By (TK) Published on .

Dr. Bob Deutsch, who used to study the behavior of chimpanzees with Jane Goodall, is now, after four years of freelance ad consulting, the resident cultural anthropologist at DDB/New York -- but the research parallels end there. Chimps are rewarded with bananas, and focus group participants get 50 bucks and a sandwich, but Deutsch, 51, doesn't conduct conventional consumer-oriented focus groups. In fact, he's not interested in 'consumers' at all. "Ad people talk about 'consumers' like Hollywood people talk about 'civilians,' " Deutsch scoffs. "My argument is, if you can't understand consumers as people, you're dead in the water. If you do understand them as people, you can help yourself and them."

Deutsch is not at liberty to discuss specific DDB accounts, but he'll freely share some ominous societal observations: "I hear three 'structures' over the past five years, no matter who I'm talking to or what I'm talking about: The world is too fast; too complex; and too competitive. If you listen to how the emotionality of that is hooked into people's daily experiences, then you're onto something."

But what about plain old good products? "Nobody in the history of the universe has ever bought a product based on attributes," he avers. "They make their decision emotionally and they rationalize that decision with attributes after the decision is made. I'm interested in how that decision is made."

So what should advertisers do? Find some courage and insight, Deutsch opines. "I say to clients, 'Don't be afraid of what you think is the dark side of human experience. It usually isn't the dark side, it's just the real side.' Most manufacturers are wondering, 'How do I get my audience to like me?' The task is to get the audience to feel you like them. I want my audience to go, 'Hmmmm,' not 'Wow!' Because 'Wow!' could be a fad, it's short-lived. The perfect potent message in a campaign is one that seeps through your pores slowly. It's attachment and bonding. I'm not interested in selling a product; I'm interested

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