Consumerism and merchandising build upon the collective ideals of childhood, nostalgia, and self-identity. Theme parks, children’s cereal boxes, cartoons, and popular trading cards all encourage consumption and serve as examples of the materialization of fictional worlds.
Walt Disney had a clear vision for the theme park he opened in Anaheim, California in 1955: adults and children would enjoy leisure time together. Selective advertising to children, particularly on Saturday mornings, inspired the creation of iconic characters who transcend a simple cereal box into the common culture. Once a form of personal expression, lunch boxes and trading cards are now a collectible part of commercialism.
Retail and service industries promote personal expression and rekindling of fond memories. Merchandising uses characters from popular culture to persuade purchases as both a social and personal activity with strong ties to individual identities.