Consumerism

American business firms alone have been the target of organized consumer movements on three occasions. The first consumer movement took place in the early 1900s. It was fueled by rising prices, author Upton Sinclair's writings on conditions in the meat industry, and scandals in the drug industry in that country. The second consumer movement, in the mid-1930s, was sparked by an upturn in consumer prices during the Great Depression and another drug scandal.

The third movement began in the 1960s. Consumers had become better educated, products had become more complex and potentially hazardous, and people were unhappy with American institutions. U.S. consumer advocate Ralph Nader appeared on the scene to force many issues, and other well-known writers accused big business of wasteful and unethical practices. President John F. Kennedy declared that consumers had the right to safety and to be informed, to choose, and to be heard. The U.S. government investigated certain industries and proposed consumer-protection legislation. Since then, many consumer groups have been organized and several consumer laws have been passed. The consumer movement has spread internationally and has become very strong in Europe.

But what is the consumer movement? Consumerism is an organized movement of citizens and government agencies to improve the rights and power of buyers in relation to sellers. Traditional sellers' rights include:

• The right to introduce any product in any size and style, provided it is not hazardous to personal health or safety; or, if it is, to include proper warnings and controls

• The right to charge any price for the product, provided no discrimination exists among similar kinds of buyers

• The right to spend any amount to promote the product, provided it is not defined as unfair competition

• The right to use any product message, provided it is not misleading or dishonest in content or execution

• The right to use any buying incentive programs, provided they are not unfair or misleading

Traditional buyers' rights include:

• The right not to buy a product that is offered for sale

• The right to expect the product to be safe

• The right to expect the product to perform as claimed

Comparing these rights, many believe that the balance of power lies on the seller's side. True, the buyer can refuse to buy. But critics feel that the buyer has too little information, education, and protection to make wise decisions when facing sophisticated sellers. Consumer advocates call for the following additional consumer rights:

• The right to be well informed about important aspects of the product

• The right to be protected against questionable products and marketing practices

Author Sustainable marketing Comment | ¡sn't prov¡nce of only businesses and governments. Through consumerism and environmentalism, consumers themselves can play an important role.

Consumerism

An organized movement of citizens and government agencies to improve the rights and power of buyers in relation to sellers.

Consumer desire for more information led to labels with useful facts, from ingredients and nutrition facts to recycling and country of origin information. Jones Soda even puts customer-submitted photos on its labels.

Each proposed right has led to more specific proposals by consumerists. A The right to be informed includes the right to know the true interest on a loan (truth in lending), the true cost per unit of a brand (unit pricing), the ingredients in a product (ingredient labeling), the nutritional value of foods (nutritional labeling), product freshness (open dating), and the true benefits of a product (truth in advertising). Proposals related to consumer protection include strengthening consumer rights in cases of business fraud, requiring greater product safety, ensuring information privacy, and giving more power to government agencies. Proposals relating to quality of life include controlling the ingredients that go into certain products and packaging and reducing the level of advertising "noise." Proposals for preserving the world for future consumption include promoting the use of sustainable ingredients, recycling and reducing solid wastes, and managing energy consumption.

Sustainable marketing is up to consumers as well as to businesses and governments. Consumers have not only the right but also the responsibility to protect themselves instead of leaving this function to someone else. Consumers who believe they got a bad deal have several remedies available, including contacting the company or the media; contacting government agencies; and going to small-claims courts. Consumers should also make good consumption choices, rewarding companies that act responsibly while punishing those that don't.

Ya gotta make a living somehow; we those the J& beverage world. Good old 40da with a twist. Ho ^ hidden meanings, no billion dollar ad tampaigm. At Jones, we want you to buy a lot of soda arsd recycfe 2 the bottles. The labels are kin da like our minds -jj always changing. Run with the little guy... create a some change, www.jonessoda.tom

I Nutrition

Facts

i Servsng s¡ze Sodu M bottle (355ml} Tota| j Calories 190 r-rh.

Total Fat Og Sodium 20mg

Carbohydrate 48g 16% j

Sugars 48 g Protein Og

• The right to influence products and marketing practices in ways that will improve the "quality of life"

• The right to consume now in a way that will preserve the world for future generations of consumers

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