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It’s time to go Crazy, that’s Christmas time

Morning ladies and gentleman,

How are you today? Fine? Great.

After 11 week of consumer madness, it is time to rest and to enjoy the most wonderful time of the year


Yeah…. Snowflakes are dropping all over the place (even if I have yet only seeing hail in here), people are happy, decorating their house, their tree, making present to everyone.

Christmas songs are everywhere even in pubs, TV’s advertising look like a miracle, and ‘so cute’, ‘oooooooh’, ‘that’s wonderful’ and so on, are said by each single person at least twice a day.

So if Christmas songs and advertising haven’t driven you crazy yet, it will come soon. In fact I spent only one evening the wine lover and she was putting some  Christmas songs (literally as much as she could remember), but I ended up smashing my head against the wall surrounded and overwhelmed by honeyed lyrics and jingle bells…

Try to listen to this song entirely and tell me how you feel after that.


If you want to kill someone that mean you are normal. However if you want sing and play it again, well either you are on drug, either you are nut, but anyway you can find some help here

By the way I love Christmas, it is a wonderful time of the year for me too (I’m not the Grinch) and more generally winter is my favorite season (ski time :p)

Nevertheless if Christmas has indeed been a peaceful truce during World War I (Joyeux Noel depict that Christmas Truce story, long being a great movie)

I’m not sure that peaceful would be the perfect description for the Christmas periods, and madness seems to fit better.

Because from Black Friday (the day after thanksgiving) until the 24 (for the laggards) it’s Christmas shopping season… Yeah.



So it’s time for you to spend the money you already spent on toys that will be out of order after one month if your kids didn’t destroy them before. Besides they didn’t even thanks you to ruin yourself for them as it all come from Santa Claus, the fastest man on earth (Billions of gift delivered in a night for free, that’s better than FedEx and UPS together).

Santa clause smoking pipe… (good 1800’s image for children)

Even the all mighty Santa has been corrupted by marketing puppeteer, and overcome the Christ and God himself (Belk, 1987), Deus mihi ignosce as they are the real origin of Christmas.

Although the red-coke colour is a myth and modern Santa hasn’t been created by Coke, there is still Santa’s hotline, Santa’s photo, Santa’s whatever-but-buy-me-something. What a wonderful thing for kids to hear a Robotic-Santa’s voice on the phone


Moreover Santa is perfect for adverting, that’s why coke has used it for a long time (more than 80 years), and many other have followed.


From the old:

To the new:



Even Pepsi (booooouuuhh):

For summer,


and winter-Snoop-dog-time:


Thus I was wondering what is Christmas affect on us, as we are all exited, jumping around and running everywhere, like a rabbit on speed.

Firstly I think we are happy because holidays are coming, we are going to receive gifts, see the entire (still alive) family, eat a lot (and nobody will see your extra pounds as you are covered in clothes during winter), see decorated town centre and wonderful windows

As I said in some prior posts consumption undermine happiness, and so as Christmas is the highest peak on consumption of the year for most of the product (but solar cream) and the busiest shopping season ( people should feel less happy. Indeed this is the case; Kasser and Sheldon (2002) found that Christmas season lowered family well-being when spending money and receiving gift was important for people. However for people that valued family and religious experience, happiness was enhanced during this period. Thus modern conception of Christmas seem to undermine happiness, and this is understandable, as people are stressed to do their Christmas shopping in crowded environment for gift that their mate will sale two day after Christmas, when the food hangover has passed.

Christmas decorations show our sociability (when we are not fighting someone to have the last toy on the shelve) a study has found (Werner et al. 1989). Indeed having his house decorated make neighbours feel that you are a friendly and cohesive dude, so putting some Christmas decoration in your house help you being part of some neighbourhood social activities, so might be a good thing (if your neighbours are not some d-bags).

Therefore Christmas seasons is perfect for marketer, because people are happy, in a good shopping mood, desire to purchase, perfectly aroused by everything that is related to Christmas (far or closely), with their kids (and kids are an incredible purchase accelerator) and finally easily findable as it is too cold to stay outside so either they are unto some fireside stuffs (and there is numerous things you can do on fireside) or in shopping malls.

So every ingredient are present to do a ‘wonderful’ and efficient marketing campaign, like another ‘oh-oh-oh-oh’ dude, the green giant.


Finally the worst of Christmas seasons is for me the after Christmas, maybe because I have to wait one year for Christmas, and 11 month for my birthday, but mostly because I see advertising everywhere saying “You don’t like your gift well sell it on Ebay”

For Christ-sake (seasonal exclamation), this is the most awful thing you can do to you family or friend that tried to give you an amazing gift and even if this gift was rubbish at least it came from his hearth (normally) so selling it is like selling his love and as MasterCard say that is priceless.

It is a bit like offering money as a Christmas gift; I know lot of people are happy with it because it allow us to do whatever we want with it (like buying alcohol), but that is for me at the opposite of what Christmas should be, and not so long ago people received oranges at Christmas and were damn happy.

However a study by Burgoyne and Routh (1991), two British scholars, found that most of people agree with me, youppi. Indeed their findings “suggest that in any given relationship, a gift must be capable of carrying meaningful information concerning the level of intimacy and the relative status existing between donor and recipient. In contrast, money was found to lack the necessary attributes for conveying information concerning intimacy, but also to possess attributes that may transmit inappropriate messages relating to status » Likewise Ariely (2008, in Predictable Irationality) call this the ‘cost of social norms’ that is when invited somewhere you come with flowers, wine or chocolate, not money (save you want to be a boor).


