Bigsley the Oaf

Marketing Mediocrity

Posted in Uncategorized by bigsleytheoaf on August 12, 2010

I just watched this video by a band called “Paramore.” It’s extremely boring, though it inspired me to write this blog post, so there’s a silver lining for you.

Marketing is the creation of a space in which to sell X. Most of the power of this definition lies in the meaning of the word “space.” I’m imagining something protected; you must be able to create the impression that nothing else is like X. I’m imagining something with hooks to bring in buyers; you must create the impression that X is worthwhile, that the space is a nice space to be in.

Mediocrity is a particularly nice thing to market. For one thing, the space that one would create to sell mediocrity is especially soft and cushy. There’s nothing extreme or jagged or painful to drive away the weak and soft. In a society that is increasingly childish, mediocrity is especially appealing.

But notice that I stated two properties of markets – they must be nice, but they must also be protected. So how do you protect mediocrity? Product that is unique is automatically protected – but mediocrity by its very nature is common. To protect it you must then control the entire space. You must not allow competitors to emerge. You must be brutal.

Contrast that video by paramore with this. Now, I don’t know if you like Joni Mitchell – that’s not the point. The point is that the woman has range, she is talented, she is unique. Her voice is, to some extent, challenging – her voice is shrill at times, biting. Given that this used to be popular music surely you’ll agree, at least, that things are changing.

Are they changing for the worse? Perhaps it would seem that I’m trying to construe things in this way, but I don’t think so. I think we are just getting more childish. We live in a prolonged state of childhood now, which extends beyond the point at which our bodies mature. People don’t have values, they don’t believe, they don’t do real work until they’re quite old. They’re getting married later, they’re having children later. There’s no commitment – no need for commitment – to anything.

This music is childfood for the soul. It is desirable because it is easy, accessible, pre-packaged, well-formulated, smooth around the edges. We are not men and women seeking release in a beautiful foreign voice, we are boys and girls looking for lullabies and fantasy. We want someone who we might be able to sing like, someone who will lull us along, not someone who will challenge us, someone who will fill our souls up with warm nourishment.

God help us.

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