The mangled legacy our inept leaders have left us is that every market is going to hell and every category is crumbling before the horrified eyes of agency executives and clients who thought les bons temps would rouler to infinity, goosed by digital technology and enabled by bureaucrats whose idea of regulation is giving AIG only enough money to party in a luxury resort in Phoenix instead of Hawaii.
Well, we can all stand down now. Apparently, the days of acting like we're the government in Starship Troopers and the rest of the world are the bugs did not produce a golden age of industry.
But don't cry for the corporate world. Like succubi, they'll find willing victims anew. Advertisers stalk their prey, seduce it, feast on its purchasing power and behavioral traits, then drop the charred husk of what remains to the ground, floss their fangs and move on to the next meal.
Even Republicans should be OK. They'll crawl under their red-state rocks and howl in the wilderness for a time. But history teaches us that like an ugly wart that keeps reappearing on the knuckle of your middle finger, they will return.
Firefighters, cops and soldiers, the first choices of commercial casting directors in the past eight years, are out. A forlorn marketplace filled with busted budgets, bankrupt consumers and broken homeowners reeling under recession and regulated by a Democratic government, requires a less, um, burly representation to sell toothpaste, beer or sports bras.
We're going to need new archetypes. We're in the age of Obamamarketing now.
Obamamarketing will dump the uniformed guardians that dominated communications in the misbegotten Bush Administration. Instead of Marines climbing up cliffs, we'll have Tony the Tanquery guy giggling on a divan.
In the Obamamarket, we'll see spots that up the pathos ante and salute noble, out-of-work auto executives, stalwart community organizers and brave families struggling to make it on the mean streets of suburbia.
We'll see communications plans that feature video screens in soup kitchens. The Web will be inundated with social networks for the foreclosed, the unemployed and what David Brooks calls the "formerly middle class." Bruce Springsteen will have to write a new song.
Marketers will enthusiastically amp up their predilection for using dead celebrities to influence our purchases. Only instead of Fred Astaire prancing about with a vacuum cleaner or a zombie Orville Redenbacher pitching popcorn, we'll see a reanimated Lincoln selling cheap cars from India and a dug-up FDR endorsing a breakthrough eczema cream developed from stem-cell embryos.
We might even ditch all the Brit narrators in our commercials in favor of -- dare we say it? -- French accents.
Well, perhaps non.
Still, we stand dumbstruck at the dawn of an unsettling new day in America. Marketing, always the mirror of the present state of society, will have to adjust. Thank God we still have television. Oh, wait. Never mind.