The Masses Are Not Your Audience
July 24, 2017
Walt and I were tooling around in New Hampshire this weekend when we came upon a group of millennials expounding upon this three-year-old Cadillac commercial. Basically, they were disgusted by the mindset, by the whole way of life it seemed to promote, and they thought the country should have boycotted the company at the time the thing had come out.
Mind you, these impassioned young men were getting ready to hike up a mountain. They were passing around a beat up loaf of bread, a plastic knife, and a jar of peanut butter so they’d have something to eat along the trail. One of them bragged about the consignment shop deal he’d gotten on his jacket. Another mentioned that, since he’d gotten dreads, he hadn’t had to wash his hair in over a month.
In other words, these were not the sort of folks in the market for a luxury vehicle.
The folks who were in the market, well, they would have loved the Cadillac commercial because it spoke their language; it represented (and dramatized) their values and ideals, whether you agree with them or not.
All this being said, not everybody is your audience, which is a particularly important insight if you’re writing a client-attracting book. To be really effective, i.e. attractive to the people you’re meant to serve, you can’t write to the masses; you must speak your ideal client’s language, represent (and dramatize) their values and ideals.
Remember this when you receive negative feedback. Because, if you put shit out into the world, someone with or without dreadlocks will take you to task. Someone will criticize your language, your message, your morality, and so much more. Let it go.
And. What a terrific commercial, what a powerful message, if random people are still talking about it three years after the fact. Don’t be afraid to be polarizing.