The Celebrity as a Commodity

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The Celebrity as a Commodity Hurst introduced the idea of a commodity in the text readings. By definition, a commodity is something that is of use, advantage, or value. More directly, Hurst showed how people by use of their skills, looks, or names, could be used as advantages in society. He uses the examples of celebrities, sports figures, and beautiful people to show that people can be commodities. All of these groups bring some sort of recognition or attraction that is beneficial to a company, firm, or individual. In return, they receive compensation for their name recognition to society. (Hurst 99-115) The article talks about how valuable a name can be. Whether it is the name of a person or a company, a name can bring about monetary value to someone. “Like any asset, a good name can be bought or sold.” (Clarion-Ledger) The article uses examples such as the names of companies and goods, and relates them to a value that society has placed on them. “If you have a good thing, it will draw a crowd.” (Clarion-Ledger) It is the crowd that will respond to the name and spend money in that direction due to name familiarity. The connection between the article and the material that was presented in class is the idea of a commodity. The article specifically uses the examples of the names of Winn- Dixie, and Catfish. The corporation that owns Winn-Dixie recently bought a smaller chain of stores. Consequently, it then retired the name of the bought corporation and renamed the newly acquired stores Winn-Dixie. This is because of two reasons. The name Winn-Dixie is highly known throughout the south for having a respectable reputation. The stores that were bought out by Winn-Dixie had been struggling. Therefore their former name had a reputation of being a downtrodden chain that was associated with its recent struggles and problems. It was in the best interest for a name change to happen. It all has to due name familiarity. Whenever people see a name they recognize, they associate it with either a good connotation or a bad connotation. That is what causes a person or a business to either lose money or turn profit. The other example used is that of the name catfish.
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