by which people in capitalist society construct our understandings of the universe. Brands are no longer simply markers of quality or familiarity - they are holistic, dynamic entities, defined as much by their target audience as by the commodities they represent.

The product and its consumer - the influencer and the influenced - have become inseparable. We are the brand.

Rituals  - a Japanese cosmetics chain - suggests that its range of perfumes, soaps, and incenses will help us to discover deeper meaning in our everyday routines. Edgy street art outside their East Williamsburg store lends this claim an air of prophetic insight. What reads initially as a simple grammatical slip up “Rituals helps..” becomes, upon further inspection, a careful deployment of the brand name. A sub-functional bicycle reinforces the point, telling us of outlets in Paris, London and Amsterdam.

Rituals - a Japanese cosmetics chain - suggests that its range of perfumes, soaps, and incenses will help us to discover deeper meaning in our everyday routines. Edgy street art outside their East Williamsburg store lends this claim an air of prophetic insight. What reads initially as a simple grammatical slip up “Rituals helps..” becomes, upon further inspection, a careful deployment of the brand name. A sub-functional bicycle reinforces the point, telling us of outlets in Paris, London and Amsterdam.