A Week in the Life of a Consumer

Advertising is a huge part of American culture. We are exposed to hundreds of thousands of ads throughout our week and many times we don’t even realize how much of an impact they have on our buying. This is a simple journal my advertising teacher asked the class to do that will help track our spending purchases and exposure to advertising, and how they coincide with one another (at least as much as possible). 

Starting January 22

Sunday:

  • I went to work from 7am-1pm at Dick’s Sporting Goods
    • I helped to put up marketing for the sales going on this week.
    • During my downtime I surfed the web on my phone and had a lot of ads geared towards my interests and things I had been searching on the web (sites tracking my searches). Some examples were ads for Sephora makeup, clothes from Lululemon, and shoes from Adidas
    • A few friends from work went to Subway because they saw customers with cups from there and thought it sounded good.
    • During my break the television was turned to ESPN and there were probably 5 commercials during that time. A few of them were for insurance and had NBA players sponsored, while the other ones were for cars like Mercedes and Lexus.
  • On my way home I decided to get lunch from Chipotle because I have money loaded onto my Campus Access. Instead of getting food from the mall (which is walking distance from my work) I drove to campus so that I wouldn’t have to use my credit card.
  • While I was on my laptop watching YouTube videos I saw countless ads for the new movie Split and XXX and more ads relating to what I had previously been searching on Amazon and Google. Honestly, I am going to see the movie Split because all of the trailers and ads for it make it look amazing and I have read online that it was a huge hit at the box office. Screen Shot 2017-01-22 at 4.54.06 PM.png

Monday:

  • I woke up at 8:30, got dressed for the gym and spent an hour working out. On my way to the school gym I was listening to the radio and heard ads from companies such as Orange Leaf frozen yogurt and B-town Buys (a local promo for the radio station B97). None of these prompted me to go out and buy their products, but I was able to recite them because I hear them all the time on the station and I am very familiar with the companies they advertise with. I did spend a summer interning for the station and am very knowledgeable about the business and behind-the-scenes marketing that goes on.
  • As I rode the bus to class we passed a few people on the side of the road holding signs for a mattress store that is having a closing sale. I can honestly say that their sign made me NOT want to go shop there because of how bad it looked aesthetically.
  • After my first class I went to the library to grab a snack to eat and I was thinking about getting pretzels, but instead I chose a yogurt and granola parfait because I thought it would be much healthier and because I passed a lot of students that were eating unhealthy options like cheeseburgers and donuts. A lot of times when I see people eat unhealthy foods it makes me want to eat better because I feel bad if I eat like them and I don’t want my workouts to be for nothing! However, I did get a Sprite Zero because there was a Coke freestyle machine and whenever I see one I am 100% more likely to buy a pop.
  • My next class was Intro to Creative Advertising and in my class we talked a lot about ads we see on television which sparked many more to come to mind. A few we spoke about were the recent political ads, Maytag washers, Coca-Cola, and SC Johnson.
  • Surfing on YouTube brought up more trailers for Split…and yes I still wish to see the movie. I also keep seeing so many trailers for the dog movie and it makes me not want to see it because it keeps playing and I can’t skip it.
  • Many of the YouTube videos I watch are from fitness or beauty gurus, so many of the products they mention are things I buy or are more apt to buy because I trust their opinions and it’s a lot easier to be exposed to products by them rather than from walking into a store aimlessly
  • As I was waiting on the bus to take me home I saw a few students with new Adidas shoes on which made me go onto their website and look through their products. I will admit that I ordered a pair of Tubulars in black because they looked cute af and would match well with my Lululemon leggings that I wear a lot.Screen Shot 2017-01-24 at 2.36.34 PM.png
  • I checked my email and many of the ones I receive are from companies like Lululemon, Chanel, Sephora, and other clothing companies because they give decent coupons. I usually check their site and will surf a bit but I mostly just put things in my cart and use it as inspiration for my outfits because I don’t like spending money on clothing that I would only wear a few times. I always stick to the basics because you can wear them year-round and I usually only wear nudes, black, white or grey. Black is always the new black.

