France/US: Cachez ce rêve américain que je ne saurai voir (Protestant work ethic 101: Cadillac shamelessly celebrates American dream and enrages both espresso-sipping French and US liberals)

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/style-blog/files/2014/04/oecd.pnghttp://cdn.static-economist.com/sites/default/files/imagecache/full-width/images/2013/09/blogs/free-exchange/working_hours_picture_1_2.pnghttp://evanstonpubliclibrary.files.wordpress.com/2014/04/big-shoulders.jpg?w=398&h=530J’entends chanter l’Amérique, j’entends ses diverses chansons, Celles des ouvriers, chacun chantant la sienne joyeuse et forte comme elle doit l’être … Walt Whitman
Fier d’être le Charcutier de l’Univers, l’Outilleur, le Glaneur de Blé, l’Ouvrier du Rail et le Manutentionnaire de la Nation ... Carl Sandberg
Une bonne partie de ce que nous observons dans les relations entre la France et les Etats-Unis est le produit d’une structure de relations que l’on doit penser comme la confrontation entre deux impérialismes de l’universel. (…) La France est une sorte d’idéologie réalisée: être français, c’est se sentir en droit d’universaliser son intérêt particulier, cet intérêt particulier qui a pour particularité d’être universel. Et doublement en quelque sorte: universel en matière de politique, avec le modèle pur de la révolution universelle, universel en matière de culture, avec le modèle de chic (de Paris). On comprend que, bien que son monopole de l’universel soit fortement contesté, en particulier par les Etats-Unis, la France reste l’arbitre des élégances en matière de radical chic, comme on dit outre-Atlantique ; elle continue à donner le spectacle des jeux de l’universel, et, en particulier, de cet art de la transgression qui fait les avant-gardes politiques et/ou artistiques, de cette manière (qui se sent inimitable) de se sentir toujours au-delà, et au-delà du delà, de jouer avec virtuosité de tous les registres, difficile à accorder, de l’avant-gardisme politique et de l’avant-gardisme culturel (…) C’est dire que nombre des choses qui s’écrivent ou se disent, à propos de la France ou des USA ou de leurs rapports, sont le produit de l’affrontement entre deux impérialismes, entre un impérialisme en ascension et un impérialisme en déclin, et doivent sans doute beaucoup à des sentiments de revanche ou de ressentiment, sans qu’il soit exclu qu’une partie des réactions que l’on serait porté à classer dans l’antiaméricanisme du ressentiment puissent et doivent être comprises comme des stratégies de résistance légitime à des formes nouvelles d’impérialisme… (…) En fait, on ne peut attendre un progrès vers une culture réellement universelle – c’est-à-dire une culture faite de multiples traditions culturelles unifiées par la reconnaissance qu’elles s’accordent mutuellement – que des luttes entre les impérialismes de l’universel. Ces impérialismes, à travers les hommages plus ou moins hypocrites qu’ils doivent rendre à l’universel pour s’imposer, tendent à le faire avancer et, à tout le moins, à le constituer en recours susceptible d’être invoqué contre les impérialismes mêmes qui s’en réclament. Pierre Bourdieu
Pourquoi on travaille autant ? Pourquoi ? Pour ça ?  Pour tous ces trucs ? Dans d’autres pays, ils travaillent, ils rentrent tranquillement chez eux, ils s’arrêtent au café, ils se prennent tout le mois d’août pour les vacances. Tout le mois d’août ! Pourquoi vous êtes pas comme ça ? Pourquoi, nous, on est pas comme ça ? Parce qu’on est des croyants accros au travail. Voilà pourquoi ! Ces autres pays, ils nous prennent pour des fous et alors ? Est-ce que  les frères Wright étaient fous ? Bill Gates ? Les Paul ? Ali ?  On était fous quand on est allé sur la lune ?  Oui, parce que nous, on y est allé Et vous savez quoi ? On a trouvé ça ennuyeux. Alors on est reparti.  On a laissé une voiture là-bas avec les clés dessus. Vous savez pourquoi ? Parce qu’on est les seuls à pouvoir y retourner. Voilà pourquoi. Mais je m’éloigne du sujet. Vous voyez: c’est assez simple. On travaille dur, on crée ses propres chances et on sait que tout est possible. Quant à tous ces trucs ? C’est le bon côté de prendre que deux semaines de vacances en août. N’est-ce pas ? Publicité Cadillac
Average American employee only takes half of earned vacxation:paid time off; 61% report working while on vacation.Glassdoor survey
N’en déplaise à Louis Gallois, la croissance de la productivité horaire française est bien plus élevée que 0,8%: +1,3% en 2011 selon l’OCDE, + 1,4% selon l’Insee. Certes, en comparaison, la productivité horaire des Allemands a augmenté de 1,6% sur la même période, et de 1,5% en moyenne dans les pays de l’OCDE. Mais la productivité horaire d’un Français est parmi les plus élevée des pays industrialisés: 57,7 dollars en 2011 contre 55,3 dollars pour un Allemand et 44 dollars en moyenne dans les pays de l’OCDE. Seuls les Américains (60,3 dollars), les Norvégiens (81,5 dollars), les Néerlandais (59,8 dollars), les Luxembourgeois (78,9), les Irlandais (66,4) et les Belges (59,2) sont plus productifs. Quant à la productivité globale – la valeur ajoutée brute -, elle a augmenté de 2,7% l’an dernier, à 1789 milliards d’euros. (…) Il est toutefois faux de croire que les Français ne travaillent que 35 heures par semaine: heures supplémentaires comprises, la durée hebdomadaire de travail des salariés à temps complet était, en 2011, de 39,5 heures (52,7 heures pour les non salariés). Certes, c’est moins que les Allemands (40,4 heures en moyenne par semaine) et que l’ensemble des Européens (40,4 heures). Mais, au total en 2011, les Français ont travaillé 1475 heures selon l’OCDE, contre 1411 heures pour les Allemands! Car si l’Allemagne n’a pas réduit le temps de travail des salariés à temps plein, elle a en revanche massivement développé le temps partiel. Reste que les Français ont des marges de progression: la moyenne en zone euro est de 1573 heures de travail par an, et de 1775 heures dans l’ensemble des pays de l’OCDE. Ceux qui travaillent le plus sont les Mexicains (2250 heures par an) et les Sud-Coréens (2193 heures par an). L’Expansion
The Greeks are some of the most hardworking in the OECD, putting in over 2,000 hours a year on average. Germans, on the other hand, are comparative slackers, working about 1,400 hours each year. But German productivity is about 70% higher. Alternatively, the graph above might suggest that people who work fewer hours are more productive. (…) There are aberrations, of course. Americans are relatively productive and work relatively long hours. And within the American labour force hours worked among the rich have risen while those of the poor have fallen The Economist
A new and growing body of multidisciplinary research shows that strategic renewal — including daytime workouts, short afternoon naps, longer sleep hours, more time away from the office and longer, more frequent vacations — boosts productivity, job performance and, of course, health. In a study of nearly 400 employees, published last year, researchers found that sleeping too little — defined as less than six hours each night — was one of the best predictors of on-the-job burn-out. A recent Harvard study estimated that sleep deprivation costs American companies $63.2 billion a year in lost productivity. The Stanford researcher Cheri D. Mah found that when she got male basketball players to sleep 10 hours a night, their performances in practice dramatically improved: free-throw and three-point shooting each increased by an average of 9 percent. Daytime naps have a similar effect on performance. When night shift air traffic controllers were given 40 minutes to nap — and slept an average of 19 minutes — they performed much better on tests that measured vigilance and reaction time. Longer naps have an even more profound impact than shorter ones. Sara C. Mednick, a sleep researcher at the University of California, Riverside, found that a 60- to 90-minute nap improved memory test results as fully as did eight hours of sleep. MORE vacations are similarly beneficial. In 2006, the accounting firm Ernst & Young did an internal study of its employees and found that for each additional 10 hours of vacation employees took, their year-end performance ratings from supervisors (on a scale of one to five) improved by 8 percent. Frequent vacationers were also significantly less likely to leave the firm. (…) In the 1950s, the researchers William Dement and Nathaniel Kleitman discovered that we sleep in cycles of roughly 90 minutes, moving from light to deep sleep and back out again. They named this pattern the Basic-Rest Activity Cycle or BRAC. A decade later, Professor Kleitman discovered that this cycle recapitulates itself during our waking lives. The difference is that during the day we move from a state of alertness progressively into physiological fatigue approximately every 90 minutes. Our bodies regularly tell us to take a break, but we often override these signals and instead stoke ourselves up with caffeine, sugar and our own emergency reserves — the stress hormones adrenaline, noradrenaline and cortisol. Working in 90-minute intervals turns out to be a prescription for maximizing productivity. Professor K. Anders Ericsson and his colleagues at Florida State University have studied elite performers, including musicians, athletes, actors and chess players. In each of these fields, Dr. Ericsson found that the best performers typically practice in uninterrupted sessions that last no more than 90 minutes. The NYT
Alors que les Américains s’appauvrissent constamment depuis 2004, la tendance est inverse au Capitole où les élus sont de plus en plus riches. C’est ce que révèle une enquête publiée par le New York Times, basée sur des données du Centre pour une politique réactive (Center for Responsive Politics), et qui montre que 250 des 535 membres du Congrès américains sont millionnaires. Si l’endroit a toujours été peuplé par des personnes plutôt aisées, l’écart avec le reste du peuple n’a en revanche jamais été aussi marqué. Le revenu net médian des représentants et sénateurs culmine à 913.000 de $ (705.000 €) et ne cesse d’augmenter, quand celui des Américains dans son ensemble, continuellement en baisse, avoisine aujourd’hui les 100.000 $ (77.000 €). Plus surprenant, le revenu du Congrès a augmenté de 15% en sept ans, période durant laquelle celui des Américains les plus fortunés a pour sa part stagné. Pour tous les autres, le revenu médian a baissé de 8% pour cette même période. Si cet écart de richesse aurait pu passer inaperçu en temps normal, en pleine crise économique, il choque. Des fortunes qui dépassent les 100 millions de $. (…) Pour tenter d’expliquer comment les parlementaires font pour continuer de s’enrichir en ces temps de morosité économique, plusieurs pistes sont évoquées. Certains analystes, cités par le New York Times, estiment que c’est tout simplement parce que la politique s’adresse avant tout aux personnes aisées. Lors des élections de 2010, le coût d’une campagne victorieuse pour le Sénat s’élevait en moyenne à 10 millions de $ et à 1,4 million pour une place au sein de la Chambre des représentants. De facto, seules des personnes avec déjà des moyens conséquents sont à même de se lancer en politique. Une fois entré au Congrès, le parlementaire touche un salaire annuel de base de 174.000 $ (qui a augmenté de 10% depuis 2004, soit un peu moins que l’inflation). À ce salaire s’ajoutent plusieurs avantages auquel le citoyen lambda n’a pas accès: des primes d’ancienneté, des pensions de retraite et une sécurité sociale en or. Le Washington Post explique aussi qu’une fois en place, les sénateurs et les représentants jouissent d’un réseau et de nouveaux moyens qui leurs permettent d’augmenter leurs pécules. Les données récoltées par le Center for Responsive Politics montrent que les parlementaires feraient d’excellents résultats sur les marchés boursiers. D’après des chercheurs de l’université de Géorgie, qui ont étudié la question, ces performances seraient le fruit d’un «important avantage d’informations» dû à leurs positions. Le Figaro
Even if the clip was a bit corny and overdone, the late Paul Harvey was a masterful throaty narrator in the romantic age before the onset of America’s now ubiquitous metrosexual nasal intonation. Harvey just didn’t sound different from the present generation, but from what we suspect, he sounded different from most generations to come as well. One reason that our age cannot make a Shane, High Noon, or The Searchers is that most of our suburban Hollywood actors cannot even fake the accent of either the frontier or the tragic hero anymore. When Tommy Lee Jones and Robert Duvall go, so goes too the last link to the cinema’s Westerner. There are no more voices like Slim Pickens or Ben Johnson. (…) It was not just Harvey’s mid-20th century voice that intrigued millions, but his unapologetic praise of the farmer’s work ethic, religiosity, and family values that he implied were at the core of American greatness, and were shared by all sorts of other American originals: the truck driver, the steel worker, or waitress whom we now all praise and yet prep our children not to be. We suspect that our kids would be better off at forty for spending a summer on a tractor at fifteen, but we just can’t seem to risk the loss of a season’s computer camp or eco-camp in the bargain. (…) I suppose the images resonated in 2013 in a way that they would have seemed passé in 1950, but not just because farmers then were about 15% of the population and now make up less than 1%, and so currently earn the added intrigue accorded to vanishing in the manner of the rhino or blue whale. The commercial instead was mostly a hit because of the sharp contrast, not just with the Petronian spectacle of today’s Super Bowl extravaganza, but also with the general tenor of the times of 2013 in particular.Victor Davis Hanson
Rather than millionaires, the spot’s targeted at customers who make around $200,000 a year. They’re consumers with a "little bit of grit under their fingernails" who "pop in and out of luxury" when and how they see fit. These are people who haven’t been given anything. Every part of success they’ve achieved has been earned through hard work and hustle. . . . One of the ways they reward themselves for their hard work is through the purchase of a luxury car … Right up front, Mr. McDonough dismisses the idea the reason American work so hard is to buy "stuff." What he’s really saying is that Americans work hard because that’s what they love to do. Luxury cars and other expensive goodies are a byproduct of success; not the objective. It’s basically saying hard work creates its own luck. In order to achieve it, you just have to believe anything’s possible. You have to believe in yourself, you have to believe in possibilities. It’s really about optimism. It’s really a fundamental human truth: optimism about creating your own future. It’s not about materialism. … Cadillac does not want to "guilt" people into buying an American rather than a European luxury car. The last thing in the world we want to do is comes across as: ‘It’s your duty to buy an American car.’ I don’t think anybody wakes up wanting to hear that. . . . The strategy was really to play off the consumer insights around this notion of achievement earned through hard work and hustle — and celebrating that. Since it’s a U.S.-based spot, we used metaphors to talk about other people who received their success through hard work … Reaction is running about 3-1 in favor of the spot with the young consumer audience on YouTube. But some people are offended at the perceived workaholic message when millions of people are out work and others are just getting by. Again, that’s not what Cadillac intended … We’re not making a statement saying, ‘We want people to work hard.’ What we’re saying is that hard work has its payoffs. Find something you love to do, do it incredibly well and there’s a reward for that. Whether its personal satisfaction, whether its fulfillment, whether that’s money … Rogue found and cast Mr. McDonough in an early version of the spot that they used to pitch and ultimately win Cadillac’s $250 million creative account last year. Cadillac and Rogue later went back and remade the spot with Mr. McDonough to create the version on-air now. We just liked his attitude … [It's a dissertation on American values] Sure. But what people forget is that still just a car ad. What made Cadillac happiest is consumers recognize ELR as an electric car — although Mr. McDonough never states that explicitly. It’s sparked an interesting and thought-provoking debate. Craig Bierley
The only thing to upset the early-morning serenity was the single most obnoxious television ad ever made: the one for Cadillac, in which the life of the tiniest one per cent of the one per cent is represented as an American birthright. It’s the one with the appalling guy who high-fives his kids (without looking at them) and then ends with an anti-French flourish: “You work hard; you create your own luck. And all that stuff? That’s the upside of only taking two weeks off in August, n’est-ce pas?” The French is proudly mispronounced, but if any Francophone ad were as aggressively anti-American as this one is against the French, you’d be reading about it for weeks in the Wall Street Journal. That the French summer vacation is not a rule forced on the rich entrepreneur—who can scheme on his yacht all August if he likes—but a protection for the poor worker he employs, is not something that occurs to the Cadillac mind. (If you want to understand why the rest of the world likes to watch Americans lose, this ad explains it all.) Adam Gopnik
"There are plenty of things to celebrate about being American, but being possessed by a blind mania for working yourself into the ground, buying more stuff and mocking people in other countries just isn’t one of them. The Huffington Post
Why are we looking to Europe for guidance? They take the month of August off, there’s 14% unemployment, they’re welfare states. They sit around and they move at a leisurely pace. They can’t defend themselves. They rely on us for that. What in the world is there to model ourselves after? … Oh, man, I’ll tell you, they look at this as an assault on Europe. They look at it as an assault on sidewalk cafes, Starbucks and this kind of thing. They look at it as an assault on their lifestyle. Remember, these are the people telling us that you are liberated when you get fired. You’re liberated when you lose your job because now you don’t have to do some stupid job to have health care because the government will give it to you. You don’t have to work anymore. That’s where they come from. Yeah, you can finally go discover the inner artist in you, and you now can join the legion of great human beings who have painted. You can be one of them, not tied to some silly job … But that’s the lifestyle, that’s sophistication, you see. Sophistication is, work? I’ll do what I have to. I’m gonna really devote myself to what’s important. I’m going to go paint. Then I’m gonna go visit a museum. After I visit the museum, then I’m gonna go to the art gallery, and after I finish the art gallery, I’m gonna head over back to the espresso cafe. When I finish there I’m gonna head to the real bar and I’m gonna have a couple shots, maybe some white wine, maybe some Camembert. When I finish there, I’m then gonna go to the craft show at the local community center where I’m gonna learn how to knit and sew and knit and peel and whatever, and then I’m gonna go home and I’m gonna water my garden. And right before I go to bed, I’m gonna add to the poem I’ve been writing for the past month. Yes, I’ll work on my poetry. When I finish my poetry, I will then retire and go to bed. And when I awaken, I will get up, and I will hate the fact that the first part of my day is a job where I’m going to be exploited by some evil capitalist. But I’ll go do it anyway so that when it’s over I can stroll back to the espresso bar and maybe while I’m at the espresso bar, I’ll dream of inventing the flying car, and I’ll write it and scribble it out there on my Microsoft Surface, because I don’t want to the best, the iPad. No. And then I just repeat the cycle. I’ll go to a different museum and I’ll go see different displays, exhibits and so forth. That’s sophistication. That is what we should aspire to. All this hard-work stuff, what a crock. If you do work, by the way, if you do get sucked in, make sure you work for a nonprofit. In fact, the best thing you, make sure you run a nonprofit. That way you can really get paid for not doing anything. That way you’re not working for some enterprise devoted to the evil of profit. No, you’re working for a nonprofit. You will live off what other people give you and you will claim that you are better people, because you have not been soiled by the poisons of capitalism. There isn’t any profit or loss in what you do. You’re interested in public service. Then, when you finish that, it’s to the soup kitchen and the homeless shelter, just to look in, just to see that people are there, and you’ll feel great about yourself because you care. And then you’ll demand the rich pay higher taxes so that the soup kitchen doesn’t close … Here’s the thing about hard work. Hard work is hard — and, by the way, folks, not everybody loves their work. This commercial is an indication of what can happen if you work hard, even though you may not like it. But you know what this commercial really is? By the way, this commercial was originally not for an electric car. They made this ad about an electric car to try to soften the blow so it would offend these leftist wackos less. Rush Limbaugh

