Monday 5 November 2012

The 'average' citizen vs. the bleeding differences that make for individualism

The move from broadcast to narrow-cast, even one-to-one media marketing and social networking is a reflection of the fact that increasingly savvy consumers demand to be treated as individuals by suppliers and retailers. Combined with the increasing availability of one-to-one consumer feedback, marketers risk dilution and dissipation of the brand message in refusing to acknowledge that the traditional use of ‘average’, apart from being  increasingly out-of-step with reality, is verging on becoming an insult, compared with the relative awkwardness of  ‘individualism’,

In other words, ‘average’ is easy, but ‘individual’ can be a nuisance…
However, even in Japan where being the same is considered a good thing, much of the population are said to enjoy finding little differences that distinguish people, blood type being the latest example.

What blood groups show
According to popular belief in Japan, type As are sensitive perfectionists and good team players, but over-anxious. Type Os are curious and generous but stubborn. ABs are arty but mysterious and unpredictable, and type Bs are cheerful but eccentric, individualistic and selfish.
In fact a whole industry of customised products has also sprung up, with soft drinks, chewing gum, bath salts and even condoms catering for different blood groups on sale.

By the same token, NAMs that are individual, whatever the blood group, tend to make a difference, despite being something of a nuisance...

Historical signals...
Incidentally, those of you with Type AB blood of a poetic bent might have picked up this need for individualism as far back as 1939, via W.H Auden in The New Yorker.
It is the epitaph of a man, identified only by a combination of letters and numbers, described from the point of view of government organizations i.e. the "Bureau of Statistics."
The poem satirises bureaucracy and standardisation of people (the average citizen) at the expense of individualism, and perhaps explains much of what has gone wrong in the last few years....

To optimise the individualism of your next coffee break we attach Auden’s poem below   -  vive la difference!

The Unknown Citizen
He was found by the Bureau of Statistics to be
One against whom there was no official complaint,
And all the reports on his conduct agree
That, in the modern sense of an old-fashioned word, he was a
For in everything he did he served the Greater Community.
Except for the War till the day he retired
He worked in a factory and never got fired,
But satisfied his employers, Fudge Motors Inc.
Yet he wasn’t a scab or odd in his views,
For his Union reports that he paid his dues,
(Our report on his Union shows it was sound)
And our Social Psychology workers found
That he was popular with his mates and liked a drink.
The Press are convinced that he bought a paper every day
And that his reactions to advertisements were normal in every way.
Policies taken out in his name prove that he was fully insured,
And his Health-card shows he was once in a hospital but left it cured.
Both Producers Research and High-Grade Living declare
He was fully sensible to the advantages of the Instalment Plan
And had everything necessary to the Modern Man,
A phonograph, a radio, a car and a frigidaire.
Our researchers into Public Opinion are content
That he held the proper opinions for the time of year;
When there was peace, he was for peace: when there was war, he went.
He was married and added five children to the population,
Which our Eugenist says was the right number for a parent of his
And our teachers report that he never interfered with their
Was he free? Was he happy? The question is absurd:
Had anything been wrong, we should certainly have heard

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