OU on the BBC: The Men Who Made Us Spend

Updated Friday 27th June 2014

The series that lays bare the secrets of why we buy what we buy.

Jacques Peretti with Darth Vader at the Obi Wan Ranch, California Copyrighted image Icon Copyright: Fresh One Productions

About the series

This three-part series lays bare the secrets of why we buy what we buy. Jacques Peretti investigates what keeps us hooked on spending, and confronts some of the men behind bestselling products and sales strategies that get inside our head.

Episode one

Jacques uncovers the importance of product lifespan – revealing how some products are still made to break, how fashion and aspiration are used by companies like IKEA and Apple to keep us constantly ‘upgrading’ – and how even brand new goods get sent for recycling.

Episode two

Jacques reveals how fear has a powerful hold over our behaviours – and how this has been exploited by those with products to sell. He meets the men who sold us cigarettes, cars, soap, and even water off the back of our anxieties – and our desire to have those anxieties banished. In Las Vegas, he meets the men promising to sooth our deepest-seated fear of all, of ageing and death.

Episode three

Jacques reveals how the lessons learned from selling to children were used to make childlike consumers of us all. From the rise of product-driven kids’ TV in the 80s, to the man who designed cars that appealed to children, and the contemporary creators of games that hook adults, Jacques asks how spending turned into a game – one that we can’t stop playing.

 

For further information, take a look at our frequently asked questions which may give you the support you need.

Have a question?

Other content you may like

Paul O'Grady's Working Britain: Order your free copy of 'A journal of working class life' Creative commons image Icon The Open University under Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 4.0 license article icon

TV, Radio & Events 

Paul O'Grady's Working Britain: Order your free copy of 'A journal of working class life'

Order a free booklet exploring different aspects of working class life in Britain through the years.

Article
Child of Our Time: Try our surveys Copyrighted image Icon Copyright: BBC activity icon

Education & Development 

Child of Our Time: Try our surveys

How does your sense of self compare with other people? How good are you at performing complex tasks? How do you and your children cope with stress? Try our surveys to find out

Activity
Nobody's Normal - Programme 2: Education, education, education Copyrighted image Icon Copyright: BBC article icon

TV, Radio & Events 

Nobody's Normal - Programme 2: Education, education, education

The second programme in the BBC/OU's series Nobody's Normal looks at how the system tries to meet special educational needs.

Article
My Shakespeare: Joseph Fiennes on Romeo & Juliet Copyrighted image Icon Copyright: Sky / Blakeway Productions article icon

TV, Radio & Events 

My Shakespeare: Joseph Fiennes on Romeo & Juliet

Joseph Fiennes shares his own unique perspective on Romeo & Juliet as well as his role playing Shakespeare “playing”  Romeo in the film Shakespeare in Love.

Article
OU on the BBC: Pain, Pus and Poison: The Search For Modern Medicines article icon

History & The Arts 

OU on the BBC: Pain, Pus and Poison: The Search For Modern Medicines

Pain, Pus and Poison tells the extraordinary story of how mankind learnt to look at the world around him and use it to heal his body

Article
Open Advice on... motivation Copyrighted image Icon Copyright: OU audio icon

TV, Radio & Events 

Open Advice on... motivation

Hew has several years of study to go before he achieves his Bachelor of Science degree. His determination to succeed is one way he keeps his motivation going

Audio
5 mins
article icon

TV, Radio & Events 

OU on the BBC: Ever Wondered...? - The Med Diet

Keith Floyd investigates the Med diet - is it really so healthy?

Article
OU on the BBC: Andrew Marr's History of the World - Revolution Copyrighted image Icon Copyright: BBC article icon

TV, Radio & Events 

OU on the BBC: Andrew Marr's History of the World - Revolution

People across the world rising up in the name of freedom and equality: Andrew explores revolutions in human history.

Article
OU on the BBC: Light and Dark – Light Copyrighted image Icon Copyright: BBC article icon

TV, Radio & Events 

OU on the BBC: Light and Dark – Light

Professor Jim Al-Khalili tells the story of how we used light to reveal the cosmos.

Article