Tuesday:

  • My Tuesday and Thursday classes begin with me getting off the bus at the Sample Gates. Looking out the window I saw many students carrying Starbucks cups which reminded me that I NEEDED my favorite iced coffee before class. Thankfully, Starbucks is very close to Franklin Hall, so it was a quick stop before my 9:30 am.
  • Inside Starbucks I made sure to be aware of my surroundings and the advertising that was available to me while I was in line. One thing that caught my eye while I was in line was a girl’s laptop. It was apparent that she strove to define herself, or rather provide talking points, through the decoration of her Mac. One could easily assume she was in a sorority simply by the choice of stickers. Vineyard Vines, a PCB (Panama City Beach) logo, a Sigma Chi fraternity crest and an “I love sisterhood” sticker were all arranged on her top cover. Though I personally did not know her, I was a sister of Delta Zeta at Ball State University before I transferred here and I know a sorority girl when I see one.
  • I can honestly say that I was ashamed of myself when I chose to stop and get a post-workout meal at the Scholar’s Inn Bakehouse after the gym. Although I have the exact same food at my apartment, I chose to buy a fruit and granola parfait because they had a sign outside their 3rd st location that caught my attention and I immediately craved their parfait and bagel.
  • Using my college ID, I am able to purchase food, clothing, and other items from multiple businesses on campus. It is very convenient to be able to pre-load money on my account. Thinking about this luxury makes me realize just how hard it is to separate school from everyday life. The university I attend is very much a dominant factor in the city life. The city in which my school is located has very much been defined by the university. I think consumerism thrives in this city with many small business because they want to attract a variety of students and provide convenience at all costs.
  • One guy in my sports class was wearing a t-shirt that had the Abercrombie moose logo on the upper right hand corner. Having previously worked for the company for 3 years, seeing his shirt made me curious about how the company was doing and what direction their clothing line was moving towards. I then went onto their website and was honestly surprised and pleased at their selection and marketing on their website.
  • I chose to go to the grocery store (AKA the hub of all things advertising) to pick up some food that I was out of. Never have I ever gone into the grocery store and came out with exactly what I went in for. On top of purchasing what was on my list, I also bought cinnamon graham crackers and a jar of Reese’s Nutella because there was a sale on both and if you have never tried them together, be prepared to have your life changed. I’ll also mention that I bought a tub of ice cream and Cinnamon Toast Crunch because they were in the same aisle as a few of the things I went in to purchase.
  • In doing this journal, I have realized that I receive way too many emails from clothing companies (approximately 10 before 10 am) and I need to unsubscribe.

Wednesday:

  • Today was a very chill day and I didn’t do all that much. I woke up and went to the gym for about an hour and a half, then went to class. I have Spotify Premium so that I don’t have to listen to the irrelevant ads. I pay the student membership, which is a little lower than the regular base membership. The ads always were annoying to me and it is well worth the amount I pay to not have ads because of how much I use Spotify for my workouts or if I’m in the car or class.
  • I see/hear a lot of the same ads daily, mainly because I am a college student. When taking the bus to campus you see all the same billboards and you hear the same ads on the radio. They mostly consist of B-town Buys, Orange Leaf, and car ads.
  • I did not get Starbucks today (shocker!). Rather, I made my own coffee at home and took it with me to class. As far as food goes, I made all of my food from home and I did not purchase anything today.
    • Much of my food choices were based on what I had at home. I am not that picky of an eater but I like to eat as healthy as possible. I ate a grilled chicken salad for lunch. Later in the day I ate a granola and fruit parfait. All of the essential food items I purchase are always from the same brand, regardless of where I purchase them. It’s safe to say that I am a brand loyalist, mainly because I like knowing that my food will taste how I want it to when I purchase it. Sometimes if I am getting sick of a flavor I will try something new, but 9/10 I stick to the same brand because of consistency.
  • A few of my friends texted me around 10 pm asking me to go out to the bars with them because they saw on KOK and Brother’s Bar & Grill that there were a lot of decent drink deals online. I honestly like both of their Twitter accounts and their image in my mind is largely due to the fact that whoever is in charge of their accounts interacts with their followers and I respect that. I can get so much more information quicker through that platform and if I ever have a question I can ask them directly. It is so convenient and I like that they always put images of their food and drinks because it makes me want to go there more often. It is a great marketing strategy to include media into their posts. They also try to post images of their shirts for Thursday nights which is nice because if you don’t like them then you don’t have to waste $3 for cover to get an ugly shirt.
  • I spent a lot of my day doing homework and planning out my To-Do list. As I said previously, I didn’t go out much and most of my time was spent in my apartment. There wasn’t much in advertising that I saw today, other than the usual things I mentioned.

