Do You Care Enough To Overcome Consumer Indifference?

“Fail harder” is a Wieden+Kennedy maxim. But if failure isn’t your thing, you can take the following advise from Martin Weigel’s, “How to (not) Fail” deck. Weigel is Head of Planning at Wieden+Kennedy Amsterdam, and his deck neatly illustrates “the gulf that exists between marketing’s bouts of hubris and the consumer’s reality.”

I particularly enjoy slide 100. “Our task is not nurturing enthusiasm but overcoming indifference.”

Words mean something; yet we too often treat words and their meaning as inventions that can be bent to our will. Weigel argues that “the rhetoric and metaphor of modern marketing – community, relationships, fans, loyalty, love, etc. – fundamentally misunderstands how people really feel and behave towards brands.”

Speaking of misunderstanding behavior, see Slide 24, a quote from Paul Adams, Global Head of Brand Design at Facebook:

Almost every App built for a brand on Facebook has practically no usage…Heavy “immersive experiences are not how people engage and interact with brands. Heavyweight experiences will fail because they don’t map to real life.”

Yet, here we are tasked with deepening customer engagement. There is no running away from the language and paradigms of our day. So what can you do? You can’t call bullshit all day, day after day and remain employed for long. A better plan is to honestly assess the tasks before you, and politely poke holes in them where needed, replacing false metaphors and flimsy thinking as you go. Then, whatever real ideas that remain can breathe.



About David Burn

I wrote my first ad for a political candidate when I was 17 years old. She won her race and I felt the seductive power of advertising for the first time. Today—after working for seven agencies in five states—I am head of brand strategy and creative at Bonehook in Portland, Oregon.