Cachez ce rêve américain que je ne saurai voir !

Alors qu’au pays aux éternels trois millions de chomeurs, un jeune entrepreneur  et l’organe de presse qui publiait sa tribune libre se voient assigner en justice pour avoir osé remettre en question les méthodes anticoncurrentielles d’une compagnie de taxis …

Et qu’à la suite d’un président du Très Grand Capital recordman toutes catégories des levées de fonds et des dépenses de campagne et avec le nouvel assouplissement des règles que vient de voter la Cour suprême, des parlementaires américains toujours plus riches vont pouvoir, démocrates en tête, s’enrichir un peu plus …

Comment s’étonner de la belle unanimité du tollé qu’a suscité, chez les têtes pensantes des deux côtés de l’Atlantique, la véritable ode au rêve américain et à l’éthique du travail qu’avait lancée Cadillac sur les petits écrans en février dernier pour vendre sa nouvelle berline ?

Où, au prix d’un double contresens confondant matérialisme et accomplissement personnel et critiquant la conversion d’une entreprise à l’écologie qui aurait dû les séduire (la berline est en fait hybride-électrique), nos professionnels de la nouvelle police de la pensée politiquement correcte se ruent comme un seul homme  sur le chiffon rouge de l’image d’une Amérique à nouveau fière d’elle-même

Dans une pub il est vrai où, contrairement à l’habile parodie qu’en a fait aussitôt après son concurrent Ford pour vendre sa propre voiture électrique (avec femme noire, comme il se doit, modèle de modestie et de bonne conscience écologique), la vénérable compagnie au nom si mythiquement français choisissait pour l’incarner un acteur blond et bien dans sa peau, étalant sans vergogne sa réussite et celle de son pays tout en taclant au passage les quatre semaines de congés payés d’un pays pourtant, du moins pour ceux qui ont la chance d’avoir un travail, des plus productifs  …

La pub anti-Français de Cadillac
Le Nouvel Observateur
11-04-2014

Le dernier spot de la marque de luxe laisse entendre que les Français sont des paresseux passant leur temps à se délecter des congés payés. Charming.

Les publicités pour voiture ne font pas toujours preuve d’une grande finesse. C’est le cas du dernier spot de Cadillac.

Tout commence sur fond de grosse maison américaine. Un homme, dénommé Nel McDonough, se tient devant la piscine, et pose une question existentielle : "Pourquoi travaillons-nous autant ?" "Pour tout ça", dit-il en traversant sa villa, "pour toutes ces choses matérielles".

"Dans d’autres pays, ils rentrent chez eux tôt, s’arrêtent au café et prennent des vacances tout le mois d’août", poursuit-il.

Ce "nous", ce sont bien sûr les Américains, et les "autres pays", la France avec ses 35 heures, ses congés payés et ses bistrots à tous les coins de rue.

Nel McDonough ne lésine sur aucun argument pour démontrer le caractère "ambitieux" et "acharné" des Américains dont les Français seraient dépourvus : Neil Armstrong et les premiers pas sur la lune, Bill Gates… Dans son costume gris des plus chics, Nel McDonough pour finir débranche son bolide électrique en déclarant que la vie, finalement, "c’est assez simple. Vous travaillez dur, vous créez vos propres chances, vous devez croire que tout est possible. Et tous ces biens ? C’est l’avantage de ne prendre que deux semaines de vacances en août".

Et de conclure par un clin d’œil "N’est-ce pas ?". En français bien sûr.

Voir aussi:

L’affligeante pub anti-française de Cadillac
La marque de General Motors propose dans un spot une vision caricaturale de Français forcément paresseux.
Marc Naimark
Slate
11/04/2014

Il est vaguement ironique qu’une marque automobile qui tire son nom du fondateur français du Fort Ponchartrain, devenu la ville de Detroit, décide de faire du French-bashing. Ah oui, ces Frogs, ces cheese-eating surrender monkeys, connus pour leur paresse, les 35 heures, la déconnexion de leurs mails professionnel à 18h et les quatre semaines passées à bronzer parmi les coquillages et crustacés en août! Quelle différence avec ces Yankees travailleurs, se délectant des heures passées à tout faire sauf ne rien faire.

C’est justement le trait de caractère qu’utilise Cadillac, la gamme de luxe de General Motors, qui tire son nom d’un certain Antoine Laumet de La Mothe, sieur de Cadillac, dans une pub télé pour son modèle ELR mettant en scène l’acteur Neil McDonough (Frères d’armes, Desperate Housewives, etc.).

Dans ce spot, McDonough se promène de sa belle piscine vers sa non moins belle villa, de la superbe cuisine de celle-ci vers son vaste salon, en nous posant une question existentielle: pourquoi travaille-t-on autant? Pour tous ces biens matériels? Pour une marque de luxe, il va de soi que la réponse, après un discours un peu erratique sur la folie américaine, sera «oui».

«N’est-ce pas?» en français dans le texte

Durant ce plaidoyer en faveur du matérialisme, McDonough oppose aux Américains «d’autres pays» (en fait, la France) où, après le boulot, on se prélasse à la terrasse d’un café, où l’on passe tout le mois d’août en vacances, où l’on sait apprécier la vie.

Ceux-là méprisent les Américains ambitieux et acharnés au travail en les traitant de fous. Mais les frères Wright, pionniers de l’aviation, n’étaient-ils pas fous? N’était-ce pas fou d’aller sur la Lune et d’y retourner plusieurs fois avant de s’en ennuyer, laissant des bagnoles là-haut, sûrs que les seuls capables d’y retourner seront des Américains (surtout, ne le dites pas aux Chinois…)?

McDonough rentre dans son dressing et ressort en costume, prêt à sortir débrancher le bolide électrique à générateur intégré garé devant sa villa, en concluant:

«Les biens matériels, c’est le bon côté de ne prendre que quinze jours de vacances.»

Avec comme conclusion, un «N’est-ce pas?» évidemment en français dans le texte.

Effort pour un monde meilleur

A la caricature du Français qui sait vivre mais qui ne connaîtra jamais le plaisir d’avoir autant de choses que l’Américain, Ford, dans une nouvelle pub qui répond à celle de Cadillac, vient d’opposer une autre vision. Le spot met en scène, non pas un acteur, mais une personne réelle, Pashon Murray, la fondatrice de Detroit Dirt, entreprise du secteur social et solidaire qui récupère les déchets pour les transformer en compost destiné aux fermes urbaines d’une Detroit dépeuplée.

Dans cette pub, calque exacte de celle de Cadillac mais pour une voiture électrique bien plus modeste, Murray propose une troisième voie: ni paresse ni obsession accumulatrice, mais l’effort pour un monde meilleur.

La pub Cadillac se voulait provocatrice et clivante. General Motors prétend que les réactions étaient largement en sa faveur, mais a néanmoins choisi de ranger ce spot au placard après l’avoir diffusé massivement lors des JO de Sotchi, au profit de spots Internet destinés à mettre en évidence les avantages d’une voiture électrique et les autres innovations luxo-technologiques de l’ELR.

Si cette pub a «marché», c’est sans doute parce qu’elle conforte des Américains qui travaillent sans relâche pour acheter des maisons plus grandes où ils ne passent que très peu de temps, pour se procurer de nouveaux objets électroniques qu’ils n’ont presque pas le temps d’utiliser, pour acheter plein de jouets à leurs enfants qu’ils ne voient jamais. Neil McDonough les rassure: ça va, c’est bien de travailler autant, vous aurez une Cadillac à la fin!

