UC Berkeley Library

UC Berkeley’s library buildings are open! Learn more.

Using the Library during COVID-19

UC Berkeley’s library buildings are now open. To stay up to date on the Library’s policies and services during the pandemic, visit the Library’s COVID-19 webpage.

Consumerism & Consumer Marketing including Credit


A fascinating look at one of the greatest social maladies of our time: overconsumption and materialism. Hosted by National Public Radio's Scott Simon, the program explores both the comical and sobering aspects of our consumerism and its enormous impact on families, communities and the environment. With the help of historians and archival film, Affluenza reveals the forces that have dramatically transformed us from a nation that prizes thriftiness - with strong beliefs in 'plain living and high thinking' - into the ultimate consumer society.

Buying Into Sexy

A report on how marketers, especially in the clothing industry, are selling a grown-up, sexy image to pre-teen girls. This program follows the daily lives of tween girls, recording their perceptions of fashion, celebrities, boys and themselves. Interviews with both concerned and clueless parents are included, as well as a glimpse into corporate decision making that impacts tween culture. Conversations with Candie's CEO and a hard look at MuchMusic programming practices enhance this social analysis. Dist.: Films Media Group. c2007. 26 min.

Consuming Kids: The Commercialization of Childhood

Throws desperately needed light on the practices of a relentless multi-billion dollar marketing machine that now sells kids and their parents everything from junk food and violent video games to bogus educational products and the family car.

CultureJam: Hijacking Commercial Culture

Pranksters and subversive artists attempt to cause a bit of brand damage to corporate mindshare. "We follow three outlandish jammers: media tigress Carly Stasko, Reverend Billy of the Church of Stop Shopping, and Jack Napier with the Billboard Liberation Front. Armed with the tools of their trade, these jammers hijack, subvert and reclaim corporate media space. 2001. 52 min.
web web sites: Description from Icarus Films catalog

Marketing the Message

Husband and wife filmmakers Joe and Kate Bly take a road trip from Washington D.C. to Orlando, Florida, surveying ways in which Christian evangelism is stepping up its campaign [to convert non-believers] and rebrand itself to fit within mainstream pop culture. Along the way they find a Christian skateboarding tour, hip accessories for teens, a preaching wrestler, NASCAR fans distributing racing Bibles and the Holy Land Experience -- a Bible themed amusement park -- pushing the envelope of faith-based entertainment. The debate is joined by commercial marketers, pastors and plain folks.

Maxed Out: Nothing is Priceless

Takes a journey deep inside the American style of debt, where things seem fine as long as the minimum monthly payment arrives on time. Posits that most people are getting in trouble because the banks and credit card companies are setting their customers up to fail. Why? The more credit they give us, the more credit we need. When we inevitably fall behind, they can charge the huge late fees and the over-limit fees and the stratospheric interest rates that drive their profits. Shocking and incisive, the film paints a picture of a national nighmare, which is all too real for most.

Rhyme Pays: Hip Hop and the Marketing of Cool

As savvy teens lose interest in traditional forms of advertising, product placement in lyrics and music videos has become big, big business for manufacturers and rappers alike. Drawing on interviews with Russell Simmons, co-founder of Def jam Records; Camille hackney, of Elektra Entertainment Group; Damon Dash, CEO of Foc-a-fella Enterprises; media literacy advocate Debbie Gordon; and numerous Canadian rap artists, this program follows the money into the music/marketing arena. Originally aired on April 6, 2004 on the television program Marketplace.

Rip Off: Banks Exploiting Consumers

Examines how the banking industry harvests billions of dollars from consumers in the form of overdraft and other fees. Ralph Nader discusses the predatory lending practices of the major national banks and how individuals can fight against the unfair fees. Also interviews Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney who wrote and sponsored the Overdraft Protection Fair Practices Act, Gail Hillebrand of the Consumers Union, a loan shark whose rates are better than the banks' fees, and various consumer advocates.

Secret History of the Credit Card.

The average American family today carries 10 credit cards. Credit card debt and personal bankruptcies are now at an all time high. With no legal limit on the amount of interest or fees that can be charged, credit cards have become the most profitable sector of the American banking industry: more than $30 billion in profits last year alone. Frontline and the New York times join forces to investigate how an industry few Americans understand became so pervasive, so lucrative, and so powerful. Originally broadcast as a segment of the television program Frontline, Nov. 23, 2004. 60 min.

Shop 'Til You Drop: The Crisis of Consumerism

Are we too materialistic? Are we willfully trashing the planet in our pursuit of things? And what's the source of all this frenetic consumer energy and desire anyway? This fast-paced tour of the ecological and psychological terrain of American consumer culture, takes aim at the high-octane pace of fast-lane materialism. The film moves beneath the seductive surfaces of the commercial world to show how the flip side of accumulation is depletion -- the slow, steady erosion of both natural resources and basic human values.