July 08, 2009

Plastic Surgery For Business

Several years ago I was in Los Angeles casting for a tv campaign. Before the casting session began I was thumbing through the head sheets and saw that an actress who had had a starring role in a very popular sitcom was coming in on the call.

The sitcom had been canceled at least 10 years earlier, but in the head shot she looked exactly as she had on the show. Although I knew she had to be close to 60, she looked mid-40's in the head shot.

When she arrived to read for the part, she looked like a mutant. She obviously had had enormous amounts of plastic surgery. She looked fine to the camera, but grotesque in person.

It occurred to me then -- for the first time -- that there are people whose real lives aren't as important to them as the perception they imagine others have of them. They would rather look good in a photograph than in life.

The same is true in commerce.

There are too many businesses around that are grotesque. They believe they can continue providing lousy service and shoddy goods if they just create a nice picture of themselves. That's what they think advertising is for.

A good strategy for ad agencies is to stay as far away from these companies as they can.

Along Those Lines...
I was in a Denny's with a friend. The menu was decorated with gorgeous pictures of food. My friend ordered a hamburger. When it arrived it looked like a fat guy had sat on it for two weeks. The waiter put the burger down and left. My friend called out to him, "My compliments to the photographer."

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