"According to a study from Information Resources, Inc., the lagging economy is driving a dramatic move back to basics and a reversal of decades-long trends for convenient and healthier foods. Roughly half of all consumers with incomes less than $55,000 per year say they have trouble affording the groceries they need, while nearly a quarter of those earning between $55,000 and $99,000 also say so. Among those with incomes over $100,000, 16% report having trouble."
Center for Media Research and the IRI Economic Trend Database/AttitudeLink, May 2008
Help me to understand this. I work for a non-profit, and with the monthly donations that support my work I barely exceed the poverty level for a family of four in the U.S. I also do the grocery shopping, which means I know exactly what we eat and how much it costs.
We don't live on boxed and canned goods. And though I don't always make it to the organic section, we buy fresh fruits and vegetables, healthy cereals, dark chocolate and good teas. I buy real vanilla extract and maple syrup, too, because I don't like artificial anything (I posted about "faux" several times in April. See this one for starters.)
Certainly I worry about losing financial supporters when the economy wavers like it is, and if that did happen I would change some of my shopping habits. But 16% of people making more than $100,000 per year "have trouble affording the groceries they need"?! Are you serious?
When I talk about my own situation, I'm not pulling the poor card. We have a nice car and put our girls in dance. We take vacations and have money in savings. So I just can't wrap my head around thinking that these folks are having trouble.
Questions to consider:
1. How has the culture-saturating presence of advertising facilitated some of this distortion?
2. As an advertiser, how might your work improve the way people view need and want? If your boss gave you the audacious goal of decreasing this statistic from 16% to 10%, how would you do it through advertising?