Blue Collar Marketing: The Everyman Paradox

With a British background brought with the Mayflower and its sister boats, the elements of a society based on class (just witnessed with the royal wedding) still trickled into early US-European culture, and the working class was easily distinguished, as in the picture above.

In the article Working Joes and the Shadows of Capitalism they describe the working class living from check to check, and the idea of planning for the future being irrelevant, making the present moment the time to live fully.

” The working class is united in the great depression that is life, bounded by insecurity and dissatisfaction and grounded by a common distaste for the status quo and their inverted reflection of what they wish for but simultaneously never want to be- the dreaded, conforming, assured, amnestied, calculating, time obsessed, aura-less, ghost that is the Yuppie.”

According to this article, there is an essential difference between the Yuppie and the Working Class where the Yuppie is going towards a future goal of stable job, house etc… but exploring various places to go, where the Working Class is living more in the present because of either unstable job or economic situation, and encounters stability in the kinds of jobs (with repetition) and in frequenting the same places.

The pub is a classic place where that kind of stability is found. In researching working class imagery, the most frequent colors found seem to be red and black, just like the logo above. To further support that, here is a picture of one of my neighborhood pubs:

note the colors...

There is still an edge to the term working class – check out this working class streetwear:

Over the years the US has experienced a mixture of cultures that has in turn also mixed with a broadening of the working class, confusing it with an all-encompassing middle class. There has been an evolution of a paradox where no one wants to be poor and yet no one wants to seem elitist either. There is question among the experts as to Who or What is Middle Class. As that NBC article describes, “[data] aside, being “middle class” in America today appears to be mostly a state of mind.”

It seems that the absence of women is a part of the depiction of middle class, and yet the role of women has expanded. In addition to the expectations that they be beautiful and be mothers, they are also expected to work… thus the development of the powerful image of the tennis shoe congresswoman, Patty Murray.

Products for the middle class tend towards being colorful…

Frito Lay (although there is a definite shift towards more natural, subdued colors to capitalize on the “healthy” market.)

…the Clydesdales of Budweiser representing hardwork,

… and apartment therapy (saving the world, one room at a time) all provide colors that appeal to the middle class aesthetic.

The colors of the “discerning” palette are more subtle…. of beiges and off-whites. Eileen Fisher is a good example of these subtle hues, as is the Fairmont Olympic Hotel in Seattle.


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