I'm not much smarter than you don't think I am!

You're going to notice that a lot of ads seem like they are tailor-made so that only someone dumber than you can appreciate them.

After that you're probably going to start thinking that it's done out of simple hubris: "I can figure this out, sure, but there is no way Joe Pukepail on the street is going to be able to understand it. Let's dumb it down."

That's certainly not far from the truth, but the actual issues at play are probably a little bit more complex.

It's probably not completely off the mark to make an assumption at this point: No one is setting out to make bad advertising. People aren't sitting around on a pile of money trying to burn through it as quickly as possible.

So where are these dumb ads coming from? What's causing them?


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I imagine it's a mix of client fears and unfortunately also probably happens on the agency side as well.

May 18, 2004 at 6:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What I have experienced is that clients have this wierd and very stupid assumption that consumers is very dumb. "I don't think they will get it" Even though all at the agency gets it, the clients gets it.. But,, Arrgghh! Its really annoying sometimes..

I mean the worst thing is to be looked down to. Its really hard to convince clients that there have to to be something rewarding in an ad for for the comsumer... Something for the mind or the gut felling!

They tend to what everything overexplained... Yep, Try to explain a joke... It dosen't really work, right. I'm not saying that advertising is like a joke, but story telling wise.

The think is that client are using a lot of money a campaign, and they what everbody to get it, but by doing so, they at the same time make the add less compleling to those how should communicate too.

Have anyone had good methods to convince clients not to talk down to consumers?

September 23, 2004 at 7:23 PM  
Blogger cnjnctvsynth said...

The notion of the poor fool who buys into advertising is, as far as I can tell, not only erroneous and "hubristic," it is precisely this notion that makes advertising successful. As early as 1975, Schrank identified the "widespread assumption of personal invulnerability" as the very thing that "helps create the milieu in which ads can be effective persuaders" (Deception Detection, 63). In various works, Slavoj Zizek, disciple of Lacan, demonstrates that the concept of the "subject supposed to believe" is one that plays a large role in structuring our symbolic universe. In other words, it is possible that ads work BECAUSE everyone believes that only OTHER people buy into them, believe in them, etc. Consumer revulsion was contemporary with the advent of advertising. We would search history in vain to discover a consumerist "dupe" who was not inherently skeptical of advertising. Perhaps, young children are the only notable exception to this rule, however, this contradiction can not explain the effectiveness of advertising which is aimed at adults. It seems to me, that assumptions about unwitting consumers who are tricked by advertising schemes have only served to prevent a truly penetrating study of the psychology of advertising. My suggestion would be to focus on this "myth" of the foolish consumer with the hope of understanding what need this false conception serves and how it lends itself to the efficacy of advertising.

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