Wednesday, October 7, 2009

I read something startling this morning.

As many people have pointed out, even the most worldly among us live in tiny bubbles generally filled with people who are more like us than not. So every once in a while, it's nice to be startled by something unexpected--something that forces you to perhaps consider the world in a new way.

As startling things so often do, these facts I happened upon made me think about advertising and the cloistered world-view we often employ when we create work.

First the facts: According to Helen Simpson in "Granta" (2008), 95% of the world's population has never been on a plane. There are two-billion flights taken each year by the remaining 5% (or 335 million) people on Earth.

I guess what struck me about that 95% figure is how myopic I've become. (After all, if you go to any airport it seems like 95% of the world is crowded in there all waiting for a bag of stale pretzels or to be molested by a Republican law-maker.) We write ads for people like ourselves. People who think nothing of hopping on a plane for a long weekend.

I realize that the 5% of the population that flies probably has 90% of the world's wealth. Therefore, that's who we're speaking to. No real conclusion here, just something I'm ruminating on.

8 comments:

Teenie said...

Forgive me if this is a bit of a tenuous link to your post, but I'm sitting here watching Dr. Phil interview teens, teachers and parents who are explaining a new trend of having sex on the dance floor at school dances.

Out in the open. In front of cell-phone cameras. Not caring one bit who sees or who it is they're with.

And I'm thinking I know bubkus about today's teenager. How can create ads for an entire subset of people who've just shocked the life out of me? I can barely stomach how terrible the trend is, let alone try to speak to these morally vapid creatures.

We're stuck in our bubbles, indeed.

geo said...

But only 5% of those teens will have sex on a dance floor while flying.

Jake P. said...

Two idle thoughts:

1) There's probably no way to find out, but I wonder what the stats were back in, let's say, the 1700s of people who'd been on a boat trip in excess of 100 miles. Probably 5% of the world's population would be my guess.

2) I am stunned by the percentage of people here in New Brunswick, Canada, who've never been on an airplane. As a Canadian citizen, Teenie can probably attest to the relatively lower-end demographics here, but it's not dirt poor. Plenty of nice houses with satellite dishes and nice cars in the driveway. From what I see, they simply don't put that much value in travel.

Teenie said...

Jake: Canadians in general tend to think travel is luxurious and financially off-limits, I think--although I'm in a big city so it's a bit different. For me, it's far better to have a smaller house (and no car!) and head out a few times a year. Especially since the other half's family are all overseas.

I guess it's a matter of priorities--although Europeans sure get a better deal when it comes to airfare.

Jake P. said...

@Teenie, I just realized I should clarify my previous comment. When I said "lower-end demographic here," I was speaking specifically about New Brunswick--not all of Canada! It seems like NB is held in low regard by the other provinces, n'est-ce pas?

And I'm totally sympatico on the "small house, big travel budget." I hate stuff, but love experiences.

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