Tuesday, November 4, 2008

You Are What You Eat - Sell the Steak, not the Sizzle.

Is anyone out there as disgusted as I am with the current state of political advertising? Here in Washington state, we have been bombarded with commercials "against" candidates, not for candidates. Who is telling the truth? Who do you believe? Why don't candidates tell us what they stand for, not why the other candidate is someone you shouldn't vote for?

It's no wonder that government and politicians are so mistrusted. They aren't doing anything to earn our trust.

Is there an end in sight to this madness? Maybe so, if you can believe John Zogby, author of a wonderful new book titled The Way We'll Be. John Zogby is well known as a political analyst based on his many political surveys, but he moves into a new area in this book to provide analysis and insight on consumer attitudes by age group that every marketer needs to read.

Zogby has subtitled his book "The Transformation of the American Dream" and talks a lot about how social values and attitudes are changing and will influence every aspect of our lives -- from politics to religion to global networking. He identifies attitudes and trends among major demographic groups by age, and ties each of his conclusions and insights into its possible impact on marketing.

One of the more interesting insights relating to marketing is the growing need and demand for authenticity (something politicians haven't figured out yet). To paraphrase from the book, "Reality doesn't bite. It's real, and people are demanding it. Consumers want to be respected, so they are demanding truth. Don't lie or make ridiculous claims. Remember, everyone today has a bullshit detector. In a world dominated by sizzle, it's all about the steak. Sell the steak."

I recommend that you take some time to read this book. And I hope politicians will, as well. Maybe in four years we will see more people trying to "sell the steak".