"The customer is not a moron. She's your wife," is a famous quotation attributed to the Father of Advertising and the genius David Ogilvy in 1955. This quote subsequently appeared in his book published in 1964, Confessions of an Advertising Man.
If Ogilvy had made this comment today, what would have happened? He would have received a huge thumbs down on three counts. First, he is calling women morons. Second, he is alluding that all consumers are women (as if men don’t shop!), and third, he is concluding that all women are married.
Twitter would erupt with hashtags like #downdowndavid or #obnoxiousOgilvy. People would outrage on the microblogging platform expressing their horror, and anger. These hashtags would be trending globally for several hours, and maybe a few days.
Activists and protestors world over would orchestrate the “Occupy Ogilvy” campaign. They would protest and attack Ogilvy offices across the globe. This would continue for several weeks with protestors in different geographies. They would hire publicity experts to help them garner more support to sustain the heat on the campaign for as many days as possible.
Global big brands such as Burger King, Coca-Cola, Cadbury, IKEA, Ponds, and Volkswagen would distance themselves from this issue by putting a brake on their association with the agency, atleast temporarily. They would send a press note on this and adopt a “no comment approach” after that.
Some pundits and industry experts would urge women working in Ogilvy to resign in protest. Few would go a step further to announce they would hire such women executives! His friends and well-wishers within the Agency and outside would lament he is grossly misunderstood. He is a man of high integrity and intellect!
Year-end, wrap up features and stories by media around the globe would list this as one of the disasters in the world of business. It would list all the probable business and awards Ogilvy the agency and the man himself could have won but didn’t.
(Radha Radhakrishnan is an integrated communications specialist based in Bangalore.This is her lighthearted take. Views expressed are her own.)