What’s the solution for America’s economic crisis? There’s always “integration.”
October 8, 2008
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.