Sunday, July 27, 2008

5749: Offended By The Offended?

During incidents like the ones involving Nike, Snickers, Verizon, Six Flags, Intel and more, it’s somewhat disturbing to witness the people offended by the offended. There’s always an angry mob arguing the offended are too PC or too oversensitive. Some individuals go so far as to insist the offended should not be offended.

Attempting to dictate other people’s emotional responses seems to display arrogance and ignorance of the highest order. But perhaps it’s to be expected from advertising people, as our professional efforts are tied to persuading and triggering emotional responses.

Regardless, here’s food for thought for the angry mobs.

Industry icon Bill Bernbach was said to carry a slip of paper in his pocket that read, “They may be right.” It was Bernbach’s reminder to consider the client’s alternative view, rather than immediately dismiss them as idiots.

We could all benefit from applying Bernbach’s technique. When confronted by the offended, spend a moment and honestly attempt to see the situation from another perspective.

Don’t just wonder why the offended are being so sensitive. Try asking why you are potentially being so insensitive. Take a hard look in the mirror.

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