In society, there is a clear bias against those who purchase mainstream commodities. Seen as basic and in poor taste, it is no question that if possible, consumers opt to buy luxury and high quality products not only to fit in with their social classes standards, but to also prove that they have good taste. Currently, taste can be seen as almost a currency one needs for social credibility. With high education, high income, and high exposure to culture comes a correlated high level of taste by the views of outsiders (Leiss). Naturally, with high taste come luxury items that are rare, of high quality, and reaffirm the different social circles and statuses that we live in. That is, taste doesn’t just classify an object, but rather, it “classifies the classifier” (Bourdieu).

Based on one’s taste, a person will possess a “cultural capital” which essentially is one’s body of taste and the rewards that come with it (Leiss). Given society’s norm of conspicuous consumption, it is therefore no shock that many strive to have “high cultural capital”. With high cultural capital, one has invested time and money to acquire esteemed products. Wealth, education, leisure, and the cultural elite are all associated with high cultural capital – all elements that society has come to value.  Thus, advertisers target such a segment, as these are the people seen as tastemakers and people who care about buying the next best thing.

As a result, advertising presents high cultural capital as something to strive for. In many fashion and high-culture magazines it is difficult to not find an aesthetically high-production advertisement selling a unique, individualistic, and luxury lifestyle to these consumers. Thus, those who do not have the means to living a high cultural capital lifestyle are often excluded and seen as inferior. Because objects and commodities tell a story about the people who consume them, those with low cultural capital feel as though they must hide their consumption patterns since it shows a mainstream, cheap, and very accessible lifestyle, while those with high cultural capital often “enjoy talking about goods and displaying their connoisseurship” (Leiss).

Yet, in a new commercial by Sears, the insecurities of low cultural capital are displayed and overcome blurring the reality of what good taste actually is.

As seen in this commercial a woman is asked where she bought her outfit, and the audience can tell that she is very shy and almost embarrassed to reveal that she got her outfit from, god forbid, Sears. Yet, as more and more people continue to ask her about her outfit, she becomes increasingly confident and excited about her mainstream purchase and thus her low cultural capital, telling anyone and everyone that is around. This is not the consumer norm for cultural capital. Typically, such behavior would be seen with luxury items; it is not everyday that Target or Sears is bragged about. This may be the first time that a commercial has called out the large bias we have towards high cultural capital and expressed the ridiculous insecurities many feel when buying from an average and conventional store tried.

Advertisements