[lit-ideas] Re: rsa

  • From: "John McCreery" <john.mccreery@xxxxxxxxx>
  • To: lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Tue, 11 Dec 2007 12:58:32 +0900

On Dec 11, 2007 12:29 PM, Eric Yost <mr.eric.yost@xxxxxxxxx> wrote:

> Yes indeed, we get the Beeb in New York and Deutsche Welle; however,
> mass exposure in America means coverage in the American mass media.
> European sources are considered effete, and though they offer excellent
> coverage, if you really want to make a mass impression on the US, it has
> to be covered by MSNBC, CNN, and Fox. More than that, it has to be
> covered repeatedly.  Otherwise it becomes "a terrible issue" for
> discussion among educated Americans and ignored by everyone else. If the
> news is not repeatedly blared over the demotic sources, no, it's not
> really covered.
You might be interested in the following, which I wrote on anthro-L. Just
imagine news as a product, which, of course, it increasingly is.

On Dec 8, 2007 6:35 AM, Richard Wilsnack <rwilsnac@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>

Since I don't have anything in particular to add to Richard W.'s remarks (1)
and (2), I will focus on the following

> (3) To John M. and others: Efforts to *target* persuasion to specific
> audiences
> may not be ill-understood by those trying to persuade. However, such
> efforts
> are often somewhat puzzling to outsiders (like me), because the efforts
> seem to
> be only ephemerally accurate, or they ignore other audiences whose support
> would
> seem even more valuable.

From an insider (a.k.a. my) perspective, ephemeral effects and ignoring
potentially valuable audiences is par for the course. When I was teaching
seminars on Marketing in Japan, I always began by telling the class that
there is only one thing of which we can be absolutely sure in marketing:
Every year thousands of creative and hardworking people will work very hard,
indeed, to launch hundreds of new products. A year later, the overwhelming
majority of these products will no longer be on the market. Most product
launches fail. When teaching advertising, I always began by noting that
advertising audiences are exposed to thousands of messages each day. Most
will be ignored.

A number of factors need to be considered, first external considerations.

(1) It seems reasonable to assume that human beings have limited bandwidth,
i.e., we are physically incapable of processing more than a limited quantity
of information.
(2) We know that, with the proliferation of first print, then broadcast, now
Web-based media, the volume of information to which human have access is
growing exponentially. We have long since passed the point where any human
being is even remotely aware of, let alone either interested in or likely to
be persuaded by most messages to which they are exposed.

*In the case of products, imagine pushing one of those extra-large shopping
carts around a Walmart, an outlet mall, or a hypermarket. Even though it's
an extra large cart, it is mathematically impossible for you to add even one
of every product in the store to your cart before there is no room left. You
can easily fill the cart with just one item from only a subset of the
product categorys on display. What happens to the rest? You ignore them.

(3) Turn then to the insider perspective and what normally goes on inside
advertising or marketing teams. Teams are made of people from a number of
different disciplines, account executives, art directors, copywriters,
marketing researchers, plus, for large projects, specialists in sales
promotion, event planning or PR. All have their own opinions about what
should work. Sorting them out and reaching a consensus is a highly political
process. On the client side of the table, there may be people from several
different divisions. Besides the advertising and PR divisions who must
function as guardians of corporate identity as well as champions of
particular proposals, there may also be people from the sales, manufacturing
and finance departments, each with their own interests. Getting them all on
board is another highly political process. And we haven't yet mentioned the
competitors, who are racing to be first to launch their own products that
may, if successful, totally change the game. (If anyone is interested, I go
into these matters in some detail in an article titled "Creating Advertising
in Japan: A Sketch in Search of a Principle" in Brian Moeran, ed., Asian
Media Productions.)

From these perspectives, it isn't puzzling at all that so much advertising
and so many products have so little appeal to so many people. That is 95%
predictable for virtually any ad or product you can name. The miracle is the
occasional ad or product that seems to take off like a rocket and builds
what seems like an unassailable position. Those are the holy grail. Those
are the ones we remember—precisely because they are rare. But like the holy
grail they are very hard to find.
John McCreery
The Word Works, Ltd., Yokohama, JAPAN
Tel. +81-45-314-9324

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