People Are Not Stupid, So Why Are Brands?

Multi-disciplinary industrial designer, Brian Ling, has five wishes for 2010. One of them is “Brands realize that people are not stupid.”

Businesses have always known this but somehow live in denial. They continue to deliver product propositions that don’t make sense. With the Internet allowing both wide and in depth access to information; brands and businesses have to realize that you can no longer expect to “sell ice to an eskimo”.
This fact was brought into sharp relieve in 2009 when the cash strapped, informed and savvy consumer only bought products that made sense or are the best their money can buy. Again it’s survival of the fittest, Apple turned a profit and Dell tanked.

I wish it was as simple as the best product always wins, but we all know that’s not the case. People may not be stupid, but information will only move us so far. Human beings are not machines, we’re emotional, complicated beings persuaded by a host of factors, including rather obvious factors like branding and advertising.



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.