When “Pa” Didn’t Wear Underwear; Authenticity In Marketing
My daughter recently had me read a fascinating book called Prairie Fires.
It was basically the “true story” about Laura Ingalls Wilder, the author of all the “Little House” books.
It turns out that the “Little House” books were almost entirely fictional and just carefully edited for mass read appeal; they were all about “a wonderful time gone by”… that never actually existed.
Laura’s daughter Rose was a right-wing nut-job, who was also a skilled and well-published writer who helped her Mom polish her books for publication.
My favorite part of the Prairie Fires though was the section about The Little House On The Prairie TV show, starring Michael Landon.
The show was a huge ratings draw because of its wholesome portrayal of a loving pioneer family, and Landon exploited that to the extreme.
But Landon also wore very tight pants with no underwear because he thought his rear end would be a huge ratings draw for women viewers :).
In addition, he smoked like a chimney, swigged Wild Turkey between scenes, and refused to try to look anything like the real “Pa” because it threatened his vanity.
Anyway, pretty much everything about the books and the TV show were pure fiction, and it reminded me of how naïve Americans were as recently as the 1980s.
Now… not so much. Which brings me to the purpose of this blog (besides wanting to find an excuse to share amusing stories from Prairie Fires).
It fascinates me how much less naïve Americans are in 2019, particularly millennials.
MILLENIALS DEMAND FACTUAL MARKETING
As we have expanded JVM over the years, we have engaged in a tremendous amount of marketing.
And what I have learned from all of our marketing is that millennials will tolerate zero BS or hyperbole in any type of marketing.
When we built our website and created our vast trove of marketing materials, I always wanted to insert a bit of hyperbole to make stronger statements but our millennial staff shut me down every time.
They were and are turned off by any claims that are not 100% accurate or that cannot be substantiated. For example, they never let me say “most,” “best” or “lowest” in any claims because such statements could not be proved.
1. When you see any of our marketing claims, you can rest assured that they are 100% accurate; and
2. This is a reminder to anyone marketing to millennials to avoid hyperbole and to focus on authenticity – especially because millennials comprise the largest contingent of homebuyers (by far).
If, however, your marketing is authentic and still does not work, you can always resort to wearing really tight pants, as it clearly worked for Michael Landon – probably the most successful TV producer/director/actor of all time.
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