Most of the people reading this are too young to have watched the Twilight Zone as a first run tv show.
Um, not to mention the one writing it wasn’t around for the original episodes to air, lol…
Created by Rod Serling in 1959, it was an extension of his previous work like The Arena and The Time Element. If you’re not familiar with Serling’s modus operandi, he used science fiction to address topics like racism, government overreach, war and society in general.
The reason Serling used science fiction was because the networks wouldn’t broadcast programs that addressed them outright during the 50s.
It just wasn’t done.
Over time, the shows became so popular that the title turned into a catchphrase – “oh look, I think we’re in the twilight zone”, or “oooh, now we’ve entered the twilight zone…”, sort of the same way that we now “google” something we’re looking for online, err, or on mobile more likely.
As the 50s morphed into the 60s, many things changed. The Civil Rights Act in America, for instance. Lyndon Johnson drew a hard line – not in the sand, but in the concrete, and used the force of the armed military to integrate schools throughout the South, to enable “colored” folk to ride buses and drink from any water fountain, and to help the working poor get a leg up in life.
Many people don’t like Johnson, hell, most people don’t like him. I just watched a movie about his presidency on a recent flight, and the movie painted him as a pretty nice guy, but he probably wasn’t quite that nice.
But LBJ did good things for America, and while a portion of the population was dragged kicking and screaming into those things, we can all look back and say they were needed. But the reason that we had to drag so many people kicking and screaming into the ‘new reality’?
It just wasn’t done.
In many parts of the south (and some parts outside the south even though people pretend like it wasn’t them), “colored” folks weren’t allowed to be first class citizens, they were a second class society. And no one wants to be second class. Absolutely no one.
Moving on… by the late 1960s, television was forced to face these topics head on, and Serling’s Twilight Zone was dropped in 1964, just as Johnson was gearing up on his social progress.
The past several months have been strange ones in the “first world”. Britain struggles with a non-binding referendum and a large group of people who didn’t believe their vote was anything besides a protest (technically it wasn’t but Theresa May is going to fall on her sword before she backs down); the EU is beset with troubles on many fronts, including Brexit; the US election earlier in the week shocked at least half the country with the results.
What the f**k does this have to do with marketing, mobile or otherwise?
My point (I think) is that there are many ways to skin a cat. Serling chose to address the issues of the day by using a surrogate – science fiction. Johnson chose to use the sword – the National Guard.
May chooses to trudge on without budging, or even thinking about the other side (which was also half of Britain, by the numbers) – which is exactly what created the situation. It appears that at least half of the US, now having declared victory, has decided the other half – the losers – opinions don’t count.
But the reality is that the reason the losers are the losers is because they decided the other half (which is also pretty much the divide in the US), well, their opinions didn’t count.
If you want to be successful, you had better know – understand – your “opponent” and their opinion.
If you’re selling something, your opponent is naturally the prospective buyer. If you’re giving something away, the opponent is the guy that you want to actually take it and use it. Don’t decide that your opinion is the only one that counts, and act accordingly. You’ll only set yourself up for failure.
Serling and Johnson both understood the limits, albeit self-imposed, of their respective mediums, and each knew what they had to do in order to make their voices be heard.
Serling had to use science fiction as the vessel to carry his ideas about social injustice. Johnson had to garner enough votes for his legislation to turn it into law, well in advance of ever sending a single Guardsman to enforce that new law.
Information moves rapidly now, good and bad. It’s hard to keep secrets. So if you’re thinking about the other side, and their opinions, and crafting a business strategy that takes them into account, provides a benefit to them, you’re much more likely to make a solid go of it.
Create your business strategy based on what your customer needs, not on what you want your customer to get.