We don't even require a lot of fanfare about it; normally, it is good enough to just make it happen every day for our own pleasure and internal pride.
I remember the days when we went out of our way to buy American -- whether it was in our cars, food, or attitude. We projected this image heralding only the best comes out of America, made only by our fellow hard working American men and women. And used every ounce of this spirit in our advertising --whether it was to instill this American work ethic in our babies at home or in honoring our enterprising history and the industrial age.
Every day we woke up inspired and proud to be an American.
Somehow, that waving of our national flag throughout our routine and work and school and play and livelihood became something of an hindrance, a mark against us and against the tide. And all the while, we became so consumed by being the consummate consumer we fell victim to losing the values that hold a nation together. Starting with simply taking things for granted, growing into choosing selfish indulgences over substance, and finally allowing our core principles to entirely slip away.
This didn't happen overnight; while many of us agree, it comes on the heels of "having it all" -- the irony, really. Going from having it all to nothing.
Last year was a gift to America; we have awakened the prevailing attitude of complacency and the American spirit laying dormant, just itching to rise up and do it's thing again.
Allow me to spin for a moment, and recognize some of the talents of the current day MadMen amongst us...
It is one of the latest Allstate commercials that has G smiling; capitalizing on the reassuring and heartfelt voice of Dennis Haysbert asking us if we will look back at these times as the great recession or will it be the recession that made us great. First of all, it warms my heart almost immediately -- with the teachable moments continuing throughout the commercial, it takes less than 30 seconds to make me want THAT, and it almost doesn't matter how much they want from me to get it.
Another favorite of mine is the new Office Depot ad -- you know the one -- the small town barber gets unnerved (for a second) when he sees that a city slicker haircut mega-store is going in across the street undercutting his charge for a trim or a buzz, charging only six bucks... Quickly, what does he do? How does he respond? Does he board up the windows and call it a day? NOT IN AMERICA he doesn't --
-- he goes to OFFICE DEPOT, makes a big sign, and raises it high and tight across his storefront:
"WE FIX $6.00 HAIRCUTS"Take that.
Ahh don't you love a little competition in the morning.
Okay, last one, DENNY'S: They take a simple guy sitting in a booth making fun of the people who consider "coffee and milk foam" a decent breakfast....he rattles off all the cappuccinos, mocha chinos, choco-chinos he can think of, and begins pointing directly down to a plate of three meats and potatoes, an extravaganza going on just below his nose, while happiness takes over his face. He ends with reaching for his coffee, with the Denny's logo straight up and center-stage, and says something like ''whoever this Chinos guy is, he doesn't know a thing about breakfast, I'm not a fan of your beverage's but I sure do like your pants..."just knowing he is sitting there enjoying his grand slammer in a pair -- and spending the same amount of dough for his fair and balanced breakfast as the Chino-lover for their overpriced cup of joe with fluff.
The sales pitch, the pitting of one product against another, the gloating, the dissing, the capturing of a feeling in under 60 seconds -- it's all it takes to grab you, motivate you, inspire you and make you think -- do I want that or not?
If we go back six months, the sales pitch on Health Care was all about Obama getting it done before the summer break, in August. Anyone remember? Of course you do.
It was Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi, and our leader himself pitching the product, grappling for market share, stirring people away from "the other guy" and even using "the other guy" as a tool to make their point.
The other guy is just clinging to the past, business as usual.
The other guy is in the way of progress.
The other guy is out of touch of what you need.
The other guy is ignorant and behind the times.
The other guy is an extremist and carries guns to town hall meetings.
The other guy is AstroTurf, not the genuine article.
The other guy is against you.
The other guy is corporate greed -- Insurance companies, bankers and all that you despise.
The other guy is not for what you want --
-- you really want what we've got.
The funny thing is, all the other guy has been saying is open up competition, allow for Health Insurance to trade over state lines -- and if we simply did that, and that alone, half of the equation would be solved. And it would be done in such a way that is naturally, fairly and in such a way that protects the ingenuity of America --allowing for everyone to compete, have a piece of the pie, and ultimately receive the same quality health care for less.
The funny thing is, all the other guy has been saying is that we need to assess and attack the litigation, the malpractice, the fraud, and the waste -- including that which is already widely prevalent within our government run health care programs today, in Medicare and Medicaid (you know, the one's that will run out of money in a not too distant future because they are so well managed).
But while the attacks are made to this other guy, we have to be reminded of the law of negative advertising -- and that the best advertising is more often than not a positive spin on what you've got to sell (begging the question, what can Brown do for you?).
This past year has shown the power of controlling the message. The side in power has been fully responsible for creating the environment of division by keeping the other side out, using the evening podium to reach the eyes and ears of the public, and making every attempt to corner the market on their terms. The Obamarama Emporium tried awfully hard to push this health care package through as soon as possible, as it was imperative and vital and in your best interests, to do it and to do it without delay.
