The Rump Ranger

  • May 25, 2023

Ford’s new ad for the Ranger Raptor is also an ad for something else. This latter being interesting in itself. Politics now appears to matter at least as much as the product – even if the politics hurt sales of the product.

There was a time when that was anathema to those hoping to sell products. The idea being to make rather than lose sales.

That has changed – and that’s very interesting.

Corporations were once the ne plus ultra of conservatism – and not in the political sense. People went there to work and the work was about selling things, as many as possible for as much as possible.

Now it is about selling other things – to people who aren’t interested in buying them.

The Ranger is a truck and the Raptor version – which comes with an array of off-road upgrades – is the most aggressive version of it. Who do you suppose is your customer prospect, assuming you’d like to sell him this vehicle?

The question answers itself. Everyone knows it, too – except, apparently, whomever it was that approved the decision to run an ad for the Raptor Ranger trying to sell him something he’s probably not interested in.

That being other guys.

Straight men aren’t into that. This does not mean they are “phobic” – that is, afraid – of that.

Just the same as some people do not like polka music.

The italics (and the distinction) are important. Most straight men – and women – aren’t afraid of or hostile toward those who aren’t. Live – and let live. You do your thing and we’ll do ours.

Cool.

But they do not like being hard-sold the politics of LGBTQ+-XYZPDQ and – here comes the punchline – they don’t have to buy it.

Anheuser-Busch recently learned about this elemental fact – once taught in business school – after it tried to sell the same demographic that buys burly off-road trucks beer. Whether one likes it or not, the fact remains that probably 98 percent of the people who bought – past tense, now – Bud Lite beer were straight white men. Working class straight white men. Along came a woman from the affluent-elite class that does not drink Bud Lite – and who publicly expressed her contempt for the working class men who do. She derided them as lowbrows and oafs – and then put a man (underneath his tutu) on the can guaranteed to drive those men to drink another brand of beer.

The woman was quickly fired but the damage was done – and it is probably irreparable. No one likes being insulted. Even fewer will pay to be insulted. Or associated with that which they find insulting.

Someone at Ford decided to do exactly that – again!

The Rainbow Raptor ad appeared after the Bud Lite fiasco unfolded. So it wasn’t a mistake – as one might have said regarding the latter. It was – it is – in-your-face deliberate.

There are only two possible explanations.

The first is that the upper echelon people at big corporations have become so out-of-touch with the people who buy their products that they truly do not “get it.” This being due to the insular, almost inbred nature of the circles they swim in. Doesn’t everyone drive a $75,000 EV with a pride sticker on the bumper? In the circles these people swim in, most of them do.

More to the point, you cannot get into these circles without being all-in. They hire and promote people like themselves, who share the same worldview – and assume it is the same worldview everyone has. It accounts for people like the Biden Thing’s secretary of transportation advising people who are having difficulty affording gasoline made twice as expensive by the policies of the Biden Thing to go out and buy a twice-as-expensive electric car as a way to “save” money.

But there is something deeper at work, too.

At one time – this was about three years ago, in the Before Time – corporations tried to understand their customers and  took care to avoid insulting them, not because they cared about them but rather because they cared about making money, which used to require selling things people were free to buy – or not.

It was understood that insulting people is counterproductive to the goal of selling people that which are not forced to buy.

Government can afford to be insolent (and out-of-touch) precisely because it can force us to “buy” what it is “selling.”

Corporations such as Anheuser-Busch, Target, PetSmart – and now Ford – seem interested in adopting this business model. It can be discerned – as regards the car business – in the cooperative partnering with government as regards the pushing of EVs down everyone’s throats.

It is also evident in the blatant disregard of and contempt for the sensibilities of the people who are still free to not buy what these corporations are trying to sell them. It is evidence  that politics trumps selling – and proof that Gramsci’s “long march through the institutions” has been completed.

But people are still free to not buy what corporations such as Anheuser-Busch, Target, PetSmart – and now Ford – are trying to sell them.

Which isn’t beer – or the Ranger Raptor.

. . .

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