The Musings Of An Opinionated Sod [Help Me Grow!]

Have People Have Stopped Thinking?
October 18, 2006, 8:32 am
Filed under: Comment

So I’ve been in the US for all of 3 minutes and wherever I turn, I see evidence that the media is spoon-feeding information to its consumers.

Now there could be many reasons for this, but sitting here with Andy, we’ve narrowed it down to 5 …

[1] Consumers don’t consume media, they just look at pictures.

[2] Consumers are too thick to understand any information that requires them to think.

[3] The Media are too thick to understand their consumers don’t care about what they deem newsworthy.

[4] The Media are too thick to convey information with a degree of intelligence and/or sophistication.

[5] All of the above.

Our favourite bit of ‘stating-the-bleedin’-obvious’? 

This lovely picture [and astoundingly daft copy] in US magazine …

Genius … pointing out that the pic was taken ‘before he died’ – and there was us thinking Anna-Nicole Smith had got him stuffed after his tragic death and posed him like that.

The sad part is, alot of advertising is like this these days because clients and agencies think people won’t ‘get’ what they are trying to do/say. They seem to forget to ask themselves whether the product they are trying to flog – or the communication they have created – is something people want, like and are engaged by.

It’s exactly this sort of behaviour that has led to the decline/effectiveness of most communication channels as well as a distinct lack of consumer loyalty for most brands out in consumerland.

The sooner companies understand BOREDOM is not STUPIDITY, the quicker consumers will start positively reacting to communication again and the better companies sales results will be.

It’s not a hard job – infact, it’s one of the easiest ones in the World – but my God, we don’t half complicate matters, mainly because we’re all so pre-occupied with validating our jobs [and looking intelligent]

Communication companies are good at many things – pity that in alot of cases – communication is rarely it.

11 Comments so far
Leave a comment

Thing is Rob, as much as you’re right about the US media spoon feeding its consumers, I could say exactly the same about much of the Asian media; especially the press.
I love the Singapore newspaper, it’s basically an instruction guide for how the Government want people to live that particular day.
Wow, I have actually defended America, I never thought I’d ever see the day that happened.
See you tomorrow mate, can’t wait and Pete is 100% coming along to your meet & greet session. Just spoken to him.

Comment by George @ Cynic

As usual, a fair observation – though to be honest, I’m still in shock you defended America!

While both the US and Singapore media often talk about how great their country is [blindly so, in many cases] in Singapore they mainly focus on business issues [and what people should do to help the nations business thrive] while in the US, they tend to get people interested in famous people’s marriages, deaths, affairs and dresses, ha!

Sad thing is, I prefer the latter – ha!

Comment by Rob

And I can’t wait to see you and Pete tomorrow either.

Comment by Rob

Its been so many times that people respond to communications that presume them to be intelligent.

Its the age old “treat a teenager like an adult and they will start to act like an adult” scenario.

Comment by Rob Mortimer

Don’t know about you, but many of those ads that treat people intelligently tend to be cliche ridden. Not all of course, but many. I put it down to planners spending too much time reading data rather than understanding the reasons & the people behind it.

Comment by Rob

Ahh.. the media in Singapore my favourite subject. Awfully kind of you to call the rags here Newspapers George, the only thing they’re missing is the news. And as for opinions, the best you can find is a food column telling you the best Indian Curry is in a restaurant where no sombre Indian would eat even upon release from a Prison.

But I diagress, to Rob’s comment on the media. I do find Rob that we seem to be very against change, I have yet to find anyone actually looking at all the development (for lack of a better word) as a change. I think back to the time when the first Ape must have started walking erect and the others aghast must’ve said “…look at that poor guy, he’s disabled! Can’t even walk on all fours the poor dear…” We might do well as planners and understand the reasons on why the kind of media we see if around and why does it still get read or looked at.

We must remember that if all the media mentioned do enjoy a certain degree of success in terms of numbers, then we are like the media, insinuating that the consumers are generally too stupid to see they’re being treated stupidly.

Comment by Hari

But isnt that simply because too few planners and creatives actually understand how to talk to people in an intelligent but original way? (Due to the fact that its done so rarely? As well as what you mentioned.)

Isnt it a fundamental part of planning that you be able to understand reasons and people behind data?!

Comment by Rob Mortimer

Quote: “insinuating that the consumers are generally too stupid to see they’re being treated stupidly.”

Or the Fox News Scenario as its known.

Comment by Rob Mortimer

That’s exactly the point … we should understand people, not just what they do. [data is vital but it tells you what happened, not why]

For me, empathy is one of a planners greatest skills … that and the ability to demonstrate that with any individual – regardless of age, race, lifestyle etc etc.

Comment by Rob

Communication. Its almost embarassing how much of the industry appears to struggle with it!

Comment by Rob Mortimer

True Hari … but I don’t have any work that goes runs in Singapore so I am immune from your comments, hahaha!

Comment by Rob

Leave a Reply