Brand Blunder #76: MENSA Mic Drop vs Dumb & Dumber

Implying “customers are stupid” might not seem a wise brand strategy.    Yet that’s exactly what CA Technologies seems to be intently spending tens of millions of dollars on in their latest ads.

These ads are so redolent in “smarter than thou” that they’re worth parsing frame by frame…

We open on a snappily-dressed, serious young CA consultant taking customers on a tour of the software factory of the future.

Customer #1 wants to know “What is this place?” while Customer #2 wants to know “Is this where we come to compete?”, establishing their basic lack of knowledge.

“This is what you build to compete,” responds Clever CA Consultant, neatly using the customers’ own words to underline just how ignorant their question was.

Our imperious tour guide then offers up a bunch of buzzwords to the customers – “apps”, “agile”, “frictionless”, “scale” – before turning off the simulation.

“Awww, that’s not right,” says hapless Customer #2, before plaintively begging Clever CA Consultant to “turn mine back on.”

However, it’s in the second ad in the series that Clever CA Consultant really hits his smug stride.

We’re back on a tour of the simulated software factory, and our Clueless Customers are appropriately in awe.

“This place is cool!” says one, expressing her appreciation in an appropriately monosyllabic manner.

“As a software factory should be,” says Clever CA Consultant, superciliously.

“So it runs on software?” asks the Clueless Customer.

“It is software,” responds Clever CA Consultant, again demonstrating his knack for underlining her ignorance by turning her words back upon her.

That’s his cue to unleash another string of in-vogue buzzwords… “continuous delivery”, “frictionless security”, “agile across your company”, “from mobile to mainframe”.

It’s all too much for one Clueless Customer.  Overwhelmed by Clever CA Consultant’s soaring intellect, he feels compelled to confess his own abject ignorance .

“I have no idea what you just said,” he says, grinning like a goofy doofus just in case we viewers are also so dumb as to not understand just how dumb he is.

Our Clever CA Consultant all but rolls his eyes.  Exasperated, he you can see him wondering how customers can be this lacking in understanding.  He resorts to a prop – a mobile phone – to try to dumb the subject all the way down to their level.

His genius duly demonstrated, Clever CA Consultant turns on his heel, and smugly walks away.  The customers, duly put in their place, watch after him in awe.

It’s the MENSA equivalent of a “mic drop” moment.

Disclosure: As stated in my Bio and throughout this blog, I am presently employed by IBM Corporation, a competitor to CA Technologies.  But the thoughts expressed in this blog are fully my own, and would find this ad insulting and ineffective regardless.


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