The events of the last few days - the EU referendum in the UK and the subsequent fall-out - have been an amazing spectacle.
To be in the UK at this time is to be present and aware as history is being made, and to be a spectator and participator as all kind of human behaviour are laid bare in front of us.
I want to avoid as much as possible the central political issue (that's not really a subject for this blog) and focus on something that is – and that is the reaction of people in the advertising and marketing world to the vote to leave the EU.
The reaction of people in the advertising industry to the result was extremely telling.
There was complete shock and much outrage that the vote had gone the way it had. There was disbelief in the result - absolute surprise that so many people had voted 'out'.
And, even more interestingly, a complete disdain and contempt for those people, too.
Through media like facebook and twitter, it became clear that most advertising people were not among the 17½ million people who voted to leave the EU.
And not only that, throughout the day they became increasingly critical and insulting about those people.
They simply could not believe, and could not understand why so many people had voted 'out'. They must all be racist, or stupid, or have been hoodwinked, or fallen for the lies of the leave campaigners, was the overriding response.
This soon led to the demonising of the old, and labelling all of the out voters as some racist underbelly of the country.
It's one thing to disagree with people's views.
Another thing to violently disagree.
Another again to insult people who hold the view.
Another further to be completely taken by surprise that there might be over half of the country who, for whatever reason, hold that view.
But then it's another thing completely to not even attempt to understand why people hold that view.
And this from a group of people who are handsomely paid to supposedly understand the wo/man-in-the-street.
Let's go back a week.
In the run-up to the referendum, it was clear to us that the vote was going to be close. Although the polls were calling a narrow victory for Remain, we weren't convinced. We could see a vote where 'Leave' gets more votes than people were expecting. (Or 'OUT' as it was more often called in the real world).
We felt there was a huge groundswell of dissatisfaction out there.
That, rightly or wrongly, there was a huge amount of people who felt like their views and opinions hadn't been taken seriously, who had real concerns about the country, issues like immigration and its effects, and about the influence of the EU over the UK.
It felt to us like people were underestimating the number of these people – and underestimating their desire to vote in this referendum. And that turnout would be very high amongst those who felt like this, because of the emotion felt about these issues.
This was something that was consistently overlooked by remain campaigners, pundits and political commentators alike during the run-up to the referendum – that for a huge number of people, this was an emotional issue as well as a practical one. And that this was something that existed even before the leave campaigners harnessed it.
Of course none of this is rocket science. It just comes from looking around you at the real world, listening to what people are saying, reading what they say on Facebook, etc. Listening to friends and family on the subject.
But, the overriding reaction of most advertising people to the result seems like further evidence that they are living in their own bubble. A world of people like them, which they struggle to see past.
Worse still, they have so little awareness of the world beyond their bubble, that they are absolutely shocked and stunned when the evidence of its existence stares them in the face, their only reaction is to lash out at it.
One of the most ironic things about the whole affair is the number of planners, traditionally those in the agency tasked primarily with the official role of understanding the consumer, who were on the frontline of the disbelief and insults.
And on top of that, the utter craziness of seeing those people who have been banging on for ages about consumers making emotional decisions and not rational ones, then decrying those 17½ million Leave voters for not carefully analysing the economic ramifications of leaving the EU, and making a choice based on what they feel.
I suspect Alanis Morissette is currently penning a new version of her greatest hit even as I write this.
The problem of advertising having become too much of a polite, middle-class place with not enough diversity has been well documented, not least in our own recently published book [plug: HERE].
Not only is it primarily staffed by similar people from similar backgrounds, who think similar things, but it appears that they are becoming more and more insular, with a diminishing understanding of the real world.
How many of the adfolk of Soho and East London do a weekly big shop at a Tesco, Asda, Morrisons, Lidl or Aldi?
I can't imagine it's many. And that's just a flippant example. How many really know the daily lives, worries, concerns, priorities and motivations of normal people?
They are living in their own rarified world. And this is not helping clients.
You can see examples of it all over: adfolk increasingly going on about "Consumers needing brands to have a purpose", or "Consumers having relationships with brands".
Yes, consumers need a brand to have a purpose exactly like they care about whether someone's little Lila or Finn will be able to spend summer in the Dordogne without mummy having any admin headaches.
It is ad-world, rarified nonsense.
It seems very appropriate that, at the same time that half of advertising was sucking champagne from the corporate trough in Cannes, 72.2 percent of the UK – the second highest turnout in a national vote since 1950 – were braving the torrential rain to make their voices heard.
There's no substitute for being from and living in the real world. You can't fake it by doing a research group in a regional chain hotel every few months.
Advertising people have lost touch with the real world.
It's about time we burst their bubble.