Walk a mile in your customers hotpants


Back in the mad-men days, in New York there was a marketing affect dubbed the ‘Chairman’s Wife Syndrome.’ The metaphor hasn’t aged well… It involved a Chairman’s middle-aged wife, visiting her husband’s office and noticing that the young female staff were all wearing hot pants and getting male attention. The story supposedly goes that she was inspired by the younger women to buy some hot pants for herself, to wear for her husband. Her husband enjoyed the younger women wearing the hot pants around the office but wasn’t impressed by his wife wearing the same shorts at home, (insert face palm here).

…Ok, so before we get a tonne of comments about this blog being sexist, let’s appreciate that this story was a reflection of ‘Admen’ from the 1960’s.

Although this parable doesn’t fly now, it still has some relevance, so let’s bring this into 2019. The idea is that it’s all about the context. How advertising is being presented to a client, without any reference to where or how it’s going to run, can look amazing. However, take the exact same creative and place it in situ or how it’s going to be actually seen is the key. 

Digital adverts are glanced at for on average 0.9 seconds. Billboards are seen for on average 3 seconds, (as they’re being driven past at 70kpm). As creative agenies we tend to present creative assets in the best possible light, in the best possible context and frame by frame. The reality is your Billboard may be seen only briefly, on a damp and miserable rainy day. Does it still work in this context?
As marketers, it’s easy to get hung up on the minute details, which arguably won’t always be perceived by our audience. Their audience will be using less of their rational mind and will be tapping into their initial gut reactions.


We need to consider this reality when presenting and reviewing our work. We should flash website banners up on the screen to get that intuitive reaction, before delving further into the details. This is how they are experienced by the audience. For us this is an important step in marketing accuracy. Our job is to make the hot pants look great, no matter who is wearing them and where they’re wearing them.


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