Maybe it's a waste of my time, but I happen to think a lot about the advertising industry. Today, perhaps because of where I am working, I been turning over one of David Ogilvy's famous quotations in my head. That is, "the consumer isn't a moron; she is your wife."
I happen to think that part of the demise of the modern advertising industry has occurred precisely because we have decided to treat consumers like morons.
When I was a little kid, I remember seeing an ad for Toshiba color televisions. They showed the reader that Toshiba's pixels were rectangular whereas other sets' pixels were round. The rectangular shape allowed the space between the red, green and blue to be smaller. More color, less black equals a better picture.
If I were to buy a car, I'd like to know that Mercedes-Benz's use a higher percentage of high-strength low alloy steel than Kia does.
But no one tells us any more. They treat us like morons.
As an industry, I think we used to revel in facts like these. They played to the consumers' intelligence and surely differentiated products.
That sort of advertising has all but disappeared now.
It's disappeared because we've decided we need to capture the emotions of the viewer.
It's disappeared because we have to show smiling people using our products.
It's disappeared because we've decided the consumer is dumb and inert.
It's disappeared because we've gotten too lazy to dig, as have our clients.
I'm not saying advertising shouldn't be emotional. But emotions are a parity product. And giving me a reason why I should be more in love with my Toshiba or Mercedes makes sense to me.
"Think Small" by Volkswagen which many people regard as the greatest ad ever had 140 words of copy. I counted. It enumerated the following advantages:
* 32 mpg
* Less oil needed (five pints, not quarts)
* No anti-freeze needed
* 42,000 miles on a set of tires
* Easy to park
* Low insurance costs
* Low operating costs
* High resale value
With all that the ad somehow built an emotional connection with the viewer, while building a brand, while selling a car.
The ad ended with the same three words with which I'll end this post.
Think it over.