One of the great joys in my life is having two grown or almost daughters who are so surpassingly intelligent and "on" that nearly every day they teach me some thing or show me some thing I wouldn't have learned or noticed without them. In fact, if I had to be simplistic about it, I'd say that's how you can tell if you've done a decent job as a parent: do your kids teach you things.
Today I got an IM from my younger daughter who said she was having a conversation with a friend about teachers at the college she attends.
She and "Ta" broke teachers into two categories in a way which I think is instructive. One: there are those teachers who teach a subject... vs. ...Two: those teachers who teach students.
It seems to be that the same division can be found in most advertising. The first category is occupied by most brands. They have a curriculum. They need to tell you about their squeezable softness, their lemon-freshness, their miles per gallon. They approach the world with the stance of a pedagogue: you will listen to what I have to say and you will learn.
The second category is concerned with what their audience needs and wants. Teachers and advertising in this group are most often more involving and entertaining. They care about what is getting through to their target.
What's striking about our business is how frequently we forget the most basic rules of communication and salesmanship simply because we have a boss, client or next quarter breathing down our necks.
My 20 year old knows better than that.