Unrequited Marketing

OK, TV time. I woke up around dawn on Tuesday and said to my sound-asleep husband, “Do you think that House and Cuddy never really got together last night?” He groaned, “I’m asleep.” Now, if you’re not a fan of “House”, see ya later.  

But if you are, you may be one of the millions of women suckered into believing that at long last Vicodin-addicted, miserable Gregory House and Dr. Lisa Cuddy, cool and smoldering hospital head, had, well… But just when things heated up, turns out it was all his drug-induced hallucination. Huh? 

I thought I was the only woman feeling jilted until I read Ginia Bellafante’s review. The plot was purely created to snag the hearts of their female audience and then dump them at the altar. Bellafante explained, “The producers of ‘House’ don’t care about our fantasies and instead poured a big bucket of Freon on our mushy sucker hearts. ‘House’ treats women who watch it the way House treats women generally: It mocks them for any genuine emotional investment.” Wow!  

Is this the idea behind brands that seduce women by making fun of them, like Coors or Doritos? Or, as a strategy, could a brand actually be like the character of Gregory House, the product we love because it doesn’t love us back? Tapping into something so powerful, our urge to redeem the heartbreaker, might be a cool marketing idea. Unless it keeps us up at night. What do you think?

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October 24, 2020
by Mary Lou Quinlan

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