What’s the solution for America’s economic crisis? There’s always “integration.”

October 8, 2008

Integrate or die, America!

What to say about advertising when our free market system is in turmoil? Should we make others buy things when maybe they shouldn’t? Or is a national bout of consumerism just what this wretched economy needs? I don’t know. Moot points if your checking account is frozen like those belonging to my mother and grandmother.

Listening to the candidates during this evening’s Presidential debate, I don’t think either of them knew what to do. Not really. How could they? For months these two men have been practicing talking points. Coming up with phantom foes like the “media elite.” Mythical good guys like “Joe Six Pack” and “Hockey Mom.” They wrestle over the word “change,” pulling it apart like gristle. Don’t they realize every candidate has always talked about change, unless he was an incumbent? Sigh. In the end, they’re not bankers. And besides, even the bankers are at a loss.

We all are.

And what of our industry’s leaders? Do you think Martin Sorrel or Maurice Levy knows what to do –even within his own company? A few weeks ago it appeared the advertising holding companies were doing better. According to my financial adviser, advertising positions will never be the anchor of a good portfolio. But still, these stocks were trending upwards. Will these gains be defeated? No question.

Instead of answers, we get platitudes about “change.” The candidates for President act as if Washington were an Etch-A-Sketch. They’ll just shake it up and start over. Their squiggly lines won’t stink as much as the predecessors did.

In our business, we have our own fettered word for change: integration. When our clients became increasingly doubtful and scared (of us), we coined it.

Fear and ignorance breed limited vocabularies. In politics, we are given familiar sounding concepts (change and hope) and/or romantic fairy tales (heroes and evil doers). The last question posed to each candidate in the debate was “What don’t you know?” Of course neither of them answered it. Here’s what I would have liked to hear: “I’m going to seek counsel from the brightest people and then I’m going to try and do the next right thing.”

If and when my clients ask me for advise during these turbulent times, I hope I have the temerity to answer accordingly.


6 Responses to “What’s the solution for America’s economic crisis? There’s always “integration.””

  1. As for advertising in a down economy, I believe we can play a role in helping people to dream more advantageous dreams for themselves and our society. We do have the power to partner with progressive clients interested in positive change.

    As far as a political campaign of platitudes, I hear you, but I do believe one candidate has substance to back up his message of change. (www.barackobama.com/issues) for a taste.

    Furthermore, many voices from both sides of the political spectrum have praised his eagerness to surround himself with smart people. This is a candidate that seems to choose collaborators based on talent and experience, not obsequiousness or ideological purity.

    I’m not in any way a pollyanna-ish Obama supporter. I’m utterly dismayed at some things he supports/has supported, and I do not believe he represents that huge of a shift in the status quo. But I do believe he does seek positive change, and can back it up with solid thinking.

  2. Voice of Reason said

    These two candidates are becoming less interesting as the economy tanks. One is a sports car. The other a Jeep. Neither is appropriate.

  3. Andy Webb said

    Great post.

    Two things are for sure: The way out of our present state, in political terms, is not to tax the hell out of people and increase government spending. If the eventual winner does embark on such a course, let the next Boston Tea Party begin. With the mood of the country as it is, I think folks would be ready for it.

  4. peanut gallery said

    I for one have little to no faith in either of these clowns to create anything remotely resembling change. Big business still rules the nest, and probably always will. Love live capitalism!

    Besides, the president is merely a figurehead, a puppet who travels to distant countries, pardons a turkey every Thanksgiving and inhabits one of the nicest pads in the D.C. area.

    Personally, I’d feel better with Trump running the country for a four years.

  5. SRP said

    Heard this on CNN:
    Q) What’s the best positions on in the pit today?
    A) Cash and Fetal.

  6. Bernasri said

    Things are outta hand, for sure. But the guy who suggested Trump would make a better president than the two candidates is crazy. I’d rather have George Parker as our leader than that goon.

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