Fetish, magic, marketing

Anthropology Today (2017)
Auteurs : Julien Cayla, Eric Arnould et Delphine Dion

This article identifies specific forms of fetishistic enchantments produced by practices culturally specific to modern consumer culture. The authors show that magical practices are constitutive of two fetishistic marketing constructs: the consumer and the human luxury brand. Marketing magic enacts relations between man and the transcendent by bringing consumer personas ‘to life’ and manifesting ideals of the beautiful in luxury. Marketing magic is a practice of power – non-rationalist strategies for resolving intractable social problems. Consumer ‘personas’ create the manageable consumer interlocutors for companies. Charismatic creative directors seem to evade the iron logic of commodity relationships via the magical conjuring of their own personas and of artful luxury.