Media X: Slouching Toward The Multiculture

How does it feel to be toast? Well, you don't know yet, do you, because the only thing America manufactures competently these days is denial.

It seems clear to anyone with half a brain -- that would be, roughly, everyone in the world but us -- that history has finally arrived, and the American empire is over. This will happen regardless of which of the two freak shows that pass for political campaigns in this election prevails in November.

This is the perplexing and unforgiving national and societal environment into which your marketing strategies, your media plans, your ad campaigns and your content plays will be thrust in the next few decades. And we already know how you'll respond -- the same way bread responds when you put it in the toaster and turn the dial all the way up to "burnt."

Oh, sure, you'll warn about the perils of a changing marketplace. And you'll fret about how to reach unreachable younger consumers who live in an impenetrable subculture characterized by selfishness and entitlement and who speak in a bizarre, nearly incomprehensible English/Chinese/Russian/textish dialect.



Your solutions? Ad executions that heavy up on fart jokes, leering and sadism. For the discerning older consumers in the audience, you'll throw in simplistic stereotypes, off-target use of old rock song and jingoism. Media plans that rely on whichever options are the safest, not the smartest. There will be tiny investments in experimental ideas you don't really believe in and won't ever amount to much -- crowdsourcing, anyone? -- that allow you to proclaim yourselves ahead of the curve.

As for the creators and distributors who will fall increasingly under your misguided control, they will offer a slack-jawed nation content that, no matter what platform it's distributed on, will be filled to its bloodshot eyeballs with gratuitous sex, sadistic violence, shameless unoriginality and jingoism.

And if I wasn't so busy sneering and feeling superior, I would cry like a baby in frustration, because you will be missing the mother of all marketing opportunities.

Every ending is the beginning of something else. And as our star turn on the global stage fades to black, we are witnessing the birth of a phenomenon that will make all the momentous changes that preceded it pale in comparison. Digital technology -- a means we constantly confuse with an end -- is powering our evolution into a planetary culture. A multiculture.

There's your tomorrow, folks.

We constantly misread this phenomenon. We call it "multiculturalism," which makes it sound like a trend. It's not. It's the first, faint stirrings of a permanent transformation. We have this foolish notion that it's just the kids or young adults who can't see color, who dismiss nationality, who are united by lifestyle and media usage rather than ethnicity, creed, religion, etc. They're not. They're canaries in a global cultural coal mine. No political party can prevent the rise of the multiculture. No nation can own it. No generation can dominate it. And for sure, no jihad can stop it.

Eventually there will be only one market: Earth. Only one target: humans.

And only two kinds of marketers: Winners. And toast.

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