Wednesday, August 20, 2008
Marketing the future
Marketing is so much fun. How we talk and think about what we talk and think about actually eliminates some of our choices. Which is somewhat of a good thing, since there are really too many choices each day. We need a shorthand. We need to shortcut sometimes.
Marketing preys on this need.
We've finally entered the peak-oil part of the supply curve, and as feeding our oil habit gets more expensive, we can all agree we want relief. The folks who got us into this problem, who reacted to the first oil shock in the 70s by very effectively killing research and implementation of alternative energies, are still around.
Their solution? Drill more.
Look how effective the first ad is. "Find It. Drill It." You can almost hear your stern Father commanding your obedience ("Tell Congress"), and the implicit promise that if you live according to his rules, everything will be okay. Isn't that what we want from Dad? A firm hand and the surety that he's paying the bills? I want me some of that stability!
Look how effective the other ad is. "Free Us." Gentle colors, nurturing spokesperson, you can almost feel yourself sitting comfortably in the kitchen, your gentle parents encouraging you to make your own choice... while letting you know the best choice not only solves the immediate problem of energy scarcity but also creates new opportunities, many of them for someone other than you, in terms of green jobs.
I wonder what would happen if the two sides switched the focus of their marketing? People who voted for Bush, who think Cheney is a statesman, looking at a touchy-feely ad to increase drilling? Or on the other hand, crunchy hippies looking at an ad full of command and control telling them what to do?
Oh, by the way, the first ad is from a front organization for Petroleum Partners. So you know they are after just more of the same: drill, pollute, and concentrate the money in the hands of a few people. The second is an organization working within the policy framework of Al "We can shop our way out of this problem" Gore. As the ideas of green jobs and sustainability work their way into that population, we might come up to some real solutions.
That's my hope, in any case. We really need to level out the income structure in this country. Creating jobs is something I am sure everyone can agree on. Perhaps that's the ad that I really want to see: something in the "strict father" vein that clearly communicates the employment opportunities within the sustainability movement.