Category: Economics,Jacksonville Ad Agency,Research • July 15, 2013

During my musings about who thrives in the contemporary economic landscape, I was reminded of several acronyms.  I've isolated these 3 as a few of the top categories that generally succeed, financially speaking.  Not surprisingly, those who are more career-oriented instead of family oriented generally fair better than those who have children.  OINKs= One Income No Kids; DINKs= Dual Income No Kids; WOOFs= Well-Off Old Farts (the latter of which I altered slightly to make myself chuckle).

My generation has been plagued by a job force that is often underqualified and overpaid, but by virtue of being the first to arrive on the scene, are able to enjoy lucrative jobs that offer healthcare, dental, retirement, etc…  In an effort to appear less cynical, I will offer up my own mother as an example.  She had no education other than high school.  She was a computer analyst or some such thing for the Illinois Department of Corrections for 25 years.  The funny thing about this  is that she lacks computer skills.  My mother enjoyed a paycheck of around 42,000/year and retired at the age of 48.

In contrast to her success, I know multiple people with master's degrees that can't claim a salary that high with that kind of job security.  Having a post-baccalaureate degree has become relatively cliché and doesn't yield the financial stability that it once did.  I've known law school graduates that have had to tend bar for 3 years before procuring a job.  I even had a professor with a PhD from Ohio State tell me that she currently makes 53,000/year as a professor at a university and went up against 198 other applicants with backgrounds from Yale, Harvard, Cambridge, and Oxford.  The only other job offer she received was from a school in St. Louis which offered a laughable 38,000/year.  Until the present job climate changes for the better, I will harbor a great deal of contempt for the hiring practices of old, and the longevity of the baby boomers.

50 Shades Of The Grey Market

Category: Economics,International,Jacksonville Ad Agency • May 9, 2013

A black market is simply illegal.  It could be that the goods themselves are illegal or it could be that the goods are associated with tariffs that the seller does not wish to pay.  Think of the black market as drug and arms trade.  Meanwhile, the GREY market (or parallel market if you prefer) is a market price set by the people and their perceived value of a good.  Let me illustrate by giving an example.  If the going currency exchange for dollars to yen is 1:1 and this rate is recognized by the government and exchanged at this rate at ATM's and banks and so forth, but the value as perceived by the population at-large is higher, your exchange rate could be 2:1, 3:1, or any other combination.  The grey market is far less seedy than the black market as it's kind of like a societal monetary control measure.  

There IS a grey economy which some people will recognize as being paid under the table in cash without having to pay state, local, or federal taxes and various social welfare programs.  This is not what a lot of people would call “illegal” so much as it's frowned upon, and THAT is where the grey part comes in.  There are no clear cut lines as to whether or not something is permissable so it goes on unchecked.  This generally isn't a problem with small sums of money, but if a CEO who made 7 million dollars per annum were to get paid entirely in cash, there would be one more corporate casualty.  

Believe it or not, many foreign economies thrive on the grey economy because they don't have NASDAQ, or the DOW, or the HSI telling them what their product is worth, but leaves it to the consumer.  Think of it like going to a market or bazaar and the price can be negotiated upon, or like a person to person auction.  This can maximize profits, but the price isn't always even across the board, but allows for fluctuation.


Category: Economics,International,Jacksonville Ad Agency • April 3, 2013

Everything about Francis I, is different.  He has foresaken the Papal residence in the Vatican for a humble apartment that resembles a barracks.  He held a televised Easter service that showcased the Shroud of Turin for the first time in a very, very long time.  He also opts to wear simple white garb in lieu of the traditionally ostentacious Papal vestments.  I, myself am not Catholic, but there's something endearing about this man.  He's very humble…a man of the people who champions the poor.  His hands-on approach makes me believe that perhaps he's better suited to address global poverty than Jim Yong Kim of the World Bank.  Keep in mind, that everything the new Pope has done has been in the first two months of his Papacy.  The cultured, western Europeans, and even some Brazilians and Argentinians, are quick to label Americans as naive when it comes to global affairs, and even devoid of a sense of empathy as it pertains to wage/class disparities, but it's been my experience that Americans are very in-tune with the global market as well as culturally significant subject matter.  The troubling statistic is that for every worldly, intelligent American, there are ten “Larry the Cable Guys” and “Kim Kardashians”.  It's that kind of misrepresentation that has pigeonholed our country as a mere reflection of Miami, New York, or L.A.  We are greater than the sum of our parts.  How does the latter half of this tie in to the new pope?  Well, during the Renaissance and the Age of Enlightenment, Catholicism experienced a very corrupt and troubling period that sought to expunge scientific ideas from being disseminated.  Those people like Newton, Galileo, and other brilliant minds, were branded heretics and in opposition to the church.  If you fast-forward to Francis I, you can see a shining example of how the office of the Pope too, is more than the mere sum of its parts.  I may not see eye-to-eye with the new ultra-conservative Pope on every moral issue, but I do believe him to be a truly decent man whose presence in the Vatican is a breath of fresh air for Catholics and humanists alike.  

The Colossus of Mountain View, California

Category: Economics,Industry News,Jacksonville Ad Agency • March 6, 2013

Google has two syllables, but is the first word that comes to everyone's mind when looking up a new restaurant or simply looking up a fun, new factoid.  As you very well may know, the DOW set a record yesterday, closing at 14,253.77.  What you may not know is that Google's stock soared to 838.60 per share, up nearly 300 points in one year.  Both of these things are good, not just for the domestic economy, but for the vastly interconnected global market which reflects even the most subtle doubts investors may have.  Google is not content to sit idly by and rest on its laurels.  The fledgling company has plans to one day supplant Apple's vaunted mobile operating system with their Android OS.  There are also rumors of Google wanting to compete with Amazon in the realm of same-day shipping on products.  If that weren't ambitious enough, there are even whispers of further television and even game console innovations that could potentially revolutionize the industries.  I know Google's share price is quite lofty for anyone to think about buying in, but I promise you, it's NOT GOING DOWN.  So what does all this talk about Google and its success have to do with Mad Men Marketing?  Well, the digital realm is our wheelhouse (pardon the baseball terminology), and we have a Google certified Analytics consultant, and I will be taking the test to become Google AdWords certified as early as this weekend.  This will lead to improved optimization for all of our clients.  I don't plan on stopping there either.  In a short time, I will begin studying for my Analytics certification as well, which would make us a Google Analytics certified COMPANY, a title that VERY FEW companies can boast.  At Mad Men Marketing, like Google, we're not content to proceed with business as usual.  We will continue to broaden our horizons, educate ourselves, and acquire new skill sets that will yield incomparable results.

Ketchup Kingpins

I'm not saying that this was a bad move at all.  It's a good acquisition, but it deviates from the formula that's made Mr. Buffett the investment Demi-God that he is.  Keep in mind this is the same guy who invested in the tobacco industry because he said that they cost a penny to produce, could be sold for a dollar, and were addictive.  What can you really do with a ketchup company besides make ketchup?  Perhaps partner with a really good french fry company?  Maybe promote your brand and try to get it in every restaurant possible?  It's a good marriage for 3G because they just paid 3 billion for Burger King, and looking ahead, can use the Heinz and Burger King acquisitions to increase their footprint on the global food service industry.  They're looking at this move, not just as acquiring a product, but a distribution network as well, which is definitely a commendable way to think of it.  After the acquisition, it's important to mention that stock shares of Heinz jumped 12.02 at closing.  Score one for Mr. Buffett, but he is undoubtedly the public face of this deal.  This is really a giant leap forward for 3G and a win for globalization as a whole.