Busted!

race-bottom The New York Times frequently provides the valuable service of unintentionally tipping the hand of conventional (overclass) ideologies. Applying simple reason to the NYT‘s usual reportorial contortions, it is often possible to find important admissions of core brainwashing stratagems.

And so it is today regarding the core American political insistence that this is a “middle-class” society. Turns out that the experts in charge of managing this untruth are pretty keenly aware of their own bullshit:

“It used to be ‘middle class’ represented everyone, actually or in their aspirations, but now it doesn’t feel as attainable,” said David Madland, managing director of economic policy at the Center for American Progress, a liberal think tank with close ties to the Clinton campaign. [emphasis added]

The entirely logical reality is that, in the Times‘ phrasing, “[e]ven if families fall in the middle in income distribution, they cannot afford many of the necessities, much less the luxuries, traditionally associated with being middle class.”

The balance of the story reports on how politicians are now scrambling to coin new ways of refusing to talk realistically about social class while suggesting they actually care about the class fates of ordinary citizens.

But it is official: “Middle class” has always been a diversionary tactic, a way of using aspirations to prevent the truth from surfacing.

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Historical Necessity

fascism-capitalism In the TCT book, we observed that big business marketing follows the most solid of iron laws. Due to the systemic pressures of corporate capitalism, the scale and detail of overclass management of personal, off-the-job life (a.k.a. big business marketing) must always grow.

If ever a thesis has been copiously and easily proved, this is it. To wit, the report of the Marketing2020 panel, overseers of “by far the most global and comprehensive CMO research program ever conducted.” According to this panel of experts, here is where current trends will soon take us:

Total experience.

Companies are increasingly enhancing the value of their products by creating customer experiences. Some deepen the customer relationship by leveraging what they know about a given customer to personalize offerings. Others focus on the breadth of the relationship by adding touchpoints. Our research shows that high-performing brands do both—providing what we call “total experience.” In fact, we believe that the most important marketing metric will soon change from “share of wallet” or “share of voice” to “share of experience.”

State-based totalitarians could never dream of getting this far. People wouldn’t tolerate it. But “the market” provides the ultimate cover for the oldest and deepest ill of “civilization,” doesn’t it?

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Permanent War Reaches the Mall

mall image As the United States continues to cater to its enemy’s cardinal war aim — perpetual war between reactionary Islam and existing imperial powers, that enemy seems to be winning not only on that ultimate front, but is now also apparently learning to take its fight to the imperial powers’ vital organs. Hence, the reactionary Islamists’ recent announcement of their intent to attack shopping malls.

As the insane half of the U.S. population clamors to speed up the self-defeat and sanctify the war criminals and war criminal abettors (e.g. Bradley Cooper) involved in Clint Eastwood’s Triumph of the Will American Sniper, the mall owners have this to say:

“There won’t be any mad dash or scramble to improve security because security is constantly evolving and improving,” Jesse Tron, spokesman for the International Council of Shopping Centers, told USA TODAY on Monday. “Security officials are not reactionary because they have been doing this all along.”

Translation: “We won’t be spending any more money on security.”

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How Irrelevance Serves Monopoly

In the United States, our overclass has used its ownership of politics to prevent serious regulation of communications infrastructure, to say nothing of public ownership. As a natural result, we get the highest prices and worst services in the supposedly developed world.

Of course, a small part of the gargantuan cash geysers the overclass reaps from such a sweetheart set-up is used in marketing the overpriced, inferior products underlying its profit ranches.

Having no rational product differences or genuine technological breakthroughs to describe, such marketing is always mere empty manipulation.

Consider this perhaps familiar example:

How, one might wonder, could such unfunny and ham-handed irrelevancies be profitable to AT&T? What’s the business rationale? Is AT&T stoned?

Turns out, as always, not in the least.

Per an Ad Age story titled “How Big Data Shapes AT&T’s Advertising Creative,” there’s rather rigorous method to the apparent superfluity:

It’s Not Complicated” may have been its name, but the insights that drove one of AT&T’s most successful ad campaigns ever were based on a massive three-year big-data project that was plenty complex.

The campaign featuring comedian Beck Bennett and little kids in a classroom was the product of a three-year project. It involved an analysis of 40 copy-test variables and tagging 370 AT&T and competitive wireless communications ads on everything from the type of humor used and how characters interact to type of storyline.

The BBDO-created campaign that resulted from the analysis generated an additional $50 million in sales in AT&T’s estimation, said Greg Pharo, director-market research and analysis for the telecom in a presentation at the Advertising Research Foundation’s Re:Think 2014 conference in New York today.

Here’s how that happens, per Ad Age‘s report:

Mr. Pharo and AT&T Senior Data Scientist Damon Samuel, who made the switch from working on the telecom company’s marketing-mix analytics team to working on the project, delved into sometimes surprising details about what works and what doesn’t in their ads and those of rivals. Among the lessons:

-Ads with storylines are very effective

-Informative demonstrations boost ad performance

-Simple outperforms complicated

-Slice-of-life and transactional or promotional ads can both work

-Humor is effective at driving recall, brand favorability and likeability, but not all types of humor are equal

-Character interaction matters a lot

Of course, some of those lessons have guided TV advertising since Mrs. Olsen was pouring coffee for Procter & Gamble Co. and Folgers in the 1960s. But AT&T’s analysis has helped delve deeper into exactly how elements work, particularly humor.

The team, along with its market-research shop Added Value, painstakingly code commercials for such things as the type of humor. And they found, according to Mr. Pharo, that ads featuring humor deemed clever, sarcastic or snarky tend to outperform ads with silly humor (though Mr. Samuel noted that ads with darkly sarcastic humor tend to underperform).

While ads with storylines do better generally, those with complex storylines, too many scenes or vignettes and complicated visual montages “underperformed very significantly,” Mr. Samuel said. “Thirty seconds is just not enough time to share all the story elements and come to a resolution.”

Particularly effective are ads with informative presentations when a character explains the benefits and presentation of a product, Mr. Pharo said.

While people demonstrating product benefits works, just showing phones and benefits, or what Mr. Samuel termed “phone porn,” doesn’t. At best, such primitive product demos drive a shift in the mix of handset types sold without increasing total sales.

The rewards for AT&T are substantial, Mr. Pharo said, with the project showing that 25% of AT&T’s total sales are driven by media advertising and 10% from TV alone. Creative quality and tonality rather than media weight or placement account for a third of TV ads’ impact.

Such are the building blocks of our market-totalitarian culture.

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