It was well over twenty years ago, possibly more. Beatrice Foods was running commercials featuring, company owner, "Ann Beatrice" as spokesperson. There she was, a charming, attractive, well-coiffed woman in her early forties, standing in a very nicely appointed room in what must be a very nice house, thanking me for buying her products. Made me want to run right out and get more.
What a lovely woman, I thought, …and wealthy, the owner of a multi-national corporation yet! I was buying it! Totally fooled and perhaps a little smitten!
It seemed so real, it was not a cartoon, it was played straight — "Hi, I'm Ann Beatrice…"
It was only a few weeks later that I woke up and realized that this was not a real person, certainly not Ann Beatrice, this was a rich Hollywood star pretending to be somebody named Ann Beatrice. I was crushed, appalled at my naivete, ashamed of being so gullible. I've never trusted Beatrice's products since, thinking: if they tried to make an idiot out of me with their commercial, what the @&%$* are they doing with their products?
You may think that story is silly (unfortunately it's true), but my point is this: your marketing must always respect the intelligence of your prospect because if you treat them like fools and cretins they're going to resent it …and that's not going to be good for your brand.
Even now, when I see a Beatrice product, I think of that commercial and I frown—not quite the reaction Beatrice would like me to have because it has put their product at a disadvantage as far as my likelihood of buying it. I don't feel good—I don't buy.
You may think I'm being a bit silly after all these years but the fact remains, just as you trust your friends and associates, so do you come to trust the brands and the products you buy. Betrayal lingers. My advice: be totally truthful in all of your marketing. Provide your prospects with intelligent marketing messages that don't insult them. They'll be more inclined to like you … and that leads to trust …and that leads to sales.
Now, if I could only get Ann out of my mind.