And even when the people came to voice their concerns, their wishes, their apprehensions, their ideas -- what did the people get? Shunned. Ignored. Treated with condescension, as the ignorant few coming out of the woodwork and ruining everything. They tried their hardest to quiet us; and when that didn't work, they just left us out of it altogether -- and went to Plan B -- behind closed doors -- making underhanded deals and over the top concessions that went against every principle in place...
... and all too proud to be wrapping it up as a gift to America in the eleventh hour on Christmas Eve.
Besides making one of the greatest marketing faux pas' in the world by not knowing your audience, the market itself, if they had honestly paid attention to listening to themselves, they very well would have figured out how their message was constantly in flux. From the very beginning, their message has been nothing but mixed up and all over the place -- and they did that all on their own:
One minute, it had to get done yesterday -- the next, we can wait, false alarm, there's no hurry.
One minute, it was due to the evils of insurance companies we're in this mess -- the next, it is just the insurance companies that don't agree with us.
One minute, it was against all doctors, their incomes and the cars they drive -- the next, somehow we found fifty doctors in white robes standing behind their man, as if the robe itself gave them instant credibility.
One minute, it was all about what the people want -- the next, everyone except you guys over there who think differently than us.
One minute, it was all about small business having a voice and benefits -- the next. unless of course you are associated with the Chamber of Commerce, then all bets are off.
One minute, and there were MANY, you said everything would be on C-Span and be out in the open, transparent -- the next, hurry, close the door behind you, we gotta get this done before anyone knows what is in it.
First of all, you know we can see you, right? We know everything that you have said up until five seconds ago can be replayed over and over again on the web, YouTube, the nightly news. And as matter of fact, we have just that much going on upstairs that we can remember most of it on our very own; what you say truly matters, and we pay attention to your every word. And if we don't actually hear what you have to say, like via C-Span, then we don't trust you anymore. aw snap
Picture this, if you will, every time you open your mouth and try to sell us on something, we store it in the back of our mind, and eventually, we start putting things together and thinking for ourselves -- maybe even in groups (like Town Hallers and TeaPartiers).
When things start to appear a little too slick, either too shiny for the buck or too good to really be true, we know from experience it usually IS; we may be stuck on our values and principles that have so far survived the last 234 years, but we certainly were not born yesterday.
Isn't it it peculiar that the entire month of December was all about ramming it through, gotta have a bill, gotta have a bill -- by Christmas, absolutely by Christmas, come hell or high water, Reid was so determined. And by golly he did it; albeit it wasn't what the people wanted, it broke a few rules of engagement, it was a desperate measure in desperate times, but by golly, he got it done.
Ahh too bad; all for naught.
Number 41 gets voted in and everything gets wrapped up and repackaged all over again.
You can't be serious.
All of a sudden Pelosi says, there's no hurry, what's the rush?
All of a sudden Obama tells ABC, let's all regroup and "coalesce" with what is in agreement with both sides.
All of a sudden Reid starts clamoring to be "41's" new BFF in Congress-- whispering in his ear, I'm sure, how you doin? (say it like Joey on Friends)
We can see you...
We can hear you, too, even when you think the walls of congress can protect you.
The problem is, you no longer know your audience; and your message will continually miss it's mark every time as long as you continue to get it backwards and think you can just turn US off.
The truth is, we could have been over and done with this months ago, simply by letting America do what it does best -- by allowing us to openly and adoringly compete with each other -- just like car insurance, just like the breakfast buck, just like super-cuts and salons everywhere (which, have you looked around? a haircut can be found on nearly every corner).
The people know better. But what started out as a means to get the uninsured, insured, and costs down, fraudulently grew into something way more than that -- it turned into a total annihilation of the health care business, killing all hopes for creating real competition by amplifying the government's control over 1/6th of our economy, in such a way that subsidized special interests and compromise state budgets for years to come -- all that, without so much giving the people the choice if they want to buy it or not.
The people know better than that and entrust a system that has seemingly worked well for centuries. It's called Free Enterprise, and it's free! Not only does it not cost us anything, anyone can be a part of it; while it ultimately offers the most benefits to the most people when a society is anchored and sustained with the right ideals; and when allowed to be free, it is managed by natural laws that never change under supply and demand -- along side personal preferences and limitations -- along side the freedom to buy whatever we want to buy at a price we want to pay with a company that has earned our respect and hard earned dollar.
When left alone, it works! no matter what it is you're trying to sell -- even if it is your soul.
I'm famished; will it be a vanilla latte or eggs over easy? Choice is mine -- and yours -- is this a great country, or what.
Make it a Good Day, G
BY the way, to BUY American more often (or always), look to the Bar Code on the product. Anything beginning with a Zero - 00 thru 09 is MADE IN AMERICA or CANADA!
If the first three digits begin with 690, 691, 692 -- move along -- it was made in CHINA
Thank you Allstate, Office Depot and Denny's for the messages that you bring and the embodiment of the American spirit you advertise -- with heart, ingenuity, and gusto (respectively).