[World-class violinist plays for hours in a subway station, almost no one stops to listen]. The experiment just proved what we already know about context, permission and worldview. If your worldview is that music in the subway isn’t worth your time, you’re not going to notice when the music is better than usual (or when a famous violinist is playing). It doesn’t match the story you tell yourself, so you ignore it. Without permission to get through to you, the marketer/violinist is invisible.
If you didn’t read the story, a “world-class” violinist played in the subway and nobody noticed. Seth’s argument makes sense, except for one flaw in the experiment that devalues the analysis, and that is…
The majority of Americans (especially those in a hurry in a subway) don’t know the difference between a hack violinist and a virtuoso. They simply don’t have the “culture” that many Europeans have.
Put an Anna Nichole impersonater next to the real Anna Nichole and we’d be able to tell you which one was real or not.
Seriously, have you watched TV here in the USA? It’s not the BBC people. But I digress…
But I get Seth’s point, and I think it’s valid to apply it to cultural differences. Marketing is about knowing your audience and giving them what they require, and testing is a big part of that equation.
This marketing test failed from the moment it was conceived. Wrong target, wasted effort. But I get the point.