Pour les 80% d’Américains qui n’auront jamais les moyens de payer plus de 75.000 dollars une voiture, les heures sans fin, c’est pour payer les assurances santé, la garde d’enfant, un logement dans un quartier avec des écoles un peu moins pourries qu’ailleurs. Et peut-être la voiture électrique de Ford, vendue moitié moins cher que l’ELR.

Une vision d’un monde où le travail n’est ni égoïstement honni, ni égoïstement adulé, mais tout simplement une voie vers un monde meilleur. Et c’est sans doute cette vision à laquelle adhéreraient les Français, les vrais, pas les faire-valoir caricaturaux de ce spot plutôt affligeant.

Voir également:

Cadillac lance une campagne de pub « anti-France »
Romain Pomian-Bonnemaison
Terrafemina
12 avril 2014

La marque de voiture Cadillac a choisi de centrer sa dernière campagne de pub sur ce qui fait des Etats-Unis un si grand pays… surtout par rapport au « farniente » à la française. N’hésitant pas à faire passer les français pour des flemmards parce qu’il se prendraient « un mois de vacances en août », la publicité qui n’en est pas à une contradiction près – en fait presque oublier le produit qu’elle essaie de vendre. Sans vraiment faire dans la finesse.

« Dans d’autres pays, ils travaillent, reviennent à la maison en s’arrêtant au café, ils prennent leur mois d’août – en entier », répète, insondable, l’acteur Neal McDonough (Desperate Housewives, Frères d’Armes, Minority Report…). Après tout un laïus sur le matérialisme, véritable sens de l’existence (avoir une piscine, par exemple, est dépeint comme un objectif de vie suprême), la publicité se conclut par un « N’est-ce pas ? » en français dans le texte – histoire de bien souligner que les « autres pays », ça veut bien dire la France. Pour la petite histoire, le nom de l’entreprise, Cadillac, fait référence au gascon Antoine de Lamothe-Cadillac, fondateur de la ville de Détroit en 1701 – une contradiction certes vague, mais non moins intéressante.

Quel est le message de Cadillac ?

Dans le détail, les poncifs véhiculés par cette publicité sont affligeants. Comme le relève Slate, les Etats-Unis, dépeints en creux, sont des maîtres incontestés dans tous les domaines – quitte à dire de belles âneries comme sur la conquête de la Lune, où il oublie que les Russes et les Chinois ont eux aussi déposé des véhicules… Et de conclure par cette phrase pas très illuminée: « Les biens matériels, c’est le bon côté de ne prendre que quinze jours de vacances », suivi de « N’est-ce pas ? ».

Voir encore:

Ford surfe sur le bad buzz de Cadillac pour sa dernière pub

maitesavin
Meltybuzz
31/03/2014
Alors que la dernière campagne de Cadillac faisait l’objet d’un bad buzz, la marque de voiture Ford a décidé de surfer sur ce bad buzz pour le tourner à son avantage en reprenant la pub au plan près !

La parodie de Cadillac par Ford

Après le bad buzz de la pub de Cadillac, Ford a retourné la situation à son avantage. En effet, en février dernier, l’acteur Neal McDonough (Dave Williams, mari d’Edie Britt dans la saison 5 de Desperate Housewives) incarnait le rêve américain matérialiste et libéral afin de promouvoir l’ELR, la berline électrique de Cadillac. Cette campagne n’avait pas fait l’unanimité et a même été qualifiée de "cauchemar". C’est alors que Team Detroit, l’agence de pub travaillant pour la marque de voitures Ford, a décidé de prendre cette pub à contre pied. Surfant sur le bad buzz qu’elle a déclenché, elle reprend plan par plan la campagne de Cadillac remplaçant l’acteur blond par l’Afro-américaine Pashon Murray. Rien ne change sauf le discours. Cette dernière porte des bottes et un pantalon de jardin et explique son mode de vie écologique, tourné vers la Terre et les autres avec sa fondation Detroit Dirt. Contrairement à Cadillac, la jeune femme ne parle en aucun cas de sa réussite, de sa richesse en vantant la suprématie américaine et taclant les 5 semaines de congés payés français. Non, Ford a su garder un discours modeste et a bien su se servir de Cadillac pour promouvoir sa propre voiture électrique !

Voir de même:

Les Français ne sont pas assez productifs: info ou intox?

Louis Gallois estime que la productivité ne croît plus suffisamment en France. Pourtant, la France a une productivité horaire des plus élevées. Mais travaille moins d’heures que ses voisins. Décryptage.

Emilie Lévêque

L’Expansion

09/11/2012

Et si le manque de compétitivité de la France n’était pas seulement dû au coût du travail trop élevé, mais à un déficit de productivité des salariés? C’est en tout cas ce pense Louis Gallois. "Il y a un vrai problème de la productivité du travail en France", a déclaré ce vendredi sur BFM Business l’ancien patron du groupe aéronautique EADS, auteur du rapport sur la compétitivité des entreprises françaises. "La productivité horaire française reste forte, le problème, c’est qu’elle ne croît plus au rythme souhaitable", a-t-il poursuivi soulignant qu’elle augmentait à un rythme de "0,8% par an". "C’est insuffisant", pour l’industriel.

N’en déplaise à Louis Gallois, la croissance de la productivité horaire française est bien plus élevée que 0,8%: +1,3% en 2011 selon l’OCDE, + 1,4% selon l’Insee. Certes, en comparaison, la productivité horaire des Allemands a augmenté de 1,6% sur la même période, et de 1,5% en moyenne dans les pays de l’OCDE.

Mais la productivité horaire d’un Français est parmi les plus élevée des pays industrialisés: 57,7 dollars en 2011 contre 55,3 dollars pour un Allemand et 44 dollars en moyenne dans les pays de l’OCDE. Seuls les Américains (60,3 dollars), les Norvégiens (81,5 dollars), les Néerlandais (59,8 dollars), les Luxembourgeois (78,9), les Irlandais (66,4) et les Belges (59,2) sont plus productifs. Quant à la productivité globale – la valeur ajoutée brute -, elle a augmenté de 2,7% l’an dernier, à 1789 milliards d’euros.
Louis Gallois contraint de retirer ces préconisation sur le temps de travail?

Ce n’est donc peut-être pas tant un problème de productivité horaire, que dénonce Louis Gallois, mais de nombre d’heures travaillées. Parmi les nombreuses informations qui ont fuité sur ce que proposerait le rapport Gallois, il y a eu, en octobre, celle du Parisien sur la suppression des 35 heures. Le Commissariat général à l’investissement avait aussitôt démenti. Et de fait, il n’y a aucune mention à la durée du travail dans le rapport remis le 6 novembre au Premier ministre Jean-Marc Ayrault.

Etrange, car toutes les autres fuites de presse se sont révélées exactes – sur l’allègement de charges sociales de 30 milliards d’euros, sur l’exploration du gaz de schiste, etc. Louis Gallois aurait-il été contraint de retirer cette proposition de supprimer les 35 heures? C’est ce qu’il dit à demi-mots: il a été obligé "de se cantonner à un certain nombre de sujets", explique-t-il sur BFM.

Il est toutefois faux de croire que les Français ne travaillent que 35 heures par semaine: heures supplémentaires comprises, la durée hebdomadaire de travail des salariés à temps complet était, en 2011, de 39,5 heures (52,7 heures pour les non salariés). Certes, c’est moins que les Allemands (40,4 heures en moyenne par semaine) et que l’ensemble des Européens (40,4 heures). Mais, au total en 2011, les Français ont travaillé 1475 heures selon l’OCDE, contre 1411 heures pour les Allemands! Car si l’Allemagne n’a pas réduit le temps de travail des salariés à temps plein, elle a en revanche massivement développé le temps partiel.

Reste que les Français ont des marges de progression: la moyenne en zone euro est de 1573 heures de travail par an, et de 1775 heures dans l’ensemble des pays de l’OCDE. Ceux qui travaillent le plus sont les Mexicains (2250 heures par an) et les Sud-Coréens (2193 heures par an).

Voir par aussi:

Relax! You’ll Be More Productive
Tony Schwartz
February 9, 2013

THINK for a moment about your typical workday. Do you wake up tired? Check your e-mail before you get out of bed? Skip breakfast or grab something on the run that’s not particularly nutritious? Rarely get away from your desk for lunch? Run from meeting to meeting with no time in between? Find it nearly impossible to keep up with the volume of e-mail you receive? Leave work later than you’d like, and still feel compelled to check e-mail in the evenings?

More and more of us find ourselves unable to juggle overwhelming demands and maintain a seemingly unsustainable pace. Paradoxically, the best way to get more done may be to spend more time doing less. A new and growing body of multidisciplinary research shows that strategic renewal — including daytime workouts, short afternoon naps, longer sleep hours, more time away from the office and longer, more frequent vacations — boosts productivity, job performance and, of course, health.

“More, bigger, faster.” This, the ethos of the market economies since the Industrial Revolution, is grounded in a mythical and misguided assumption — that our resources are infinite.

Time is the resource on which we’ve relied to get more accomplished. When there’s more to do, we invest more hours. But time is finite, and many of us feel we’re running out, that we’re investing as many hours as we can while trying to retain some semblance of a life outside work.

Although many of us can’t increase the working hours in the day, we can measurably increase our energy. Science supplies a useful way to understand the forces at play here. Physicists understand energy as the capacity to do work. Like time, energy is finite; but unlike time, it is renewable. Taking more time off is counterintuitive for most of us. The idea is also at odds with the prevailing work ethic in most companies, where downtime is typically viewed as time wasted. More than one-third of employees, for example, eat lunch at their desks on a regular basis. More than 50 percent assume they’ll work during their vacations.

In most workplaces, rewards still accrue to those who push the hardest and most continuously over time. But that doesn’t mean they’re the most productive.

Spending more hours at work often leads to less time for sleep and insufficient sleep takes a substantial toll on performance. In a study of nearly 400 employees, published last year, researchers found that sleeping too little — defined as less than six hours each night — was one of the best predictors of on-the-job burn-out. A recent Harvard study estimated that sleep deprivation costs American companies $63.2 billion a year in lost productivity.

The Stanford researcher Cheri D. Mah found that when she got male basketball players to sleep 10 hours a night, their performances in practice dramatically improved: free-throw and three-point shooting each increased by an average of 9 percent.

Daytime naps have a similar effect on performance. When night shift air traffic controllers were given 40 minutes to nap — and slept an average of 19 minutes — they performed much better on tests that measured vigilance and reaction time.

Longer naps have an even more profound impact than shorter ones. Sara C. Mednick, a sleep researcher at the University of California, Riverside, found that a 60- to 90-minute nap improved memory test results as fully as did eight hours of sleep.

MORE vacations are similarly beneficial. In 2006, the accounting firm Ernst & Young did an internal study of its employees and found that for each additional 10 hours of vacation employees took, their year-end performance ratings from supervisors (on a scale of one to five) improved by 8 percent. Frequent vacationers were also significantly less likely to leave the firm.

As athletes understand especially well, the greater the performance demand, the greater the need for renewal. When we’re under pressure, however, most of us experience the opposite impulse: to push harder rather than rest. This may explain why a recent survey by Harris Interactive found that Americans left an average of 9.2 vacation days unused in 2012 — up from 6.2 days in 2011.

The importance of restoration is rooted in our physiology. Human beings aren’t designed to expend energy continuously. Rather, we’re meant to pulse between spending and recovering energy.

In the 1950s, the researchers William Dement and Nathaniel Kleitman discovered that we sleep in cycles of roughly 90 minutes, moving from light to deep sleep and back out again. They named this pattern the Basic-Rest Activity Cycle or BRAC. A decade later, Professor Kleitman discovered that this cycle recapitulates itself during our waking lives.

The difference is that during the day we move from a state of alertness progressively into physiological fatigue approximately every 90 minutes. Our bodies regularly tell us to take a break, but we often override these signals and instead stoke ourselves up with caffeine, sugar and our own emergency reserves — the stress hormones adrenaline, noradrenaline and cortisol.

Working in 90-minute intervals turns out to be a prescription for maximizing productivity. Professor K. Anders Ericsson and his colleagues at Florida State University have studied elite performers, including musicians, athletes, actors and chess players. In each of these fields, Dr. Ericsson found that the best performers typically practice in uninterrupted sessions that last no more than 90 minutes. They begin in the morning, take a break between sessions, and rarely work for more than four and a half hours in any given day.

“To maximize gains from long-term practice,” Dr. Ericsson concluded, “individuals must avoid exhaustion and must limit practice to an amount from which they can completely recover on a daily or weekly basis.”

I’ve systematically built these principles into the way I write. For my first three books, I sat at my desk for up 10 hours a day. Each of the books took me at least a year to write. For my two most recent books, I wrote in three uninterrupted 90-minute sessions — beginning first thing in the morning, when my energy was highest — and took a break after each one.

