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Barcode Identity

Lecture Outline: 

You are What you Buy

Target targets

guest ID is your consumption transcript

supplemented by demographic data and credit ratiinng

habits are hard to change

behavioral psychology can tell us how and why the do

How did Target come to Target?

The Rise of Big Data

Looking for Lifestyle groups

from mass marketing to targeting


marketer look for opportunities to slice and dice

Broadcast TV advertising less effective

Need to engage through affective bonds

create relationships

Shaping the total entertainment package



  • Digitizing Social Identity
  • You are what you Buy


  • Joseph Turow, Breaking Up America:  Advertising and the New Media World (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1997) ch. 8, “Image Tribes,” 184-200.
  • Henry Jenkins, “Buying into American Idol: How We Are Being Sold on Reality Television" in Convergence Culture: 59-93 Buying Into An American Idol
  • Chris Anderson, “The Long Tail,” Wired Magazine The Long Tail
  • Cynthia Chris, “Discovery’s Wild Discovery: The Growth and Globaliztion of TV’s Animal Genres": 137-57 in Sarah Banet-Weiser, Cynthia Chris and Anthony Freitas, eds., Cable Visions   Discovery's Wild Discovery


  • Make a note of where you see advertising through the course of your day - on billboards, magazines, television, online, etc. Which ads are the most appropriate for you? How do you think that advertising has pegged you so accurately or inaccurately?