The college’s Marketing Communication Department recently published its first edition of “The Journal of Need and Want,” a look at life in the consumer world through a collection of short stories, journal entries, poems and letters submitted by Columbia students, faculty, staff
As a child, Margaret Sullivan, chair of the Marketing Communication Department, knew advertisers wouldn’t get far if they didn’t listen to their research. It’s a lesson she said she learned from a scene in “A Hard Day’s Night,” in which Beatles member George Harrison couldn’t be persuaded by an advertiser about white shirts being the newest fad.
Sullivan, who was its editor-in-chief, said the journal is meant to serve as a forum about living in a consumer-based world.
“[‘The Journal of Need and Want’] is to help people make conscious choices,” Sullivan said. “To help them make some relatively spontaneous, impulsive, highly programmed choices. It’s about getting people to take ownership about their relationship with their possessions, [find out] what their needs are and help them differentiate what means something to them.”
Sullivan said the criteria considered when deciding what submissions would be published were originality, relevance, provocativeness and interest level.
She said the journal was a way to publish student work with faculty submissions.
A research-based piece titled “American Dream Changes American Values” was submitted to the journal by senior marketing major Laura Nedbal.
“I really started to think the line between needing and wanting was something critical for marketers to follow as the years went on,” Nedbal said. “It’s critical to us being successful and being able to market to certain people. I researched it and saw that line change throughout history.”
Nedbal said people will always have the “American Dream” mentality because of the recent recession.
“It’s going be a huge reality check to [college graduates] having to find jobs,” Nedbal said. “Once people realize credit cards aren’t the answers and you can only afford what you can afford, I think people are going to have to buy what they need.”
Sullivan said her father taught her at an early age she couldn’t only think about herself but also about what other people were thinking, which she said is essential if you want to communicate.
She said advertisers should think on a global scale and compare America in 1967 to America today.
“We didn’t have the diversity celebration we have now,” Sullivan said. ‘“Leave it to Beaver’ was on television, ‘The Mickey Mouse Show,’ everyone was white. That was the culture which my dad was trying to let me know was going to change and anyone entering the next generation better be thinking about that early.”
Dan Dinello, an associate professor in the Film and Video Department, submitted “Spirits in the Material World” to the journal about his Day of the Dead altar dedicated to his mother.
“It didn’t really relate to advertising and specifics in the consumer world,” Dinello said. “But it related to something I’ve treasured and things that can’t be replaced obviously in a consumer [aspect]. Things you purchase are reusable and easily replaced. They may have sentimental value but ordinarily, they are easily replaced.”
Dinello said he’s not generally a religious person, but he believes altars are beautiful works of art and his submission could also inspire people to look into the aspect of Mexican culture.
Sullivan said submissions for the second volume of the journal are being accepted.
Free copies of “The Journal of Need and Want” are available to students, faculty and staff in the reception area of the Marketing Communication Department.