Finally in order to save and escape your hear from melting by unwillingly listening too much Christmas music, here is some seasonal music:


A last advice, spend some time with your friend and family, and offer them a handmade gift, they will be way more happy, and so will be your banker… 🙂



A gift for our indian mates that don’t celebrate christmas:



Two funny videos and promise I stop:

Easter Rabbit Vs Santa:


An other revisited 12 days song (just for you to go crazy with that melody)




Christmas sources from Santa’s hut:

Belk, 1987

Kasser and Sheldon, 1991

Werner et al., 1989

Burgoyne and Routh, 1991


The road goes on forever, but the party never ends. Why do we party so much?

This was a bit like my house this morning


Yesterday it was my birthday, the day before Charlotte’s, Sunday was an other birthday, my mate is coming this week-end, and we finally hand in two important works. In short after two month and a half of intense study, it is time to party. What a better start before Christmas. And don’t forget that there is no business like snow business the Wheldon’s 7 December Pink Domestos cleaning party.

So obviously since Sunday and onward until Christmas, consumption will rise (food, wine, cleaning products and pain killers, …), people will drink and party, and we all will wake up on the first of January with a little hangover and an headache for the luckiest.. But whatever the feeling of sickness we can get out of a great party, promising ourselves that this will never happened again, the following night we are out again.

So how can parties be so powerful, leading use to stop anything for partying regardless of consequences?

Obviously parties made people feel better, and in a positive emotional state. And advertisers have understood that a lot shown parties in advertising, setting up event’s gigs, and any other party related marketing.

Adidas original

Diesel’s Facepark


Bud Light 

Alcohol related advertising use party times to promote their product (as we are most likely to drink alcohol during a party)

The strong appeal that party have can be explain through the pleasure principle developed by Freud. This principle state that people seek for pleasure and avoid pain, that is they want to have leisure and fun, and don’t want to work.

Therefore this principle is also behind the almighty procrastination. Procrastination is the postponement of academic goals (Ellis and Knaus, 1977) and intentional despite the awareness that it might lead to negative outcomes.


Indeed when we have something that we don’t want to do but have too, we can do anything else (even something we hate) in order to avoid tasks. How many times did I found myself cleaning my kitchen, tidying my room, shopping groceries, repairing stuff, just to postpone the time I start writing my essays. Therefore struggling with deadline, and wondering where did the time goes.

This is called task avoidance theory and has been studied with procrastination by Ferrari and Johnson in the mid 90’s.

An other explanation of why human love to party can be find in the temptation/ desire/ preference literature, as parties are somewhat the ultimate temptation for human as it can deliver many unexpected outcomes.

In fact Dekel et al. (2009) defined temptation as the future desire that may conflict with desirable action (aka commitment preference).

Temptation is also related to the dual process theory, as we swear that we will never party again, but when in a arousal state we cannot resist and even better we found ourselves excuse for our rational (cold) part. Loewenstein (1996) call this effect the Hot-cold empathy gap, that is regarding to temptation we will consume more when in a hot (emotional) state than when in a cold state.

(If you are interested about affect (not effect) and arousal preference, you should read about Zajonc work ‘Preference need no interference’)

Thus our emotions alter ours behaviours and desires (e.g. we shop more useless groceries when in an hungry mood), so when passing by a pub or an house party we will be more inclined to party than if we were alone in the wood. And this leading us to the next point.


One basic human’s need is belonging (Maslow, 1943), we need to be part of a group, have friend and chat with other human, if we are not hermit kind of guy (you know those lad that go alone in the nature, and come back full of stories about god). By the way I always thought that hermit should have become nuts by stay alone too much time, that can consequently explain some weird passage in the Bible, Koran, or Torah.

So when come party time we meet up our friends and discover new one, fulliling our need to belong. Parties are then a major socialisation factor (along with alcohol intake)

In other words parties gather every bites of what human need and love the most, friends, entertainment, positive mood, escape form reality (task avoidance, mind switch related to alcohol or substance in-take), and so on, that give us an overall good feeling about partying, and outdo any hangover issues.



Finally party is about youth. A classic example is that your parent saying, “We can’t party anymore, we aren’t 20”.  And youth is something humankind always wanted to keep, from the legendary fountain of youth to the latest state of an art anti ageing cream that make you look 20 years younger… .

Thus party display an image of youth, probably because young people can party more as their body didn’t hurt (yet!), and they ain’t got kids to look after. However partying is mostly about psychological age not physical, as you can be old and in the middle of a party.


Granny Techno :


Granny rap:

Long live party then, and forget about the mantra live fast die young, as you can live fast and old. But whatever you are planning to do for this week-end and holidays, remember not to drink and drive, drink and cook, and don’t drink and sleep (in case you fall of your bed)


To conclude I let you with the birthday paradox to twist your brain:

If there are 20 people in a room there’s a 50/50 chance that two of them will have the same birthday. How can that be?


Oh, and an other one for hip-hop fans, watching method man rapping for a candy brands… (We are far away from Wu-tang gangsta rap)

Great track by the way.

People are nuts, and Corporation psychopaths. But does that change anything?

If human can get consumption related illness, the picture about corporation (you know the one that make customers buy more) is ten times worst.


In the movie The Corporation (Bakan and Achbar, 2003), the authors explain what are corporation, and above all what they do. End up that corporation are evil and harmful (nothing new you shall say).

Corporation, according to the law (in the United-States, but in most of others countries as well) are considered as a human entity, with right and duty. Starting from that consideration, the authors then used a Personality Diagnostic Checklist to assess what where corporation. It turned out that Corporation fulfil the characteristic to be considered as a psychopath.


Besides when you know that corporation rule the world and are more powerful than government as they don’t have any geographical border, and got more money than countries ( Apple and the US  // Many more ) you kind of freak out, because they feed us, and so rule us, and governments (the last human-like barriers we have) are powerless to fight it.

