Wednesday 17 October 2018

Riding my hobby-horse

"If you're doing 'consumer safaris', your alienation from the real world is total and complete."

That's one of my favourite lines from Martin Weigel's latest blog post, Escape from Fantasy.

A lot of blog posts I read tend to approach one ear, then turn around and slink back off into the morass of jargon that is LinkedIn. But this one hasn't just stuck in my mind, it feels worthy of regurgitation so I can rapidly find it again. It would have been pinned on the wall in the old days, I guess.

It's well-written (if a little finger-pointy with its "we do this/that, we think this/that" style which I have a personal aversion against), compelling, funny and pinpoints the biggest problem of the brand communication industry today - this industry is based in a parallel fantasy world.

The evidence for this is not difficult to find and ranges from giving groups of people super-heroesque labels, through to my particular hobby horse - the aversion of a lot of planners these days to getting away from their desks and screens. "Far too many planners are no longer in constant, direct, unmediated contact and dialogue with people."

The solution - to "do what others do not, can not or dare not do to" is simple. It's about finding the truth - "the truth of real people in the real world."

One small area where I'd take issue, though, is the area of "we are nothing like the people we serve." It's simply not true, if you go under the surface demographics. We are all human beings, with the same basic needs and motivations, even though these may be expressed or fulfilled in different ways. And this is part of the solution, as far as I'm concerned. Advertising, or whatever it calls itself now, is probably always going to be dominated by young people. But if those young people are worth their salt as planners and creatives, they will at least try to get into the mindset of someone older, someone different, someone who is outside their immediate experience. Perhaps by finding common ground in the way that person feels, what's important to them.

And always remember - "the consumer" only exists in Fantasy Land.

No comments: