middle america

December 29, 2016

Celebrating Middle America is New Focus Post-Election

Tony Treadway

The three top-selling vehicles in America are pickup trucks. As long as that remains true, middle America should never be overlooked when building an ad campaign. But a recent article in the Wall Street Journal found that Madison Avenue agencies are re-evaluating their campaigns following the wakeup call of the election.

For decades, major ad campaigns have celebrated the metro elite and overlooked the working middle American families. According to the article, McCann’s CEO, Harris Diamond, said, “So many marketing programs are oriented toward metro elite imagery. Marketing needs to reflect less of New York and Los Angeles culture and more of Des Moines and Scranton.”

Now the big agencies are rethinking their reliance on a ritzy lifestyle for the aspirational message of a campaign. They are in search of more research into the attitudes of their new target audience that spoke loudly with their vote for Trump.

Thus, a new benefit of looking elsewhere for agency advice and to one whose creatives grew up on farms in “fly-over” country to gauge the spirit of America. We’re lucky to live and work in great states such as Tennessee and North Carolina where we can access an urban landscape when we need it, but keep our finger on the pulse of what truly drives America.

A case in point is our insights in building a brand for House-Autry Mills. Founded by an Englishman in 1812 at an eastern North Carolina grist mill (another irony) we’ve toiled to craft a major insight. Their breadings and baking mixes aren’t just about creating a quick and easy meal. Instead, they are about bringing middle American families back to the dinner table to celebrate what really counts. Take a look at our brand anthem and let me know if this is the new approach to celebrating middle America.

Tony Treadway


President & CEO

Regarded in the advertising and PR industry as a top strategist, Tony is considered one of the most respected marketing minds in the business, especially in the $600 billion foodservice industry. As president, he leads Creative Energy in serving a variety of regional and national accounts in the textile, hardware, building materials, electronics, nuclear power and health care markets.