If you were to ask European consumers about the preferred form of government you would most certainly find a high level of approval for democracy. But … what, may I ask, has democracy lost in modern communications? How does democracy work? There is only one succinct answer to this: Democracy is the „art“ of procuring a majority! Without the agreement of the majority there can be no decision, without a decision we come to a standstill and thus we make no progress.
Applied to advertising, this means: In advertising, the majority are potential customers. The orchestration of the majority finding is carried out by the advertising agencies. They strive to reach, inspire, and persuade the majority of potential buyers to buy your product.
But with one crucial difference: in real life, the money belongs to the people and is managed exclusively by the „representatives of the people,“ whereas in advertising, the money belongs to you. In advertisement an idea under discussion is talked about until it is rendered acceptable to the majority. Schröder’s “basta method” – meaning the sole decision of the money provider and CEO – is suspended in favor of harmony addiction. The result: we do what has always worked, – and doesn’t hurt or offend anyone, and what everyone can accept. Whether it is still as suitable as it once was, whether it gives impetus, whether it is courageous – in short, whether it is the right thing to do – can only be assumed. And this is exactly why we want to cast doubt on this premise in this chapter!
Never in history has a compromise worked as a basis for action. And to put it even more clearly: Never can such a premise work in communication. Every democratic majority decision in communication stands for closing off a new path.
Yes, of course it could work. It could even work profitably with a lot of luck. But it remains a compromise. It won’t have a snowball’s chance in hell of achieving the right kind of success. It will never generate the 37,000,000 clicks, and people won’t talk about it either. At best, it will result in a good client-agency relationship based on partnership. And it might be that everyone is happy, that everyone remains convinced that they did the right thing.
But there will be a missed opportunity to create something great, new, and unprecedented. A familiar play is successfully put on, which usually triggers restrained applause. But the campaign never gets a standing ovation! „Do you or your company need these?“ you may ask as the financer. „Yes, of course!“ As Steve Jobs once asked John Sculley, whom he was trying to woo away from his post as CEO at Pepsi? „Do you want to spend your life selling sugar water – or do you want to change the world with us?“ And so Sculley became CEO of Apple from 1983 to 1993. He got to help change our world.
We want to change the world with your money and our advertising campaign. We will help you show your competition how to communicate better with the help of a managed (and not a flawless) democracy.
Interest? Call us or stay tuned on our blog “Think before doing”