Wednesday, March 7, 2007

Calling Dr. Freud: Treating Marketing Schizophrenia

The New Marketing Landscape Is Fertile Ground For The Disorder

By David Miranda

The American Heritage Dictionary defines schizophrenia as "any of a group of psychotic disorders usually characterized by withdrawal from reality, illogical patterns of thinking, delusions, and hallucinations, and accompanied in varying degrees by other emotional, behavioral, or intellectual disturbances."

Marketing is supposed to be focused on conveying the best attributes of brands. Any casual observer of marketing today, however, might quickly come to the conclusion that it suffers sometimes from clinical schizophrenia. Here are few recent examples of the malady.

Ford Motor Company decided to end production of its once-popular Taurus. It created a new model, the Ford500. The 500 did not meet sales expectations, so Ford decided to rename it the Taurus. Diagnosis: delusional

In a New York Times article entitled, Makers of Sodas Try a New Pitch: They’re Healthy. Healthy soda? The article notes the frustration of Coke's Chairman Neville Isdell, that his industry is being singled out. Following Ford's lead, perhaps Coke's new tag line could be, "It's the real "healthy" thing, honest it is" Diagnosis: withdrawal from reality.

Cingular broke new ground by proclaiming in recent advertising by touting that they were not as bad as everyone else with their "Cingular has fewer dropped calls" spots. Could be the start of a new trend in advertising. How about "Applebee's - Fewer people get sick from our food" or "Hewlett-Packard - Our laptop batteries catch on fire less often." ? Diagnosis: illogical patterns of thinking.

Maybe the next marketing session should be on a psychiatrist's couch rather than a boardroom.

If you observe the disorder in others, strongly suggest they seek professional help.

Calling Dr. Freud.