Commercial Analysis

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“In order to deprive us of honor, that you may then deprive us of our wealth…”

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This series of commercials panders to the popular notion that capitalists are primarily concerned, not with bettering their own lives through the creation and trade of economic values, but simply with being better than their competition (even if that means harming themselves). The left Twix and the right Twix are, as everyone knows, indistinguishable from one another. Everyone except money-grubbing capitalist fat cats, that is. That’s the implication at least. Only a money-grubbing capitalist would be so petty, so narcissistic, so Napoleonic that they truly believe that a completely indentical product is fundamentally different simply because he produced it.

This is an effective smear – and Twix may very well endear itself to a great part of the anti-capitalist public for doing it – but it doesn’t change the fact that it is precisely this type of mentality that capitalism’s competitive pressure prevents, rather than enables. Under capitalism each man is, by definition, responsible for his own existence. He is still responsible for discovering what profits himself the most, whether that be acting alone or in cooperation with others. He is not dogmatically beholden to either method. From Harry Binswanger:

Note that in sports, the main purpose is to win, to outscore rivals; the margin of victory is of only secondary concern. In business competition, the reverse is true: what counts is the amount of profit earned; whether one makes more or less profit than a competitor is of secondary, or tertiary concern. If the New York Yankees could choose between winning by a score of 2 to 1 or losing by a score of 9 to 10, they would unhesitatingly choose winning, even though it means scoring fewer runs. But if a business had to choose between “winning” (being the market leader in sales) with profits of $2 million or “losing” (being second, third, or lower in sales) with profits of $9 million, they would unhesitatingly choose “losing.” Profits, not market share, are what owners demand.

In baseball, the runs’ value is relative to the goal of winning. After one has a secure lead, extra runs have little value. In business, the score (profits) is everything, and “winning” per se has little value…

Accordingly, despite popular assumptions to the contrary, businesses are not primarily concerned with besting their competitors. The firm’s primary focus is on profits, not on whether it is gaining on or falling behind the performance of other firms. A CEO whose firm has earned a 90 percent market share does not lie awake at night thinking about how to get the other 10 percent… Rather, he lies awake thinking of ways to improve HIS enterprise, because the market gives him daily or hourly reminders that only constant improvement can even maintain, let alone increase, his firm’s profitability.

That excerpt is from a discussion on antitrust, so it’s focus is economic and not psychological, but it touches on the kind of mentality that flourishes – and the kind of mentality that stagnates – in a truly capitalistic system (which is most definitely not what America has today). The fact that in today’s economy there actually are more of the latter type of mentality – and that they are the ones who are flourishing – does not say anything about capitalism per se, but rather is a damning indictment of the semi-capitalist, semi-socialist mixed economy that currently exists.

As a capitalist enterprise, Twix should be ashamed of itself for pandering to the twisted anti-capitalist sentiments so much of the public possesses. If it wishes to remain in business over the long-term, it should put aside the petty concerns of the short-term (ie: the need to make a profit right now, by whatever means necessary), and use it’s public forum to clarify – rather than to further twist – the public’s thinking on capitalism. In other words, it should stop being exactly the sort of “capitalists” that these commercials lampoon.


Written by commercialanalysis

October 15, 2013 at 6:18 pm

Posted in Food and Drink

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