Media X: Top Down
Just stop trying.
Seriously, why spend a small fortune trying to talk to probably hundreds of millions of people when every one of them is or soon will be broke? It makes no sense to market to the middle class. There isn't a middle class anymore. There are only different degrees of rich people and various versions of poor people.
Our credit cards are being revoked, even though we're never late with a payment. Some soul-sucking nonhuman at Chase decided we're not a good risk. We get 10% off groceries at Albertson's, but the prices were 20% too high to begin with. Dentists still need to finance their Mercedes, so even with insurance, Delta Dental will force us to pay $1,200 we don't have for a root canal, which still hurts, by the way.
And we can defer our car payments for a couple months if we lose our job-but only if we buy a new car first, which we can't because, as you may have heard, we're fucking broke.
What used to be the middle class is living in their SUVs. Behind the mall, parents fight to the death for Macaroni Grill leftovers in garbage cans, while their kids are mugging dentists in Mercedes for enough cash to score a $6 burger they saw that bikini-clad skank from "The Hills" eating in a Carl's Jr. spot. That is, until they had to sell the plasma TV so Mom and Dad could buy bus tickets to go downtown to the unemployment office.
Of course, you have to identify us to ignore us, but that shouldn't be too difficult. Send us all one of those email surveys you're so fond of cluttering up our inboxes with and ask us, "Is your ass broke?" If we click "Yes," tell us, "Thank you for your time. Here's a $10 gift certificate to JustGoDie.com. Have a nice day."
For those who toil in media planning, research and activation, the elimination of so many non-buying eyeballs will create enormous cost savings. I mean, really, how many rich-people communications channels can there be?
No more need to spend huge amounts on network TV because nobody will have a TV anymore. (But NBC, ever the innovator, will buy truckloads of those little puke-colored basic computers given to starving kids in Africa, program them to run nothing but "Tonight Show" reruns on Hulu, and distribute them to starving suburbanites in America instead.)
Online campaigns can be limited to stock sites and swankpets.com. Agencies can fire all those social-network gurus because who cares what some pauper says about your brand on Twitter?
Every buyer will be a genius. Every suit will be a superstar. And all that yammering about accountability will disappear. A win-win for everyone except a couple hundred million former consumers nobody cares about anyway.
Just don't go out on the streets after dark. We erstwhile members of the middle class are lurking in the shadows with nothing to lose and Wii wands sharpened to a killing point.