Along the way, I learned that it’s not how long, but how well, you renew that matters most in terms of performance. Even renewal requires practice. The more rapidly and deeply I learned to quiet my mind and relax my body, the more restored I felt afterward. For one of the breaks, I ran. This generated mental and emotional renewal, but also turned out to be a time in which some of my best ideas came to me, unbidden. Writing just four and half hours a day, I completed both books in less than six months and spent my afternoons on less demanding work.

The power of renewal was so compelling to me that I’ve created a business around it that helps a range of companies including Google, Coca-Cola, Green Mountain Coffee, the Los Angeles Police Department, Cleveland Clinic and Genentech.

Our own offices are a laboratory for the principles we teach. Renewal is central to how we work. We dedicated space to a “renewal” room in which employees can nap, meditate or relax. We have a spacious lounge where employees hang out together and snack on healthy foods we provide. We encourage workers to take renewal breaks throughout the day, and to leave the office for lunch, which we often do together. We allow people to work from home several days a week, in part so they can avoid debilitating rush-hour commutes. Our workdays end at 6 p.m. and we don’t expect anyone to answer e-mail in the evenings or on the weekends. Employees receive four weeks of vacation from their first year.

Our basic idea is that the energy employees bring to their jobs is far more important in terms of the value of their work than is the number of hours they work. By managing energy more skillfully, it’s possible to get more done, in less time, more sustainably. In a decade, no one has ever chosen to leave the company. Our secret is simple — and generally applicable. When we’re renewing, we’re truly renewing, so when we’re working, we can really work.

Tony Schwartz is the chief executive officer of The Energy Project and the author, most recently, of “Be Excellent at Anything.”

Voir également:

Cadillac Clears Up ‘Misconceptions’ About Contentious ‘Poolside’ Ad
But Expect Debate to Keep Raging After Oscar Airing
Michael McCarthy
Ad age
March 01, 2014. 31

"Why do we work so hard? For what? For this? For stuff?" asks actor Neal McDonough as he gazes out over his pool in new Cadillac’s TV commercial before delivering a dissertation on the American Dream.

With that, the actor begins the controversial 60-second spot Cadillac that will air both before and during ABC’s broadcast of the Academy Awards this Sunday night.

The "Poolside" spot created, by ad agency Rogue, is intended to serve as a "brand provocation," according to Craig Bierley, Cadillac’s advertising director. Consider it mission accomplished.

The spot for the new Cadillac ELR has provoked extreme reactions since its debut during NBC’s broadcast of the Opening Ceremony of the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics

Fans on the political right see "Poolside" as an unapologetic ode to American values. Critics on the political left see it as Ugly American chest thumping at its worst. During a time when Americans are working harder and longer for less money, others question the spot’s perceived workaholic message.

Fox Business News contributor Jonathan Hoenig, a founding member of the Capitalistpig hedge fund, praised "Poolside" as a "tremendous" celebration of profit-seeking, productivity and, yes, enjoyment of material goods.

"Those are considered very declasse these days, very down. So here’s a wonderful ad that actually celebrates America," Mr. Hoenig said.

But Fox Business host Neil Cavuto worried "Poolside" feeds the negative perception of the richest 1% as smug, rich bastards who are contemptuous of everyone else. It also takes chutzpah for GM, a company bailed out by American taxpayers, to preach self-reliance, Mr. Cavuto wryly noted.

Other critics have attacked the spot more bluntly. The Huffington Post declared: "Cadillac made a commercial about the American Dream — and it’s a Nightmare." Wrote Carolyn Gregoire: "The luxury car company is selling a vision of the American Dream at its worst: Work yourself into the ground, take as little time off as possible, and buy expensive sh*t (specifically, a 2014 Cadillac ELR)."

Washington Post contributor Brigid Schulte "groaned" at the sight of a "middle-aged white guy" extolling the "virtues of hard work, American style," while strolling around his fancy house, pool and $75,000 electric car.
Ad Age DataCenter
11.5% Experiential marketing

U.S. revenue growth for experiential/event-marketing agencies in Ad Age’s Agency Report 2013. Check out the full report and rankings.
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Advertising Age interviewed Cadillac’s Mr. Bierley on the strong reaction to the spot. He said the spot’s been "misconstrued" by some viewers. He wanted to set the record straight. Among the misperceptions:
Craig Bierley Craig Bierley

It’s aimed at the richest 1%
Not so, says Mr. Bierley. Rather than millionaires, the spot’s targeted at customers who make around $200,000 a year. They’re consumers with a "little bit of grit under their fingernails" who "pop in and out of luxury" when and how they see fit, he said. "These are people who haven’t been given anything. Every part of success they’ve achieved has been earned through hard work and hustle. . . . One of the ways they reward themselves for their hard work is through the purchase of a luxury car," he said.

It’s about materialism
Go back and watch the beginning, said Mr. Bierley. Right up front, Mr. McDonough dismisses the idea the reason American work so hard is to buy "stuff." What he’s really saying is that Americans work hard because that’s what they love to do. Luxury cars and other expensive goodies are a byproduct of success; not the objective.

"It’s basically saying hard work creates its own luck. In order to achieve it, you just have to believe anything’s possible. You have to believe in yourself, you have to believe in possibilities. It’s really about optimism. It’s really a fundamental human truth: optimism about creating your own future. It’s not about materialism."

It’s a "Buy American" spot
That’s wrong too. Mr. McDonough references the U.S. moon landing, Bill Gates and the Wright Brothers because the ad is only designed to run in the U.S., not overseas. If "Poolside" was designed as a global ad, the references would be more global.

Cadillac does not want to "guilt" people into buying an American rather than a European luxury car, said Mr. Bierley. "The last thing in the world we want to do is comes across as: ‘It’s your duty to buy an American car.’ I don’t think anybody wakes up wanting to hear that. . . . The strategy was really to play off the consumer insights around this notion of achievement earned through hard work and hustle — and celebrating that. Since it’s a U.S.-based spot, we used metaphors to talk about other people who received their success through hard work."
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It celebrates the USA’s workaholic culture
Reaction is running about 3-1 in favor of the spot with the young consumer audience on YouTube, said Mr. Bierley. But some people are offended at the perceived workaholic message when millions of people are out work and others are just getting by. Again, that’s not what Cadillac intended, Mr. Bierley said.

"We’re not making a statement saying, ‘We want people to work hard.’ What we’re saying is that hard work has its payoffs. Find something you love to do, do it incredibly well and there’s a reward for that. Whether its personal satisfaction, whether its fulfillment, whether that’s money."

It was created for the Olympics, when nationalism runs high
Wrong, said Mr. Bierley. Instead, Rogue found and cast Mr. McDonough in an early version of the spot that they used to pitch and ultimately win Cadillac’s $250 million creative account last year. Cadillac and Rogue later went back and remade the spot with Mr. McDonough to create the version on-air now. "We just liked his attitude," said Mr. Bierley about the character actor who’s starred on HBO’s "Band of Brothers" and other shows.

It’s a dissertation on American values
Sure, said Mr. Bierley. But what people forget is that still just a car ad. What made Cadillac happiest is consumers recognize ELR as an electric car — although Mr. McDonough never states that explicitly. "It’s sparked an interesting and thought-provoking debate," said Mr. Bierley.

Voir encore:

The Super Bowl Farmers
Victor Davis Hanson
February 13th, 2013

Chrysler’s Super Bowl Ram Truck commercial praising the American farmer was an unexpected big hit and is still being replayed around the country on talk radio. Rich Lowry and Peggy Noonan both contrasted the authenticity of that commercial fantasy with the falsity of the real event.

And why not? Even if the clip was a bit corny and overdone, the late Paul Harvey was a masterful throaty narrator in the romantic age before the onset of America’s now ubiquitous metrosexual nasal intonation. Harvey just didn’t sound different from the present generation, but from what we suspect, he sounded different from most generations to come as well. One reason that our age cannot make a Shane, High Noon, or The Searchers is that most of our suburban Hollywood actors cannot even fake the accent of either the frontier or the tragic hero anymore. When Tommy Lee Jones and Robert Duvall go, so goes too the last link to the cinema’s Westerner. There are no more voices like Slim Pickens or Ben Johnson. One of the successes of the commercial is that the photographed farmers did not speak, and left the impression of mute superiority.

It was not just Harvey’s mid-20th century voice that intrigued millions, but his unapologetic praise of the farmer’s work ethic, religiosity, and family values that he implied were at the core of American greatness, and were shared by all sorts of other American originals: the truck driver, the steel worker, or waitress whom we now all praise and yet prep our children not to be. We suspect that our kids would be better off at forty for spending a summer on a tractor at fifteen, but we just can’t seem to risk the loss of a season’s computer camp or eco-camp in the bargain.

The commercial’s platitudes were cleverly juxtaposed with grainy pictures of un-Botoxed people doing real physical work and in concert with each other, using big machines, and looking the worse for wear from it. True or not, we at least were to believe that no one in those still shots had hair plugs, bleached teeth, or faux tans in the manner of our vice president, who tries so hard to be an oh-so-authentic “Joey.” In that regard, Clint Eastwood’s resonance hinges in part on the fact that his lined and craggy face does not resemble what has happened to Sylvester Stallone’s, and he did not engage in the sort of embarrassing, obsequious fawning about George Bush that a Chris Rock or Jamie Foxx has monotonously done about Barack Obama. Americans still admire authenticity, and that too explains the later YouTube popularity of the commercial. When the Obama team released pictures of Obama “skeet shooting” or with a furrowed brow following in real time the ongoing shooting and killing in Benghazi, we knew it was all show, all Dukakis in a tank. The only thing worse than being cut off from the premodern world is faking participation in it.

I suppose the images resonated in 2013 in a way that they would have seemed passé in 1950, but not just because farmers then were about 15% of the population and now make up less than 1%, and so currently earn the added intrigue accorded to vanishing in the manner of the rhino or blue whale. The commercial instead was mostly a hit because of the sharp contrast, not just with the Petronian spectacle of today’s Super Bowl extravaganza, but also with the general tenor of the times of 2013 in particular.

Voir aussi:

Advertisers Pitching to Americans Yearning to Feel Confident Again
Jim Geraghty
National Review

March 5, 2014

Beyond the Russia and Alan Grayson news in today’s Morning Jolt . . .

Advertisers Pitching to Americans Yearning to Feel Confident Again

Take a look at three of the biggest, most-discussed television ads of the past year or so.

First, Ram Trucks’ “God Made a Farmer” ad from the Super Bowl last year:

Then the Coke ad from the Super Bowl this year:

I know there were some folks who watched the Coke ad and perceived the message, “America isn’t just for English-speakers! Embrace the polyglot, you ethnocentric hicks!” But it’s just as easy, or easier, to look at the ad and see the message that all across the globe, in every tongue, people find America, and its freedoms, cultures, and traditions beautiful.

Then the latest ad to make a splash, no pun intended, is Cadillac’s “Poolside”:

Ad Age summarizes the reaction:

“Why do we work so hard? For what? For this? For stuff?” asks actor Neal McDonough as he gazes out over his pool in new Cadillac’s TV commercial before delivering a dissertation on the American Dream.

With that, the actor begins the controversial 60-second spot Cadillac that will air both before and during ABC’s broadcast of the Academy Awards this Sunday night.

The “Poolside” spot created, by ad agency Rogue, is intended to serve as a “brand provocation,” according to Craig Bierley, Cadillac’s advertising director. Consider it mission accomplished.

Fox Business News contributor Jonathan Hoenig, a founding member of the Capitalistpig hedge fund, praised “Poolside” as a “tremendous” celebration of profit-seeking, productivity and, yes, enjoyment of material goods.

“Those are considered very declasse these days, very down. So here’s a wonderful ad that actually celebrates America,” Mr. Hoenig said.

But Fox Business host Neil Cavuto worried “Poolside” feeds the negative perception of the richest 1% as smug, rich bastards who are contemptuous of everyone else. It also takes chutzpah for GM, a company bailed out by American taxpayers, to preach self-reliance, Mr. Cavuto wryly noted.

What’s the theme tying together all three of these?

Americans desperately want to feel good about their country again.

The farmer in the Ram Trucks ad is what we think we once were, and want to still be: hard-working, reliable, honest, filled with determination and integrity. The Coke ad actually begins with a cowboy who would fit in the Ram Truck ad, but moves on to break-dancing kids, a family visiting the Grand Canyon, a big (Hispanic?) family settling in for dinner, folks wobbling at a roller rink and laughing at themselves. That ad shows that we’re warm and welcoming, close to our families, spending quality time with our kids who aren’t sitting in front of a video-game console or staring at the screen of their phone.

And then Neal McDunough — “Hey, it’s that guy from Band of Brothers and Captain America!” — comes along and stabs a needle of adrenaline and confidence into our heart. He chuckles about other countries sitting at cafes and taking August off. He walks past his kids, who are doing their homework, with one appearing to be working on a model of DNA. He explains that “we’re crazy, driven, hard-working believers,” and high-fives his younger child, who obviously has already absorbed this cheerful, confident philosophy. He’s got a gorgeous house with a pool, happy, bright kids, a good-looking wife who reads the Wall Street Journal after he does, and he looks good in a suit. He’s got spring in his step. The world is his oyster, and he says it’s America’s oyster, too, because “you work hard, you create your own luck, and you’ve got to believe anything is possible.”

