. . . the accrual of wealth among the very few is of great consequence for marketers, since 10% of U.S. households "account for almost half of the consumer spending" and represent about one-third of total GDP, according to the American Affluence Research Council.That top advertisers now consider middle class America dead for all practical purposes is no surprise for those who remember the infamous October 2005 Citigroup "Plutonomy" report which considered the investment consequences of the world dividing into two basic blocs: the Plutonomy, or an economy driven almost entirely by the buying decisions of the wealthy, and the rest of the world.
Simply put, a small plutocracy of wealthy elites drives a larger and larger share of total consumer spending and has outsize purchasing influence -- particularly in categories such as technology, financial services, travel, automotive, apparel and personal care.
Madison Ave. Declares ‘Mass Affluence’ Over
The American middle class, concludes a new study from the ad industry’s top trade journal, has essentially become irrelevant. In a deeply unequal America, if you don’t make $200,000, you don’t matter.By Sam Pizzigati
The chain-smoking ad agency account execs of Mad Men, the hit cable TV series set in the early 1960s, all want to be rich some day. But these execs, professionally, couldn’t care less about the rich. They spend their nine-to-fives marketing to average Americans, not rich ones.
Mad Men’s real-life ad agency brethren, 50 years ago, behaved the exact same way — for an eminently common-sense reason: In mid-20th century America, the entire U.S. economy revolved around middle class households. The vast bulk of U.S. income sat in middle class pockets.
A small plutocracy of wealthy elites drives a larger and larger share of total consumer spending and has outsize purchasing influence.The rich back then, for ad execs, constituted an afterthought, a niche market.
Not anymore. Madison Avenue has now come full circle. The rich no longer rate as a niche. Marketing to the rich — and those about to gain that status — has become the only game that really counts.