For years, the conventional wisdom told us not to out-smart the customers. It told us customer is king, and we should succumb to his / her every whim.
What it also meant was putting customer in a sort of super human category, where cognition-wise, he is always at a higher level than the marketer. The smart marketer, therefore, would make smart products and smart communication for its even smarter customers.
But what holds true for product, may not hold true for communication. While it makes sense to make smart products for customers, making smart communication may not always be warranted.
A really controversial rule of thumb could be – make dumb communication when your audience is not so “up there” cognitive capability wise. A case in point could be our largely illiterate audience.
Think about it. Making really creative, intelligent communication for illeterate people is like promoting Oscar winning films among high school teens- it may look politically correct bit will never have the appeal.
Therefore, if your audience is illiterate and wants song and dance routines in advertising, then its the marketers job to stoop down to their level and produce advertisements that appeal to them. This where “connection” is more important than “quality”. This is where marketers / agency’s “aesthetic sense” is less important than the cold hard fact :
“If the audience doesnt get it, it doesnt matter.”