We want to be that guy. Or we want to believe we could be that guy if we tried. Or perhaps put even clearer, we want to believe we have the opportunity to be that guy, whether or not we actually want to pursue that life, that house, that lifestyle, and drive that car.

UPDATE: A reader reminds me that Mike Rowe’s ad for Walmart fits in this theme as well:

Most companies test their ads extensively with focus groups. The folks in those focus groups must be bursting at the seams for a message that America can be great again. Are the potential 2016 contenders hearing this?

Liberals Outraged by Cadillac Ad
Rush Limbaugh
March 06, 2014

RUSH: Have you seen, ladies and gentlemen, the new Cadillac commercial for their new electric car? (interruption) You haven’t?  It features the actor Neal McDonough.  Do you watch Justified? (interruption) Well, Neal McDonough was in Justified two years ago.  He’s got this baby-shaped head, blue eyes, short, blond hair.  He can play the nicest next-door neighbor or the evilest villain you’ve ever found.

He is the actor in this commercial.  The left hates this commercial.  There are caustic posts on leftist websites, and even mainstream news sites, Huffing and Puffington Post. They’re outraged over the Cadillac ad!  If you’ve seen it, you might know why.

RUSH:  Let’s get to the Cadillac commercial.  There’s a headline here at the Huffing and Puffington Post.  It’s by a woman named Carolyn Gregoire, and I don’t know she pronounces it that way.  G-r-e-g-o-i-r-e, Gregoire, Gregoire. It’s probably Gregory, if I had to guess.  But anyway, headline: "Cadillac Made a Commercial About the American Dream, and it is a Nightmare."  This commercial has hit a nerve in the left that is such a teachable moment!

This commercial itself and the reaction to it by the left is all anyone needs know about what really has become of the Democrat Party and the American left.  The actor is Neal McDonough.  You’ve seen him in Justified.  He was in some other TV series that ran for four years.  I can’t think of the name of it right off the top of my head.  You’d recognize him if you saw him.  He’s playing the part here of a successful American male, who happens to own one of these new Cadillac electric cars.

RUSH: Here is the ad.  This is 43 seconds here. It’ll go by here pretty quickly and I’ll do the transcript myself when this is finished.

MCDONOUGH:  Why do we work so hard?  For what?  For this?  For stuff?  Other countries, they work, they stroll home, they stop by the cafe, they take August off.  Off.  Why aren’t you like that?  Why aren’t we like that?  Because we’re crazy, driven, hardworking believers.  Those other countries think we’re nuts.  Whatever.  Were the Wright Brothers insane?  Bill Gates? Les Paul? Ali?  Were we nuts when we pointed to the moon?  That’s right.  We went up there, and you know what we got?  Bored.  So we left.  It’s pretty simple.  You work hard, you create your own luck, and you gotta believe anything is possible.  As for all the stuff, that’s the upside of only taking two weeks off in August.  N’est-ce pas?

You don’t need stuff. You need to be the inner artiste, and while you piddle around and produce absolutely nothing, we will take care of you, and we will give you your health care while you explore your inner uselessness, and only dream about what you could be while looking at other people who are successful and instantly hating them.

RUSH: Have you seen, ladies and gentlemen, the new Cadillac commercial for their new electric car? (interruption) You haven’t? It features the actor Neal McDonough. Do you watch Justified? (interruption) Well, Neal McDonough was in Justified two years ago. He’s got this baby-shaped head, blue eyes, short, blond hair. He can play the nicest next-door neighbor or the evilest villain you’ve ever found.

He is the actor in this commercial. The left hates this commercial. There are caustic posts on leftist websites, and even mainstream news sites, Huffing and Puffington Post. They’re outraged over the Cadillac ad! If you’ve seen it, you might know why.

RUSH: Let’s get to the Cadillac commercial. There’s a headline here at the Huffing and Puffington Post. It’s by a woman named Carolyn Gregoire, and I don’t know she pronounces it that way. G-r-e-g-o-i-r-e, Gregoire, Gregoire. It’s probably Gregory, if I had to guess. But anyway, headline: "Cadillac Made a Commercial About the American Dream, and it is a Nightmare." This commercial has hit a nerve in the left that is such a teachable moment!

This commercial itself and the reaction to it by the left is all anyone needs know about what really has become of the Democrat Party and the American left. The actor is Neal McDonough. You’ve seen him in Justified. He was in some other TV series that ran for four years. I can’t think of the name of it right off the top of my head. You’d recognize him if you saw him. He’s playing the part here of a successful American male, who happens to own one of these new Cadillac electric cars.

RUSH: As for all the stuff, that’s the two weeks off in August. He also says in the ad about the moon, and we’re gonna be the first to go back. Now, the left is simply outraged because they perceived this to be an attack on Western European socialism. This is Cadillac. Remember what I’ve always told you about advertising? Advertising that works is advertising that properly, correctly takes the pulse of the people it is targeted to.

It takes the pulse of the American culture at that moment, that snapshot. So here you have Cadillac and their ad agency, and what are they using to sell this thing? The American dream, the old adages: Hard work, success, climbing the ladder. You just work hard and work hard, and you don’t think about vacations first. You think about your work. You find something you love, you go out and you do it.

And, yeah, you acquire stuff. There’s nothing wrong with acquiring stuff, and there’s nothing wrong with improving your lifestyle. The left is just livid. A pull quote from this Huffing and Puffington Post story: "a completely shameless celebration of our work-hard-buy-more culture, with a blanket dismissal of ‘other countries’ and their laziness tossed in for good measure."

One of the things that liberals love to hate about America is wrapped up in that one sentence. Let me read it to you again. The pull quote from Carolyn Gregoire, the Huffington Post says, this Cadillac ad is "a completely shameless celebration of our work-hard-buy-more culture, with a blanket dismissal of ‘other countries’ and their laziness tossed in for good measure."

If there’s one thing that this commercial misses and — well, not really. There’s a lot of Americans who can’t work anymore. There aren’t any jobs, no matter how hard you work. There are just some people that can’t find work, but Cadillac is targeting those who have jobs and are trying. You know, whatever you do, don’t feel guilty about climbing the ladder. Don’t feel guilty about improving your life.

Don’t feel guilty about wanting a Cadillac, an electric Cadillac.

Don’t feel guilty about this.

Why are we looking to Europe for guidance? They take the month of August off, there’s 14% unemployment, they’re welfare states. They sit around and they move at a leisurely pace. They can’t defend themselves. They rely on us for that. What in the world is there to model ourselves after? And the left is just loaded for bear. I’ll share with you further details from this piece. Here. Grab sound bite 18. Quickly we can squeeze it in. Here’s Robin Roberts on morning America today.

ROBERTS: Oh, my goodness. And what’s wrong with taking more than two weeks off? You’re made to be felt guilty because you’re not working hard?

RUSH: Yeah, yeah, yeah. That commercial, oh, wow! That makes you feel guilty if take more than two weeks off. That Cadillac commercial is making me feel guilty. I’m telling you, the left is afraid of that commercial. It’s such a teachable moment here.

RUSH: No. No, no, no, no. The point is, the left really is anti-American tradition. The left really does not believe in the all American dream. It’s not that they don’t even believe it; they advocate against it. That’s what this Cadillac hullabaloo illustrates and is all about. You know, we think we’re all in this together. We might have our disagreements, Democrats and Republicans, but we all want the same things. We don’t anymore.

There is not a singular American culture that’s oriented around growth and prosperity and individual achievement and success. That’s not what the Democrat Party’s about anymore. Their power base is not rooted in people like that. Their power base is rooted in the failures and victims of our society. And they are trying to create even more of them.

The enemy, as far as the Democrat Party and the American left are is concerned, the enemy are the successful, the enemy is those who are achieved. The enemy is the philosophy that undergirds the American dream. It’s called consumerism and capitalism and it’s supposedly void of any real meaning and no values. It’s just about who has more stuff and who has more money and who’s richer and all that, and they are full-fledged resentful of that.

Now, this has been building for 50 years. It didn’t just happen overnight, but to some people who are casual observers, it has happened overnight. We went from George Bush, who was a Republican for all intents and purposes as far as low-information voters are concerned, a conservative, and he won two elections. He loses, and within two years everything the country stood for is gone and finished. How did this happen? That’s what a lot of people are asking. How in the world did this happen overnight? And the answer is it hasn’t been happening overnight, or it didn’t.

It has been building for years, starting in first grade, kindergarten, all the way up through the university level, the anti-America dream speech, philosophy, the pro-Western, socialist view of things, the all-powerful state, the idea that people aren’t smart enough to take care of themselves, people aren’t capable of taking care of themselves, that people aren’t, on their own, able to make the right decisions. They not gonna spend their money right. They need people do that for them. Liberals, preferably in government, determining how people live and what decisions are made, and if they make the wrong ones, then we’ll penalize them.

It’s an amazing thing that a commercial has come along and shown this for what it is. So let me replay — and this is not the whole thing — the whole thing is 60. We cut it down to 45 seconds just for the essence, you know, brevity is the soul of wit. And this commercial literally has the left in a tizzy. I read it, folks. It’s my gig here. Show prep, I know no bounds. And I’m telling you that all over leftist blogs there is genuine rage over this. Here it is again.

MCDONOUGH: Why do we work so hard? For what? For this? For stuff? Other countries, they work, they stroll home, they stop by the cafe, they take August off. Off. Why aren’t you like that? Why aren’t we like that? Because we’re crazy, driven, hardworking believers. Those other countries think we’re nuts. Whatever. Were the Wright Brothers insane? Bill Gates? Les Paul? Ali? Were we nuts when we pointed to the moon? That’s right. We went up there, and you know what we got? Bored. So we left. It’s pretty simple. You work hard, you create your own luck, and you gotta believe anything is possible. As for all the stuff, that’s the upside of only taking two weeks off in August. N’est-ce pas?

RUSH: Oh, man, I’ll tell you, they look at this as an assault on Europe. They look at it as an assault on sidewalk cafes, Starbucks and this kind of thing. They look at it as an assault on their lifestyle. Remember, these are the people telling us that you are liberated when you get fired. You’re liberated when you lose your job because now you don’t have to do some stupid job to have health care because the government will give it to you. You don’t have to work anymore. That’s where they come from. Yeah, you can finally go discover the inner artist in you, and you now can join the legion of great human beings who have painted. You can be one of them, not tied to some silly job.

You don’t need stuff. You need to be the inner artiste, and while you piddle around and produce absolutely nothing, we will take care of you, and we will give you your health care while you explore your inner uselessness, and only dream about what you could be while looking at other people who are successful and instantly hating them. Let me read to you even more from this piece at the Huffing and Puffington Post.

"There are plenty of things to celebrate about being American, but being possessed by a blind mania for working yourself into the ground, buying more stuff and mocking people in other countries just isn’t one of them." And that’s how they view this commercial. This commercial is advocating for working yourself to death, buying a bunch of useless stuff, and making fun of other people. That’s the great sin. It’s a toss-up between working hard and making fun of other people that offends them the most. They don’t know which bothers them the most.

"So we wish we could say that Cadillac’s commercial [for it's new electric car], which debuted during the Olympics, was a joke. But no, it seems to be dead serious — a completely shameless celebration of our work-hard-buy-more culture, with a blanket dismissal of ‘other countries’ and their laziness tossed in for good measure."

Oh, I just love this. It’s so predictable, too. It’s so right on the money. People are just doing us the biggest favor by telling us exactly who they are and what they resent and what they don’t like. And what is it about hard work that bothers them? Bill Gates, I guarantee you when he was building Microsoft, it wasn’t work. It was love.

Let me use myself. I don’t look at what I do as work. I absolutely love it. I’ve always worked hard, and I absolutely love it, and I am thankful as I can be that I found what I love. I’m ecstatic I found my passion. I describe it as doing what I was born to do. I’m one of the lucky few, apparently, who found what that is, and, by the way, not an insignificant part, a way to get paid for doing it.

It’s not hard work. Well, it is, but I don’t look at it that way. It’s not arduous. I don’t get up regretting it. I don’t spend my days wringing my hands ticked off at people for what I have to do. I think every day’s an opportunity. To these people, every day’s drudgery, every day is more punishment, every day is more of an excrement sandwich. And work hard, who needs that? There’s a reason why the United States has been the lone superpower.

And, by the way, we now have a president who agrees with this take on this commercial. The American dream’s always been phony. You know why? The American dream’s been a trick. The American dream’s a trick fostered on people to get ‘em to work hard for evil corporate bosses who won’t pay them anything with this impossible result that they’re gonna make it big someday. That’s a lie. This is what the left thinks. It’s a lie put forth by corporate America, rich America, to get you to bust your butt for them while they pay you nothing. And you will die dreaming of what you never had, and, my God, you will have wasted your life in the process. And that is their outlook. You are nothing but a victim being exploited by the evil rich who are mostly white, by the way, and that’s important in this, too.

The article continues. "The opening shot shows a middle-aged man, played by the actor Neal McDonough, looking out over his backyard pool." That bugs ‘em, too. The guy has a big house. He’s got a big house, it’s in a nice neighborhood, and he’s got a pool, and it’s a built-in pool. It’s not one of these cheap balloons that you put water in. It’s a real cement pond, really ticks the left off. And he’s looking over his domain, says, "‘Why do we work so hard? For this? For stuff?’ As the ad continues, it becomes clear that the answer to this rhetorical question is actually a big fat YES." All we do is work hard for stuff.