Consequently, assessing that corporation are psychopath, make it easier to understand that they are criminals as well. Indeed multinational monitor gather criminal facts made by corporation during the 90’s and came up with a top 100 lists.

Wicked, ruled by psychopath and criminal what a great world we leave in.

The law try-ish to limit that corporation unethical behaviour by taking corporation to court, and making them pay fines. However corporation are billionaires, and most of the time they pay the fine and continue, like first world countries bought the ‘right to pollute’ to poorer countries after Kyoto’s protocol.

Nevertheless as long as corporation got incomes, that is people buying their product, they will continue to harm resources, planet, animal, and even human, and what ever make them have more profit (that is reducing their cost, or increasing their sells).

Greenpeace amongst others NGO, have understand that customers are the key to make corporation change their behaviors. Thus after years of harpooning fisherman’s that were fishing to make a living, they start targeted big corporation and used their own marketing tools to turn the population against corporation.

And the two last attempts did pretty well.


Nestlé – KitKat


Guerilla marketing:

Social network use.Besides the very lame Nestlé responses, that was no response and shutting down some of the comments on their Facebook page, help to make people even more furious.


They made Nestlé to identify and exclude their supplyier that own or manage own or manage ‘high risk plantations or farms linked to deforestation’


Mattel – Barbie



Guerrilla X Activism:

Social media:


Mattel will stop making its packaging out to rainforest trees.

But what about people then, will they make themselves good (ethical) decision?

At the end at the movie the corporation, Mikael Moore rhetorically why does big production companies let him do his movies, and above all produce these movies because his movies give argument against what corporation believes. As an answer he state that corporation don’t have any beliefs, meaning that they don’t give a damn to what can happened as long as they gather money. And that is what is all about money. Natural selection once relied on strength, now it relies on money.

Thus everyone follow money, from the shareholders to the last employee, money drive us.

You may argue that is not a big deal as money can convey good things. Yes, true but when times will be though for our economies, money will go to safer placement regardless of the consequences.

I dream that there is a recession…. Really?


The second Mikael Moore’s answer, was that corporation didn’t bother because they belief that nobody will do anything anyway, because their brainwash have worked.

Corporation through advertising propaganda, make people feel they are great, and responsible.


wooow, that is a cuty BP ad. They care about the planet from now on.

But do they really learn from their mistake?


Moreover, corporation can always counter argue anyway (Thank you for Smocking is a good example and a good movie) saying that you didn’t know, or that there is no proof, even if the latter become harder to believe nowadays.

So they are kind of using the ‘disrupt then reframe’ selling technique (Price Davis and Knowles, 1999). That is you make people confuse about something and then state something new. As a result you increase your sales.

Beside human are also following social laws, and we have seen many times in history that people’s ‘need’ to conformity, leads them not to trust their beliefs, and relies on what the majority said (Asch conformity experiment in the 50’s ) and even to act against their own will (e.g. German  Nazi soldier).

Indeed I don’t think that every Nazi soldier was capable of killing their own people for the only reason they were gay, disable, or Jew, but they actually participate in all that because everybody in the army where doing it. I once red that an ancient soldier who were a guard in a concentration camp didn’t like what he was doing, but he recalled a fellowship spirit amongst soldier and acting against his will was consequently less painful.

Besides you can add the influence of authority (Milgram, 1963), and the fact that the more people you got involve in something the less responsible you feel (diffusion of responsibility) and you get people to do what you desire.


I believe education is the key to all this mess, as children are now way more concerned by sustainability that we are, because they were teach in school that they should be careful about the planet.


What this master card advert show is what really happened nowadays. Kids care about the planet and made to their parents to be careful about their behaviours.

However, a question remains who give what education?

For the same reason history give right to those who have win because history is written by the winners only, corporation told people what to say or rather what not to say.


Government set guidelines for school books, but government have to follow what big companies tell them to do, because if government don’t corporation will leave the country and so the income.

And that is the reason why in most liberal country rich people and big companies pay less taxes (in %) that poorer people and enterprise, because government need them to stay.

So if a big state financer company don’t want something to be published in scholar books they can easily remove it.


Let’s fight back then:

Even if it may hard to convince people that barely help dying people that are next to them (bystander effect) how can you get them help people, animals, or trees that are thousands miles away…

So long as we are alone we cannot fight against all those badly aspect of capitalism, but as a group action can be enterprise. That exactly what NGOs like Greenpeace are trying to do, making people sign petition and act against injustice.

If we get people to start fighting against the corporation power, others will follow, and the number will grow as an exponential curve, as the more people you have the bigger is the conformity effect. Let’s use the tools corporation use against use to

Moreover thanks to communication expansion, we can now more easily than ever organise group action (and if you fear that Facebook will sell information to corporation, we can still use Blackberry as they refuse to)

However there seem to be a switch. We saw American biggest fortune that ask the state to tax them more (millionaires)  and Richard Branson in his book ‘Screw business as usual’ say that business who only focus on profit will not last long.

Then before you go working for a big company (because that is where the money is), ask yourself if they are really ethically ‘clean’, and if not if you can still look at yourself in a mirror, without trying to forget what is going on.


This might be the end, but there is still a hope 🙂


Love you fellows.




Milgram, Stanley (1963). “Behavioral Study of Obedience”. Journal of Abnormal and Social Psychology 67 (4): 371–8. doi:10.1037/h0040525. PMID 14049516. as PDF.

