They think people are rational and knowledgeable.
Here’s Seth Godin’s take on this coffee ad (after fumbling around with the headline): let’s get rid of the ad, and provide coffee sample, inviting people to test whether “Are we better than Starbuck’s?”
Here’s the problem. People are not knowledgeable: they can test that coffee and not know whether you’re better or worse. And if you say that it doesn’t matter if you’re better or worse in some absolute terms, what matters if you’re better or worse for them, again it’s not true. The huge success of wine/beer/coffee tasting courses is there to show that people want to be taught what is good for them.
The second problem with this approach is that for so many choices, including something as simple as coffee, rational arguments are not nearly as strong as emotional and symbolic arguments.
An inspiring statement will engage you somewhere in the guts and stay there, in spite of all the much rational information that you’re exposed to, and that it’s supposed to change your mind. (Give or take, of course. A great headline won’t sell a disgusting coffee more than once…)
“Unlike any coffee you’ve ever tasted before” is more powerful than “The best coffee” (too dull) or “Better than Starbuck’s” (a competitive statement is almost always weaker than an absolute statement)
Look at Sony. Like no other. That’s it. What more would you need to say?
Final Burp: the rules of the game in the web economy is that useful service matter more than polished ad takes. That’s true. And it’s not.