Friday, April 4, 2008

Tinker Bell Marketing™

Today we welcome a new member to the pantheon of bad freaking ideas. Congratulations Tinker Bell Marketing™.

The Dominant Narrative Theory (which is a theory in the sense that gravity is a theory) states that a narrative must be repeated in order to become what we call “truth.” Truth, in this sense, is distinguished from fact because people use facts in many different ways. Still, your case for a narrative must have some basis in this third little element of the story we’ll call … for lack of a better term … Reality.

Here’s the background: If you’re less than 103 years old or have had young child in your life in the past 103 years, you’ve probably seen a stage play or two about Peter Pan.

At one point in the play, Peter’s little fairy friend Tinker Bell starts to … well (cover the kids’ eyes) … die. The only thing that can save Tink is if the children believe in her. Peter asks the kids to clap if they truly believe. Eventually (in most productions) he downright holds them responsible for her living or dying. [Uh, Mom? Peter Pan’s taking hostages.] “Clap louder!” Peter shouts at the audience. Once it’s established that all the kids believe, all is of course well.

That’s the way some marketers think. If you only believe enough, everybody else will believe too. Then it will be true. Then all will be well.

Our exhibit today is the National Association of Realtors. In the midst of a housing slump no Realtor practicing today has ever seen, the NAR sends out a news release with this headline:

Existing Home Sales Rise In February

Kinda makes you want to sing “Happy Day Are Here Again,” doesn’t it?

The release leads off this way:

WASHINGTON, March 24, 2008 - Sales of existing homes increased in February and remain within a fairly stable range, according to the National Association of Realtors®.

Yes! I knew it I knew it I knew it would end soon! Let’s read on …

Existing-home sales – including single-family, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops – rose 2.9 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate (1) of 5.03 million units in February from a pace of 4.89 million in January, but remain 23.8 percent below the 6.60 million-unit level in February 2007.

WTF? Over January? I thought the whole idea was that we measured sales in a similar area and in a similar period year against year. Isn’t that what all that year-over-year stuff is about.

Of course nobody ever will believe any of this. At least not for long.

Hey, you! Clap louder!

Next: The F-15 Project™
Then: The Flying Submarine™

1 comment:

YD said...

I have received direct mail from both a Realtor and a builder using similar numbers and rationalization. Both pieces featured smiling couples on the front.