Tuesday, September 11, 2012

I don’t have to “like” you

I just walked by a statue in a shopping center who asked me to “like” it on Facebook so I can receive news and deals from the mall. Who in the world wants to volunteer himself for spam in exchange for absolutely nothing?

Everything passes. One day we will remember these time where every brand was contaminated with that blue “f” in the corner. Let me make you a question.  How many of you have “friend” Burger King, or American Airlines, or Toyota?  I know the pitch. When the marketing guys speak so loud and for so long people start to take them seriously. That’s a good reason for wearing a tie: it doesn’t matter how many times you get it wrong, they keep paying attention to you.

I think that Zuckerberg is sincere and passionate about his mission of connecting the world, but the whole market has fallen into a “me too” attitude. It’s too complicated for a marketing director to explain to his boss why the company is not on Facebook; it’s easier to go ahead and pay for the time to have it done (that is not his money anyway).  So the next time the old man comes alone and asks for “the Facebook thing” he will have a simple answer: “yes, we are working on it.”

We are still to discover the next marketing revolution: plain truthfulness.  People have an armor of sarcasm that protects them from decades of marketing lies. “Our number one priority is customer satisfaction.” Shout up! Nobody is listening! Hey, if you what my money, that’s ok; I like to get some in my wallet for committing myself to something too. But don’t tell me you love me, please! I’m still waiting for the first company to understand that simple formula.

Can you imagine a McDonald's ad stating: “Ok, we are not your every day’s healthiest choice, but once in a while who else can offer you a milkshake for less than two dollars?” Or a Spirit Airlines advertising as: “For this price, I’m sure you can keep up with a rude hostess for a couple of hours, instead of paying double to make up for other people’s luggage.” 

The first time a homeless guy wore the sign “What I really want is beer” it was a success. Everybody celebrated the sincere cynicism of that brave human. Corporations have not the same courage. There are too many mediocre people in the law department getting pay to say “no, no no!”

People are ready for the truth. Marketing hasn’t got the fact that people behave on emotional grounds more than rational ones. So, if the deal is illogical and immoral, they may still sing for it if the other side looks sincere instead of manipulating. People keep doing absurd things that are not in their best interest, and they know it, but they do it as soon as the counterpart has an attitude of complicity rather than supremacy. Don’t tell me that the deal is over once you gave me your product and you took my money. Don’t say I’m getting a steal. I know what a bottle of beer will do to me. I have no problem with you taking advantage of my current weakness. But don’t tell me you are doing me a favor, please. At the very least, shot up. I’ll keep buying if you take me for a drunk but not if you take me for a fool. 

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