In today’s litigious society its become more and more difficult to be understood by what you think you mean rather than what THEY THINK you mean.
When we use marketing or advertising ideas that we may perceive to be a 10 rating on the “cool” scale our targeted audience may however think you’re nuts, weird or just stupid. I’ve seen this happen on occasion with younger fresh out of college kids who are hired and put in a position of management to direct a company’s creative efforts. This, although tragic, can give the young director a wake up call to the reality that the real world consists of absolutes while college classes deal in theory and a lot of high winded BS based on no actual experience in the “real” world. But the errors of judgement need to be blamed first at the idiot business owner or manager who believed someone with no actual experience could or should be left in charge of a company’s creative. That’s like expecting to be able to extract a prize from one of those machines with the little grappling tongs…yes, it can happen but far far far too often it just sucks your money.
One such incident that comes to mind was a client I had from the Dominican Republic. They originally hired a fancy cutting edge design firm from New York City which came highly recommended. They hired them to design a website for their firm. The design firm was thrilled and wasted no time in putting together their “cutting edge” coolness to create a website masterpiece.
The new site used a very expensive minimalist style which I’m sure was the rage at the time. The biggest minimalist piece was deciding to turn their brains off. The site they created had a large orange sofa on the home page with a thin necked floor lamp. Yep, that was it. One of the dumbest looking sites I’ve ever seen. These geniuses didn’t put the name of the firm on the page, no phone number, no address …..nothing. And it was the rage all right. The firm was really pissed. I took one look at it and wondered what the hell did a couch have to do with the firm? The design firm must have had a “smoke your crack at work” day or something because this was one huge piece of expensive crap.
I’m sure they argued with the firm and told them it was the hippest thing since guys wearing a tied knob of hair on the top of their heads called a “man bun”; which I also think looks ridiculous but what ever.
Regardless, the point of the whole story is this; when targeting an audience temper your “coolness” with research and facts and get advice from SEASONED PROS. Just because you may think you have a really hip idea or concept….doesn’t mean your audience will agree with you. There’s no shame in getting feedback from pros in your field who’ve been around the block a few more times than you have. Plus it could save your job.