• Death to shit ads.
  • Posts
  • Would you rather smell nothing but farts or taste nothing but worms?

Would you rather smell nothing but farts or taste nothing but worms?

A lesson from my 5 and 8 year old girls.

This is a game that my two girls like to play in the bath. The ‘would you rather’ game. The premise is pretty simple. You think up two almost equally terrible options, and we all have to choose which ‘would you rather’, and then yell ‘GROOOOSS!’ while laughing and pointing and calling each other weirdos for choosing to smell nothing but farts for the rest of our lives.

It’s a bit like A/B testing.

And focus groups.

And market research.

And all of that other executional analysis that we spend countless hours and tens and hundreds of thousands of dollars on.

Because if you haven’t put that much rigor into whether the idea itself is genuinely worth people’s time, all you’re really ‘testing’ is whether they’d rather smell farts or eat worms.

Sure, you can give them the choice, and they can give you an answer, and you can then look at the data - and go, yep, ok, there you have it, looks like they want to eat worms.

But, do they, really?

Probably not.

The base level of the average person’s appreciation of advertising is not even neutral. It’s below sea level, somewhere in The Mariana Trench. We mustn’t forget that our job requires us to shift them a hell of a long way to even begin to care about a radio ad for our all new 25% smoother cream cheese.

If we aren’t, on both sides, dedicated to pushing the creative to a place that interests and excites people, we’re just asking if they’d rather farts or worms. (I realise I’m stuck with this analogy now, and you’re stuck reading it, I’m so sorry.)

Oh, I should also mention, the game we play has two sides. Sometimes the girls will ask ‘would you rather have wings like a unicorn or do magic like a fairy’? Another equally difficult decision. But for a very different reason.

Do the work so you know you’re going into research or testing with that question, instead.

(And always try to be home for bath time so you can play stupid games with your kids. You never know, you might learn something.)


or to participate.