Has everyone gone mad?

Written by

Andrew Millar


March 20, 2007

We arrived home following a night away to find a letterbox full of advertising flyers and promotional material. Oh, all right, junk mail. Nothing unusual except that three of them had the same headline. Actually, upon reflection, so did 2 ads in the Sunday paper. And as I recollect, so did two shop windows along the return route from dropping our IT Manager at school.

They all told me that now was a great time to buy something because we were all gripped by ‘March Madness’.

Well, I’m not. I’m just mad with the lack of originality of it all.

I’ve already talked about insanity as a marketing strategy in a previous blog. So perhaps I can get people to stop using this irrelevant cliché by explaining its origins. And then marketers might glimpse the insult they are delivering to their customers.

It’s worth a try.

March Madness is actually an obscure and obsolete term derived from the idea of being as mad as a March hare. It first appeared in the 15th Century long before sale catalogues and letterboxes. It implies that during breeding season in the northern hemisphere, hares appear to be wilder than at other times, driven by an instinctive urge to jump on the back of anything that moved. In short, they suffered from a seasonal Viagra.

According to The first record of the belief in thier madness, or in this case their brainlessnesss, was circa 1500, in ‘Blowbol’s Test’:

“Thanne they begyn to sweree and to stare, And be as braynles as a Marshe hare.”

So what makes a retailer believe that weather pattens in Europe will cause us to react in the same way and run from shop to shop, trousers down, half rampant with credit card in hand leaping onto everything from white goods, leather sofas to cheap white wine? Or, at best, are they calling us, thier customers, brainless.

Humans are basic creatures, but not that basic.

So let us consider something else for March. If an unhealthy mind is the refuge of base level marketing let’s be a little more original perhaps. Maladjusted March? Maniacal March? Mental March?

But why stop with just one month? Let’s look at a whole calendar, synonymous with nonsense certifiable events.

Let’s kick the year off with Jumpy January. Followed by Flipped Out February. March we have already discussed. So it’s Ape-py April, Moonstruck May, Jittery June, Unbalanced July, Apoplexic August, Schizophrenic September, Obsessive Compulsive October, Completely Nuttso November and Deliriously Demented and Deranged December.

Actually we don’t need the last one. Christmas is mad enough as it is.

Andrew Millar
Creative Director/Partner