Promise, large promise, is the soul of an advertisement. —Samuel Johnson
This post on the blogs for Ad Age confirm what we’ve been feeling all along: The middleclass is prit-near extinct. And who’s concerned? Why, advertisers, of course. Who will they market goods to?
The wake of the global economic recession has shown a spotlight on the yawning divide between the richest Americans and everyone else — inflation-adjusted incomes of most American workers have remained more or less static since the 1970s, the income of the rich (and the very rich) has grown exponentially. The top 1% alone control nearly 40% of the wealth.
And while the social and political effects of this inequality may be cause for concern, the accrual of wealth among the very few is of great consequence for marketers, since 10% of U.S. households “account for almost half of the consumer spending” and represent about one-third of total GDP, according to the American Affluence Research Council.
Was a time in the youth of these seniors that a man could work a job, his wife staying at home raising kids, and the family could still afford a home, a few luxuries, and a decent standard of living. Flash forward, and a man and wife (or a like configuration) both working full time don’t make as much money in real dollars as that dad.
Wonkette took the Ad Age piece to its logical conclusion in a piece entitled “As American Middle Class Vanishes, Advertisers Focus Only On Richest 10%”:
Most Americans will soon be free of endless advertising and marketing campaigns, because the advertising industry has decided the only money to be made is in marketing things to the last people with money, the richest 10%. The “minus,” in this case, is that only the richest 10% have any money to spend on crap anymore, so that probably means you’re among the 90% now without money and also without any aspirations of ever making money.
Author Ken Layne quotes a Too Much article to conclude: “Simply put,” sums up Ad Age’s David Hirschman, “a small plutocracy of wealthy elites drives a larger and larger share of total consumer spending and has outsize purchasing influence — particularly in categories such as technology, financial services, travel, automotive, apparel, and personal care.” One wag in the comments section suggested that the affluent might better look into armored vehicles.
The Down with Tyranny! blog checked in with “How Much Damage Will The GOP’s Political Mad Men Cause American Families Before They Strike Back?” and the usual literate barbs:
Paul Ryan never held an honest job in his life. Living on his dead father’s Social Security benefits — something he would deny people in his position today — he managed to get through college, where he was a frat rat at Miami University (Ohio). Before being inspired by Ayn Rand and figuring out how to exist at the public trough, he worked as a “marketing consultant” for his family’s construction business, the only claim he can make of ever having had an actual job. If you watch Mad Men you probably know a little something about the way marketing consultants’ minds work. He isn’t the only Republican Member of Congress from that dubious, manipulative field of endeavor.
It can be dangerous for political elites to make the same assumptions about humans as marketers and ad men do. Ryan and his GOP cronies assumed that struggling middle class pensioners would buy his plan to ax Medicare and Medicaid if it just happened to future generations and not to them. That may make no sense to readers of this blog but it’s certainly how a fan of Ayn Rand — or any Republican — would think. It appears to have shocked Ryan and Boehner when it blew up in their faces.
Ad Age, the advertising industry’s top trade journal, just declared that the age of mass affluence is over and that only the rich matter now. The race is on — inside corporate boardrooms, on Madison Avenue and Inside the Beltway — to drag the country back to one of its most horrific and anti-democratic periods, the “roaring” twenties….
So what’s keeping middle class Americans who are being turned into losers by corporate-owned politicians — basically the entire GOP and a hefty chunk of the Democratic Party — from reacting with due fury? Ironically, the tea party movement — though manipulated and channeled by the same plutocratic powers that are the authors of their misery — is, at its heart, just that. But, despite the tricornered hats, it’s not exactly a revolutionary movement, but more a reactionary diversion.
Last week Peter Wilby asked in the Guardian why the vanishing middle class isn’t more angry. His conclusion: Anxiety keeps the super-rich safe from middle-class rage.
The conclusion is anything but heartening:
Here in the U.S. it looks like the GOP has overreached — both in terms of Paul Ryan’s ghastly and overwhelmingly unpopular budget plan and at the state level, where fascist-oriented governors in Ohio, Wisconsin, Michigan, New Jersey and Florida are destroying their own parties. If the GOP is counting on Democratic Party timidity, incompetence and conflicted allegiance to the same corporate powers that rule their own roost . . . well, it’s probably a very good bet. Watch Steny Hoyer and Joe Biden, two career-long, fully dedicated corporate whores, give away the Democratic advantage over the next week.