?

Log in

No account? Create an account
click opera
February 2010
 
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17
18
19
20
21
22
23
24
25
26
27
28
 
 
 
 
 
 
Sat, Jan. 12th, 2008 04:31 am
Kartoffelgrafiken: market segmentation potato graphics

I'm writing this with Strawberry Jam by Animal Collective playing softly in the background (it's 3.30am). Now, why am I not writing it with, say, Neon Bible by Arcade Fire playing? Why did I make that choice of jam over bible? According to German consumer research firm Sinus Sociovision, the answer has something to do with potatoes. They've plotted attitudes, tastes and worldviews on a series of national diagrams (they call them Kartoffelgrafiken -- potato graphics) depicting "milieus". This first one is the sort of master diagram, a meta-milieu of meta-potatoes which basically shows how the others are laid out:



My friend Jan Lindenberg, knowing how much I like pretentious, precise, picturesque market segmentation tools from Mosaic to the Inglehart Values Map, sent me a link to these Sinus potatoes, telling me that I might be able to relate them to my entry about the Berlin Japanese in their bubble.

So I read a machine-translated blurb from the German marketers which told me that Mr Ortmann and Mr Urban, both in their mid-40s, both married with children, earning the same and living in the same kind of upscale house, might still be in totally different sacks of potatoes in terms of their consumption, their tastes; Mr Ortmann takes Ortmann Junior into the woods behind the stadium then to McDonalds, whereas Mr Urban leaves his son alone, preferring to spend his leisure time reading fiction, listening to jazz and sipping espresso. And if men can be so different, countries can too. Enter the international potato maps.



I began to click through the various countries Sinus has covered. The maps are based on the attitudes that emerged during thousands of phone interviews with people in the various countries. They haven't done Sweden or Japan yet (so Sweden can't "win" this one), but above you see how Sinus thinks the potatoes -- sorry, the attitude clusters -- shake down in Britain. The y-axis plots social status, the x-axis is an Inglehart-like continuum from traditional / conservative values (sense of duty and order), through modern consumer hedonism to something rather mysteriously called "patchwork / virtual society" at the end. (More information on the categories is here.)

On the British map, I feel like I'd be happy amongst the Ground-breakers, the Pleasure-seekers, the Modern Performers or the Post-Materialists, though probably not in "quiet, peaceful Britain" nor amongst the Traditionalists or Establisheds. Britain looks pretty progressive on this map, though; put all the percentage figures together and the people I could make common cause with represent 40% of the entire society. The others -- the Tories -- make up 60%, which is more, but not that much more. A rush and a push...



The American map adds an extra category on the status scale, "marginal". The USA seems to have a more extreme span from winners (called "Sovereigns" here, but presumably super-capitalist captains of industry) to losers (an 11%-sized potato marked "Disenfranchised", though they could as well have titled it "Sub-Prime"). Here the general area I felt comfortable with in the British map is occupied by a big potato marked "Mavericks" -- a word I have problems with, since the libertarianism it represents can be an anarchy of the right as well as of the left; nutty survivalists, vigilantes and religious cranks might well be blighting this potato like so many Colorado beetles.

The scary thing about the US map is that only 10% of the population seem to be "my kind of person" (Liberal Progressives; and they probably all live in New York). The rest are stuff like Old Guard, Materialists, Middle America, and "Adaptive Achievers". Okay, let's see what Sinus make of Germany, my adopted homeland.



The German map looks pretty much like the British one; there's a goodly clump of experimentalists, postmaterialists, modern performers, hedonists, any of whom I could share a cup of hot spiced gluhwein with. Here, though, there's one peculiarity -- the right wing types are joined by a group called DDR Nostalgists, left wing conservatives who want communism back. They'd probably approve of the Marx and Engels posters on my kitchen wall, anyway. Nice to know I have friends even on the trad side here. If I add their 5% to the friendly potatoes I get a total of 44% of the German population whose values I might vaguely share, which might explain why I'm here rather than in Britain (though it's not a huge difference). Sorry this is all about me, by the way, but you can have fun finding your own tasty potatoes.



