Everywhere you turn, TV, social media, podcasts, radio and news shows you hear negativity. Overused terms like, “during these trying times” and, “until we can be together again” appear more and more in commercials. Nearly every newscast starts with an update on COVID deaths. If you are a media junky it seems as if the whole world is in free fall. Let’s be clear, the world is not in free fall and for some this is the best of times. Let’s take a look:
Stock market at all-time highs. If you are a brokerage house, major investor or in personal finance you are likely having a very good year.
Big Tech – Home offices and people with a lot more time at home are helping to propel software (Zoom), on line shopping (Amazon) and social media companies (Facebook) to record profits. Big year-end bonuses are on the horizon for executives at these companies.
At home entertainment. Gaming (Microsoft, Sony), and media companies like Netflix are seeing record new subscribers. Netflix alone added 26 million new paid subscribers in the first half of 2020.
Home delivery. Uber Eats, Instacart and Grubhub are booming.
Big box retail. While main street retailers and restaurants close their doors, retailers like Walmart, Target, Kroger, Home Depot and Lowe’s are setting records. Have you noticed how crappy customer service has gotten at some of these stores? They no longer have to compete hard for your dollars.
“Having a good or bad year tends to be an individual experience,” says social phycologist Juanita Phulofshat. “Plenty of people bought new homes, Teslas and Boats in 2020. People got engaged, had babies, were promoted and spent more time with family. I say some of them thought this year was a good year. Others lost loved ones, businesses or jobs to Covid. My guess is they think the year sucked. It all comes down to personal impact.”
Marketers and news media have focused on the negative to boost sales and viewership. “Bad news sells because it plays into people’s fear,” says Ms. Phulofshat. “Marketers know that talking about things like the pandemic and isolation get people to pay more attention. It triggers a fight or flight response and a need to know that if you are in a bad place, you are not alone. Strength in numbers sort of thing. However, all of this negativity impacts people. They are more likely to be depressed, be cynical, bitter, abuse drugs and alcohol and harm themselves or others.”
We in the heartland are sick of all the negativity coming from media. We understand that 2020 was a tough year for many people, however each year brings its own challenges. If you lost a loved one, battled a life-threatening disease, divorced or lost a job in 2019 that was likely a year you would prefer to forget. All of us have good and bad days, weeks and years.
As we approach the New Year’s holiday, we are likely to hear from marketers, politicians and media types how tough things are. We know they are not really concerned for us and really just want our money, votes and ratings. Instead, heartlanders choose to live our lives overcoming obstacles and enjoying life whenever possible. As for the media and marketers, we say “take your terrible times and shove it!”
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