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Buy-ology: The Science of Buying and Selling Series

A 2-part series scrutinizing why people buy and how sellers manipulate their desires.


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Americans, as a whole, live in a constant state of acquiring and discarding, collectively spending billions of dollars and innumerable hours on shopping every day of the week. This intriguing two-part series draws on experimental data, anecdotal case studies, and interviews with a wide range of experts to scrutinize why people buy—and how sellers manipulate their desires.

This series includes two videos:
1. How They Sell
2. Why We Buy

Video 1

Video 1: Why We Buy (51 min.)
This program places consumers under a microscope to quantify the psychological spectrum of buying, from everyday habits that typically steer Americans through their supermarkets and malls to a clinical disorder in which the high of making a purchase becomes the goal of shopping.

James Twitchell, author of ADCULT USA; psychologist David Lewis, author of The Soul of the New Consumer; Brian Wansink, director of the Food and Brand Lab, established at the University of Illinois and later moved to Cornell University; brand strategist Robin Lauffer; and others focus on a variety of topics, including the biochemistry of shopping, the intersection of branding and lifestyle, consumerism as a way of life, and compulsive shopping disorder.

Video 2

Video 2: How They Sell (51 min.)
Shopping, once simply a basic task, now vies with television as America’s most popular leisure activity. How are retailers cashing in on all that discretionary spending? From the Turkish bazaar to the Mall of America, this program reveals the strategies being used to ensure that wallets and purses remain open for business. Retail anthropologist Paco Underhill, shopping center architect Eric Kuhne, retail analyst Claire Williams,’s Jeff Bezos, and Geoff Burch, "the world’s most persuasive man," share their insights into the importance of advertising, store design, product placement, and buyer behavior analysis—all underlying aggressive new approaches that have redefined consumers as targets.  


Grade: 9-12

Buy-ology: The Science of Buying and Selling 2-Part Video Series (DVD)
© 2001
Time: 102 Minutes

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