Half of dinnertime conversation is about brands. Or is it?
April 19, 2012 7:53 AM   Subscribe

Help me find the statistic, the radio program on which I first heard it, or the source of the unsettling claim that 50% of family conversations are about corporations/brands/companies.

About 6 months ago, I was listening to NPR affiliate WNYC and I heard an astounding (appalling) stat: half of conversations that families have around the dinner table are in some way about brands. At least, that's how I remember it. It might have been higher or lower than half, but the takeaway is that a substantial chunk of our family time is basically spent shilling for private companies. Since I heard the interview, I notice how often I'm talking with my girlfriend, -- or my Zen Buddhist mother, for crying out loud -- and somehow or another, we wind up discussing Apple or JetBlue or some god-damn company that really has no place at our dinner table (or at least it deserves a much smaller seat there! Maybe a high chair.)

I don't recall the program it was on, or if it was a WNYC show or an NPR one. I remember it was an interview with a scholar who'd written a book with a title that sounded like "The United States of America" (The United Brands of America? But cleverer than that). He had, as I recall, a Western European accent... Dutch? German? Ack, embarrassing how little I remember of this fascinating interview.

In any case, I'd love to know the title of the book, the source of the statistic, or the show that the interview was on so I can re-listen to it (and casually drop that figure in conversation when the discussion turns -- as it so often does! -- to talk of companies).

Thanks, everyone. And a good Pepsi Ford Viacom to you all!
posted by andromache to Society & Culture (4 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Was it possibly from this NPR show, about Martin Lindstrom's Brandwashed?
posted by rtha at 8:57 AM on April 19, 2012 [2 favorites]

I recall a story on All Things Considered where a guest seemed to discuss pretty much that. I think he had a European accent of some kind. He also talked about experiments where people would have conversations with unsuspecting friends/family, and constantly name drop corporations and brands.

He may very well have given other interviews around the time. I think this was more like two or three months ago, but if you check the ATC site you may be able to find something there.
posted by TheSecretDecoderRing at 9:21 AM on April 19, 2012 [1 favorite]

Actually, yeah, it was Brandwashed, I remember them playing that Milky Way jingle...
posted by TheSecretDecoderRing at 9:25 AM on April 19, 2012

Yes! Thank you both! rtha, I went to your link, did a cmd-F for "dinner", and instantly found the money quote:

And not only that, when we are sitting at the dinner table, we are talking about brands 51 percent of the time.

Again, thanks. I'm going to re-listen to the program tonight, and will thwack people over the head with the salient quotes next time I notice my dinnertime discussion so infused with talk of trademarked entities that it feels like we should have a corporate sponsor.
posted by andromache at 2:58 PM on April 30, 2012

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