Buy till death part us, or you run out of money

Most of the time when I go to the supermarket I don’t have a list and barely got an idea to what I want to eat and so what kind of product I should buy. But in the supermarkets’ aisles, as soon I enter it, I start picking stuff that are irrelevant to what I was planning to buy because I find the packaging cute or I think that I might want it later (bloody marketers). And my consumption behaviour is even worst when I’m starving as I merely buy any food related items (even stuff I don’t like). And it as been shown that hunger and impulsivity both interact and affect consumption(Nederkoorn et al. 2009), that is when you starve you buy everything that come into mind and mostly snack food. So I strongly recommend you not to do your shopping, especially when it is bulk one (for the week or more) when you are hungry because you can easily end up with £50 of Mars bars, and nothing to eat for tea.


Beside one of my friend do most of its (semi-expensive) purchase in impulse, suddenly waking up on a morning saying “Damn it, I need a printer” and consequently waking up his girlfriend as shrieking in the room. Then he goes to Argos, buys it, comes back home, installs the printer, goes back to bed (he is pretty lazy as well).

Therefore our own impulsive buying make us laugh when speaking about it, and as in my case it is restrained to food or clothe related purchase and only when I got a bit more cash than usual, or in my friend case results of weeks of reflection and only the moment of purchase or final decision is impulsive. But some others people really suffer from this type compulsive and impulsive purchasing behaviour, and this issue deserved attention as consequences can be dramatic (and even lethal) to people.

That is why this week blog post will be a bit more serious (according to my own capacity of being serious) and speaks about consumption related illness.

When bacterial illness come from external (non humans) factors, although some people maintains that human have created some world spread diseases (like AIDS), voluntarily (pharmaceutical companies create and release a diseases and then sell the antidote, and most of dudes that believe in any kind of conspiracy think that) or involuntary (diseases resulting of scientific manipulation GMO, gases, and so on), purchase related illness is entirely man-made as it is a results of the wacky consumption race and recent decades of mindless advertising and promotion, as I doubt any peasant during the middle age struggle with his buying behaviour.

To fully understand what consumption is suggest you to have a look to the following video called “The story of stuff”. It is a bit long true but very interesting, and if you don’t want to watch it all because you don’t have 20 minutes to devote for increasing your knowledge and want to go to the pub J, just go to timeframe 10:05 and look to the consumption part (or go directly to the pub because this article is quite long)

So then marketers, governments, economists, corporation, had us become buying sheep resting upon materialism and consuming more and more. And all those guys are delighted to see use consume, and I suspect they like consumption related illness, as it is a way to increase their turnover. And so they will continue to ‘offer’ customers trigger to increase their impulsive buying, as supermarket are designed to increase consumer impulse buying, by creating cafes, reading zones, lounge rooms, ATM machine, and so on in store for shoppers to stay longer and thus get more tempted (Smith et al. 1989), and implementing atmospherics (lights, smells, sounds, …) for products to looks better (Morrison, 1999).


Even store architecture is design for consumer to get tempted the more, as temptation lead to impulsive purchase (Baumeister, 2002) 

That is why you got sweet displayed shelves close to the check out, we call this ‘séche-pleurs’ in France, literally ‘cry-dryer‘ as when a mothers shop with their crying kids (and marketers love kids because they are at the basis of most of the household purchase) mothers give them sweets for them to shut-up, or why you got the basic and most purchased food (water, bread, booze) at the exact opposite of the entrance for shoppers to cross the whole supermarket and so get tempted.


So then what is impulsive buying and where does it come from?

Stern (1962) defines it as an unplanned and immediate urge to buy something, and as it accounts for 2 out of 3 purchase (Bangoli, 1987) there might be a bunch of reasons that drive impulsive purchase.

Indeed from a marketing point of view Stern (1962) define 9 reasons that prompt impulsive shopping, Low Price / Marginal Need / Mass Distribution / Advertisement / Prominent Display / Short Product Life / Small Size and Less Weight / Ease of Storage, and we can all retrieve one out of many of our impulsive purchases relying on each reason.

Then from a more sociological and psychological point of view impulsive buying is depicted as being a reactive behaviour involving a direct response to a stimulus (Kroeber-Riel 1980 as cited in Rook 1987)

Comparing Impulse and Contemplative buying, Weinberg and Gottwald (1982) assess that impulse buying is relatively ‘extraordinary’ and ‘exciting’ (versus ‘ordinary’ and ‘tranquil’) when the first explain the unpredicted nature of impulsive purchase the latter found it origin in arousal and emotion. Indeed in a later work by the same pair of scientist (Weinberg and Gottwald, 2002) impulsive buying is seen as being related and a result of emotions.

Rook (1987) with the intent to explore the literature gap of « behavioural content of individuals’ impulse buying episodes », defined the major components that influence impulse purchase though the shoppers lens. Thus shoppers reported “Spontaneous urge to buy” (response to a trigger stimulus); “Power and Compulsion: Intensity and Force” (feeling a ‘need/want’ toward a product); “Excitement and Stimulation” (the thrill given by purchasing the product); “Synchronicity” (feeling of being at the right place at the right time with the right product / personal attraction to the product); “Product Animation: Fantastic Forces” (Mystical attraction, like a product that stare at you and whisper ‘buy me’); “Hedonic Elements: Feeling Good and Bad” (hedonic feeling about a pre-impulse purchase, and it can be good –e.g. happy or wonderfull, or bad – e.g. Panic, but both leading to purchase); “Conflict: Good vs Bad, Control vs Indulgence”; “Disregard for Consequence” (irresistible attraction without rational thinking). And the two latter points are the more related to illness and individual well being as they imply negative post-purchase feeling and unwanted consequence (obesity, money loss, unwanted product, …)

Besides many others factors has been found to impact shopper tendencies towards impulsive buying (For a complete review see Kacen and Lee (2002), such as

1) Consumer’s mood or emotional state (Donovan, Rossiter, Marcoolyn, & Nesdale, 1994),

2) Trait buying impulsiveness (Puri, 1996), that is unreflective actions (Eysenck et al., 1985) significantly correlated with thrill seeking (Weun et al., 1998), and the psychological need to maintain a relatively high level of stimulation (Gerbing, Ahadi, & Patton, 1987).

