Monday, April 12, 2010

Theophrastus & electioneering

John Lanchester has been writing regularly on the LRB Blog in the run-up to the UK election; today he describes Mosaic, a package used by the Tories to get insight into the electorate:

Mosaic is well worth a look, and is very striking for its mixture of first hand research and thundering clichés. The population of the UK is represented by 15 groups, broken down into 67 household categories – one of which will be applied to you, whoever you are, by Mosaic’s all-knowing postcode-centred database. The categories are accompanied by little character sketches. So who are you? At the top is ‘Alpha Territory’ consisting of groups such as ‘Global Power Brokers’, ‘Voices of Authority’, ‘Business Class’ and ‘Serious Money’; its members include Piers and Imogen: ‘If not found on their own private yacht, then they are most likely to be seen in the business or first class cabins of airlines, to holiday in their own foreign property and to enjoy the service of exclusive hotels and restaurants.’ They sound lovely. Group C for ‘Rural Solitude’ consists of five subgroups: ‘Squires among Locals, Country Loving Elders, Modern Agribusiness, Farming Today, Upland Struggle’.

The whole thing here.

1 comment:

g.P. Butler said...

Thanks for the link to this. I confess that I am fascinated by this sort of effort by business to organize people. Being trained in sociology, its such an interesting application of stratification ideas for profit making.

It seems that humans want to know their group. In Brave New World, they had the Alpha plus pluses at Eton and Deltas doing the manual work. In the same way, its interesting to watch commercials for different shows to see who advertisers think you are. Sometimes they want to sell me a Lexus, because I have "earned it", though they also seem to think that I could use some drugs to help me out in the bedroom.