The dig

Date of publication: September 17, 2006

Company: Unilever


It is archaeology's use of stuff in studying, understanding and building pictures of cultures that first attracted us. Archaeology provides a practical approach to 're-instating the missing masses' (Latour 1992) in market research. How market research has failed to deal with material culture is astonishing. The irony cannot be escaped: an industry largely concerned with the consumption of things (products), yet takes as its singular unit of analysis 'consumers'. This was what we meant when we accused market research of 'consumercentrism' (Blyth and Roberts 2005) as well as its outright discrimination against the stuff and substance of consumption.

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