I was reading Tom Asacker’s article, Plaid is the New Black and White. Though I didn’t care for the introduction from Paul Simon, I was impressed with the article overall. At least it led me to read another article he wrote, Clarity: Marketing’s New Task. I found the two articles to be conflicting. In Plaid is the New Black and White, Asacker titles the modern marketplace, “postmodern.” According to this article the marketplace is Pavarotti riding a bike on a tightrope in a death cage match outside of a church on Sunday, all while eating a pita and reading The Cat in the Hat. Maybe I’m wrong, but Clarity: Marketing’s New Task seems to claim the marketplace is changing in that people are calling for uniformity, a clear cut and dry sales pitch. A call to action from the rational brain rather than an emotional response.
Then I started questioning my own knowledge of what postmodernism is. So I did some research, basically to check myself. I found I had a pretty good grasp on a definition of postmodernism, if you can truly define it. Here’s what I found on Wikipedia (not to say that this is the most authoritative source, but it serves as a general guide):
Scholars and historians most commonly hold postmodernism to be a movement of ideas contrary to modernism. Modernism places a great deal of importance on ideals such as rationality, objectivity, and progress — as well as other ideas rooted in the Enlightenment, and as positivist and realist movements from the late 19th century. Postmodernism questions whether these ideals can actually exist at all.
Ok, that’s out of the way. I can see how the marketplace could be defined as postmodern in that we live in a media-dominated society greatly relying on the consumers’ emotional response. A large majority of the population in our country is not in need. Let me rephrase this, the individuals who are doing the buying may not be in need of the products they buy. In order to sell in such an environment you will need to appeal to the senses rather than the rationale.
But, I also believe the all mighty dollar is a heavy burden and people want to spend it wisely. They want to know that they are making the right choice. They want to feel that they are being told the honest details, while at the same time being led by their emotions to believe that they actually need the product. Nothing is black and white, plaid serves us well here. But if plaid were post modern, it wouldn’t have a pattern. It would appear to look more like a Jackson Pollock painting.
The state of the market is plaid. It’s a mix of modernist and postmodernist ideas. It has a defining pattern encompassing many colors. The terminology should change to be all inclusive. Maybe pseudo modernist is more appropriate when defining this “plaid” marketplace. Maybe there should be a new term that defines the collective union of the right and left hemispheres of the brain. What would that term be?