Myth: The Smart Consumer
It’s Tuesday night and “Chuck” is coming on in a few minutes. So I turn on my larger than I need TV and prepare for hilarious nerdy spy antics. When a car commercial comes on. And because I don’t have TIVO I can’t fast forward through it like so many Americans today. So I watch and hope to be blown away by an ad that probably cost 2 Million to make.
It's a standard car ad… driving footage, manly VO, features that make the car seem like its smarter than me, and then the end art card comes up and tells me to visit my local dealer. And at that moment I laughed. Not sure why that made me laugh this particular moment rather than any other time I’ve heard the same line delivered. But it did. And all I could think about is… “Where the hell else would I go to buy a brand new 'Name Brand Automobile'!” I don't know about you, but I haven’t seen any new places pop up to buy new cars. It’s not like I’m buying a new pair of jeans here. If Macy’s doesn’t have my size I’d just walk over to JC Penny’s (don't judge me!). If Land Rover doesn’t have my car… I can’t go over to Hyundai and ask if they have any new Range Rovers. Can I? Should I? That’s when it hit me that this brand must think I’m pretty stupid. So I pose the question.
Do brands think people are stupid? That question in my mind seems rhetorical considering the current state of (most) advertising today. Sure there are always exceptions but I do believe most brands think the average consumer is stupid. Or perhaps it's the other way around. Perhaps it's more common that people think brands are stupid. If everyone thinks everyone else is stupid do we really get anywhere? Because ads talk to us like we are not smart enough to make the most simplistic conclusions and we think brands or stupid for talking to us like idiots it sort of feels like were are in a vicious circle of never ending stupidity? Can it change?
I believe most people skip through ads on tv or ignore them and or hate their intrusion online because ads rarely tell people something new or show us something in a different way. Also they happen to be ridiculously louder than whatever show you happen to be watching. WHY!!???
Does every electronic brand always show people in lab coats working in labs on something unrealistic to the actual product? Most people have jobs and are grounded in the fact that they know Sony doesn't have a testing facility for 3D products that's the size of space shuttle hangar. Unless it's entertaining and has monkey's in it! There's always exceptions.
Listen up DRTV (Direct Response Television). Thanks for putting your phone # at the bottom of the screen the whole time I was watching your generic and dry tv spot. But unless your into back rubs or filling up my glass of wine, I'm not going to call your phone # in the next 30 secs. I'll tell you what I am probably going to do... Fast forward through your spot. Don't treat me like a monkey! If I am at the point that I need help loosing weight (getting close) I'll find you.... Prob online.
Do we care about celebrities in our TV ads? If that hot chick from "Lost" really wants me to buy her foundation make-up I would be more impressed if she was really ugly at the start of the commercial then put the make up on... and Shazam! Hotness. Sold. Seriously cosmetics, thanks for picking the most beautiful people on the planet to advertise your product. I'm stupid enough to believe that I will look that good if I just use "x" face cream. Riiiiight.
Please. Please brands. Pretend I'm actually a smart consumer. Maybe just for a year and see if your product sells. I think at least people won't hate your intrusive and non-relevant commercials. Although what do I know, I think everyone should advertise on Chuck like Subway (below). I don't think we answered the question on who thinks who is stupid. Brands or Consumers? Probably both. But I challenge the Brands to pretend consumers are smart first and change our brainwashed minds in a different way.