How marketers can fix the economy

Posted on Sep 14, 2011 · 3 min read

So, I’ve been watching all of the Mad Men episodes back to back on AMC. For a marketing geek like me, that show is more addicting than anything snuck into Dr. Drew’s house. Let me state before I go any further that I watch it in complete suspended disbelief. I believe that if you are going to waste hours of your life watching tv or movies, you might as well go all the way and just believe that it is all 100% true–in like a parallel universe or something.

The universal truth that I gain from almost every episode of Mad Men is that marketing has changed the world and therefore can change the world. The episode where Don renamed the circular device in Kodak’s slide projector from the “wheel” to the “carousel” is what made slide shows part of the American culture, forcing millions of people for decades to sit through hours of vacation slides, driving them to such a level of boredom that they sawed at their wrists with the edge of their cocktail napkin. That’s real power my friend.
Now marketing doesn’t change the world every day. It’s those moments of true genius, where great product comes together with a great campaign and is fit into just the right moment of time—that’s when history is made.

The most recent evidence of one of those moments was Target’s recent Missoni campaign. In the midst of daily dark news of a non-stop recession where the light at the end of the tunnel is actually a banker’s Lexus headlights coming to foreclose on your house, Target has given us hope.

Target proved this week that people WANT to spend money and that people WILL spend money if only given a really good reason to. All of the T-rexillion dollars spent on stimulus packages couldn’t do what Target just did—they made a lot of people stoked to spend their money, made them excited to be part of a capitalist society, reminded them that it is fun to shop.

So now what? I challenge you to do it again. Take a lesson from what Target just did and as marketers, be spectacular. We, as a group, could turn this economy around ourselves. We could get dollars changing hands, we could create jobs, we could return faith in the American Dream—all we have to do is be like Don, be like Target, be amazing.

Marci Hansen by Marci Hansen