In a recent presentation, as a joke, but to make a point about the new power enjoyed by individuals and consumers, I attempted to demonstrate what the Volkswagon of the 1960s would be up against if they were marketing today in the age of social media.
Not only would the agency, the once great Doyle Dane Bernbach have had to expand the print ad (above left) into a micro-site (or Facebook app), YouTube channel, and Twitter feed, in all likelihood they’d have had to deal with the fact that not everyone was as fond of the ad as its creators. I refer, of course, to the wives noted in the headline, presented not as co-decision makers but as nothing more than a reflection of their husbands’ good judgment and wisdom. No doubt their anger would be expressed in a rapidly populating fan page condemning the sexist (by today’s terms anyway) message.
Well wouldn’t you know it, not two days after debuting this contrived case study, this appeared: a video response to Dodge Charger’s Superbowl ad, title Man’s Last Stand. Featuring lines equally as clever as those in the original spot — I will catch you staring at my breasts but pretend not to notice. I will put my career on hold to raise your children. I will watch TV shows where fat, stupid, unattractive men have beautiful wives. — the spoof was created and uploaded by McKenzie Fegan, apparently working on her own.
Will it dampen Dodge Charger sales? Probably not. Will it inspire looks of scorn from certain women when their date shows up driving one? In all likelihood the original Superbowl commercial already accomplished that. In fact you could argue that based on the type of guy Dodge appears to be “targeting” whatever attention this video generates is a good thing, reinforcing the brand’s desired image. You could even go a step further and argue that Dodge and its agency Weiden and Kennedy would have been smart to inspire the creation of this and similar opposing messages in order to generate buzz and call further attention to the original spot. Alas it turns out they’re not quite that clever or surreptitious.
Either way, McKenzie’s minute of brilliance is a vivid reminder that while some things (i.e. the battle of the sexes) never change, others (i.e. the ways in which consumers find to express and distribute their opinions) definitely do. So whether you view the new consumer controlled media environment as an opportunity for expression that brands should encourage, or a liability that they should try and limit, one thing’s for sure. You can’t market anymore, you can’t create campaigns or ads or messages without taking into consideration that you’re surrounded not by an audience, but by a community of creators.
What do you think? Should Dodge start posting links to the Women’s Last Stand video? Or duck.