Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Mass and class.

When I was growing up there was a little New York ditty that my mother and other people's mothers would often remind me of.

If I passed an expensive clothing store or wanted something costly, it was likely my shrewishly parsimonious mater would breathe "eat with the masses." If I made a caustic remark about a discount store, I'd hear "dine with the classes."

The phrase I'm referring to is this, "If you make for the masses, you dine with the classes. If you make for the classes, you eat with the masses."

Somehow, this equation is not considered within the agency world today. TV which reaches masses is excoriated. Building elaborate machinery to garner a few thousand Facebook "likes" is praised to the heavens.

Even the lauded to the heavens Old Spice "Man you could smell like" has only been seen by, maybe, 50 million people online. That's a considerable number--and yes, I know the engagement is deeper than that of a TV commercial, but compared with the reach of broadcast, we are speaking of tiny numbers.

Of course, the real issue here may be one of cost. It seems to cost agencies as much to produce a TV spot this hits hundreds of millions as it does to create an app that engages hundreds.

I haven't worked all this out as yet. But at least I'm trying to listen to my mother.

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