Remember that famous quote from David Ogilvy? “The consumer is not a moron, she’s your wife”? Well, obviously he was addressing men in advertising. Considering that the female element is on the rise – and just like the introduction of African American players in the National Basketball Association (NBA) – proved a threat to the whites, so is the female in the ad industry proving to be as worthy (if not more) as their male counterpart.
So how would Ogilvy have addressed them? I am thinking something in the line of “the consumer is a moron, he’s your husband”.
Come on, the consumer is unable to wash dishes, iron shirts, change sheets and fold them properly, know the food preferences of the family (including the non-nourishing ones), read the nutritional facts on the back of tin cans, the consumer certainly does not ask for directions (he knows better), misplaces half a pair of anything (rendering the other pair useless), has too much dignity than to call a repair man (because he is capable of doing it on his own), forgets wedding anniversaries, kids’ birthdays, alarm codes (especially when set on numbers matching said wedding anniversaries), and the laundry list – sorry, the consumer is incapable of doing laundry! – goes on.
So you see, this gives women in advertising an edge on males. If they are able to address the consumer, for what he really is – basically a moron – they can get away much more dumbed down advertising, which actually contains some much more tongue in cheek only non-moron consumers (wives) are able to understand! Isn’t this a bliss?
I remember in the 80s, in the La Revue Du Liban magazine and in their last page caricature page, a woman was talking to her friend saying “yes, it’s Bernard who wears the pants in the relationship, but it’s me who tells him which one to wear” – this quote basically sums up this duality in relationships. The other? Just hang around any mall and you are bound to hear – after one minute flat – “hayete, take this shirt it will look good on you” (what the “hayete” in question thinks about the shirt is irrelevant, remember, he is the consumer, therefore “moron”).
To wrap up with another Ogilvy quote “Never write an advertisement which you wouldn’t want your family to read. You wouldn’t tell lies to your own wife. Don’t tell them to mine.” But again, since we were speaking to males, it is safer to speak to women in advertising saying “you wouldn’t tell lies to your husband. Don’t tell them to mine”.
Good thing I neither have a husband nor wife, the last thing I want is to be told lies to and be called a moron.