In preparing for an upcoming presentation I'm giving at the #LasVegasFurnitureMarket, I came across a scene from Mad Men, where Don Draper and the agency is pitching a new marketing approach for a line of lipsticks – with a tagline –
“Mark Your Man.”The theme is “Out of many shades – ONE; the ONE that belongs to her.
Out of a basket of kisses — lipstick color choices — SHE chooses one, coloring her kiss, owning that shade and marking her man with her kiss and her color, lovingly.”
The premise is fairly simple, women like what they like, not necessarily what you think they like.The owner of the lipstick manufacturer insists that women want all these colors and initially rejects the agency’s recommendation. He notes the ad only shows one shade of lipstick and argues they need dozens of shades in the ad. He then makes a jab at the ad concept sarcastically suggesting they should stop making so many colors and only make three or four shades of lipstick
Don Draper stands up and abruptly ends the meeting, calling it a day to the shock and amazement of the lipstick company owner. He’s in amazement at the arrogance of Draper and says to him: “Is that all?”
Draper’s response is priceless: “You’re a non-believer, why should we waste our time on Kabuki.”
The lipstick company owner tells Draper that he doesn’t know what he’s implying.
Draper explains: “You’ve already tried your plan, and you’re No. 4 in the market. You’ve enlisted my expertise, and you’ve rejected it to go on the way you’ve been going, and I’m not interested in that. Every woman wants choices. She doesn’t want to be one of a hundred in a box. She’s unique, she makes the choices, and she has chosen him. She wants to tell the world ‘He’s mine. He belongs to me not you.’”
Draper concludes by pointing out, “By doing this, you give the woman total ownership. Her color, her choice, her man, and she has marked him as ‘mine.’”
I’m using this because throughout my whole life as a marketer I’ve seen this, doing the same things and expecting different results. In our industry it’s too often race to the bottom, cramming tons of pictures in ads, screaming sales on TV and video ads … nothing new, nothing to inspire, nothing to motivate HER to “make it mine.”
Why do I say “the arrogance of ignorance?” Because all too often I hear from retailers and brands, “This is the way we’ve always done it, and there is no need to change.” I’m assuming they believe that someday the consumer will just fall in line with what they think she wants … NOT.
Is this Kabuki theater but without any production value?We don’t ask questions, don’t learn new technologies, don’t learn from our mistakes and too often don’t inspire, motivate or educate her. It’s just doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result.
The arrogance of ignorance.
This meeting is over.