The Zeiss Case. Does Interacting with the “People of the Web” Is Still a Viable Marketing Strategy?

The Zeiss case is an opportunity to analyze one of the most rooted clichés in the world of digital marketing: the one according to which an effective communication strategy must “listen to the reactions of the “people of the web”.

In theory, the concept is not wrong: keeping the “sentiment” of users under control is a way to understand – and manage – the liking of a product or service. In practice, however, this translates into having to follow the reactions of anyone who shouts enough to be heard, even if they have never bought – and never will buy – a particular product. The “Zeiss case” is a paradigmatic example of this paradoxical condition in which a company is “hostage” to perfect strangers.In short, for the advertising campaign of a particularly valuable lens in an event of comic book enthusiasts, Zeiss organizes a photo session with a model “transformed” into Ariel, the Little Mermaid, who interacts with the product. This provoked outrageous reactions from subjects who complained about the “sexism” of the advertising campaign to the point that Zeiss had to publicly apologize (but to whom, then?) for this choice.

Zeiss is neither the first company – nor the last – to “apologize” for actions judged “inappropriate” by a bunch of unqualified subjects who, simply because they have an opinion, pretend to be listened to when they “point the finger”.

Now, without going into the specific issue, it’s time to start wondering if it still makes sense to continue to worry about the unsheathed reactions of these digital zealots who, as I said, do not buy and never will buy a particular product. As a matter of fact, as the good ol’ Antoine sang in 1967 with admirable predictive ability (even if he didn’t have AI)

You’re good, and they’re throwing stones at you.
You’re bad and they’re throwing stones at you.
Whatever you do, wherever you go,
you’ll always get stones in your face.

Translated: equal access to content sharing platforms and the huge number of people who can use them means that there will always be a certain number of people who will feel “offended”, “outraged” or “hurt” by something. Within certain limits, therefore, instead of worrying about this percentage, it might be worth remember Dante Alighieri’s lesson:

Let’s not care about them, just look and go ahead.

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