The Musings Of An Opinionated Sod [Help Me Grow!]


Stop Thinking Your Audience Is Stupid And Start Realising They Just Don’t Care …

So recently I saw the above scoreline posted by a sports platform.

8-0 is a pretty emphatic win.

But then I saw the sports platform in question had stated FCB had won.

No shit sherlock, even the amazing Stevie Wonder could see that!

And it’s this sort of state-the-obvious statement that reveals so much about the state of research, clients and agencies.

Because somewhere along the line, a bad research company has told a bad client that they need to order their poor agency to put a state-the-obvious fact within their carefully crafted piece of communication because there’s a 0.000001% chance the message they want to convey is not quite clear enough.

That, or because the client wants to ‘own’ a particular word in their category – and it will be evaluated by post campaign research – they want to make sure they say it as many times as possible to increase the odds … regardless of the fact that in the real world. no one ever uses the words ‘vitality’ or ‘efficacy’.

ARGHHHHHH!

Years ago I watched a documentary called Z-Channel about the early days of cable television.

One of the networks, Z-Channel, was very avant-garde … playing programs featuring all manner of obscure content.

When asked why, they said this:

“Too many play to the lowest common denominator. We want to play to the highest”.

If only more research, clients and agencies remembered that, then maybe we would make more work that respected the audience and aimed to enthral, inform and entertain them rather than bore them into submission via work that treats them like village idiots.


25 Comments so far
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“Because somewhere along the line, a bad research company has told a bad client that they need to order their poor agency to put a state-the-obvious fact within their carefully crafted piece of communication because there’s a 0.000001% chance the message they want to convey is not quite clear enough. That, or because the client wants to ‘own’ a particular word in their category – and it will be evaluated by post campaign research – they want to make sure they say it as many times as possible to increase the odds … regardless of the fact that in the real world. no one ever uses the words ‘vitality’ or ‘efficacy’”

Never has your Z-channel quote been so perfectly used.

Comment by Pete

We’ve all seen those situations. My favourite response to that was when a CMO of an iconic car discovered a small amount of his potential audience were finding his messaging hard to understand to which he replied, “if they don’t get our message, I don’t want them in my cars.”

They went on to have one of the most successful launches in car history.

Comment by George

Oh yes, I remember that. Which is amazing for two reasons. 1 … because it’s sooooooo long ago. 2 … because judging by the work they are doing nowadays, it the same situation occurred, they would absolutely want their work to resemble an episode of Mr Bean rather than something distinctive to them and a core, influential, segment of their audience.

Comment by Rob

I am surprised they didn’t add a line saying “impressive scoreline.”

Comment by George

Only because they probably didn’t think of it.

There’s always next time …

Comment by Rob

By American sport standards, 8-0 is a low scoring match. They’d still know who won though.

Comment by Bazza

Excellent point Robert about words like efficacy. I have never heard anyone outside of the marketing world use it.

Comment by Lee Hill

Ha … I have literally asked that question in meetings with clients that wanted to use that specific word. They don’t care. They think it’s an ‘ownable characteristic for brand health”.

Was the same with ‘the Pond’s institute’ … which I only know when we did that Body Shop ad about ‘has anyone ever seen the Ponds institute?’ and Unilever hit us with a cease and desist in about a 12th of a second. Hahaha.

Comment by Rob

now that was a fucking campaign. and those cowardly fucks blinked the moment those conglomerate wankers flexed their muscles.

Comment by andy@cynic

There’s lots of patronising commentary around people not wanting anyone to make light of COVID stuff…on goes KFC smashing it out of the park while everyone else sits on their hands

Comment by Northern

To be honest, I was one of those people in the early throws of the first lockdown. I felt it was too new and confusing a situation – with too many people dying – to make light of it.

But now that’s very different.

Let’s be honest, no brand can make light of the COVID situation as much as the governments handing of it, so everything is on as far as I’m concerned.

Comment by Rob

Isn’t the point that they’re making light of themselves and not the virus?

Comment by John

Yep, but at least they are making light. I’ve been in meetings where any stuff about lightening up is immediately shot down, despite the fact it’s what people are looking for right now
Bogus debates about health when people just want anything that makes them feel good
Anyway

Comment by Northern

since when has this blog had a fucking point?

Comment by andy@cynic

Apart from a creche for misfits you mean?

Comment by Northern

So businesses are afraid of differentiation at a time when there are all sorts of new human behaviours they could plug into without making light of the pandemic.

Comment by John

business are afraid of fucking everything right now. have you seen the fucking ads? if your shit over there is anything like our bollocks, its like a piece of fucking beige wall is trying to chat you up in a morgue.

Comment by andy@cynic

Stop being so sensible John

Comment by Northern

Hello

Comment by Northern

Hello. You’ve been missed. At least by me. Hahaha.

Comment by Rob

Somebody has to I suppose

Comment by Northern

ive missed you like i miss having a massive shit after a vindaloo. now planner boy, is that a compliment or a kicking?

Comment by andy@cynic

Both, which is the right answer
I’m a strategist now by the way

Comment by Northern

I can only think that the researchers were thinking of outliers like Forest and situations where readers would need confirmation of a miraculous outcome.

Comment by John

do they say final because its the final score or the final of some fucking important game? what sort of bullshit is this?

Comment by andy@cynic




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