A job with the federal government may not be the most exciting job, but it offers some stability and the benefits are great. The downside, as we continue to learn, is that the federal government routinely sputters and like a normal business that’s poorly run, shuts down.
During the present shutdown, now in its 3ist day, 800,000 federal workers are without pay. This is leadership at its worst. Meanwhile, corporate America pitches in where it can.
For a limited time, government workers in the D.C. area are able to get free food from Kraft’s new pop-up store, provided they present the appropriate identification. The store is located at 1287 4th Street NE, two blocks from Union Market.
“During the government shutdown, parents should not have to worry about putting dinner on the table because they aren’t receiving a paycheck,” said Sergio Eleuterio, head of marketing for Kraft Heinz. “This store is one way we can help those affected get the grocery staples they need.”
“Kraft stands for families and we want to support the families who have built our brands,” he added.
I applaud the efforts from brands like Kraft Foods, but there’s also something unseemly and disturbing about the need in the first place. The need to feed our federal workers because their employer—the American people—won’t pay them is a shameful turn of events.
Kraft is also working to enlist the support of other food brands in this humanitarian effort. The ad above offers more details. It also says this is not about politics. It’s about families. That’s an unnecessary piece of copy, in my opinion. The need for this compassionate response wouldn’t exist without our broken politics.
Who Has Been There? Who Is Next?
One of the scariest parts of this shutdown is how it exposes how close many Americans are to financial hardship and eventual ruin. Of course, these are the very people that brands like Kraft rely on to buy their packaged goods. Our economy is propped up by consumer spending. Take that away and dark clouds hover over everything.
According to Bankrate’s latest Financial Security Index survey, just 39 percent of Americans say they would be able to cover a “major unexpected expense” of $1,000 with existing savings. In addition, a recent Federal Reserve report found that found 44 percent of Americans couldn’t cover a $400 emergency expense out of their pocket.
How fragile is the American worker’s position in today’s economy? Take a look:
Let Them Eat Mac & Cheese
The world’s billionaires are growing $2.5 billion richer every day, while the poorest half of the global population is seeing its net worth dwindle.
The math here is dizzying. The combined fortunes of the world’s 26 richest individuals reached $1.4 trillion last year — the same amount as the total wealth of the 3.8 billion poorest people.
For their part, U.S. government workers are doing okay, but the typical federal worker is not well particularly well paid.
Under open government transparency guidelines, records of most public employees of the U.S. federal government is public record. As of 2017, the average salary among 375 agencies was $69,344.22. In
What Economic Hardship Means for Marketing
Flash back to the economic disaster of 2008. After the 2008 stock market crash, newspaper advertising spend in the US fell by 27%; radio, 22%; magazine, 18%; outdoor, 11%; TV, 5% and online, 2%. The entire ad market declined by 13%.
What are you doing, if anything, to prepare for the next downturn? No one wants to focus on the negative news cycles we’re forced to endure today, but the reality of business mandates that we see around the corner.
When the next recession hits, short-termism will become more of a problem. When a bear – economic or not – attacks, you think only about surviving until tomorrow. You do not think about dinner plans next month. The same is true in business.
When things do go dark again, what might it mean for the ad business? Will the billable hour finally be thrown on the bonfire? Will it mean the end of holding companies? I don’t know. Do you?