The Meaning of Life According to Brands

Naomi Klein's No Logo has become a rather influential book that discusses the growing presence of advertisements and branding in society and the corresponding effects it has on our daily lives. I had the pleasure of discussing some of the implications of her work with my students last week using the tobacco industry’s attempts to brand a cool and hip identity for their cigarettes. Klein nicely chronicles the evolution of advertising over the past several decades where companies have shifted away from advertising a product to building a brand identity to which consumers can attribute meaning. Examples include Starbucks’ “It’s the romance of the coffee experience”, GM’s “New age of spiritualit

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