3) Normative evaluation of the appropriateness of engaging in impulse buying (Rook & Fisher, 1995),

4) Self-identity (Dittmar et al., 1995), the role of perceived social image and the expression of self-identity in the purchase decision

5) Demographic factors, such as age (e.g., Bellenger, Robertson, & Hirschman, 1978) as as individuals grow they tend to gain self-control.

Finally Kacen and Lee (2002) compared the influence of culture on impulsive behaviour, as most of the influences are perceived differently in non-individualistic cultures and thus found a relationship between culture and impulse buying, as Asian collectivist culture do less impulse buying that western individualistic ones, and so corroborate the fact that impulsive buying come from the individualism and materialistic consumption imposed by marketers during the last decades.

But most of people with sufficient self-control and a hint of rational economic thinking can overcome it, although others feel “helpless against the dictates of their impulses » as “impulses sometimes prove irresistible,”(Rook, 1987), and some consumers describe a loss of control toward their behaviours and thus fail into excessive purchases (Thompson, Locander, and Pollio, 1990). And that what Compulsive Buying Disorder (CBD), or buying addiction are all about.



Indeed when impulsive buying can be a pain in the arse for common people, it is a nightmare for people with CBD and shopping addiction.

Bizarrely few research have been conducted during the 20th century and marketing golden age, maybe because people didn’t see it as an addiction as consumption was encouraged, so compulsive buyer might have seen themselves as a capitalist Stakhanov (that is very weird to use both word altogether but I love paradox so that is alright) and thus didn’t report any trouble.

However the first authors to talk about CBD was Macmillan in 1930 and he describe the diseases as an example of a “reactive impulse”, or “impulsive insanity” and interestingly he put CBD in the same category that Kleptomania and Pyromania.

But in the recent years (late 80’s) alongside clinical case report and subject investigation by consumer behaviourist, CBD has gained worldwide interest but the causes and solution are still widely unknown.

Black (2007) reviewing CBD, identify 4 distinctive phase of CBD, namely:

1)    Anticipation, where individuals “develops thoughts, urges, or preoccupations with either having a specific item, or with the act of shopping »

2)    Preparation, where individuals “prepares for shopping and spending. This can include decisions on when and where to go, on how to dress, and even which credit cards to use. Considerable research may have taken place about sale items, new fashions, or new shops »

3)    Shopping, which “involves the actual shopping experience, which many individuals with CBD describe as intensely exciting, and can even lead to a sexual feeling”

4)    Spending, where “the act is completed with a purchase, often followed by a sense of let down, or disappointment with oneself”



The number of shoppers with CBD vary from study but the average number is likely to be 5,8% of all shoppers (Koran et al., 2006). However and even if it is subject to debate among the literature most of CBD individuals are women with clinical survey assessing between 80 to 95% of CBD patient to be female (e.g. Mc Elroy, 1994). And the average spend by CBD individuals is around $110 (Christenson et al. 1994)

Even if causes are not known, CDB appear to be family related, as a study conducted by McElroy et al. (1994) show that out of 18 CBD individuals, 17 have close relatives with major depression, 11 with alcohol or drug use disorder, 3 with anxiety disorder, and 3 with CBD relatives.

Paradoxically, a study by Miltenberger et al. (2003) reveal that negative emotion such as depression, anxiety, boredom, self-critical though and anger where experienced before any purchase, and relief from these emotion and even euphoria were experienced as a common consequence of purchase. Thus individuals with CBD seem to be literally addicted to shopping as they experience the same characteristic than drug addict (well done marketers and economists). Besides seek of dopamine play as well an important role in CBD, assessing the fact of reward dependence from individuals with CBD (Holden, 2001)


But even if they have an euphoria effect following a purchase individuals with CBD are struggling with it, as 85% report concerns according to their spending and debt, 74% report a loss of control while shopping (Schloser et al., 1994), 68% say that CBD affect their relationship (Miltenberger et al., 2003). And even when they try to get rid of their impulse, and this happened for 92%, they are rarely successful, as 74% of the time an impulse to buy becomes a purchase (Christenson et al. 1994).

And as if that wasn’t enough, individuals with CBD might also frequently meet clinical criteria for mood disorder (Koran et al. 2002), anxiety disorders (Schloser et al., 1994), substance use disorder (Christenson et al. 1994), eating disorder (McElroy et al. 1994).

And icing on the cake, as causes are not yet been fully identified, solutions are not yet found. However financial, or self-control counselling may help people with CBD.

Kuzma and Black (2006) have developed a guideline that can help individual struggling with CBD, and is related to self-control strategy.

“First, pharmacologic treatment trials provide little guidance, and patients should be informed that they cannot rely on medication. Further, patients should:

a) Admit that they have CBD;

b) Get rid of credit cards and checkbooks, because they are easy sources of funds that fuel the disorder;

c) Shop with a friend or relative; the presence of a person without CBD will help curb the tendency to overspend; and

d) Find meaningful ways to spend one’s leisure time other than shopping.”


