RUSH: Here’s Karen in Langhorne, Pennsylvania. I’m glad you called. Great to have you with us. Hello.
CALLER: Hi, Rush. It’s such an honor to speak with you.
RUSH: Thank you. Great to have you here.
CALLER: You know, I was listening to you earlier when you were talking about CNN and their advertising demographic and how they target. They can’t change their target from young people because then they’d have to admit that they’ve been espousing the policies that have ruined their ability to have a disposable income.
RUSH: Now, wait a minute. That sounds like it makes sense but I gotta hear that again.
RUSH: Run that by me again.
CALLER: Sure. I think that the reason CNN and their advertisers keep saying that they’re aiming for young people is that —
RUSH: Well, everybody does. It’s not just CNN that shoots for 25. Everybody, except us. I mean, we target it, but 25-54 is not our number one demo. In terms of advertising here at the EIB Network, we push 55-plus just as hard as we do 25-54 because, dirty little secret, they’re the ones that have the money. Anyway, everybody shoots for 25-54, except the teenage-oriented outlets.
CALLER: But I think they can’t aim for anyone else because they’d have to admit that they’ve truly destroyed the earning power of the young people with their policies and what they’re putting on their channel.
RUSH: Well, you’re giving them credit for foresight that I don’t think they have. You are assuming that they can’t change their targeted advertising demographic because they know that the people that are in that group don’t have any money because of the economic problems caused by Obama, right?
CALLER: Yes. And just liberalism in general, they’re always spouting. I’m stuck in airports a lot, so I have to listen to CNN, and it makes me a little crazed.
RUSH: Yeah, I know. That’s why I can’t even — like you’re a captive audience. You can’t do anything but watch CNN, right? You have to ask the bartender to change the channel. And the thing is, in the airports, there isn’t any other news network on. It’s CNN that got the contract.
CALLER: You’re trapped.
RUSH: You are trapped. Exactly right. What is your theory, CNN knows they’ve destroyed the economy for young people?
CALLER: Well, I think they would have to admit, you know, if they started targeting other demographics in order to bring money in, they would have to admit that the money’s not there for the young people, and if they admitted that and they had to ask why, they might have to actually look at themselves and what they’re putting on.
RUSH: Oh, I see. Well, perhaps, although the advertiser community as a whole has not given up on the financial health of the 25-54 demographic. I mean, if you want to see it in action, if you want to see advertising in action, if you want to learn everything about advertising you can, just watch the Super Bowl and just watch the commercials in the Super Bowl, and you will see. I’ve often said, ’cause I know it to be true, and I believe it to be true, really competent advertisers have a better handle on the pulse of the culture than anybody else. It’s their job. They have one job: Separate people from their money willingly. Their job is to convince John Q. Public to give up his money for whatever they convince John Q. Public he wants. In fact, socialists decry this and communists.
John Kenneth Galbraith, who I must say was one of Mr. Buckley’s closest friends, big-time leftist economist, hated consumerism, hated advertising, because he looked at it as a total — what’s the word? — it was an insult to him. He thought it was dehumanizing. He thought the whole idea of convincing people that they needed or wanted things that they didn’t need or want, was an abomination. As far as he was concerned, it was exactly what’s wrong with capitalism. His theory was that capitalism couldn’t survive unless you made average people want things they didn’t have, and he didn’t think that was healthy.
Now, that’s sophistry, as far as I’m concerned. That’s absolutely silly, because he was denying that people have aspirations. He was offended that people wanted to improve their standard of living. He was offended that of people wanted to acquire new thugs as part of their pursuant of happiness. He thought the acquisition of material things — and he’s not the only one, by the way. Every communist, socialist economist in the world thinks this, that the artificial way of selling a product, and selling a product is artificial, by definition, he thinks there shouldn’t be any advertising and whatever you want should be there because you want it, not because somebody has invented it to try to sell it to you.
I kid you not. I mean, he wrote books about this, this Galbraith, John Kenneth Galbraith did. He was known as John Kenneth Galbraith to the media. He was known as Ken to his friends. Advertising and consumerism, I mean, it was like showing Dracula the cross. You shouldn’t want anything other than the basics — and if you did, it was because some advertiser came along and showed it to you.
