Incite by Design

Caustic visions and shared thoughts on design, marketing, creativity, philanthropy, pop culture and business philosophy by Toronto design firm, Ricksticks Inc.


Consumer Sophistication and Feeble Attempts

Kerry cooks his own goose

WASHINGTON In yet another attempt to prove to President George W. Bush that he is man enough to run this country, John Kerry made an animal sacrifice to the political gods in a cornfield in eastern Ohio last week.

Four dead geese are not too high a price to pay for a few rural, blue-collar votes in a swing state. As long as Kerry doesn't slip and ask Teresa to purée the carcasses into pâté.

Tromping about in a camouflage costume and toting a 12-gauge double-barreled shotgun that shrieked "I am not a merlot-loving, brie-eating, chatelaine-marrying dilettante," the Democratic nominee emerged from his shooting spree with three fellow hunters proclaiming, "Everybody got one, everybody got one," showing off a hand stained with goose blood.

I am always disappointed when I see a fairly decent guy pandering to the lowest common denominator to score points. I should not be surprised by this, but I am always taken aback when I see Kerry out doing the hunting and fishing thing. It seems to obviously contrived, but I guess since so many voters are prepared to vote for the Repugnant-ans, I guess they are pretty darn gullible.

Stepping off of today's political soapbox, I am reminded of my morning discussion regarding the new sophisticated, ad-savvy consumer. While there's a lot of debate among marketing and advertising folk about what constitutes true talk versus fluff, I seldom hear from business owners and entrepreneurs. I'm curious how many of us get direct feedback from consumers and clients about the nature of our marketing campaigns and how they feel about the methodology. Don't delude yourself - more of them "get" the methodology then some of us are prepared to admit.

Quite a few marketing blogs are becoming evangelical about the moral implications of branding. I know I have been in many a good discussions about truth telling and boundaries. Many colleagues of mine have a general disdain for marketing - selling has become a dirty word. I have even found myself shaking my head when I see the next telecommunications company or automobile manufacturer playing up family values and related emotions in the their commercials and ads, interlinking the object with the emotion, as though the emotion would not occur without the benefits of the object being sold. It is stinky.

Maybe some believe that the object they are selling is inherently valuable and will increase a deep sense of emotional connectedness in the buyer? Maybe.

I, for one, am delighted that the new consumer is demanding proof, evaluating the facts, and seeking practical answers to why the product should be purchased. Maybe if there was more discrepancy before the buy our landfills wouldn't be filling up at the rate they are.