Thursday:

  • As per usual, I stopped by the Starbucks close to Franklin Hall to get a drink before my 9:30 am. Instead of getting my usual iced coffee, I chose to get a cappuccino because their promotional posters advertised a butterscotch latte and warm coffee sounded good to me. It was also applicable due to the cold weather. I usually do not get warm coffee because I like the taste of iced coffee better, and cappuccinos are way too expensive in my opinion.
  • A few of my classes showed YouTube videos and I (surprisingly) am taking 3 advertising classes this semester. Although I am a broadcast journalism major, I find advertising interesting because it is a lot more creative and I enjoy learning about how to better influence people. I also find it interesting how much work goes into the profession that little people realize.
  • I saw a few students with posters and shirts that said things regarding Feminism and women’s rights in reference to President Donald Trump. I find it ridiculous that women are spreading hate towards the President and the fact that they would rather see him fail in office rather than succeed. I also have experienced so much hate and backlash from fellow students simply because of the fact that I voted for him. Any sensible American would agree that he is not the best choice for President. I get that. I never would have chose him as a candidate if it were up to me. However with that being said, I also would never vote for Hilary Clinton. This past election has made me so much more aware of how ridiculous politicians will get to win an election. I am also grateful because it has solidified my views on politics and how I can be a better citizen. I’m thankful to be able to vote and voice my opinion. Go Democracy.
  • I bought a diet Pepsi over a diet Coke because they recently changed their formula so that there is no aspartame now. Even though I am a loyal consumer and I truthfully like Coke products more, health comes first and I am so happy that Pepsi is taking this move!16299236_10208359397846909_331342609063736259_n

Friday:

  • When I go to the school’s gym, I notice the images of students lifting weights on the big posters close to the machines, but I also realized that a lot of the posters at the SRSC gym are very diverse. For instance, in one of the posters it has a white girl, a black guy and an asian women all riding a bike during a group class. I know IU did this to be “inclusive” so that they could relate to a large group of students. This was thought out and I know they use this as advertising for their gym.
    • I usually wear the same type of outfit to the gym– leggings, a sports bra, my Nike shoes that are good for running and lifting, and a tank. When I go in the mornings (6 am-8 am) I’m not usually as focused on my outfit because mostly old people go in the mornings and there isn’t really anyone who I care to impress. When I go during “rush hour” at the gym (from 12-4), I spend more time picking out my outfit because a lot more students go during this time and I want to look a little more presentable with my workout outfit. It’s sad that I feel a lot more confident when I wear my nice clothes to the gym, but it’s true. I just hate going during “rush hour” because so many people are there and it’s hard to get in a good workout because everyone is trying to use the machines at the same time and you also get the gym-rats who think they can lift more than you and turn it into a competition. Not that I mind it that much, but it can get annoying because it distracts me from what I’m actually going in there to do because it makes me more competitive low-key and I want to show that I’m not weak and only there for the frat guys. In all honesty, I don’t care to impress anyone at the gym because I am there to sweat and get a workout in, but what time of day I go does impact what specific shirt or leggings I will wear.
  • I was listening to Famous by Kanye West while leaving the gym and it automatically put me in a Kanye mood for the day. After I went home and showered I then got changed and decided to wear an oversized sweatshirt, a ball cap, my favorite pair of Lululemon leggings, and my Adidas tubulars that remind me of Yeezys. This outfit is similar to what I wear on a regular basis but I was really feeling the Kanye vibe so I mimicked my outfit after his Season 2 line with the nude palette.
  • While I was on Twitter, I saw someone retweet a makeup palette from Morphe which is one of my favorite makeup brands for eyeshadow. I didn’t know that they had came out with a new palette in collaboration with a YouTuber that I loved named Jaclyn Hill. I was so excited and shocked that I immediately clicked on the link and went to their website to check it out. I did end up buying one of the new palettes because they sell out so quickly and I didn’t want to regret not buying it if I couldn’t get my hands on one later. Curse you online shopping and your convenience.
  • I’ve come to realize that I love drinking iced coffee because of the flavor and not because of the caffeine. A lot of times my parents say I’m too addicted to caffeine, but I have gone many days without caffeine and I do not get headaches when I don’t consume it. I love the smell and taste of coffee and in all honesty, if Starbucks came out with a decaf version of my iced coffee, I would buy it over the regular version because I love it that much. The point is, I went at 4 pm to get coffee because one of my friends told me that I needed to try the sugar-free cinnamon dolce syrup instead of my usual sugar-free vanilla because it would “change my life”, according to her. So, I did just that. $3 later I found a new favorite version of my drink.
    • I also think the fact that I consider iced coffee “my drink” is a huge realization of how excellent Starbucks has done in their branding and marketing to their customers. On their phone app you can order ahead, customize your drink of choice for future reference, and more. Their app is so convenient and you can pay through it by linking your credit card to it for easy pay. This is really dangerous for people like me who go there all the time. Convenience is NOT good when you love coffee as much as I do. I also sounded like an infomercial there for a second but whoever made their app deserves a raise.
  • On YouTube I watched roughly 5 or 6 videos and all of them had ads in the beginning of them. Many of the videos were from workout or beauty YouTubers so the commercials somewhat related to the content of the video. I saw a lot of Sephora and Nike ads. I did also see a commercial for the iPhone air pods, which in my opinion are dumb because I lose my earphones now so why would I spend $100 on a pair that I’d lose twice as often? I have the new iPhone and I have no desire to go buy the pods, regardless of their advertising.
  • I decided to not go out with friends to the bars because there weren’t any good drink deals on Twitter and I didn’t feel like spending a lot of money.

