Can a good advertising agency overcome the “lost decade”? For those countries that still don’t think sovereign debt is a real concern, or who think the best cure for an anaemic economy is more deficit spending, this is a serious question.
Japan, for instance, has such steep public debt figures, now at 180% of its gross domestic product, that the government’s recent attempts to sell government bonds (JGBs) reek of mild desperation.
A high-profile advertising campaign now appeals to investors’ masculinity, after appeals to the profit motive have failed. “Women have a thing for men who own JGBs!!... right!?” says the ad. Women prefer men who invest in public bonds because they are a sensible, stable investment, or so goes the argument.
If the rest of the world goes Japan’s way, billboards in Times Square and Mumbai may soon be exhorting people to buy government debt because people of the opposite sex will throw themselves at them. Not quite the best way to bolster public finances perhaps.