In 1954, American industrial designer Brooks Stevens titled his speech to a group of Minneapolis advertisers “Planned Obsolescence”. By his definition, this meant “instilling in the buyer the desire to own something a little newer, a little better, a little sooner than is necessary.” Within ten years, this term would become popularized and taken pejoratively to be identified with products that were poorly designed to break easily or go quickly out of style. Advertising was quick to take up Stevens’ torch and run with it, so much so that a popular 1960s Volkswagen ad campaign mocked the term, touting their Beetle cars’ unchanging design as evidence of their resistance to the whims of trending.


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