Over the weekend, CBS and Turner tried an interesting experiment around the Final Four broadcast. They set up “homer” channels which have nothing to do with The Simpsons and everything to do with a particular team. Called TeamCasts, the channel would have announcers who openly rooted for a particular team and called them “us.” There was also a traditional, play it right down the middle broadcast available.
Apparently, not everyone got the message (or managed to decipher what the on-screen graphic meant that said it was a TeamCast) and Twitter filled up with complaints. Leave it to Charles Barkley to explain the problem:
Maybe a little harsh, but Chuck makes an excellent point, one we should remember. People ARE idiots. OK, not you and not me. But there are idiots in the world. Ever notice when you buy a cup of coffee that it says “this cup is filled with very hot liquid”? That’s thanks to an idiot. Ever see a piece of wrapped food that instructs the purchaser to “remove wrapper before consuming”? Another idiot.
I don’t raise this to degrade my fellow humans. I’m pointing it out because many of us assume the consumers are a lot smarter than they often demonstrate. I am very aware of David Ogilvy‘s famous quote – “the consumer is not an idiot; she is your wife” and I agree with his point. You can’t treat people like idiots. You also cannot, however, assume that they’re a lot smarter than they are. They may not realize they have a problem that your product solves. They may believe a competitor’s silly claim that has no basis in fact because most people are too lazy to seek out the facts (just turn on one of the many news channels and you’ll be able to see hours of undocumented “facts”).
Don’t be an idiot. As a marketer, strike the balance between respecting consumers and treating them as if they’re not really very bright. As a consumer yourself, pay attention to facts and don’t go jumping on social media to proclaim your outrage when in fact you’re demonstrating ignorance. Simple enough, right?