Ads in the Age of Hysteria

We’ve just lived through the most hysterical decade since the first doomsday lunatic discovered you could make a nice buck proclaiming the end of the world.
 
First, we had the Y2K bug. Everything was going to come to a grinding halt because . . . I don’t know, something about software in clock radios. People were hoarding food and water. Then there was the parade of pandemics that would kill us all — mad cow and SARS and bird flu and Ebola and swine flu. People were walking around airports in surgical masks (which, honestly, I would like to encourage).
 
Then there were killer bees and super-bacteria and sudden unintended acceleration and . . .
 
So, you’re thinking, what does all this hysteria have to do with advertising? Well, if there’s one thing we ad hacks understand, it’s the relationship between anxiety and cash flow. We’ve spent decades creating anxiety in consumers by convincing them that unless they had the latest $300 jeans they were in danger of social exile.
 
Now we can apply the same principles to our clients. And so we have created an ongoing hysteria-fest called The Thing That Will Change Everything. The object is to keep marketers in a constant state of anxiety about the future.
The more we can convince them that everything is changing around them — and they need us to interpret the changes — the longer we stay employed.

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