Election Brings Marketing Shakedown

Advertising professionals re-examine strategies.

We knew it might come to this.  The results of this year’s election have forced ad agencies and creative professionals across the country to come to grips with a new marketing reality.  It comes as no surprise to learn that, in the aftermath of such a contentious election, a dramatic shift in the way brands target consumers has prompted a reckoning of sorts. Who are we marketing to?

How do we emphasize trends while focusing on all types of consumers?  How do we move forward while marketing to people of diverse backgrounds, while including a sense of bringing our country together?  This remains to be seen.  In recent years, I’ve often felt that the broad strokes of advertising have focused on one type of consumer: the up-and-coming consumer.  In other words, the millennial of the future- forward thinking, intelligent, globally conscious and tech savvy bunch.  Also, someone who might live in big city like New York or Los Angeles or a tech hub like Seattle or Silicon Valley, perhaps.

However, the problem is that not all consumers and audiences share the same attributes, interests or goals (as recent “market research” has so clearly shown).  Not all consumers want the same things nor do they want to be empowered by the same products.  We don’t all live affluent lives in a major cosmopolitan bubble (a recent sketch from SNL satirizes this brilliantly). Advertising has clearly not been a voice for everyone in our country.  And that’s what this WSJ article, written by Alexandra Bruell and Suzanne Vranica, seems to suggest.  They go on to say that:

“Some ad agencies are looking to hire more people from rural areas as they rethink the popular use of aspirational messaging showcasing a ritzy life on the two metropolitan coasts.Even as many ad agencies try to improve their gender and racial diversity, industry executives say they also need to ensure their U.S. employees come from varied socioeconomic and geographic backgrounds.”

As someone who has voiced ads for many companies – food, finance, healthcare, aviation, among several others – I have noticed a general trend towards one type of consumer.  This, at times, can impose limitations.  But what would a dramatic shift in advertising  do for brands that have already evolved?

How will we work to expand the reach of such established campaigns? Can we move our advertising direction toward inclusion that involves more focus on what our own country is saying to us, in the aftermath of such a hard-fought referendum on visuals, words and yes – marketing? I know I want to be involved and I know it will be difficult.


Bruell, Alexandra; Vranica, Suzanne .  Trump’s Win Has Ad Agencies Rethink How They Collect Data, Recruit Staff. Wall Street Journal. Web. 21 Nov 2016.  12 Dec 2016.

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