Back in the day, Kings had food tasters. The duty of the “taster” was to eat some of the food prepared for the king and if the taster died, then the king would know that he needed to order something different off the menu.
Today we call those people focus groups. They’re designed to provide research and insight into what people really want. Advertising agencies, brands and even politicians spend a lot of money gleaning information from focus groups. But are they really needed in advertising?
Advertising is an entire industry created and designed to offer you up “food” that may or may not be “good” for you. The bad news is that we are all “tasters”. But it doesn’t have to be that way. There’s a very simple answer. Before you serve up crap, think to yourself if you’d want to consume it. Are you willing to spend 30 seconds of your life watching the commercial that you expect everyone else to watch?
Case in point. We all have smartphones. When was the last time you looked forward with great anticipation to receiving an ad on your phone? We all know we hate that crap. So if you hate it and I hate it and we all know we hate it…why is it served up to us? Seeing your pablum on my smartphone doesn’t endear me to your brand. It makes me turn away from it.
Marketing is now all about communication. True communication is dialogue, not monologue. The Harvard Business Review recently published an article underscoring this point. In the article the author says that “the best way for marketers to communicate through mobile will be with apps. Apps will trump traditional ads in part because consumers don’t perceive them as advertising.”
Wonder why he said that? Simple, people don’t want ads served to them on mobile devices. But you already knew that right? I mean, you didn’t need a focus group to tell you that did you?
Perhaps there should be a “taster” in every ad agency. Someone who has to consume the crappy stuff before it gets served to the king. Then maybe people would realize that you’re killing the king and really turning his stomach with the stuff you’re serving up.
Oh, and in case you didn’t get my metaphor, you do know that the “Consumer is King“…don’t you?