Thursday, February 7, 2013

Comforting Tradition

There are certain comforts in consistency.  Traditions are what keep us centered in a constantly changing world.  According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics the average person holds 11 jobs in their lifetime – which extrapolates out to just under 5 years per job.  The lack of stability in the job market from the prior generation is part of the underlying economic shift that has happened in the last 25 years.  It’s also one of the reasons why when Hostess put itself up for sale there was an outcry that a favorite comfort food was potentially disappearing.  Television is without question one of American’s outlet for comfort viewing.

The top rated shows year by year parallel society’s evolution.  In 1953 “I Love Lucy” was the number one (non-sports) show while this week it’s “The Big Bang Theory.”  Both comedies speak to the audience of their time.  For television to be successful it can’t pull people too far out of what they’re comfortable with.  They’ll just change the channel, or less likely turn it off.

Mood Media has ended Muzak.  The company that is best known for providing lilting instrumentalist music in elevators and stores isn’t actually going out of business, but after a variety of mergers and acquisitions over the past decade, its current owner is retiring the brand name under its own banner.  Changing a brand is a particularly challenging task – keeping the consumer who has used the product while redefining it for other consumers.
Politicians are experts at brand redefinition.  Why else would the 2012 election have resulted in a nearly 90% reelection rate while the approval rate for Congress is nearly the opposite, at 10%?  The easy answer is money – more than $7 billion spent in all races this cycle.  That translates into $22.58 spent on every man, woman and child in the USA.  Given that at least half of those dollars were intended to sway people to vote for the other person – perhaps the message is that money doesn’t have the impact conventional thinkers believe it does.

Advertisers spent over $4 million for a 30-second spot for last week’s Super Bowl, providing approx.. $300 million in revenue to CBS over the 4 hour broadcast in order to efficiently reach 111 million viewers at one shot.  If advertising didn’t work companies wouldn’t spend that money.  It’s become a tradition in itself, the ad competition.  And there’s some comfort in that, isn’t there?

1 comment:

  1. Times certainly are changing! But is it a sign of the times, or is just part of human nature for things to change and progress?