2012-02-01_1804In a bid to increase my spo­radic blog­ging from a once a week with occa­sional breaks sched­ule to a twice a week sched­ule, I’ve decided to cre­ate two new columns:

1) Prac­ti­cal Tac­ti­cal Tuesday

2) The­ory Thursday

I’m aim­ing for an inter­est­ing the­o­ret­i­cal post each Thurs­day, fol­lowed up by per­haps a case study or a quick and dirty how-to on the fol­low­ing Tues­day.  In between, I might throw in some shorter link-based posts, lists, and inter­views, but I’m not promis­ing those on any kind of reg­u­lar basis — just the Tues­day & Thurs­day content.

So look for the first ever The­ory Thurs­day post tomor­row, and in the mean­time, here’s a quick thought and a cool arti­cle worth sharing:

Accord­ing to the Bible, when Christ stood up and made his ser­mon on the Mount he preached to the masses. he didn’t get up on that rock and say, ‘I’d like to talk to 18–25 year old ABCs, with a pre­dis­po­si­tion to change and a dis­pos­able income of X.’ No, he got up an preached to as many peo­ple as pos­si­ble.”  - Sir John Hegarty

And here’s a pretty good arti­cle talk­ing about this exact same adver­tis­ing mistake:

The King’s Come­up­pance: How the Hottest Ad Agency of the Aughts Fell from Grace

P.S. Hat Tip to my col­league, Steve Rae, for for­ward­ing the Slate arti­cle to me.


  1. Jon on 02.02.2012

    Does the phrase “exact same adver­tis­ing mis­take” mean the mis­take of hit­ting just one very spe­cific demo­graphic? After read­ing the arti­cle I must admit i had to read your com­ment a few times before I saw it that way. Ini­tially I read it as say­ing “to as many peo­ple as pos­si­ble” was the wrong approach. I even copied a line out of the arti­cle to show how that was wrong (Crispin never once made a VW or Burger King ad this sweet and endear­ing, tick­ling every demo­graphic at once).

    It is early and i am not up to speed yet. Thank you for remind­ing us we can reach many at once.

  2. Jeff on 02.02.2012


    Sorry for the lack of clar­ity. But, yes, you even­tu­ally came around to what I had intended. I quoted Hegarty because I agreed with him that reliance on tar­get­ing over mes­sag­ing was a mis­take, espe­cially when using mass media. [Note, that doesn’t mean that there aren’t sit­u­a­tions when you shouldn’t “choose whom to lose” just that mass media reaches, um, the masses, and some­thing with broad appeal ben­e­fits from mes­sag­ing that’s as broadly appeal­ing as the product]

    The Slate arti­cle rein­forces that point. On the sur­face, tar­get­ing heavy users of your prod­uct makes sense. But mass appeal prod­ucts like fast food, adver­tised over mass media, really need mes­sag­ing capa­ble of speak­ing to every­one (aka, “the masses”).

  3. Jon on 02.02.2012

    Thank you. And know that it was not your writ­ing but my fuzzy mind this morn­ing that caused the problem.

    Where I work (a church of about 3k on a Sun­day morn­ing) recently was re-branded so there has been a lot of talk about how to reach out now so i love read­ing your post as I think about how to reach par­ents and oth­ers who care about children.

  4. Donnie Bryant on 02.02.2012

    Jesus spoke to as many peo­ple as pos­si­ble and let His mes­sage sep­a­rate the wheat from the chaff, as it were.

    Tar­get­ing def­i­nitely has its place, but get­ting the right mes­sage out is of para­mount importance.

    Good stuff, Jeff. I’m look­ing for­ward to read­ing your new columns.

    P.S. Those BK com­mer­cials were the worst, weren’t they?

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