Everything sounds cooler in Spanish -- Spain has a potato for Postmodernists, for heaven's sake, and for Vanguardistas! Then there are the Che Guevara-sounding Rebeldes Reactivos and the Progresistas Acomodados. When I add up all the Spanish progressives, though, I get only 39%. There are a lot of Tradicionales and Burguesia out there. Italy looks even more conservative; there's a bit of a gap where the experimental and postmaterialist types should be, and, outside of 17% Progressisti Tolleranti and Edonisti Ribelli, just a lot of Consumisti, Borghesia, Ambitiosi social climber types, and a huge clump of Tradizionali Conservatori. That potato alone is bigger than the Progressives and Hedonists put together. I'd probably be happier in Italy than Poland, though; according to Sinus it lacks any sort of postmaterial or postmodern class. The areas usually occupied by experimental types are, in Poland, taken up with "Popular Fun and Money Driven" (a big 18% potato), High Living Players and Status-and-Career-Oriented types.



China also doesn't offer much to experimentalists -- here groups of Affluent Contendeds, Golden Hedonists and Hedo-Materialists occupy the area where, in post-industrial countries, you'd find the windmill, art lab and solar panel fans. What's more, the Educated Specialists (the Intelligentsia and Civil Service, presumably) are way over to the Slow, Trad side of the diagram. Everyone else in China just seems to be mintin' it and lovin' the bling.

31CommentReply


(Anonymous)
Sat, Jan. 12th, 2008 04:59 am (UTC)
momus

I dreamed that you were Laurie Anderson. With an eye-patch! That's crazy imomus!
\
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SirOxIeuNDE

mach 20

are you better than laurie? I think not. japan be damned. Ypou have been sent for ma purpose Nick!


ReplyThread

(Anonymous)
Sat, Jan. 12th, 2008 05:04 am (UTC)
Re: momus

rooster cogburn had an eyepatch!


ReplyThread Parent Expand

Re: momus - (Anonymous) Expand

mongoltrophies
mongoltrophies
yasser mohammed apoplipo
Sat, Jan. 12th, 2008 05:10 am (UTC)

I feel like there's too little distinction between cultural and economic measures in the names of these potatoes. It's true that the people most concerned with their personal welfare ("the disenfranchised") have their culture defined by it, but people of different nationalities appear to interpret what must be such broad questions in widely varying ways. That surely says something, but it's hard to guess the underlying reasons. What are the usual intentions of their native pollsters?
It's a relevant and seductive framework, but I don't know good it is for choosing your potatoes.


ReplyThread

(no subject) - (Anonymous)

(no subject) - (Anonymous) Expand


(no subject) - (Anonymous)
imomus
imomus
imomus
Sat, Jan. 12th, 2008 11:07 am (UTC)

Your yams / cats map was fun, Kuma.

then you have the vague "consumer hedonism & Post-materialism" values catagory all in the same block when they're seemingly contrary to one another.

Remember that this measures attitudes, which often compensate for our actual circumstances and even contradict them somewhat. Isn't it possible that consumerism involves a kind of anorexia-bulimia dialectic, or even "hypocrisy", or contradictions, if you prefer that language? Haven't you noticed how ethical consumption (fair trade, bio and eco) has become a fast-growing consumption trend? The biggest new supermarket to open in my neighbourhood is an eco-themed organic one. More and more consumption is being styled as post-consumption and targeted at affluent attitudinal post-materialists who nevertheless still have actual material needs.

The other paradox this chart pins well is the fact that the people with materialistic attitudes are generally low in the income/status bracket. It's precisely the people who can't afford bling who are most into bling as a concept / lifestyle / set of signifiers.

As for Precarious Pleasure-Seekers being next to Post-Materialist Ground-Breakers, what unites these people is a concern for non-material values. Imagine poor bohemians without credit cards living (precariously but hedonistically) with their Guardian-reading, affluent but idealistic parents. Or a modern-day post-materialist Lady Chatterley having an affair with her (avant) gardener. And using yams galore!

I'm post-materialist in the paradoxical way (and the C category is meta-labeled "re-orientation, multiple options, experimentation, paradoxes" on the meta-map) that all post-materialists are. But note that when I get to my destination in my jet I don't head out shopping. I have no money, after all, and don't want any. I tend to look at art, none of which I ever buy.

Here are three of the pen sketches they provide, translated from German:

Intellectual
World-openness and postmaterial values; wide cultural and intellectual interests; striving for self-actualisation and personal development.

Sensation Oriented
Search for fun and action, after new experiences and intense sensations, live in the here and now. Individualism and spontaneity; provocative and unconventional style.

