Friday, May 8, 2015

Who Stole My Pronouns?

All the voiceover coaches these days have pronouns high on their target list. It's the rage. They say that the younger generation doesn't like to be targeted or sold. But, yet all the media they consume is rife with targeted messages, calling YOU to action and outright sales pitches. But I guess this generation is so busy consuming the media that they didn't realize they were being sold something. Yes they are being sold. And, I'm talking to YOU. YOU need to have the super duper watch and YOU need these cool headphones branded by YOUR favorite hip-hop star. YOU need these bright fuchsia running shoes. Don't think for a minute they aren't targeting YOU.

Smokey Bear Poster - Public DomainAnyone that ever took a sales course in college had it drummed into their brain that YOU would never get the sale until YOU asked for it. And YOU need to be direct or YOU will never get it. So what's wrong with an emphasized pronoun? “Will YOU buy my widget?” certainly is more effective than “will you buy my widget?” The second example probably will go unanswered and the widget will stay on the shelf. There's no direct call to action.

Think about this for a moment. Who was Smokey Bear asking to help prevent forest fires? It's YOU, not the other guy. He wants YOU on his side. Because he needs YOUR help. Uncle Sam needed YOU. The infomercial tells YOU that YOU need to order before midnight tonight. Who is the car dealer asking to come to his dealership to buy that fancy red two-door model with the cool wire rims? It's YOU.

So don't tell me that the pronoun is no longer important. YOU can pretend that it's not there. But, YOU are the target whether YOU like it or not. So gimme back my pronouns.  

*Smokey Bear poster - Forest Service, United States Department of Agriculture, in cooperation with the Association of State Foresters and the Advertising Council [Public domain]