On Tuesday of this week, SMU’s Temerlin Advertising Institute hosted the Exxon Mobile Series featuring a short documentary-like video produced by the Publicis Dallas called 1 in 3. The film is about the United States decaying middle class and how 1 in 3 families are living from paycheck to paycheck and how we as advertisers and communicators should not forget this group of people when it comes to marketing and creating products.
The documentary was truly a sight to see as they interviewed and showed five women and their families in the Dallas area. Their stories were really heart wrenching as each of them told similar stories of having good jobs, being college educated, going on vacation and then one day having that all snatched away as the economy crashed and they lost their jobs or a family crisis used savings. These women–all mothers, spoke about how they struggled to find normality, how they made sacrifices for their children, and hid their financial hardship from them. One mother spoke about how even though they were struggling financially to pay bills she wanted to make sure that her kids still had the best–dressing them in brand named shoes and buying them the latest toys and electronics. Many people believe that it is cruel to market to this growing segment in our population and look down upon advertisers for this reason but the fact is that these people, despite their financial situation, are consumers.
One example they used was Cici’s Pizza, a restaurant known for it’s low price. A brand that took the 1 in 3 statistic and used it wisely. They’re commercials are not just about their good pizza or that it’s cheap but they’re all about getting the most out of your hard earned cash–both quality and quantity. You can see one of their commercials here: Cici’s Commercial, 1 in 3
For me, these stories resonated with me personally and so I agree that it is important to approach marketing and the innovation of products with people like the 1 in 3 in mind. The reality is that financial security is not something everyone can achieve and the possibility that someone can be fine one day and not the next is high–for we don’t know what the universe has in mind for us.
All in all it was very nice for us, SMU students–many very fortunate, to see what is going on right outside our campus bubble and throughout our country today–right now. As we enter the workforce we can think about the 1 in 3 and remember them as we create, market, and communicate.