E-letter: Pets and marketing

I often catch myself shaking my head at what we seem to be willing to accept from our celebrities and politicians. Essentially, I am talking about people that make their living by pretending they are something they are not.

Kerry Knudsen

Year after year, we pay a king’s ransom to people that are nothing more than minstrels, jesters and courtiers. Who knows? Maybe all through time such people have made more money than the king, himself, but even so that does not seem to warrant paying the class clowns and moaners what we do. It seems to give them airs. They seem to think a stipend of a couple million dollars makes their opinions worth something. Some people may think an 18-year-old chick singer is an expert on foreign policy and energy needs, but she’s not. Cute, maybe, but deep? Not.

However, I am happy to report that I have finally figured it out. We keep politicians and celebrities as pets. Check it out. Chick singer or house cat, she may be climbing the curtains and you have no idea whether she’s been into the herbs again or is in heat. Some football player goes shoots up a “business associate,” and we all go “tut tut, boys will be boys.” And so they will, but those of us non-celebrity, non-politician types get arrested. It seems as if it just won’t do to see cool folks behind bars.

Coolness is an interesting idea. Just imagine the money spent in being cool. For what? In his book, Not Cool, Greg Gutfeld makes the point that coolness is, essentially, the art of convincing you do that which is not good for you. According to Gutfeld, if any action was provably intended to increase your wealth or your health, it would not need to be “cool” for you to use it. It is only when there is no value that people are persuaded to be cool.

Therefore, we have this paradigm of people pretending to be something they are not, being kept as pets, ruined curtains and all, and rallying us to the cry of being cool. We do it because these people are “leaders.”


Leaders of what, might one ask?

You would not want to answer they are leaders in thought. There is absolutely no such evidence. But are they even leaders in spending?

The Super Bowl is usually the most-watched television show in Canada each year. It appears that about 4.5 million Canadians watched the Super Bowl this year. That’s a lot. However, on the other hand, it’s not that much if you consider that the other 32 million Canadians didn’t give a rip. Only 12 percent of us watched the Super Bowl, while the other 88 percent had better things to do.

So now we have to wonder whether it was the top 12 percent of Canadians that watched, or the bottom 12 percent. Don’t go getting irked. We are just batting around numbers. I watched the Super Bowl, too.

Maybe it’s not a matter of top or bottom. However, for our purposes it would be nice to know what it actually is a “matter of,” since most of us are in marketing in one way or another, and for marketers the Super Bowl is the Mother Lode.

In that case, it actually appears as if the Super Bowl audience actually is the bottom 12 percent. In the pursuit of “cool,” the celebrities and politicians have been outdoing themselves in their plunge to the nadir in front of Super Bowl watchers for decades. It was the Super Bowl, after all, that invented the term “wardrobe failure.” At what did it fail?

Remember when Britney Spears was a virgin? Britney’s status was one of those infobits I never really needed or wanted, but … there it was. She was telling the world that, besides being a beautiful and popular (cool) chick singer, she was also saving herself for marriage. Then she got married, took care of that and was free again in 55 hours.

I’m not saying that was a dive to the bottom, exactly, but one does wonder what, exactly, it was.

As we have become more cool, it has become de rigueur for aging female celebrities to rely less on cuteness and more on “art,” which means taking off their clothes. This idea tumbled to its (I hope) nadir a few years back when the competing, aging-but-cute chick singers engaged in what appeared to be a competition to get the best up-skirt photo published in the Globe.

The boys are not to be outdone. I see that Russell Crowe is auctioning off the battle armour he wore in The Gladiator a few years back. The ostensible reason is that he need money for his divorce, but it’s clear he won’t be fitting into that suit anytime soon. Aging male stars seem to forget they are being maintained as pets, and so show off their decrepitude in stunts, sometimes fatal, but at least they keep their clothes on as long as they fit.


Which brings us to business. We all are pressed every day to choose to act toward one market or the other, and, while the 12 percent is very visible and cool, and sometimes very profitable, we should take note of the other 88 percent when we can. It may be not cool, but it’s a living, and you won’t lose your shirt.

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  1. Angela Inglis says:

    “Chick Singer”?? I am constantly amazed by your lack of professionalism and abundance of ignorance. Membership numbers in the “Old Boys Club” is definitely dwindling thank goodness. Perhaps the voice of an organization should actually be educated enough to understand that most of what was written in this opinion piece is incredibly offensive. Some would blame your age for the way you tried to parlay your message or perhaps you thought you were being witty. I would suggest it is just plain ignorance and maybe too much ego.

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