Over the holidays, several friends sent me links to news stories an photos of well-known retailers dedicating entire windows or sizable space on their retail floor to American-made items. ‘Tis the time for promotions, right? Being in the game now – the retail game – it felt like holiday product promotions reached something that make the term “fever pitch” sound like a moderate uptick in activity. As Instagram and Pinterest maneuvered through their newly introduced paid advertising offerings, following in the footsteps of proven social media advertising methods like that of Facebook marketing and tried and true display and search ads, everyone with something to “push” was participating. Social media was a madhouse, and the amount of advertisers far surpassed its occupancy.
The ploy of temporarily featuring American-made products to gain followers or to hit a few corporate social responsibility goals isn’t new. Consumer polls say you all want to invest more in American manufacturers and are just having a difficult time figuring out how. Cue the Band-Aids: a feature or partnership with a few American-made designers, a temporary collection of items sourced and primarily assembled in the U.S., a small collection of U.S. products added to a company’s existing, mostly internationally produced repertoire.
You see where I’m going with this, I know. Like T. Swift said – “Band-Aids don’t fix bullet holes”. We ripped our manufacturing industry apart decades ago, and we can’t repair it with temporary applications of lightweight adhesive. Only long-term commitments on all our parts - to make manageable changes and to demand more from massive companies – can begin to suture up the U.S. manufacturing industry and the success of American designers.