Sunday, August 28, 2011

The bunny I was on thin ice with.

       The headline read "The Bunny Is Back". It was about the new NBC television show, "The Playboy Club." I knew it well.

       When the Playboy Club in Chicago first opened, it cost $25 to join. I joined because they gave you a beautiful bunny-like key that opened the club's front door. I soon showed up with a date I was trying to impress. There at the door when I opened it was a statuesque blonde, in her blue satin ears and a bundle of white yarn pinned on as a tail. There was a name tag pinned on her shiny blue tunic.

       The bunny got all smiley and said "Harvey, Harvey! It's me, Linda." I looked down at her name tag and indeed, it said Linda. But Linda who? She continued squealing, "It's me, Linda Dorfman, from elementary school. We were next to each other for years!"

       Being the shy, retiring type, I was mortified. All I could say was, "I didn't recognize you, Linda. You've...grown." This was the Linda Dorfman who I used to go ice skating and have hot cocoa with in Lincoln Park. I hugged her. My date was not impressed.

       The new TV show is no doubt a response to "Mad Men". Those days, so near and yet so far, seem to be endlessly captivating. We've changed so much in in our style, and certainly in our attitudes about women and relationships. Somehow new generations still see themselves in the story, drinking and typing and having a pretty good time getting by.

       It's interesting to me that while computers, smart phones, iPods and iPads seem to have changed everything, television constantly reminds us how much hasn't.

       We're still interested in the same things that all generations have been.  Relationships, intimacy, emotional episodes, values, and lifestyles. As much as we think we're more evolved, it's a good bet we aren't.

      For all of us in marketing (and in many ways we all are),  it's important not to believe we're so sophisticated that we out-fox ourselves into thinking we're more advanced, more enlightened. We're probably not. We're the same as everybody, including our customers.

     Hugh Hefner knows that, which is why his magazine and his vision of the good life still have appeal. As for me, I'd simply like to hug Linda Dorfsman one more time.


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