Well this New Yorker cartoon stung a little bit. Particularly since I had been planning to write a post about my should be famous cheese sandwiches, thus falling into another of the previously escaped pie wedges of blogging boredom. In my defense, you would not believe these cheese sandwiches. But now it is going to be harder knowing, as I do, that I’m failing to maintain an ironic detachment and absurdly original level of creativity as I had been secretly hoping. Or maybe, cheese sandwiches are so comfort food retro that they are now totally uncool, again, and therefore I’m back on the indie outsider cool tack by writing about them? Hmmm, might be overthinking this too.
Humans are generally comically simple once the truth of their emotional decision making is revealed. What’s not simple is discovering them in the first place since we work surprisingly hard at generating a huge amount of rationalized complexity over top our very impulsive decisions.
I think smart marketers can tap into the real stuff using traditional methods like focus groups. But you really have to listen and think. My experience in the back room is that most people find it a very convenient time to chat or do expense reports. So this might be a better way for lots of reasons.
In my country, gas and electric lawn mowers will be shunned. That will make lawns smaller. Which will make house lots smaller and a little closer together. Which will make them closer to the city. Which will make metro freeways shorter and narrower. And people will know each other better. And, well, you get the idea.
Oh 12C, how I adore thee. Was there ever a more smart looking and elegant calculator designed? The landscape profile, the gold trim, the blue function keys that promised mysterious powers. Stacking, running, NPV and Delta %. It was the IBM mainframe in a handsome vinyl case. It made finance and budgets sexy.
The planet really needs a new press agent, ad firm, and some really good spin doctors. For years I’ve been trying to figure out how we went from the 1970s (yea!, Earth Day) to the 90s (Global Warming sucks) to now where Congress recently switched back from bio degradable cups and plates to styrofoam. More significantly, a majority of Americans now believe that the threat of climate change is exaggerated or untrue, and most of them seem to be in Congress. God help us. Or I guess, that’s actually the plan now.
Maybe the problem lies in the fact environmentalists make lousy marketers. Lovely people environmentalists, but gosh they can be boring at times. And their intuition about framing an issue or picking a rallying cry seems to leave something to be desired. Exhibit A, this article in the WSJ recently.
Contrast this to the Right Wing marketing machine. I don’t know if Republicans are inherently anti-environment. I mean heck, the first real political conservationist was Teddy Roosevelt. And while I’m no linguist, one would think that to be a Conservative would imply the root: To Conserve. Maybe better to keep the earth as is, in case we need it later? Alas, the environment was rather innocently landed on as a convenient boogeyman for the right. By getting people to be against something, you can make them for something else, namely your re-election and the huge bags of money you will be handed by those that are stealing from the people’s shared treasure and turning it into private treasure. Evil, but smart. It’s very clever when you can get the populace to vote their own economic disinterest and still get them to thank you for it. And the marketing has been damn good. Environmentalists (sounds like terrorists) were once hailed as non-partisan do-gooders along the lines of a Susan G. Komen supporter. Today, they are left-wing, liberal nut job tree-hugger, granola eating cartoon characters that hate America.
There is some hope from the marketing world. It seems puny in comparison to the minds and money marshalled against it, but 1% For The Planet, for one, is putting a new face on things. 1% FTP encourages businesses to give 1% of their revenue to the environment. They also have a sense of humor!
It’s time to take the (gardening) gloves off and do a little respectful, polite and factually based battle with those that wish the planet, and therefore all of us, ill. Or better yet, we could just hire Frank Luntz.
Big winter this year. Lots of snow, which I love. And when it snows, this is where I go. Out the back gate and into Red Rocks Park. 90 acres of trees, trails and amazing views.
I don’t charge my clients for the time I spend out there. That wouldn’t feel right. But it is, in fact, where most of the real value is added. When I’m wrestling with something challenging, it seems to come untangled out there as I glide along.
Inspiration, epiphany, or sometimes just a soul cleansing sweat.