Me-Too Marketing and the Idea Deficit

Nowadays, the “personality quiz” is big in Facebook marketing.  Every digital strategy brainstorm I attend starts out with a list of default tactics, and we know at least a couple will make the final pitch.  The personality quiz?  A lock.

When you’re working in a small agency in the short-order world of digital promotion, that’s what happens.

Especially since you know that’s what a lot of clients are content to buy: the familiar, the safe.  Even when they say they want out of the box, they really just want fresh paint.

Is that so wrong?  If history says a tactic will deliver acceptable numbers, why take chances?

Radical innovation could equal a radical downside.  Most companies don’t pay people to fail.

The most recent brainstorm I attended came to a halt when the account lead decided pitching a personality quiz was “good enough.”  That the client wouldn’t buy any concept that was too fresh or too smart.  Then added, “there are only so many  good ideas out there, anyway.”


Yet there are epic marketing ideas being launched into the wilds of consumer acceptance or rejection every day.  There’s always an element of rolling the dice with any of those.

Somebody had to launch the first Facebook personality quiz, and reap the rewards.

Consistently, the marketplace honors innovation.  Differentiation.  Individuality.  This mass fractionalization we’re living through means people can pick-and-choose.  So they’ll pay attention to whoever stimulates their interest the most pointedly.

You’ll never satisfy a big enough audience by blandification and dumbing-down.  Not anymore.  Not if you ever could.

Even for a client who says  ideas can’t be “too smart.”  Let’s get simpler.  Broader.

Like our personality quiz client.  Maybe that’s why they’re still struggling to sell cardboard pizza in B & C malls and bus terminals.  And wonder aloud why they can’t step up to the next level.

There’s no deficit of great ideas in advertising and marketing.  Just a deficit of courage.

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