Speaking of anthropomorphic packaging mascots (as we so often do), I’ve been thinking lately about recent attempts to anthropomorphize corporations. Consider the message contained in this commercial from the corporation known as SAP.
Mitt Romney’s 2011 assertion that “corporations are people” inadvertently highlighted a simmering political debate about the growing influence of corporate cash in national elections.
“Corporate personhood” has been an arcane legal concept for over a century, but the recent intentional anthropomorphizing of corporations is more of a general marketing effort.
The anthropomorphic corporation is more relatable than the hive-like legal entity that we might otherwise have envisioned. Never mind that a corporation is a hierarchy of managers and workers whose personal circumstances are varied and disparate. Let’s imagine instead (as SAP HANA suggests) that a corporation is a singular “living” thing with a mind, a subconscious, a spirit and a soul.
Corporations gained personhood through aggressive court maneuvers culminating in an 1886 Supreme Court case called Santa Clara County v. Southern Pacific.
How corporations became ‘persons’, UU World, 2003
(A bit more about the anthropomorphic corporation, after the fold…) [Read more…]