Brands Must Stop Making Customers Look Dumb

We've noted this before but apparently it's become such a trend, people have begun to email us complaining about it. We think Verizon is the biggest culprit here but plenty of brands (or, more likely the creative folk at their agencies) have found it necessary to be witty by making their own customers look stupid. Here's an email we received today:

"I just keep wondering why so many ads seen on TV show the customer as an idiot? The most glaring one was a recent Nextel/Sprint commercial where two gingerbread men were talking to each other about whatever in front of a glass of milk. The "smart" one's last reply was the selling proposition - no overages - when a hand comes down and he gets picked up by the feet. So...the customer who supports Sprint/Nextel gets treated to Sprint/Nextel's love. Their head bitten off?

Oh yea, another one comes to mind and it's a cell phone ad too. I'm sure you know it. Man speaking to wife, daughter and son. I'll call you, you call her, etc. The son is the smart one. 'I don't have a cell phone' Duh."

Duh, exactly. Can we all please stop treating our customers like they are a bunch of bleating buffoons...even if they are. It's so much easier to be negative than to be positive. Just read a few weeks of Adrants and you'll see what we mean. But it doesn't make for a good marketing strategy. If people feel they are being talked down to or made to look dumb, they'll think you (marketer, agency) are dumb too. Let's make a New Year's Resolution to treat our customers with respect, K? Now get out of the office the two of you who are still working and start eating fruitcake.

Written by Steve Hall    Comments (7)     File: Opinion     Dec-23-05  
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"Now get out of the office the two of you who are still working and start eating fruitcake."

Fuck that shit. I started drinking mid-morning when I made sure the bosses weren't coming in, and I ain't quittin' she starts looking good.

Posted by: snake on December 23, 2005 12:48 PM

And! What grown man doesn't have a cell phone....

Posted by: Evan on December 23, 2005 02:07 PM

I think the worst is AOL, not that I care that they portray their members as idiots, I quit a long time ago--mostly because I was treated badly.

Posted by: Andi on December 25, 2005 08:16 PM

My favorite insulting campaign is Microsoft's "idiotic dinosaur" print series for Office XP. Its message is, in essence, that if you don't upgrade to the latest version of Office, you're as obsolete as a dinosaur.

Posted by: Len Feldman [TypeKey Profile Page] on December 26, 2005 07:14 AM

I refuse to do business with any company that makes an arse out of average white male. Is it any wonder we reject all these companies?

Posted by: averagewhitemale on December 27, 2005 09:01 AM

i don't know. recent focus groups i've witnessed featured participants who make the aforementioned "idiot actors" look like rhodes scholars.

not to go off on a tangent, but my pet peeve is the casting of couples in most commercials, particularly moms and dads. how come dad is always a pudgy, balding geek but mom is totally hot? talk about unrealistic pairings. as if every dweeb has a trophy wife.

Posted by: HighJive on December 27, 2005 01:49 PM

I'd settle for middle-aged "dads" not always having to be balding, fat, immature losers who are incapable of microwaving a TV dinner or starting a computer without setting their houses on fire.

Posted by: olivier blanchard on December 28, 2005 05:49 PM

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