Saturday:

  • I went to the gym around 12 and didn’t end up eating anything until around 2:30 pm. I chose to go to Chipotle because I have been craving a salad, so I ordered the salad bowl with chicken. I did have to wait in line for about 15 minutes because there were so many other people there. I feel like the campus Chipotle has become a hangout-type spot. It’s almost as if people don’t go there as much for the food as they do to say, “let’s go to Chipotle” like it’s the “place to be”. I went with my friend Laura but we didn’t stay too long because of how crowded it was.
  • I saw a lot of students around campus wearing IU sweatshirts because of the cold. Logo apparel is such a huge form of advertisement for universities. There are so many stores around campus that sell IU products like clothing, drink ware, and other accessories.
  •  When I went to get gas I didn’t plan on getting a drink. The sign by the pump advertised their drinks to be 79 cents and it sounded kind of good so I got a large Diet Pepsi.
    • When I went to the checkout there were a lot of signs up that advertised cigarettes and if you buy one Reese’s egg, you get another one for $1. There were probably 3 signs of each on three of the registers. I did not buy either item but I could see it being tempting.
  • I ended up getting dinner with my boyfriend at McAllister’s. The restaurant was heavily advertising their soup and salad deal, which I ended up getting. I got a grilled chicken caesar salad with vegetable soup. The deal only ended up saving you like $1 which, in my opinion, isn’t that good. The soup was a very small portion and I was still hungry afterwards. Had I bought the items separately I would have gotten a lot more for $1 and I now know for next time.
  • My boyfriend and I watched a few basketball games on TV and a lot of the commercials were for car advertisements, Xfinity subscriptions for games, and athlete promotions. It also showed a lot of previews for the NFL and NBA.
  • As I started editing my YouTube video that I would post next week, I thought about some of the advertisers that I allow on my site. As a paid YouTuber, the more ads you allow on your site, typically the more revenue or traffic you will get. Even though I allow a broad range of advertisers to market their commercials in my videos, a lot of mine are related to makeup or fitness because that is the majority of the content I post. You have a lot of power and customization as a YouTuber. You can block or allow ads in the form of commercials at the beginning of your video, as a pop up link, or even in the sidebar for tracking viewers’ interests.
    • I have a Google Adsense account which is what helps YouTubers get paid. It is the link between the advertisers and your content. You can see the analytics of your channel and videos, as well as what traffic you are getting from anywhere in the world. It is very neat because the numbers tell a lot about your videos!
    • Having been on YouTube for around 3 years now, I am very thankful for the opportunity to be able to constantly learn more about this form of advertising because I have been able to make a revenue and impact my viewers. It has also helped that I have this blog because it has provided me with a handful of opportunities to become a partner with companies and brand representatives. YouTube is such a powerful platform and it is easy to get caught up in the money aspect of things. I never started my channel for the money. I have always had a passion for media and creating videos, so I know that it will never solely be about the money for me. Even though it may someday be a large part of how much content I create, I have promised myself that I will never “sell out” for a company and all of my content and ideas will be mine and original.
  • I didn’t notice anything new in terms of advertisements of marketing strategies that were different from routine. I am a pretty simple person and I do typically follow a daily routine. Although different things happen from day-to-day, I am very much impacted by the same things and even though they do influence me, I think that by being aware of them I am more responsive and critical of them.

 

THE VERDICT: I spend too much money on coffee at Starbucks and I need to unsubscribe from a few email lists.

 

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Broadcast Journalism student at Indiana University who's obsessed with iced-coffee and clothes.

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