Has the Melting Pot Melted?

By Clayton Collins writer of The Christian Science Monitor | The Christian Science Monitor, November 24, 2004 | Go to article overview

Has the Melting Pot Melted?


Clayton Collins writer of The Christian Science Monitor, The Christian Science Monitor


Marketers have come a long way in the 70 years since a Chicago advertising agency dreamed up "the all-American boy" - tidy, white- bread Midwesterner Jack Armstrong - for a nationwide radio serial used mainly to sell Wheaties for General Mills.

They've traded a flawed mirror for a prism. It's a broadening response to a long-dawning reality: For consumers, goods once on the fringe have gone mainstream.

Today, few food shoppers are nonplused by grocery aisles piled with sashimi from Japan, Irish steel-cut oats, and Mexican chorizo sausages. In fact, such offerings represent just the visible tip of a trend driven by new demographic realities - and something more.

"There's an invisible revolution going on behind the obvious changes," says Guy Garcia, a journalist and author of "The New Mainstream," a book now creating a buzz in the business press. "It will change not only how people see themselves and other people in the media, but more fundamentally, how businesses orient themselves."

This trend has grown since the mid-1980s, when Benetton, the Italian sportswear company, made the many hues of humanity the theme of its "united colors" ad campaign. Since then, a range of manufacturers, ad agencies, and retailers have adopted more multicultural approaches - in the way they pitch and also in the cultural breadth of their product lines.

Next, the reorientation will have tangible results. Expect less linear store layouts, Garcia says, with standard aisle grids replaced with meandering shapes - the mandala, for instance - borrowed from other traditions. Expect new background music - an emphasis on fusion.

Also expect far fewer "universal" products - mass marketed in a single form or flavor - and ever more products offering tiny variations in scent, feel, and flavor, adds Steve Rivkin, a branding expert in New Jersey.

And many shops' inventories - even outlets of the same chains - will vary as sellers try to find a fit, Rivkin says.

There are good reasons to better serve the spectrum of spenders. Americans' collective buying power will climb from $8.6 trillion this year to $11.1 trillion in 2009, according to a September report by the University of Georgia's Selig Center for Economic Growth.

Significantly, African-Americans, Asian-Americans, Hispanics, and native Americans will account for more than $2.5 trillion of that growth - an "amazing" 40 percent jump, as the center's director puts it, over current levels.

In another sign that marketers are set to boost their efforts, the American Association of Advertising Agencies announced in September its "Operation Success," says Kip Cheng, an AAAA spokesman. The program will help agencies address various segments of the US population "by having employees within those agencies working on those accounts better reflect the consumers that they're targeting," Mr. Cheng says.

Done right, these need not be divide-and-conquer tactics that will make targeted niches feel insular, say experts. Instead, Mr. Garcia sees a kind of inevitable melting of the melting pot. Along with the "tectonic shift" in demographics and the new buying power of minorities, he says, add an emerging cultural "symbiosis. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Has the Melting Pot Melted?
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.