However researchers seems to focus their attention into internal or near environmental factors that impact the individuals with CBD, and not to the wide environmental factors that affect consumption that is advertising, excessive capitalism, race to consumption and so on. Although those factors are more likely to drive people to consume more rather than having a depressive friends. Thus it look like their is a global assumption that consumption is the norms and is part of our need, as by extension individuals with CBD seek rewards (probably dopamine) and satiate it by shopping, like some others overeat or take drug. But when eating and taking drug are likely to be part of human nature, shopping is definitely not, but after years and years of capitalism extended to its excess it seem that people have swallowed it and accept all the related issues, so we are going strait to the wall and we put our foot down.


But to conclude on a positive note, when some people are unfortunately struggling with consumption, others take advantages of it.

Indeed two years ago I was watching a TV show in France, and they shown people that where living only with free stuff as they where playing every brand games to win prizes, eating only 100% refundable foods, and consequently spending hours to fill forms, and send mails to get everything for free.

Then I don’t know which of them I should feel the most sorry for, as when you have a look to 100% free people’s house and interior decoration you are kind of scared as obviously items do not fit altogether at all and the only matter that links them is the fact they are free, and thus their house look very odd.


Music time then, rockabilly baby, get your blue suede shoes out, get a partner and dance, you derisive it.




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I reckon you should buy this! Do you? Yes! Ok then I’ll buy it

As promise to anuconsumermindreader, this week blog post is about Social Shopping.

Once upon a time Internet shoppers where satisfied to be advised through forums, product review, recommendations.

Indeed around 65% of US shoppers always read reviews, 70% find customer reviews ‘extremely’ or ‘very important’, 62% find “top rated product” at least ‘very important’ ProwerReviews survey have shown. This latter finding reminds me the Salganik et al. (2006) experience, where they make people to download music following what previous downloaders have chosen, independently of their own music preference (I bet this is why people ‘love’ Lady Gaga or Justin Bieber garbage music)

Even more interesting is that around 55 % and 70% (depending on what kind of products) of web shoppers wanted more review. Which gave an enormous opportunity for marketers to satisfy their customers.

But after some wonderful days (years) of harmony and peace, shoppers started to realise that the opinions of some random unknown lads may no be very effective to advise you what product fit you the most or what to offer to your (very special) girlfriend to apologize that you have forget her birthday, as the lads may not have the same taste as you (or your beloved one) if not crap ones, or he might be paid by a company to say good things about that particular product.

So come to them the want to be advised by people that matter, people that are trustful, people that you like, and share interest, that is your friends.

Then the want for more review add to the one of customize and friend one, obviously led to social shopping.

In other word social shopping is the place where E-commerce (revenues around €61.1 Bn in the UK and €213 bn in Europe -14% improvement year on year) and Social networks (750 million Facebook users, 95 million tweet per day, 3,500 uploaded image per minute on flickr, and so on)

Of course social shopping already existed before with the use of forums, blogs, product review and notation, but social network give the opportunities for companies to target even better their customer, and let them do the advertising. This is a step forward and a giant bound, as the ultimate goal is to recreate the real life experience (girly Saturday shopping with mates) but online (where you are alone in front of your computer). And this latter point rise the paradox, how can you do something social (especially shopping) when you are alone in your dressing gown drinking tea and browsing the Internet? Well it is all up to the web magic powder and endless creativity of admen.

Then after dead long wanking brainstorming marketers seams to have found two thing to focus on:

  • Integrate the social variable on E-commerce website
  • Integrate E-commerce variable on social network

(Wahoo, that worst the billion spend on advertising creative each year) 

Let me explain that to you through some examples:


I) Integrate E-commerce variable on social network

a) Facebook stores

Facebook stores are virtual stores but inside Facebook, and allow brands to use all Facebook tools to spread the purchase decision on Facebook.

Then you got three kind of facebook Stores:

– Fake-stores, where you can have a look at the product but a link send you to the actual brand website for the purchase to be made

– Fan stores, kind of VIP stores where only fan are targeted. Mostly used for limited edition.

– Full-stores, where all the shopping experience stay on Facebook (you see and buy the product on Facebook)


Lady Gaga F-store, is the most worldly famous page with 31 millions fans (she might make crapy music, but she is a damn good marketer)

Starbuck F-Store, where you can act upon you loyalty card, offer coffee to your facebook mate, and so on.

Coca-cola sells coke spin-off products on Facebook, Delta airlines was the first company to sells aiplane ticket through Facebook, Jc Penney was the first company to offer optimised e-commerce website but on facebook.

2) Facebook Credit

Buy real goods on Facebook using Facebook’s virtual money, you know the credit you use to buy farms, pigs, fields, or food on Farmville, Café world of Mafia wars whilst neglecting yourself and starve to dead. (

La Redoute (French retail brand) used facebook credit to increase their sales as they offered to the 5000 orders 50 Facebook credits (wicked), Warner bros used Facebook credit to pay for the brand new Video-On-Demand on facebook (created by both of them)

3) Facebook deals

That is the use of geo-localisation (GPS) to give the opportunity to customer to get deals, through the use of Facebook place

For instance, Gap free jeans give away event, where Gap was giving jean to the 10 000 first persons who checked themselves in a shop, and 40% discount was offer to the late ones.

Then even if the E-commerce on Facebook would allow people to spend their lifetime on Facebook, becoming alienated and Facebook dependent, the second trend is in my opinion far more attractive and way more amusing and offer much more opportunity to business.


II) Integrate the social variable on E-commerce website

1)  Group Purchase

When a group of people act together to obtain a discount on a specific product (e.g. number of people required for the sale to start, price drop when purchase increase, …) This allow brand to create a community around a product, enhance sales during a limited period of time, and create buzz.

Uniqlo lucky Counter:

The more customers tweet about 10 clothing item chosen by the brand, the more reduced these items price is.

Skoda Fabia:

People where asked to like the car on Facebook in order to reduce its price.


