July 02, 2009

3 Words That Should Scare Every Client

If John Wanamaker were alive today, he might re-state his famous maxim:
"I know half of what my agency tells me is bullshit, I just don't know which half."
If you're feeling that way, here's a tip.

Anytime someone at the agency starts a presentation with the words "Consumers told us..." that's a good time to get out the boots and shovels.

You see, the key to success in the ad business for the past 15 years or so, has been to deny you have any personal thoughts or ideas and to pretend that everything you are doing is the result of a slavish adherence to the desires of "the consumer."

Next time you hear "consumers told us..." here are a few questions to ask:
  • How many consumers told us this?
  • How many consumers told us something else?
  • Under what circumstances did these consumers tell us this stuff?
  • Are you using their words or your interpretation?
  • Did these consumers stop us on the street and tell us this, or were they in some artificial environment?
  • If it was an artificial environment, what was the stimulus that caused them to tell us this?
The reason you need to ask these questions is that we advertising people are a fortunate lot. Consumers have an amazing tendency to tell us exactly what we want to hear.

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