"…there's no [longer a] mad rush for the "it" gift, the safe, coveted gift that demonstrates the giver was able to finagle a favor or brave a crush of shoppers. The notion of the one, the it, the winner, the safe choice–this is about buying without taking responsibility.
Clearly, there are as many new and wonderful things this season as there are each year, all that's missing is an anointed toy of the year. The masses want to buy what the masses have chosen as the winner, because then the purchase isn't their fault.
And that's what happens every day in just about every market, business or consumer. A few people want to take responsibility, go first, lead the way, be choosy, inquire, find the remarkable, the magical and own the outcome. But most? They just don't want it to be their fault"
Just a couple of thoughts:
i. it's not the absence of mass TV that creates a fragmented and unpredictable marketplace – TV viewing is not as dead as folk like Seth are prone to suggest (though our relationship with it has changed) – but rather the increasing number of connections we have with each other (and the opportunities to see what other folk are having).
ii. it's always interesting to examine the choice of words that people use to describe the early adopters ("take responsibility, go first, lead the way, be choosy, inquire, find the remarkable, the magical and own the outcome…") and the rest of us ("the mass…isn't their fault").
It's not just Seth, we all do it. The lionising and fetishation of early adopters – like Apple's "the crazy ones" – is something we marketers could do with having less of next year, please. It's an unhelpful bit of extrapolation from poorly misunderstood social science. Early adopters vary by market and by occasion and by context; and most of what is chosen by the cool kids never gets anywhere – the legwarmer revival anyone?
Learning from each other is core to what makes our species successful – pretending it's not and that independent choice rules the world is just wrong. And shows how blinded we are by our cultural blinkers…
Happy Christmas, nonetheless, Seth. Hope you have what I'm having…