Project: Consumption in a Cultural Context

Project: Consumption in a Cultural Context

Instructions:  The project for this course requires that you analyze and describe the consumption behaviors and sources of influence associated with some widely recognized cultural occurrence. The cultural occurrence is Christmas.

The context must be one that is not simply an individual expression of self, but rather a consumption opportunity driven by individual, group, and cultural influences. Your primary task is to analyze the consumer behavior associated with Christmas. Your analysis should be supported by examples and descriptions of the behaviors identified.


  • Begin by describing the cultural context that will serve as the focus of your paper. What is the historical relevance of tChristmas? How did the current culturally accepted forms of consumption behavior become established over time? For example, the sending of cards at Christmas time evolved from the practice of giving small, inexpensive favors to wish distant family, friends, and acquaintances well over the holidays. Over time, this custom gave way (largely due to marketing influences from greeting card companies) to the more widespread use of holiday cards to acknowledge both business and personal relationships.


  • Describe the potential for consumption-related decision making given the cultural context in question. Provide examples of the purchases that might be involved for consumers participating in this context. For example, a high school prom provides the opportunity for the consumption of apparel, cosmetics, jewelry, personal care services, limousine services, and meals.


  • What is the meaning of consumption as it relates to the cultural context you’ve chosen? To answer this question, apply the consumption typology described in your text.


  • Are marketers manipulating consumer behavior relative to the context in question? Why or why not? Provide examples to support your position. For instance, some say that Christmas is too commercialized with Christian children unlikely to acknowledge the religious underpinnings of the holiday due to their obsession with gifts. One way to provide support for this position is to compare the number of gift-related messages to the number of messages related to the larger meaning of the holiday.


  • How were consumers socialized to the cultural expectations surrounding the context? In other words, how did consumers learn what behaviors (purchase behaviors and others) were expected of them?


  • Develop an associative network for the context.


  • Are consumers responding to needs or wants when they make consumption decisions related to the cultural context in question? Explain. What motivational conflicts do consumers wrestle with relative to this context?


  • Maslow’s hierarchy of needs emphasizes that only an unsatisfied need motivates. Likewise, many decisions can be motivated by the different need levels, depending on the person. For example, one consumer may choose to shop at Whole Foods because of the esteem associated with shopping at an upscale market, while another may shop at Whole Foods because of her need for the safety of organic foods. Assess the levels of Maslow’s hierarchy that may be motivating consumption behaviors related to this cultural context.


  • Identify the instrumental and terminal values expressed through consumer behavior surrounding the context. For example, young women may use consumption of products for a prom as a way of feeling pretty and popular (instrumental values), but ultimately seek happiness (terminal value).


  • Assess the situational aspects affecting consumer behavior in this cultural context. Include analysis of the antecedent states and purchase environment (you do not need to evaluate the postpurchase processes for this project).


  • Describe the reference groups that may be affecting consumers relative to this cultural context and provide examples. Is the influence from reference groups informative, utilitarian, or value-expressive? Explain. Does social comparison theory play a role in consumer behavior? Explain.


  • Apply the family life-cycle model to the cultural context. How do consumption behaviors vary according to stage? Provide examples to support your assessment.


  • How might various subcultural components affect individual consumer behavior? Include a discussion of age, income, social class, money personalities, and consumer confidence.


  • What are the status symbols associated with this cultural context? Explain and provide examples.


  • What myths and rituals (including gift giving) are associated with this cultural context? Provide examples.


  • Conclude your paper with an assessment of the sources of influence on consumer behavior for this specific context. Do you expect to see changes in the future? Why or why not? How has your view of the cultural context changed as a result of your analysis?



  • Minimum of 16 full pages, not counting title and reference pages
  • 10 slides PPT is required.
  • Research-oriented paper in current APA format
  • At least 12 sources


Note: Your assignment will be checked for originality via the Turnitin plagiarism tool.