C-Suite Dunderheads As Objects of Marketing Derision: Good B2B Strategy?
A few years ago, when I was working with Specialized Mountain Bikes, the CEO shared with me the creative vision proposed by his agency. Two words from the brief jumped out: Attitudinal and edgy. As in, the tone of the ads needed to give voice to the authentic (non-corporate), bike loving reality of the brand.
I suspect there are quite a few briefs wending their ways through various agencies right now with those same two words – to which I suspect a couple of others have been appended: irritating and, yes, well, insulting.
The two leading culprits to my mind: CA (Technologies) and BDO. What’s up here, people? What customer insight do these ads rest upon? Perhaps they’ve done research to suggest there are snarky middle management people within potential client organizations who want nothing more than to work with a firm called BDO whose representatives have apparently been trained to roll their eyes and mouth the words “take it or leave it” to the C-suite types. Perhaps these agencies have unearthed a coterie of CEOs who enjoy seeing themselves portrayed as not understanding a word of what the guy from CA is impatiently explaining to them.
I am simply amazed by the chowder-headedness of these ads. But I know enough about the process through which creative approaches are wrestled into 30-second vignettes to know these commercials did not reach light of day without extreme vetting, to coin a phrase. But still. Attitude and edge may be necessary to cut through the clutter, but maybe screen out the snark?
1. I heard from many folks about late night (after partying) shopping programs at Targets near college campuses. So the young fellow who proposed it at the panel discussion on retail in Greensboro should take heart.
2. Quite a number of you wrote about the CostCo blog, e.g. the company already charges you whether you come or not via its membership fee. Lots of accolades for CostCo for doing so much right so consistently.