“Hunger Games”: A Sociological look at Consumer Behavior

I watched the movie “Hunger Games” the other night. What an awesome movie. What I found most awesome is how today’s consumer behavior is expressed through this movie.

To me “Hunger Games” is the sequel to George Orwell’s “1984”, where” Big Brother” was watching. Now “Big Brother” is in control and reality shows have consumed the public and how they are led to perceive real life.

“Hunger Games” parallels today’s American culture in that there is a rich class and a poor class. There is not much of a middle class in this flick, although I am sure some will argue me on this point. Yet the rich control the masses — hence doesn’t that prove my point…?

The movie portrays how consumed society is with “perceived reality” or this mishmash of shows that pretend to be reality when in essence they are carefully orchestrated to portray a reality created to manipulate the thoughts and feelings of the audience.

In essence it is a bit of psychological warfare and a lot of intimidation. The masses are split into 12 different groups/demographics based on class – in essence, if my memory serves me correct, there are 13 groups, but only 12 compete in the games. Apparently the 13th is the one of the rich/privileged – the one percent.

Each group is controlled, but each has an allegiance to this group. The 2 heroes belong to the miner group, a basic blue collar group, a hard-working group struggling to survive, while others belong to more privileged classes that can afford to be trained for the games and hence have an advantage.

One team is composed of two young blacks, seemingly more on the socioeconomic level of the miners. In the movie there becomes a camaraderie between them – a mutual respect. The “upper middle class” whites seem to gang up against these perceived “lower class groups” as they portray themselves as superior or more privileged.

But are they really superior? No. The story does not make a big deal about race nor ethnicity and I think it makes the story stronger. It would be interesting to hear other people’s perspectives on this film, as just in consumer behavior, each one of us has our own perspective on things.

As a marketer and an advertising guru I see so many parallels to consumer behavior and where this country is headed. I understand Suzanne Collins was inspired by other things as she wrote this series, but I see it for what it is – sociologically deep on many levels.

Awesome flick – kudos to Ms. Collins and the cast, director and production crew.

Would love to hear thoughts on this film and on the effects of reality TV on today’s consumers…

– Geri Konstantin