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Let’s Start Calling People 'People'

Thought Leaders 191 Add to collection

INFLUENCER: What do users, subscribers, viewers, listeners and consumers have in common? They’re all people, writes FCB Inferno's Martin McAllister

Let’s Start Calling People 'People'

The person watching your film is a viewer.

The people on your email list are subscribers.

The person who you’re hoping will buy your client’s product is a consumer.

What do users, subscribers, viewers, listeners and consumers have in common? They’re all people. You remember them, people? In ad agencies, when we talk about people in the real world we reduce them to the function we want them to perform.

It’s reductive, lazy and dehumanising, but it’s also making our work weaker.

If we reduce them to a function, how can we empathise with them. What appeals to a subscriber? Presumably anything you send to them, they’re a subscriber. What are a viewer’s interests? The name suggests watching stuff and not much else. Even audience doesn’t help much. It brings forth an image of a group of people without distraction waiting to witness the next thing you’re going to say.

So here’s a thought, let’s start calling people people.

People we can imagine. People have interests and dislikes. You know, people.

It also forces us to raise the bar for ourselves. Will our work grab the attention of actual, real-life people? We know what it takes to get people to engage. It’s us, and our family, and our friends.

Would a viewer sit through your advert? Probably.

Would a person? No.

Would a user click on a 14 frame, copy heavy banner? Almost certainly.

Would a person? Definitely not.

We need to be cutting through. We need to earning attention. We need to be creating work that people will want to talk about. Because it’ll make them seem smarter to know about it, or funnier when they tell their mates about it. We need to be useful or entertaining.

So next time we’re in a meeting or reading a brief or presenting work, try substituting the word people in, and see if it still holds up. 

Martin McAllister is creative director at FCB Inferno

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FCB Inferno, Fri, 12 Jul 2019 10:34:42 GMT