"And it gets worse. ‘Other countries, they work,’ he says. ‘They stroll home. They stop by the cafe. They take August off. Off.'" Which they do! They take August off. They do stroll home. And when they’re not strolling, they’re driving little lawn mowers they call cars. "Then he reveals just what it is that makes Americans better than all those lazy, espresso-sipping foreigners." You just feel hate dripping from every word here? "Then he reveals just what it is that makes Americans better than all those lazy espresso-sipping foreigners," which, by the way, Carolyn I’m sure would love to be one of those lazy espresso sipping foreigners. And she may be, who knows.

But that’s the lifestyle, that’s sophistication, you see. Sophistication is, work? I’ll do what I have to. I’m gonna really devote myself to what’s important. I’m going to go paint. Then I’m gonna go visit a museum. After I visit the museum, then I’m gonna go to the art gallery, and after I finish the art gallery, I’m gonna head over back to the espresso cafe. When I finish there I’m gonna head to the real bar and I’m gonna have a couple shots, maybe some white wine, maybe some Camembert. When I finish there, I’m then gonna go to the craft show at the local community center where I’m gonna learn how to knit and sew and knit and peel and whatever, and then I’m gonna go home and I’m gonna water my garden. And right before I go to bed, I’m gonna add to the poem I’ve been writing for the past month.

Yes, I’ll work on my poetry. When I finish my poetry, I will then retire and go to bed. And when I awaken, I will get up, and I will hate the fact that the first part of my day is a job where I’m going to be exploited by some evil capitalist. But I’ll go do it anyway so that when it’s over I can stroll back to the espresso bar and maybe while I’m at the espresso bar, I’ll dream of inventing the flying car, and I’ll write it and scribble it out there on my Microsoft Surface, because I don’t want to the best, the iPad. No. And then I just repeat the cycle. I’ll go to a different museum and I’ll go see different displays, exhibits and so forth. That’s sophistication. That is what we should aspire to. All this hard-work stuff, what a crock.

If you do work, by the way, if you do get sucked in, make sure you work for a nonprofit. In fact, the best thing you, make sure you run a nonprofit. That way you can really get paid for not doing anything. That way you’re not working for some enterprise devoted to the evil of profit. No, you’re working for a nonprofit. You will live off what other people give you and you will claim that you are better people, because you have not been soiled by the poisons of capitalism. There isn’t any profit or loss in what you do. You’re interested in public service.

Then, when you finish that, it’s to the soup kitchen and the homeless shelter, just to look in, just to see that people are there, and you’ll feel great about yourself because you care. And then you’ll demand the rich pay higher taxes so that the soup kitchen doesn’t close. Oh, yes. Back to the story.

"‘Why aren’t you like that?’ he says. ‘Why aren’t we like that? Because we’re crazy, driven, hard-working believers, that’s why.’ By this point, the ad has already become little more than a parody of itself, but we had to ask: believers in what? The pursuit of ‘stuff.’ The other reason for America’s superiority, according to Cadillac? Our unrivaled space exploration program (‘We’re the only ones going back up there,’ the ad boasts). Never mind the fact that the US government is now paying Russia $70 million a pop to shuttle NASA astronauts to the International Space Station."

Hey, Ms. Gregoire, never mind that Barack Obama made NASA into a Muslim outreach department and it’s Barack Obama, your idol and hero, that makes it necessary to pay the Russians $70 million for every astronaut to the space station. By the way, with this thing in the Ukraine with the KGB vs. Obama, i.e., ACORN, what happens if Putin says, "You know what, you really ticked me off and I’m not taking you back to your space station," how we gonna get there, Ms. Gregoire? ‘Cause Obama’s shut it down. NASA’s a museum for Muslim outreach now.

"Cadillacs have long been a quintessentially American symbol of wealth and status. But as this commercial proves, no amount of wealth or status is a guarantee of good taste. Now, the luxury car company is selling a vision of the American Dream at its worst: Work yourself into the ground, take as little time off as possible, and buy expensive s- (specifically, a 2014 Cadillac ELR)."

That’s what she said. It doesn’t talk about working yourself into the ground. It’s not talking about working yourself to death, to punishment. The ad is about working yourself to prosperity and achievement and success. And they just can’t stand it, folks.

RUSH: Here’s the thing about hard work. Hard work is hard — and, by the way, folks, not everybody loves their work. This commercial is an indication of what can happen if you work hard, even though you may not like it. But you know what this commercial really is? By the way, this commercial was originally not for an electric car. They made this ad about an electric car to try to soften the blow so it would offend these leftist wackos less.

The fact that this Cadillac commercial is about an electric car doesn’t make a difference. But let me tell you what Cadillac sees. The ad tells us that people with money do not want little bitty hybrids and lawn mowers with seats on them. This ad tells us that people with money want comfortable, sexy luxury cars — and I’ll tell you what else this ad tells us. Cadillac sees the enthusiasm for the Tesla.

In California, the number one selling car of all cars is the Model S. I think it’s the Model S, but it’s some model of Tesla. They’re expensive as hell. This Cadillac is 75 grand in this ad, and Teslas are going into six figures. One of my buddies… I came back from LA. One of my buddies told me he bought one and was afraid I was gonna get mad at him. He said, "I’m not buying it ’cause I’m a wacko, Rush. I love the car. I can call up your website up in the dashboard in your car.

"I love the car — and you know, Rush, I get 175 miles a charge on it." I said, "Wow." But Cadillac sees that people with money — and that’s who they sell their cars to, people with money — have an enthusiasm for the Tesla. The Tesla is the competition for this ELV car of theirs, and it’s clear who the market is. The market that this car is made for is high achievers — and Cadillac is trying to talk to them in their native language, these high achievers, and the left just hates it.

RUSH: We’re gonna starts in Dayton, Ohio. Julie, I’m glad you called. It’s great to have you on the program. Hello.

CALLER: Thanks. I’m so happy to talk to you again.

CALLER: Thank you. We’re Home of the Wright Brothers, which was mentioned in the commercial.

RUSH: That’s right.

CALLER: Yes. Dayton, Ohio. I love this commercial. I don’t typically watch commercials because I DVR a lot of stuff, but I happened to be watching something live, so I was kind of ignoring the commercial while it was on until I heard the gentleman talk about taking a month off in August versus we take two weeks.

RUSH: Right.

CALLER: That just totally struck a chord with me. I jumped up, I backed the commercial up, and I had to replay it. I listened to that commercial over and over again, and I was just like, "Oh, my gosh. I want to go out and buy a Cadillac now."

RUSH: What do you like about? You’ve gotta get specific for me here. Obviously you had an overall favorable impression. You felt great watching it, but what hit you? What did you like about it?

CALLER: Well, I work for a pharmaceutical company, a foreign pharmaceutical company. I know that for any drug to be successful, it has to be successful in the United States, otherwise that company is not gonna do well. Americans are the hardest, hardest working, and we push and we push, and we work 40, 50, 60, 70 hours a week. We work one job, two jobs, three jobs. I mean, we work hard and we work hard for –

RUSH: I know, and it doesn’t leave me time to paint or write poetry or go to the museum.

CALLER: None at all. One of my best friends is Marcus, who I love dearly, but then my best friend Georgia, she is Greek, and when she would go over to Greece, she says, "It is so laid back." She says that they take-two-hour naps at lunchtime, and they close down work at, like, three, four o’clock, and they just don’t work as hard as Americans do.

RUSH: That’s not the right way to look at it. No, no. "They are sophisticated. They are more balanced. They have their lives in much more perspective. The Greeks, never mind that they’re broke and in debt and totally dependent on others to keep them living. The Greeks and the Spaniards and the British and the French and the Swiss? We love the Swiss, and the Danes.

We really love the Danes. They’re sophisticated. They’ve got it all figured out. They don’t work hard at all. They know that that’s not necessary. There’s no intense pressure attached to their lives. They’re able to slow down. They don’t even have to defend themselves! The United States will do that if they are ever attacked, like by the KGB. So we just don’t see the world in the right way.

John Kerry is one of these guys that thinks Western Europeans are doing it right. They’ve got the answer with their 14% unemployment. Speaking of which, you know, there’s sort of a funny story. What is this, Carla Brunei, the wife of Sarkozy, former president of France? It is Brunei, or Brunei? (interruption) Brunei. All right. Well, she was a model and an actress, and then she married the guy.

And then she couldn’t work anymore because of conflicts of interest with the government, president, and so forth. She’s actually quoted in a newspaper story today as thinking she got shafted. She thought she was marrying a guy with money, and he only makes 300 grand a year or the equivalent, and she feels like she got screwed. (interruption) Well, I know 300 grand is a lot, but not for the elites, see. That 300 grand, that’s embarrassing. For the wife of a president of a country?

Julie, I appreciate the call. Thank you.

Donald in Carpinteria, California, you’re next on the EIB Network. Hello.

CALLER: Hello, Rush. Nice to talk to you. It’s an honor, sir.

RUSH: Thank you very much, sir. Great to have you here.

CALLER: Thank you. Rush, in reference to that great ad, that great Cadillac ad, I was thinking that there’s a couple of points with that, and one being that Obama took public funds and bailed out GM. We all recall that, and then they come up and they make an ad like this that targets hardworking Americans. And it’s kind of like a slap in the face to the left, and my take is they can’t stand that. They think that GM should toe the line now because they were bailed out with public funds.

RUSH: There probably is some of that in the left’s reaction to this, that this is a government-owned company. What the hell are they doing selling something like this anyway?

CALLER: Right, and kudos to the advertising agency that would actually make an ad like this and make a pro-American, pro-work ad. And even though they took those funds, it’s kind of like, well –

RUSH: Here’s the thing about this. At the risk of sounding naive — and I am naive about a lot of things and I don’t mind people knowing that. Did you ever think — any of you — that an ad like that would be something divisive in the country? That ad is what used to be the philosophy everybody was raised by. That ad was, in fact, how everybody who wanted to be a success or wanted their kids to be a success was raised. That ad typifies distinctly, as we know, distinctly American values. And I’ll tell you, they are held in other parts of the country.

That ad is gonna ring home and true with Asians and a couple of other cultures who are also from the hard-work school of going through life and conquering it. But the idea that an ad that is as innocuous as this, this is hard work. How do we get stuff, and, yeah, there’s some people around the world that don’t. This is what American exceptionalism is. This is how we’re different. This is why people come here. That is exactly right. That ad is why people break the law to come here. And yet that ad has become something divisive in our culture now. That ad is something that is really controversial now to the left. But divisive as well.

This why I say this is a teachable moment. Look, some of you may be wondering why I’m spending so much time on it. I’ll tell you why. And it’s the same old thing. By the way, I’ve got friends who tell me I ought to change my approach. I’ll explain here in a minute. I really believe that the more people who could be taught, who would learn, be educated, what liberalism is, is the way to eventually see to it that they don’t win anymore. They’re not a majority now. They have to lie about what they believe and what they’re gonna do in order to win elections. They are not anywhere near a majority of the people of this country.

We’re being governed by a minority, and it’s simply because they have mastered the emotional, compassionate, feel-good approach to things. And they’ve made great hay out of the misconception, as they put it forth, of equality. To them it’s sameness, and anything that’s not the same is something inherently wrong with the country. And I just think this is educational. I think this is one of these great teachable moments for low-information people. Now, I have a friend who says it’s an ideological thing, it’s all good, but it’s not gonna reach everybody, Rush. People don’t want to look at things that way. Liberalism, conservative, not nearly as oriented like you are in that direction, and they’re not nearly as passionate about that.

So you gotta talk about it in terms of stupid versus smart. Instead of talking about what a big liberal Obama is, it’s just stupid what these people are doing, just plain damn dumb. And I understand the people who think that ideology is not the best way to go about educating, but it’s worked for me. I am never wrong when I predict what a liberal is gonna do, never wrong. I would never vote for one, I don’t care who. I would never vote for one. Why would anybody, is my attitude, after this, but then when you realize what they do, they’re Santa Claus. The people voting for them are not voting for them on ideology. They’re voting for ‘em on the basis of stuff.

The dirty little secret is, everybody wants stuff. It’s just that some people are happier if it’s given to them, than having to work for it. Hard work is always gonna be a tougher sell than getting gifts. But it makes for a better culture, country, and society over all. That’s what’s always been the truth, truism and the case. You what the average life span of any republic or democracy is? It’s about 200 years. So we’ve gone past ours. We’ve gone past our life expectancy. And when does every democracy end is when the public learns that they can vote themselves money from the Treasury, that is the beginning of the end. And we’re in that phase.

So the question we have is, can we arrest that and stop it before we are swallowed and destroyed by this ever-expanding mountain of debt, because that is what will do it. Don’t listen to people that tell you the debt doesn’t matter, including the people in the Republican establishment. "Ah, the debt’s the debt. It’s no different now than it was then. It may be a little bit bigger, but, hell, it’s the United States government, always good for what it owes (muttering)." At some point it all collapses and can’t sustain itself. And we have reached that point.

