Stop Being So Smart All The Time

Patricia Martin, writing in Ad Age, recalls seven “unthinkable ideas” from SXSWi 2009.
I especially like is Kathy Sierra’s insight into the knowledge economy.

Make the consumer brilliant. “Don’t bother trying to get them to think you’re brilliant,” said Kathy Sierra, cognition expert and game developer, whose keynote was one of the most heavily blogged and Twittered events of the conference. According to Sierra, in a knowledge economy people hate feeling like they suck at something. Consumers like to master cognitive tasks. If your product has too many features, said Ms. Sierra, or is anything so high-concept as to be unmanageable, it will fail to find an audience.

Simple though it sounds, getting marketers to stop bragging about their products is far from easy. It’s an old habit that few are prepared to do without.



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.