The Fallacy of Tests

Before the film Legends of the Fall was released, actor Brad Pitt was dismayed to learn that his favorite scene was being cut.  Apparently, a marketing report showed that it was the test audience’s most hated scene.  Pitt asked to read the report, which also revealed that it was the second favorite scene in the movie.  This offers two lessons.  First, trying to test a creative idea, whether it’s a movie or a marketing message, is a pretty useless exercise – one that usually produces a lowest common denominator.  Second, the most effective messages are often likely to produce strong reactions, both for and against.  You can’t let the “no” votes keep you from presenting something that will be powerful for many of your customers or prospects.