The SCN Encourager – Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Recycling more than cardboard. You. Me. We.

Remember last week’s incredible anti-bullying-hockey game flash mob video? Several people asked how I discovered it. I think they were actually more interested in applying for my job because they suspected I must have lots to free time to poke around in YouTube. (Oh, don’t I wish …)

This video caught my eye when author and marketing consultant Michael Drew sent out a blast email touting his book, Pendulum. 

I purchased this book about two months ago. Drew’s premise is that for more than a century we –as a people – have toggled between a “me” focus and a “we” focus every 10 years or so. He used this video as evidence of our society transitioning away from our current “me” orientation toward a new “we” decade. (Me? I just like hockey.)

Drew offered other examples and they made some sense to me. (trouble, I know) 

Did you know that one of the most memorable ad campaigns in the 20th century was created for the De Beers jewelry company? I couldn’t believe that the phrase “Diamonds are forever.” originated in 1947. And interestingly enough, I never knew that in the 19th century, the whole diamond engagement and diamond wedding ring tradition didn’t exist – that it took creative promoters like De Beers to elevate diamond rings into today’s “must have / must do” category.

For once, though, I don’t feel bad about not knowing something. Like you, I’m a school communicator. Are diamonds really on most of our shopping lists?

Drew points out that despite having an incredibly effective brand and known tagline, De Beers also took steps to acknowledge and pivot with the alternating “me” and “we” cycles. And he gave high praise for how De Beers “blended” its campaign messages through the transition.

Consider that for the last several years, De Beers had been promoting an expensive “Raise Your Right Hand” campaign aimed at independent and/or single women, in an effort to get women to buy a diamond ring for themselves. The campaign also intertwined this “me” campaign with a transitional nudge toward the growing “we” phase:  “Your left hand says ‘we.’ Your right hand says ‘me.'”

Today, De Beers has scrapped the blended campaign even though Drew wrote that it’s still highly effective. Good marketers like De Beers don’t wait to act. Their research tells them that we’re moving into a full-blown “we” phase, so why wait.

I just pass this onto you because I found the “me” vs. “we” cycles interesting … perhaps even spot on. But I think we know, as school communicators, that most of our parents never really leave the “What’s this mean for MY child?” zone.  This “me” and “we” information may be useful, but I think we’re all plenty busy juggling plates related to someone else’s laser focus on their  “MY…”

And by the way, think about the company name “De Beers” again. I could’ve thrown this into my email headline in some weird way. But no, I didn’t want to give you such a cruel tease. It’s the “we” decade after all. Hope I can survive it!

Tom Page, SCN managing editor
car 2:20:13




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