Wednesday, October 26, 2011

i'll have what she's having

For those of us in the advertising business the prevailing convention is to think about about human behaviour in terms of the individual.

And the objective of advertising being to try and change that individuals behaviour.

So with that in mind this week's recommended reading is 'I'll Have What She's Having' by Mark Earls, Alex Bentley, Michael J. O'Brien.

'I'll Have..' sets out to counter that convention by demonstrating that 'consumer' behaviour is far more social; ergo influence is social (ie peer influence etc).

The book's title is a reference to the famous scene in When Harry Met Sally.

Meg Ryan triumphantly bursts Billy Crystal's bubble - he thinks he can tell real from fake, you know the bit in the restaurant - then a startled woman at another table say's to the waiter the immortal line.
'I'll have what she's having'.

So, in summary, 'I'll have..' would argue that to improve effectiveness of marketing - which is essentially now the spreading of ideas - to focus on trying to influence the behaviour of individuals is ultimately going to be much less rewarding than looking beyond that - to our inherent social nature - and how behaviour is learned by watching, and copying, each other.

And a pretty compelling argument it is too - though not necessarily a popular idea in adland ;) - obviously if you have followed the thread from 'Herd' and 'Welcome to the Creative Age', this is essentially part 3 of the trilogy.

The behavioural science version of Bowie's Berlin trilogy of Low, Heroes and Lodger, if you like.

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