In a fixed amount of time people where asked to subscribe to a saving account, and the more people where subscribing, the higher was the saving rate offered.

(Sorry that is in french)

Grouped Gift, Pixmania and Ebay:

Both websites offered the opportunity to customers to buy a gift in common (that is to do what we always did when a gift was to expensive for us, but online). And as all is online and through social network, the use of Facebook is recommended to invite ‘friends’ to participate.

By the way I got a friend who use to a lot of picture of a party, which occurred every Sunday during the summer, and posted them on Facebook. Well when she broke her camera she asked to every people in the party group if they can give her 1€ (online) and so most of the people did, and in few weeks she was able to buy a new camera (around 2000€).

2) Social plug-in

Social plug-in are the use of add-on to connect internet users on e-commerce web site, and are divide into three categories.

a)Facebook and others plug-in:

Basically you know what it is, because now on every web site you can find a ‘like’ button, or the ‘share with friend’ one.

Levis was among the first to add them online in order for the customer to see which of their friend like a product or not.

Amazon use Facebook allowing customer to link both account and so access information relevant to what is on their Facebook profile, be informed of their friends’ birthday and suggested gift for it, and finally know what their friends have bought.

b)Product Chat

This categories is an enhanced chat of the one you have with your mates in order to choose which product to pick, but directly related to the e-commerce page, and interactive mate-forum is you wish.

Quorus Discuss:

They created a social plugin that can be add to any web site, where you can live-chat, email or text a friend about a product. (Squeely have created the same kind of plug-in but offer discount to those who chat to incentivize them to chat more)

Flair’s Fashiontag:

Flair a Belgium magazine has launched a Facebook application to tag pictures. Nothing new you can say, but instead of tagging your friends face you tag their clothes and ask them where do they bought it. Personally this is my favourite application as I found it very pertinent and derived form the use of Facebook (tagging friend and looking at their pictures).


c) Co-Browsing

In between the two above (plugin and product chat) co-browsing allow user to send text or e-mail, twitter or facebook to ask their friends to join them into the website chat, and discuss about the product whilst seeing products that each one is currently glancing at. In other word instead of setting up meeting with you friends at a coffee shop before going to shop you ask them to go (or stay) online and help you buy the perfect produt.

3) Product recommendation plate-forms

These platform are 2.0 version of forums, with more interactivity, user friendly interface, and social assistance.

It thus allow user to create their own product “bookmark”, creating a product note and adding their recommendation, opinions, and supplementary information. These platforms lead to the creation of community affiliated by taste, and interest.

In other word, it allow user to create their own product catalogue, and have a look to other catalogue

Yakatag, Social M-commerce:

This mobile application allows users to reference products found online and in-store. So they take a picture of it, tag the product, explain what the product is about, and discuss about it with your friend if you want to. For the users’ friend it let them follow in live their mate shopping, and interact with them (like for instance saying that the pink boots are dreadful, or that they want him/her to buy them those pink boots)

Polyvore, community of tastemakers:

It is recommendation platforms exact definition. Users can build product catalogue with images they found online and so create set of products that are shareable into social networks. Brands and celebrities are also present into Polyvore so that users can review those catalogues as well.

Ebay Lookbook:

Sellers take pictures of themselves with the product they wish to sell (clothes), and users can pick product from those picture and add them to their basket. Users can also vote for their favourite look.

Go try it on:

Dare you to ask if Internet user like your look? If your answer is yes then go on that that website.

What you have to do is take a picture of you (you can blur your face as well), post it on the web site and ask the web community if they think that look fit you or if you need to burn all your wardrobe and go shopping (online of course)



4) Social shopping in real life

Finally, and here is my favourite bit (as I’m a fervent defender of real life activities), the social (virtual) variable can be added to real shopping (like if you mate is sick but has always the best shopping advices, you still can have her to help you will being away)

That is creating a more social experience through the use of digital tools (QR codes, augmented reality, share you look live on Facebook, online customer review integrated in store, and this has for only limit the brands imagination)

Yep and Graffiti Geo, augmented reality; Permit customer to know other customer opinion about the surrounding places or products.

My shopanion and Scandit, Scan; IPhone apps that able costumer to scan product and access online product review or ask instantaneous friends’ opinion on Facebook and twitter.

Diesel’s Facebook cam and the tweet mirror:



To conclude, the Social shopping is just in it development phase but have been predicted to be the next biggest thing of e-commerce (34% of people already think of buying through social networks, and the market is forecasted to be around $ 30 billions by 2015).

But as shopping is for my a thing that I try to get ride the quickest, I remain with one question, that I would like girls to answer (as they are the most shopping addicted). Would all those new tools implementing a social variable into e-commerce get you to switch from real life shopping to online shopping? And if you already shop online would that make you buy more?



However even if I am wondered by these new tools that marketers will use with delight, I would like to raise a concern about shopping and consumption in general as I belive that e-commerce and social shopping can get the worst part of consumption and online problems, because you don’t pay (or pay less) attention to what you pay online rather than in real life.

So my next blog post will be about the consumption illness that are inherent to the crazy consumption world we live in.


Until then, let the pressure drop, and enjoy Bangor’s activities (or Liverpool and Manchester ones if Bangor doesn’t fit you), because life is not only about studying (but do your 4 comment first J).



Irrational Behaviors and Alcohol Consumption

Good day to you freaky folks.

Halloween is coming and so I hope you have your fancy spooky dress ready and if not go find some quickly.

Anyway when we were kids Halloween meant “Trick or Treat”, sugar overdose, lots of free stuff and scary costume. But as we all grew up, Halloween is now more synonyms of binge drinking, pub and nite-club tour, and hangover. But at least we still got the dresses and pumpkins (even if don’t do the same with a pumpkin as we use to do).

