Is it just me or have you noticed that many more marketers have caught on to "smart" as a way to promote their products or services. Some I would count as ligitimate uses and while others boarder on what I call "smart-washing" (pretending to be a smart product when you really are not.) With billions of dollars in infrastructure money being released by Obama in the USA and Harper in Canada, companies smell opportunity in the "smart space".
It all started with the Super Bowl last month. GE launched it's GE Smart Grid Technology. Quite a cute and clever commercial, featuring the brain-less scare crow from the Wizard of Oz to promote their Smart Power Grid work.
Yesterday, IBM ran a full page advertising on page B9 in the Globe and Mail newspaper in Toronto touting it's smart grid services from it's "smarter power for a smarter planet" initiative. It was well-worded, informative, and convincing.
Both, I would consider legitimate uses of the word smart, as in adding intelligence to a dumb or benign product or service.
The trouble comes when marketers start liberally tossing the word smart around and calling everything smart. The car companies have caught on and are running ads on TV in Canada calling everything smart. Take the Hyundai "Smart is In" car campaign. It centers around the "Smart" purchase, featuring a beautiful red-headed woman "bumping" a guy's Elantra and setting off the car alarm to get his attention. Then everything becomes smart..smart on gas, smart on quality, smart style, smart advantage. Does this dilute the meaning of "smart" or confuse the consumer or business decsion-maker?
Is this smart-washing or not? The trouble is ..the word "smart", as a verb or noun has over 14 different meanings or groups of synonyms, ranging from intelligent, stylish, sting or prick, annoy, irritate (don't be so smart), to alert, discerning, astute, shrewd etc.
If you see/hear any new commercials in the press or on TV or the radio featuring "smart products or services", send us a note with a link, and we'll feature them here.
Walter Derzko -"Changing the world, one idea at a time"©
Expert, Consultant and Keynote Speaker on Emerging Smart Technologies, Innovation, Strategic Foresight, Business Development, Lateral Creative Thinking and author of an upcoming book on the Smart Economy "
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- ".....Strategy without action is a day-dream; action without strategy is a nightmare"-old Japanese proverb
- ".......Ours is the age that is proud of machines that think and suspicious of men who try to." -- H. Mumford Jones
- ".......Without changing our patterns of thought, we will not be able to solve the problems we created with our current pattern of thought." --A. Einstein
- ".......Change is difficult, but complacency and stagnation are surefire showstoppers..." --Walter Derzko
- ".......Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it's the only thing that ever has." -- Margaret Mead
- ".......Small minds discuss people; Average minds discuss events; Great minds discuss ideas; --Anon
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