It’s been 50 years since there’s been a brand campaign so tone-deaf to category and cultural and consumer values that it’s become part of advertising history.
That was National Airline’s innuendo-laden campaign featuring attractive stewardesses and the headline “Hi, I’m Cheryl. Fly Me.”
The National Organization for Women called the ads sexist. That they presented flight attendants as a “flying meat market.” And that they invited passengers to make sexual advances. This was right in the middle of the Women’s Lib movement, so yeah, pretty tone-deaf!
There’s been hard-of-hearing advertising since then, of course, but “Fly Me” was unequalled in its tone deafness. Until recently.
Victoria’s Secret can claim this century’s award. In the past half decade, the brand was wrong in so many ways it’s hard to explain without charts and a copy of “Cultural Values For Dummies.” But, having lost $2 billion so far, they’re think it’s time to resolve things and re-position the brand.
Take a look at their going-forward strategy in a recent The Customer column and see what you think.
We think it’s probably true you can’t teach a tone-deaf person to sing. Happily, brands that really listen to their customers have other options.
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