Arnold Worldwide says its recent research found that most American consumers feel society is becoming too shallow and have moved from "super-sizing" to "right-sizing" amid a sluggish economy and the green movement.
As a result, celebrities and business leaders who influence spending and trends have changed as well. Think Warren Buffett more than, say, Lindsay Lohan.
Andrew Benett, global CEO of the Boston agency and global chief strategy officer of its parent, Havas Worldwide, has penned "Consumed: Rethinking Business in an Era of Mindful Spending" (Palgrave Macmillan, July 2010) and identified 10 of the top public figures who embody and influence the new "mindful consumer":
1. Michelle Obama - Wearing J.Crew spiked sales, but Arnold says her anti-obesity campaign is inspiriing people and influencing politicians, business leaders, nonprofits, parents and others "to think about what we consume."
2. Mark Zuckerberg - the Facebook CEO is ranking high, the firm says, "because the platform he created is making savvier shoppers out of all of us" and providing a voice for grassroots groups.
3. Stephen F. Quinn - Wal-Mart's chief marketing officer gets a nod for the top retailer's sustainability efforts, including greener store designs, reusable bags, recycling programs and the installation of solar panels, as well as offering locally grown produce.
4. Oprah Winfrey - "Her personal integrity, philanthropic efforts and ability to connect with the masses will help her stay one of America's favorite trendsetters long after her talk show ends in 2011," says Arnold.
5. Warren Buffet - Arnold says the billionaire sets an example by "mindful spending and philanthropy," noting he's lived in the same house since 1958 and is a huge charitable benefactor.
6. Taylor Swift - the "down-to-earth" singer/songwriter is praised for humanitarian efforts for numerous charities and a penchant for affordable clothing.
7. Ellen DeGeneres - Arnold says the talk show host uses her "large media presence" to expose audience members to different charities like Feeding America and the American Red Cross while she "conceals her wealth" with ordinary clothes and a gracious attitude.
8. Indra Nooyi - PepsiCo's CEO makes the list for skipping the Super Bowl ad frenzy and kicking off the "Pepsi Refresh Project," a social campaign that allows individuals and groups to post their philanthropic ideas online, where the public votes for them to be funded.
9. Suze Orman - viewed as a trusted financial expert, Arnold says she uses her TV show, books, and frequent guest spots to help people solve money problems.
10. Ludacris - the eco-conscious rapper gets a nod for the Ludacris Foundation, to which he has given $1.5 million and thousands of hours of service for youth-oriented, grassroots organizations, especially around his Atlanta hometown.