Modern Performing
Young, flexible and socially mobile, intensive living in sin, after success and fun; high qualification and ready to perform; multimedia-fascination.

Of those groups, Intellectual is probably the one that fits me best, since I'm always tapping away at this bloody blog!


ReplyThread Parent

(no subject) - (Anonymous) Expand


Puckah fuckah - (Anonymous) Expand
never_the_less
never_the_less
critical sass
Sat, Jan. 12th, 2008 09:09 am (UTC)

Du liest kein Deutsch? Natuerlich ein Bisschen, no? I've always wondered, as obviously it is totally possible to speak English in so much of Berlin. (Just picking up on the fact that you read this translated.)


ReplyThread
imomus
imomus
imomus
Sat, Jan. 12th, 2008 11:46 am (UTC)

I do read German after a fashion, but I was sort of making fun of the machine translation, which rendered the marketing pen sketches somewhat sinister.


ReplyThread Parent


(no subject) - (Anonymous) Expand


(no subject) - (Anonymous) Expand



(Anonymous)
Sat, Jan. 12th, 2008 09:21 am (UTC)
RE: DDR Nostalgists

Have you visited the DDR museum?

I was surprised to find long lines outside and the rather small place totally crowded inside - a majority of the people Germans, as far as I could tell. The Stasi exhibition, at another location, was almost empty. No entree fee (and free posters) but hardly anyone there.

The store at Hachemarkt selling Ampelman souvenirs was crowded ar well.

Somebody is getting very rich of this craving for the past.


ReplyThread
imomus
imomus
imomus
Sat, Jan. 12th, 2008 11:47 am (UTC)
Re: DDR Nostalgists

I haven't seen the DDR Museum, no. But whole parts of the city seem to be a DDR Museum. Especially the flohmarkts.


ReplyThread Parent
microworlds
microworlds
Sparkachu Maelworth
Sat, Jan. 12th, 2008 09:48 am (UTC)

This entry makes me want to take those personality tests that tell you your results through a graph. Like this one that quizzes me on my humor spectrum:


Thank you Momus, for inspiring me to take personality tests through this entry! When I wake up tomorrow, I'm expecting your results in my inbox!


ReplyThread

(no subject) - (Anonymous) Expand




electricwitch
electricwitch
For anything, oh! she´ll bust her elastic
Sat, Jan. 12th, 2008 10:25 am (UTC)

Well, I guess the fact that you wrote this at 3.30 am explains a lot.


ReplyThread

(Anonymous)
Sat, Jan. 12th, 2008 11:03 am (UTC)

Mr. Potato Head ... a world-class personality whose recognition grew from a simple children\'s toy to everyone\'s best friend, a speaker of causes, entertainment star and a cultural icon.


ReplyThread

(Anonymous)
Sat, Jan. 12th, 2008 01:46 pm (UTC)

um............WHERE'S JAPAN'S MAP OF POTATOES?


ReplyThread
alumiere
alumiere
alumiere
Sat, Jan. 12th, 2008 08:19 pm (UTC)

re: america - i agree that NYC has a lot of "your kind of people" (i grew up there), but so does LA/San Francisco/much of CA - i think actually looking at the whole state CA probably has more of us than NY


ReplyThread
desant012
||||||||||
Sat, Jan. 12th, 2008 09:16 pm (UTC)

Dig a little deeper and a lot of those 'progressives' are big time libertarians ... one of the big cores of the libertarian ethos is CA, particularly the Bay Area.


ReplyThread Parent
cap_scaleman
cap_scaleman
cap_scaleman
Sat, Jan. 12th, 2008 08:46 pm (UTC)

Hmm, I recall phone interviewing being one of the least reliable types of market researching methods. Though that is what a book said.


ReplyThread
count_vronsky
count_vronsky
Sat, Jan. 12th, 2008 11:26 pm (UTC)

Wow, sorry about that Nick. I am not much of a drinker and I was blotto when I posted. I apologize.
What I was trying to say was that it would be interesting to make a film about Laurie Anderson and have you play her. Or you be one of the people who play her like that new Dylan bio-pic. I could see you with a lightbulb in your mouth and wearing ice skates.

The Rooster Cogburn ref came from here - http://www.apple.com/trailers/independent/billythekid/trailer/


ReplyThread