I Want Dat

Recently I saw my 4 year old nephew watching TV, sitting there in a complete trance, as if he didn’t even notice that his regularly scheduled programming was taking a commercial break. Then, as the latest toy-based-on-a-movie-that-was-based-on-a-toy commercial appeared, I heard it. Like a zombie calling for his favorite meal, my adorable little nephew uttered the money phrase: “I want dat…”

Image credt: artlung's Flickr Stream

That’s what every advertisement is meant to do, no matter what your age: You’re supposed to look at it and say (either to yourself or out loud) “I want dat…” Make no mistake, my friends. You WILL want “dat”. They’ll throw every bell and whistle they have at you, use bright colors, and big promises until all you can even THINK of is “dat”.

Of course, as we grow up, we get better at controlling what I’ll call the “Dat instinct”. All those bells and whistle start to get annoying, and we only really go into a trance when that product comes along that we REALLY want because we’ve been reading about it or it fills a specific need. Those are the times when the shock and awe work – the product happens to be in front of us when we want it to be.

The big mistake that marketers and advertisers make in the social space is failing to realize that you can be there for customers and have a relationship with them so that they come to you when they want “dat”. In general, I’d love to stop being treated like a child. Take the time to learn a medium before you set foot in it. What worked in print needed to be adjusted for radio, then adjusted again for TV, and while I don’t care for any of those advertisements, every once in a while one of them works on me, so somebody’s got to be paying attention. Businesses spend so much time trying to get us to pay attention to them that they don’t pay attention to us.

Companies paying attention to us and marketing smarter, not bigger. I want DAT.

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