There's a guy on jury duty with me who works for the New York Department of Sanitation. (This is one of the joys of jury duty--seriously--you are thrust together with a fair degree of intimacy with people with whom you would normally have no intercourse.) I noticed him a couple days ago, wearing his jacket with the Department of Sanitation crest on its front, a big DSNY in orange on its back and the slogan "New York's Strongest."
What struck me about this guy, this jacket and, if I may extrapolate, this demographic is that they actually wear their clothing without a sense of irony.
Ironic clothing is of course all the rage among the hipster set. They wear their trucker caps and other accoutrement, flaunting really, their ever-so-coolness.
Here's the thing. You can call such wardrobing irony. I prefer to think of it as misanthropy. A mocking of people different than you. It's not nice. It's ignorant. And it's a form of bullying.
Christopher Hitchens in his memoir "Hitch 22" draws a distinction between those who earn money and those who make it. Those who earn it build things and make things and do things. Those who make it manipulate markets, engage in sleight of hand and financial hocus pocus.
It's easy to make fun of people. It's easy to think that your hipster tribe is what everyone else aspires to be. It's easy to distance yourself from the reality of how people live, think and act.
Our job as advertisers is, in a sense, to love people. To understand. And through understanding find what's important to them and appeal to them.
Sorry for the polemic.