So along with drinking come irrational and illogical behaviours, that is we do things we never suspected we were able to do in a lucid state of mind, for the better and for the worst.


The effect of Arousals:

In Ariely’s 2008 book Predictably Irrational a whole chapter is about the influence of arousal, where he explain how emotional or other inner arousals drive us to do things that we would never think about in other conditions.

The experimentation he has conducted and explained in the book is pretty funky as he have student to masturbate while filling a survey. By the way if you just have a look at the chapter appendices, where it gives the questions asked to students, as charlotte did, you may ask yourself a question about Ariely’s mental health and sexual activities, i.e. “Would you find it exciting to be spanked by an attractive woman?”, “Would you slip a woman a drug to increase the chance that she would have sex with you?” or “Can you imagine getting sexually excited by contact with an animal?”.

But don’t worry about that the Israeli fellow is not a pervert weirdo, and just did that for an experiment. However what he found out after this unusual and wacky experience is that when people are excited they are able to do strange thing, and they can’t really control it. Just think of how many time you had one-night stand sex without condom because in the course of action you didn’t care about it, and how much you regreted it afterwards.

To conclude Ariely make the comparison with Dr Jekyll and Mister Hyde (from the great Robert Louis Stevenson), as we have in all of use one Dr Jekyll side and one Mister Hyde, and I guess that can be related to the duality of our brain system (automatic/ reflective, hot/cold)

Indeed Loeweinsten (1996) observed that we underestimate our propensity to be influenced by our hot (emotional) when we are in a cold (cognitive) state of mind. Like you are sure you won’t drink more than one drink, and you end up puking on the pavement, and cannot even figure out where you are. Well this is called the ‘hot-cold empathy gap’


What about alcohol then?

Thus I think that the comparison with the alcohol is relevant, as alcohol uptake acts like an arousal emotion, while being an external factor.

Indeed we all know that alcohol make us feel, behave, think, act, and even speak differently. For instance I got a friend that got a strong indian accent, but when she is wasted she got a perfect posh-ish southern British accent. And we all got thousands of examples of friends or ourselves behave weirdly as they or we were hammered. Shy persons are the one who amaze me the most when there are drunk as they completely lose control and act so wildly that they are hardly recognizable.


But how come? Why do alcool make us act differently?

Several studies have studied the impact of alcohol on our body and brain, and so some point have been raised. But rather than a long and boring explanation, let me summarize that with a table.



  Alcohol influences thermoregulation in the cold as well as in the heat, as well as sensation (but we all know that we can go out half-naked on a cold winter night because we are dead drunk) Yoda T, Crawshaw LI, Saito K, Nakamura M, Nagashima K, Kanosue K(2008)
  Give higher levels of positive affects and sensations and lower levels of depression(so drink alcohol to fight against depression) McCollam, Janice B.; Burish, Thomas G.; Maisto, Stephen A.; Sobell, Mark B(1980)
 Alcohol:1) is consciously used by men to reduce inhibitions that constrain their interpersonal interaction with women and with each other

2) reduces inhibitions of individuals to sexual risk taking

3) provides a socially acceptable excuse for nonuse of condoms

4) is seen to enhance male sexual pleasure

Kathleen M. MacQueen, Taweesak Nopkesorn, Michael D. Sweat, Yothin Sawaengdee, Timothy D. Mastro, Bruce G. Weniger(1996)
  Performance decreases as the dose of alcohol increasesMemory is sensitive to the effects of alcohol Hindmarch, I., Kerr J.S., and Sherwood, N.(1991)
  Alcohol affect sensory processes and simply auditory, visual reaction time, higher cognitive functions and the ability to carry out complex skills (including driving) Goldberg, 1943; Lewis et al., 1969Gus- tafson, 1986; Jennings et al., 1976; Kerr et al., 1990

Hamilton and Copeman, 1970; Starmer, 1989, 1990; Wallgreen and Barry, 1970

But there is still one good thing:modereate doses of alcohol  make improvements in performance (Palva et al., 1979)

But one of the most dangerous things about alcohol consumption is drinking and driving, as when drunk you feel like an almighty formula 1 pilot, until you hit a tree and kill your mates.So indeed alcohol make us feel different, and so act weirdly, but when that can be nice fun, and give us a lots of laughs, in others cases it can lead to body damage, irresponsible behaviours, violence, and so on, well you know the story.


So what to do to prevent drinking and driving? 

State policies and laws become more and more restrictive and sentence when caught is now very high. But that doesn’t seams to stop people to do it.

Then I have to admit that one great thing to reduce this behaviours come from Britain. Indeed when you go out, pub and nightclub are in the town (as opposed to the suburbs in France), and taxis are cheaper as well. So that encourages people to go by foot or take a cab.

Other solutions come from booze brands, because they are very much implied in these dangerous behaviors.

So Beck comes up with a clever idea, in the form of an app.


An other problems if you succeed reaching your home safe, is when you turn on your computer. Indeed going to Facebook while intoxicated can be really funny, but with a lot of consequences in the morning, above all when you can’t remember what you did.

A great tool against that is called the social media sobriety test.


Then I guess they should make that for credit cars as well, because I have never buy more, train tickets, concert place, and other stuff related to party when I was drunk in front of my laptop 🙂

Finally I wish to apologise to anuconsumermindreader, to wish I said I would write this week post about social shopping, and I will do it for next week (or the week after), but when I woke up this morning (well it was 12.40 but that is still the morning for me) after a good night out, I was more in the mood to do an article on alcohol rather than on social shopping.



Happy halloween dudes, and enjoy reading week :