Here in the San Francisco area we have something called "casual carpools." During rush hour, people line up, you pick them up in your car, and then you can cross the Bay Bridge in the carpool lane.
I once picked up a crazy old lady who thought every license plate had a secret meaning. The whole trip she was trying to interpret license plates:
"5JNU361. What do you think that means?"The advertising press is like that. They think every ad has a significant social context.
So if the economy is lousy, they suddenly notice that there are price ads in the world. If times are good, they brilliantly perceive that luxury goods are for sale. They don't seem to notice that there are price ads in times of prosperity and luxury goods for sale during recessions.
According to these guys, no matter what is happening in the wider world, it is always reflected in advertising.
In an article entitled, "Down Economic Times Elicit Upbeat Campaigns" The New York Times seems to be surprised that in a bad economy advertisers are trying to portray their products in a positive light:
"It seems counterintuitive to accentuate the positive amid all the downbeat financial news."Really?
What are we supposed to say to consumers? You're ugly and this stuff is shit?
On The Other Hand...
You can't really blame The Times. Reporters have to come up with crap everyday. Just like bloggers.