What can a cat -- crossing the rooftop of a doghouse toward a bird chasing a worm through the branch of a dead tree -- teach us about managing wealth?

We'll get back to you on that. But watching Britney Spears chase Madonna around a bed frame on MTV or Carlos Santana playing his cherry Paul Reed Smith for some Johnny Reznick-come-lately on VH1 can teach us a lot.

And not just about the genius of Sumner Redstone and his multicultural, trans-generational Viacom (NYSE:VIA) empire, but the very nature and course of our consumer economy.

Not far from the heart this lurks what's known as joint advertising -- and the gradual blurring of traditional demographics. The former is nothing new and an absolute natural. Pepsi (NYSE:PEP) gets it right on Sundays with its gaggle of couch potatoes munching Lays potato chips and popping Pepsis. Yum! Brands (NYSE:YUM) does just as well, pitching KFC, Taco Bell, and Pizza Hut all wrapped up in one.

But that's just the beginning. Look for more and more Ford (NYSE:F) Focus drivers stopping off to buy more hip, urban gear for a night on the town. But don't be surprised when the geezer in the $70,000 (Ford, too) Jaguar steals the show and turns up fashionably late -- with Sting. It only makes sense. Today's 50 year-old is not yesterday's 50 year-old. That's not your father's father.

Karl Marx must be doing that thing happy corpses do when the horrified are rolling over in the next grave down. It's finally dawning on advertisers that the action's never been in wrangling over slices, but stoking an ever-growing hunger for an ever-bigger pie. The same hunger that's kept our economy going through a corporate recession and "jobless" recovery.

Amazingly, product placement as a concept is already spoofed on the big screen, notably in the sinfully commercial non-hit Josie and the Pussycats. Movie makers already realize "placement's" ability to drive consumers to a single product is a fortunate by-product -- the real wonder is that our movies, our music, and arguably the entirety of our social discourse make us want to buy stuff.

Maybe marketers are overthinking this, when all they really need do is run a head shot of Michael Jordan -- all day, every day. Americans see that face and reach for their wallets.

So, what can a cat, a dog, a bird, worm, and tree teach us about investing?

You mean, besides that money managers like Wachovia (NYSE:WB) are getting uncommonly desperate? You got me. But it sure makes me hungry.