That was artificial, and it was mean, because it was showing a lot of people things they couldn’t have. I mean, the way that would manifest itself is if Lamborghini advertised, that would be horrible, that would be mean, because 999 people out of a thousand would never be able to afford one. “So to show them what they can’t have, that’s mean, and that’s what capitalism is! It’s mean, and it breeds resentment and jealousy.”
So he didn’t like advertising at all. He didn’t like consumerism, and he’s not the only one. He was just the most eloquent at expressing it. On the other hand, I’ve always believed that if a company hires an agency to sell its product — to market and sell its product — that agency has to know the culture. That agency has to know cool, it has to know hip, and it has to be able to predict it, and it has to be able to personify it.
It has to be able to hire people who are it, or who recognize it, who can write it, who can produce it in TV commercials. There’s all kinds of different advertising. There’s cost per thousand, there’s results oriented, there’s impressions, any number of ways of going about it. Television advertising in the Super Bowl is a combination of cost per thousand reaching eyeballs, but also results oriented and branding.
If you watch the advertising — actually, in anything, in any prime time show. For example, prime time, you watch any show that’s targeting the 25-54 demographic, and you will learn what those people think is cool, hip, and where our culture is. So if you watch the Super Bowl and really take time to watch the commercials and study ’em rather than be entertained by ’em, you will find out you’ll have a pretty good bead on where the country is culturally.
I’ve always believed this.
I’ve always believed that good advertising is a great window on where we are. Again, the reason: Even though it’s established that people older than 55 have all the money, they also have everything they want, or most of it, and they’ve already established their brand loyalty. It would simply cost too much to get them to change their minds. That’s why you start studying this and you’ll see that most commercials are done and aimed at people in their teens and twenties.
Now, there’s an exception everything. Hemorrhoids, they’re not gonna advertise those to an 18 year old, Preparation H or whatever. You’re gonna see those during soap operas in the daytime. But use a little common sense here and you’ll understand how this all works. The 55-plus hasn’t been abandoned, but the advertising aimed at them is simply aimed at maintaining brand loyalty and establishing that the products they love are still good and still work and maybe are being improved.
But you will not see advertising aimed at those people that’s designed to get them to switch brands. But the advertising aimed at 25-54 is all about that. I find it all fascinating. And, by the way, not every advertising agency knows what it’s doing. That’s why some are better than others. It’s like any other business, some Super Bowl commercials, you say, “What the hell was that?” Utter failure, if that’s your reaction.
Well, now, this Schwarzenegger spot. Snerdley just mentioned the teasers they’re running. That’s a new one, by the way. They’re now running actual previews of upcoming Super Bowl commercials. That’s what those Schwarzenegger things are, playing ping-pong in the Budweiser spot. That’s gonna be a two-minute commercial in the Super Bowl, and they’re teasing it.
RUSH: Okay. The Schwarzenegger thing. All during the football games on Sunday, they ran this ad — I mean, to the point of irritation. These little 10-second, 20-second Arnold Schwarzenegger dressed as Jeff Spicoli from Fast Times at Ridgemont High, trying to play ping-pong, making fun of the guy. They were making fun of the Schwarzenegger character. I mean, he’s obviously dressed up to look like an absolute buffoon, and the buffoon is what all of the spots playing ping-pong are about.
The whole thing is a tease to set you up for the full two-minute commercial that is going to be airing during the Super Bowl. Okay, so how would you advertise this in an advertising sense? I mean, what is Budweiser doing here? Why have Schwarzenegger out there dressed up like a sixties hippie playing ping-pong (which, by the way, he can’t play) in order to sell beer? That’s my point.
Somebody there, somebody that does Anheuser-Busch’s marketing, has come up with a way to have their Budweiser commercial stand out from all the others. Now, I have read that they had a lot of trouble producing those little teasers. Apparently Schwarzenegger really can’t play ping-pong. They took take after take after take just to get it. In fact, they couldn’t use any takes of Schwarzenegger actually hitting a ping-pong ball because he couldn’t.
So every one of those was an air shot, and what they’re trying to do is get people excited or anticipatory for whatever reason to see the whole thing. Okay, what is this about? What in the world does the teaser mean? See, whatever it’s teased with, the full thing is coming during the Super Bowl.