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.

 

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