Steve Stoute is dropping mad science in the new issue of Time. The part that caught my eye is a theory he calls “the tanning of America.” This theory has little to do with the physical attributes of minorities and everything to do with the growing buying power of Blacks, Latinos, and Asian-Americans. It’s a fascinating read.
What he calls “the tanning of America.” The growing African-American, Hispanic and Asian-American populations together command an estimated $2 trillion in buying power. And they have become hugely influential trendsetters. Demographers know this, but Stoute sees the shift as a massive cultural transformation that most companies are missing.
According to Stoute, this seismic shift has ushered in an era of shared cultural tastes and attitudes. The tanning concept, he says, is built around not the physical reality of different racial makeups but rather what he calls “a shared mental complexion.” To make a brand relevant, companies need to understand that multicultural advertising is no longer a niche strategy: multicultural is what America looks like. “One of the things that made me realize right away that Steve was an innovative thinker was when I heard him talking about the tanning of America,” says Pamela El, marketing vice president of State Farm. “He said that advertisers and marketers need to follow the lay of the land, and the face of America is changing.” Stoute took LeBron James to State Farm, managing to make King James both relevant and funny in ads for insurance.
This is somewhat off-topic, but I’ve always wondered why Steve Stoute’s head is disproportionate to the rest of his body. I reckon that it’s because his dome holds more knowledge than a public library.