 Voir par ailleurs:

Taxis, VTC : les fossoyeurs de l’innovation
Opinions: Nicolas Colin s’en prend au lobby des taxis, mais surtout fustige des pouvoirs publics qui ne comprennent qu’en cédant aux lobbys de tout poil, ils creusent la tombe du redressement économique
Nicolas Colin
La Tribune
15/10/2013

Le lobby des taxis a gagné la guerre contre les VTC. Pour Nicolas Colin entrepreneur alarmé, cette affaire a révélé l’incapacité des politiques français à promouvoir l’innovation, et pourrait bien conduire à notre perte…
sur le même sujet

Tout commence comme une sorte de message à caractère informatif. Un collaborateur vient voir le patron d’Orange et lui présente une idée dont il n’est pas peu fier :

"Patron, comme nous sommes à la fois une entreprise de média et une entreprise innovante, nous pourrions consacrer une émission de télévision sur notre chaîne Orange Innovation TV aux grands patrons qui innovent dans les grandes entreprises. Ca consisterait à interviewer des dirigeants hyper-innovants et à mettre en valeur leurs innovations par rapport à celles des startups, qui nous donnent beaucoup de leçons mais dont on ne voit pas beaucoup les résultats. D’ailleurs on a déjà trouvé le titre, ça s’appellerait Les décideurs de l’innovation. On a mis au point un super générique à la Top Gun. "

Ravi, le patron d’Orange soutient cette idée :

« Mon vieux, votre idée est géniale. Je fais banco, vous avez ma carte blanche. J’ai d’ailleurs quelques idées pour les premiers invités, regardons ensemble mon carnet d’adresses pour voir à qui je dois rendre service. »
Parmi ces premiers invités figure justement Nicolas Rousselet, patron des taxis G7 (qui n’opèrent pas que des taxis d’ailleurs, mais aussi une activité de location de voitures, des activités de logistique, de stockage, etc.). Qu’il soit un invité d’une émission aussi audacieuse et disruptive que Les décideurs de l’innovation est un paradoxe : après tout, il est aujourd’hui engagé dans un vaste effort de lobbying pour contrer l’innovation dans le transport individuel de personnes en ville, dans des conditions abondamment détaillées ici ou la. Quoiqu’il en soit, dans une récente et exceptionnelle édition des Décideurs de l’innovation, Nicolas Rousselet nous expose sa vision de l’innovation.

Et à ce point du billet, mieux vaut en finir avec l’ironie : l’innovation vue par Nicolas Rousselet mérite qu’on s’y attarde tant est elle est dérisoire et erronée à peu près du début à la fin. Voici quelques extraits et mes commentaires :

« l’innovation prend deux formes : l’innovation technologique, technique et l’innovation en termes de services, de nouveaux services » (1’50?)

Eh bien non, à l’âge entrepreneurial, l’innovation ne prend qu’une seule forme, celle d’une offre nouvelle amorcée et valorisée sur un marché de masse grâce à la mise au point d’un nouveau modèle d’affaires. Les progrès technologiques sans changement de modèle d’affaires ni traction auprès de la multitude s’appellent simplement des gains de productivité… et se commoditisent en un clin d’oeil, sans permettre à l’entreprise de se différencier ;

« Pour les GPS, tout ça, là on est vraiment à la pointe, ça fait très longtemps qu’on géolocalise tous nos taxis » (3’05?)

Non non, si ça fait longtemps qu’on fait quelque chose, alors on n’est pas vraiment à la pointe. Ces derniers temps, les choses changent vite en matière de géolocalisation et de services associés ;

« Rapprocher le client du taxi, du chauffeur, nécessite de la haute technologie » (3’18?)

Pas du tout, ça nécessite tout au plus de l’amabilité de la part du chauffeur et, éventuellement, une application mobile, qui est quasiment à la portée du premier venu d’un point de vue technologique. Bien sûr, cela peut aussi nécessiter de l’innovation, c’est-à-dire un changement du modèle d’affaires : on rapproche d’autant mieux les taxis des clients qu’on fait alliance avec ces derniers, qu’ils sont ainsi incités à être actifs et donc producteurs de données. Cela, ça suppose de la confiance et ça se valorise d’autant mieux que les clients sont nombreux, bien au-delà de la clientèle premium (j’y reviendrai) ;

« Chaque filiale dans le groupe est gérée de manière autonome, indépendante, par un manager intéressé sur ses résultats » (4’12?)

Ce qui est précisément la caractéristique des entreprises non innovantes. L’innovation consiste à combiner de façon différente les composantes de l’activité de l’entreprise, quitte à ce que certaines déclinent si c’est le prix à payer pour le développement de l’entreprise tout entière. Un manager de filiale intéressé sur ses résultats fera tout pour tuer l’innovation dans sa filiale comme dans l’entreprise en général, de façon à protéger sa rente. C’est pourquoi – si du moins l’objectif est d’innover – un manager de filiale ne peut être intéressé au mieux qu’aux résultats de l’ensemble du groupe. Steve Jobs, traumatisé par sa lecture de The Innovator’s Dilemma, l’avait bien compris et mis en pratique depuis longtemps chez Apple, notamment avec la notion de unified P&L ;

« Nous avons gagné le prix de l’innovation 2010 de la chambre professionnelle du self-stockage » (5’00?)

C’est bien pratique de se créer ses petits prix de l’innovation maison pour faire croire au monde extérieur qu’on est innovant. Mais non, ça ne prend pas. L’innovation, à l’âge de la multitude, ça se mesure aux rendements d’échelle exponentiels et aux positions dominantes sur des marchés globaux. Aucune autre innovation ne contribue de manière significative au développement de l’économie française. Au contraire, le renforcement des situations de rente contribue de manière décisive à la stagnation du revenu par tête et à l’aggravation des inégalités ;

« On gère les taxis depuis pas loin de vingt ans de manière totalement numérique, avec le GPS » (6’50?)

Si les taxis étaient gérés de manière totalement numérique, ils ne s’en tiendraient pas au GPS et auraient inventé Uber avant Uber. Souvenez-vous de cette citation fameuse de The Social Network sur les frères Winklevoss :

« Nos chauffeurs de taxi sont tous des indépendants. C’est un vrai partenariat, où la qualité de service est un leitmotiv » (8’00?)

Des forums entiers sur la mauvaise expérience des taxis parisiens vécue par les touristes étrangers et les Parisiens eux-mêmes témoignent du contraire – ce qui prouve, par ailleurs, que le fait que les chauffeurs de taxi soient tous indépendants n’est pas forcément la meilleure formule pour assurer une qualité de service maximale. Comme le triomphe d’Apple nous l’a amplement démontré depuis 10 ans, l’unification de l’expérience utilisateur (ou une plateforme bien conçue, comme Amazon) sont les meilleures options pour garantir une qualité de service élevée ;

« On a lancé en décembre 2011 le club affaires premium, et là on a même un iPad mis à disposition, on a de l’eau, on a des lingettes » (8’10?)

Nous sommes tous très impressionnés, mais il n’y a pas beaucoup d’innovation dans le fait d’enrichir l’offre de service pour les seuls clients qui paient très cher leur abonnement affaires premium. La fuite vers le premium – et le délaissement corrélatif des marchés de masse – est l’un des phénomènes qui détourne les entreprises françaises de l’innovation à l’âge de la multitude – et il y a bien d’autres exemples que les taxis G7. C’est heureux que Nicolas Rousselet assume sans fard qu’il ne s’agit que de fournir aux clients que quelques lingettes et bouteilles d’eau en plus : nous sommes décidément très loin de l’innovation ;

« On voit que ça ne roule pas très bien, il y a des gros progrès à faire pour améliorer les conditions de circulation dans Paris » (8’40?)

Précisément, on ne roule pas bien dans Paris parce que trop de gens, insatisfaits du fonctionnement des transports en commun et ne pouvant s’offrir les services Affaires Premium Excellence Platine des taxis G7, choisissent de prendre leur véhicule personnel pour leurs déplacements en ville. Le développement des nouveaux modèles d’affaires autour de l’automobile en ville (auto-partage, VTC, etc.) vise en partie à dissuader les individus de prendre leur voiture et peut donc se traduire, à terme, par une décongestion de la circulation à Paris. Que les taxis G7 trouvent que les conditions actuelles sont mauvaises pour les affaires est un comble : d’abord les mauvaises conditions de circulation leur permettent de plus faire tourner le compteur (les taxis ont tout leur temps, ce sont les clients qui sont pressés) ; ensuite, les barrières réglementaires qu’ils défendent à toute force sont précisément la raison pour laquelle il est impossible d’améliorer les conditions de circulation dans cette ville de plus en plus difficile à vivre.
L’innovation doit faire bouger les lignes

Bref, comme le résume si brillamment ce journaliste particulièrement dur en interview, avec les taxis G7, « ça roule pour l’innovation ». J’ajouterai deux choses sur Nicolas Rousselet et les conditions règlementaires de l’innovation dans les transports urbains :
« Il faut que les VTC restent sur le métier pour lesquels ils ont été créés » déclarait-il au mois de juillet, cité par un article du Figaro. Wrong again : encore une fois, quand il s’agit d’innovation, l’objectif est précisément de faire bouger les lignes qui séparent les différentes activités et d’en faire la synthèse dans un nouveau modèle d’affaires, centrée autour de l’utilisateur – condition de l’alliance avec la multitude. Le déploiement d’une offre de qualité à très grande échelle est l’objectif stratégique à l’âge entrepreneurial et le seul cœur de métier des startups innovantes, comme nous le rappellent Steve Blank et Paul Graham. Ça n’a aucun sens, dans un monde où la technologie évolue en permanence et où la multitude révèle sans cesse de nouveaux besoins, de demander à une entreprise de rester sur le métier pour lequel elle a été initialement créée. On peut le faire bien sûr, mais il faut assumer alors qu’on renonce à l’innovation – moteur du développement économique, facteur de création d’emplois et de réduction des inégalités et, accessoirement, contribution décisive à l’amélioration du quotidien des consommateurs ;

Restreindre l’innovation aux clients premium, c’est empêcher son développement
On apprend aujourd’hui, dans un article du Monde, que « le délai de 15 minutes [entre la commande d'un VTC et la prise en charge] s’appliquera à tous les clients des VTC, hormis les hôtels haut de gamme et les salons professionnels ». Belle victoire de lobbying, en tous points contraire à l’intérêt général, et stupéfiante si l’on songe qu’elle a été consentie par un gouvernement de gauche. Si l’on résume la situation, les riches clients du Royal Monceau et les VIP du salon de l’automobile seront servis sans attendre ; par contre, les moins riches attendront ou prendront le bus et les entrepreneurs innovants seront noyés dans la baignoire. (Rappelons encore une fois que l’innovation de rupture arrive toujours ou presque par les activités à faibles marges sur les marchés à faible marge. Si l’on restreint les offres innovantes aux seuls clients premium, il n’y a pas la masse critique pour imposer une innovation de rupture.)

L’innovation meurt d’être mal comprise. Il n’y a pas meilleur contrepoint à la vision de Nicolas Rousselet que les rappels ci-après sur ce qu’est l’innovation, pourquoi elle est importante et comment la favoriser.

Pas d’investissements possibles

L’innovation ne peut pas prospérer en présence de verrous qui rigidifient l’économie et protègent les positions existantes. La seule existence de ces verrous, notamment législatifs et règlementaires, dissuade toute allocation du capital à des activités qui font bouger les lignes dans les secteurs concernés.

Quel intérêt d’investir dans une entreprise innovante se développant en France dans le secteur des VTC, puisque le rendement sur capital investi sera dégradé voire annulé par le verrou règlementaire qui protège la rente des taxis ? Il est beaucoup plus rentable d’allouer du capital à une entreprise américaine qui, elle, va triompher des obstacles règlementaires et conquérir un immense marché.
On tue les entreprises françaises dans l’oeuf

Dans ces conditions, les entreprises américaines prospèrent, tandis que les françaises sont littéralement empêchées de naître. Et lorsque les utilisateurs français (ou les touristes) n’en pourront plus de la mauvaise qualité du service de transport individuel de personnes à Paris et qu’ils obtiendront enfin l’abaissement de la barrière règlementaire, seules les entreprises américaines auront la qualité de service et l’infrastructure nécessaires pour prendre le marché français.

De même que quand la chronologie des médias sera enfin adaptée aux nouveaux modes de consommation des contenus cinématographiques et audiovisuels en ligne, seule Netflix, pas Canal+, sera en mesure de se déployer auprès des utilisateurs français.
L’inutile politique de soutien financier à l’innovation

Dans un cadre juridique hostile à l’innovation, on voit bien qu’une politique publique de soutien financier à l’innovation est vaine. On peut allouer tout l’argent qu’on veut à OSEO, à BPI France, à la sanctuarisation du CIR et du statut de jeune entreprise innovante, les entreprises ainsi financées ne parviennent pas à lever du capital puisque les gestionnaires de fonds identifient parfaitement les barrières juridiques à l’entrée sur les différents marchés et en déduisent qu’un investissement dans les entreprises concernées ne pourra jamais être rentable.

En présence de verrous juridiques protégeant la rente des entreprises en place, l’argent public dépensé pour soutenir l’innovation est comme de l’eau froide qu’on verserait sur une plaque chauffée à blanc : elle s’évapore instantanément.

Un problème qui se généralise

Le problème serait circonscrit si de tels verrous législatifs n’existaient que pour les VTC. Mais, loin de se cantonner à un seul secteur, ils se multiplient. Les industries créatives sont déjà affectées depuis longtemps par les entraves à l’innovation. Les hôteliers déploient un lobbying à grande échelle pour que la loi soit durcie et les protège sur trois fronts : celui des intermédiaires déjà en place sur le marché de la réservation de chambres d’hôtels ; celui de Google, qui rentre sur ce marché avec Hotel Finder ; celui d’AirBnB, qui intensifie la concurrence sur le marché de l’hébergement en faisant arriver sur le marché les chambres et habitations mises sur le marché par les particuliers.

Les libraires semblent en passe d’obtenir une interdiction de livrer gratuitement à domicile les livres commandés via les applications de vente à distance. Bref, à mesure que le numérique dévore le monde, les incendies se déclarent un peu partout et la réponse est toujours la même : on érige une barrière règlementaire qui dissuade l’allocation de capital à des activités innovantes et empêche donc à terme l’émergence de champions français dans ces secteurs.
Pour un lobby français de l’innovation

Sur tous ces dossiers, nous payons très cher l’inexistence d’un lobby français de l’innovation. Il n’est pas du tout évident qu’un tel lobby puisse exister. Aux États-Unis, il s’est constitué et il déploie sa puissance en raison d’une double anomalie : les entreprises ont le droit de financer les campagnes électorales ; et les entreprises les plus riches, dont la capitalisation boursière est la plus élevée, sont aussi les plus innovantes.

Au lobbying de ces entreprises s’ajoute celui d’une organisation, la National Venture Capital Association, qui défend les intérêts des fonds de capital-risque, y compris contre les intérêts du private equity, des banques d’affaires et des banques de dépôt.
La politique doit être favorable à l’innovation

Il n’existe rien de tel chez nous : aucune de nos plus grande entreprises n’est une entreprise innovante, une valeur de croissance comme le sont les géants californiens du numérique ; nos fonds de capital-risque sont rares, dispersés, dilués sur le front institutionnel dans l’Association française du capital investissement ; enfin, les entrepreneurs innovants comme les gestionnaires de fonds de capital-risque sont largement méconnus ou ignorés par les hauts fonctionnaires de la direction générale du Trésor, les membres des cabinets ministériels et, évidemment, les parlementaires.

Il ne peut exister qu’une seule politique publique de l’innovation. Son motif est que l’innovation est le principal facteur de la croissance et moteur du développement économique. Sa règle cardinale est que toutes les décisions de politique publique, sans exception, doivent être prises dans un sens favorable à l’innovation : en matière de financement de l’économie ; en matière de réglementation sectorielle ; en matière de fiscalité et de protection sociale. Aucune autre politique publique que celle-là ne peut être favorable à l’innovation.
Vers une économie française atrophiée et inégalitaire

Si les exceptions se multiplient, si l’innovation n’est plus qu’une priorité parmi d’autres, si l’on n’abaisse pas les barrières règlementaires à l’innovation de modèle d’affaires, alors notre destin est scellé : notre économie sera bientôt tenue exclusivement par des gens qui, bien qu’ils se prétendent décideurs de l’innovation, en sont en réalité les fossoyeurs.

Nicolas Rousselet, les taxis G7 et tous ceux qui les soutiennent au Parlement ou dans l’administration ne sont qu’un avant-gout de ce sombre avenir : bientôt, notre économie ressemblera à celle de ces pays du Tiers-Monde où l’homme le plus riche du pays, par ailleurs frère ou beau-frère du chef de l’État, a fait une immense fortune grâce à un monopole mal acquis sur l’importation des Mercedes d’occasion. Dans une telle configuration, on a tout gagné : des distorsions de marché, l’atrophie de la production locale, une valeur ajoutée réduite à néant, une croissance au ralenti et des inégalités de plus en plus insupportables.

Est-ce cela que nous voulons ? Et sinon, qu’attendons-nous pour agir ?

* Nicolas Colin est entrepreneur, co-auteur de "L’âge de la multitude" et membre de Futurbulences, de Renaissance numérique, du Club du 6 mai et de la commission « Services » du pôle de compétitivité Cap Digital

Voir aussi:

Steve Jobs Solved the Innovator’s Dilemma

James Allworth

HBR

October 24, 2011

In the lead up to today’s release of the Steve Jobs biography, there’s been an increasing stream of news surrounding its subject. As a business researcher, I was particularly interested in this recent article that referenced from his biography a list of Jobs’s favorite books. There’s one business book on this list, and it “deeply influenced” Jobs. That book is The Innovator’s Dilemma by HBS Professor Clay Christensen.

But what’s most interesting to me isn’t that The Innovator’s Dilemma was on that list. It’s that Jobs solved the conundrum.

When describing his period of exile from Apple — when John Sculley took over — Steve Jobs described one fundamental root cause of Apple’s problems. That was to let profitability outweigh passion: “My passion has been to build an enduring company where people were motivated to make great products. The products, not the profits, were the motivation. Sculley flipped these priorities to where the goal was to make money. It’s a subtle difference, but it ends up meaning everything.”

Anyone familiar with Professor Christensen’s work will quickly recognize the same causal mechanism at the heart of the Innovator’s Dilemma: the pursuit of profit. The best professional managers — doing all the right things and following all the best advice — lead their companies all the way to the top of their markets in that pursuit… only to fall straight off the edge of a cliff after getting there.

Which is exactly what had happened to Apple. A string of professional managers had led the company straight off the edge of that cliff. The fall had almost killed the company. It had 90 days working capital on hand when he took over — in other words, Apple was only three months away from bankruptcy.

When he returned, Jobs completely upended the company. There were thousands of layoffs. Scores of products were killed stone dead. He knew the company had to make money to stay alive, but he transitioned the focus of Apple away from profits. Profit was viewed as necessary, but not sufficient, to justify everything Apple did. That attitude resulted in a company that looks entirely different to almost any other modern Fortune 500 company. One striking example: there’s only one person Apple with responsibility for a profit and loss. The CFO. It’s almost the opposite of what is taught in business school. An executive who worked at both Apple and Microsoft described the differences this way: “Microsoft tries to find pockets of unrealized revenue and then figures out what to make. Apple is just the opposite: It thinks of great products, then sells them. Prototypes and demos always come before spreadsheets.”

Similarly, Apple talks a lot about its great people. But make no mistake — they are there only in service of the mission. A headhunter describes it thus: “It is a happy place in that it has true believers. People join and stay because they believe in the mission of the company.” It didn’t matter how great you were, if you couldn’t deliver to that mission — you were out. Jobs’s famous meltdowns upon his return were symptomatic of this. They might have become less frequent in recent years, but if a team couldn’t deliver a great product, they got the treatment. The exec in charge of MobileMe was replaced on the spot, in front of his entire team, after a botched launch. A former Apple product manager described Apple’s attitude like this: “You have the privilege of working for the company that’s making the coolest products in the world. Shut up and do your job, and you might get to stay.”

Everything — the business, the people — are subservient to the mission: building great products. And rather than listening to, or asking their customers what they wanted; Apple would solve problems customers didn’t know they had with products they didn’t even realize they wanted.

By taking this approach, Apple bent all the rules of disruption. To disrupt yourself, for example, Professor Christensen’s research would typically prescribe setting up a separate company that eventually goes on to defeat the parent. It’s incredibly hard to do this successfully; Dayton Dry Goods pulled it off with Target. IBM managed to do it with the transition from mainframes to PCs, by firewalling the businesses in entirely different geographies. Either way, the number of companies that have successfully managed to do it is a very, very short list. And yet Apple’s doing it to itself right now with the utmost of ease. Here’s new CEO Tim Cook, on the iPad disrupting the Mac business: “Yes, I think there is some cannibalization… the iPad team works on making their product the best. Same with the Mac team.” It’s almost unheard of to be able to manage disruption like this.

They can do it because Apple hasn’t optimized its organization to maximize profit. Instead, it has made the creation of value for customers its priority. When you do this, the fear of cannibalization or disruption of one’s self just melts away. In fact, when your mission is based around creating customer value, around creating great products, cannibalization and disruption aren’t “bad things” to be avoided. They’re things you actually strive for — because they let you improve the outcome for your customer.

When I first learned about the theory of disruption, what amazed me was its predictive power; you could look into the future with impressive clarity. And yet, there was a consistent anomaly. That one dark spot on Professor Christensen’s prescience was always his predictions on Apple. I had the opportunity to talk about it with him subsequently, and I remember him telling me: “There’s just something different about those guys. They’re freaks.” Well, he was right. With the release of Jobs’s biography, we now know for sure why. Jobs was profoundly influenced by the Innovator’s Dilemma — he saw the company he created almost die from it. When he returned to Apple, Jobs was determined to solve it. And he did. That “subtle difference” — of flipping the priorities away from profit and back to great products — took Apple from three months away from bankruptcy, to one of the most valuable and influential companies in the world.

James Allworth is the Director of Strategy for Medallia, Inc and co-author of How Will You Measure Your Life?. He has worked as a Fellow at the Forum for Growth and Innovation at Harvard Business School, at Apple, and Booz & Company. Connect with him on Twitter at @jamesallworth.

Voir enfin:

Apple’s Secret? It Tells Us What We Should Love

Roberto Verganti

January 28, 2010

At the beginning of Steve Jobs’s presentation of the iPad, a slide showed an image of God delivering its commandments, paired by a quote from The Wall Street Journal: “Last time there was this much excitement about a tablet, it had some commandments written on it.” Although a touch arrogant, this quote powerfully captures the essence of the event.

While tech experts were busy commenting on the qualities of the iPad, what struck me was the level of excitement that the event created. On Tuesday, the day before the product was unveiled, a Web search for “Apple tablet” produced more than 17 million links! On Wednesday, hordes of people attended the news conference remotely. Everyone was anxiously waiting for Apple’s interpretation of what a tablet is.

This was validation of Apple’s peculiar innovation process: Insights do not move from users to Apple but the other way around. More than Apple listening to us, it’s us who listen to Apple.

This contradicts the conventional management wisdom about innovation. In fact, one of the mantras of the past decade has been user-centered innovation: Companies should start their innovation process by getting close to users and observe them using existing products to understand their needs.

I disagree with this approach for these kinds of efforts. User-centered innovation is perfect to drive incremental innovation, but hardly generates breakthroughs. In fact, it does not question existing needs, but rather reinforces them, thanks to its powerful methods.

With the iPad Apple has not provided an answer to market needs. It has made a proposal about what could fit us and what we could love. It’s now up to us to answer whether we agree.

The iPad, of course, is not the first time Apple has taken this approach. If it had scrutinized users of early MP3 players downloading music from Napster, it would have not came out with a breakthrough system (the iPod + iTunes application + iTunes Store) based on a business model that asks people to pay for music.

Consumers don’t always swallow Apple’s notion of what they should love. In 2008, when Jobs unveiled the MacBook Air, he said “No matter how hard you look, one thing you are not gonna find in a MacBook Air is an optical drive. If you really want one, we have built one. [He showed an external CD-DVD drive] . . . But you know what? We do not think most users will miss the optical drive. We do not think they will need an optical drive.”

Apple is not alone in thumbing its nose at the notion of user-centered innovation. If Nintendo had closely observed teenagers in their basements using existing game consoles, it would have provided them with what they apparently needed: a powerful console with sophisticated 3D processing that could enable them to better immerse in a virtual world. Instead, Nintendo did not get close to users when developing the Wii. According to Shigeru Miyamoto, Nintendo’s senior marketing director, “We don’t use consumer focus groups. We got a lot of feedback from developers in the industry.” This allowed Nintendo to completely redefine the experience of game consoles.

The iPod and the Wii were outside the spectrum of possibilities of what people knew and did. But they were not outside what they could dream of and love, if only someone could propose it to them.

Firms that create radical innovations make proposals. They put forward a vision. In doing that, of course, they take greater risks. And it may even be that the iPad will not succeed. (My feeling is that its success strongly depends on developers. If they create applications specifically tailored for this device, instead of simply adapting existing applications running on notebooks, then the iPad could mark a new era in mobile computing. The potential is there, given that Apple is using the same collaborative innovation strategy devised for the iPhone.)

My 10 years of research on breakthrough innovations by companies such as Apple, Nintendo, and Alessi, which are summarized in my book Design-Driven Innovation, shows, however, that these radical proposals are not created by chance. And they do not simply come from intuition of a visionary guru. They come from a very precise process and capabilities.

Thanks to this process these companies are serial radical innovators. Their non-user-centered proposals are not dreams without a foundation. Sometimes they fail. But when they work, people love them even more than products that have been developed by scrutinizing their needs.
110-VergantiR.jpg

Roberto Verganti is professor of the management of innovation at Politecnico di Milano and a member of the board of the European Institute for Advanced Studies in Management. He has served as an executive advisor, coach, and educator at a variety of firms, including Ferrari, Ducati, Whirlpool, Xerox, Samsung, Hewlett-Packard, Barilla, Nestlè, STMicroelectronics, and Intuit.


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