A gambler’s addiction to hope
There’s a brilliant line by the comedian Norm Macdonald. He talked about the gambling addiction he had suffered from all his life. His psychiatrist told him he was gambling to escape life. But he argued that this is a lame explanation. Because everything is an escape from life. He also declined that he was addicted to winning. Most of the time, gambling is incredibly frustrating. What he really was addicted to was hope:
“As long as the red dice are in the air, the gambler has hope. And hope is a wonderful thing to be addicted to”.
The Chief Marketing Officer responsible for Dove allegedly once said that he’s not in the business of selling soap, but selling hope. Hope that people recognize real beauty beyond the superficial idea of beauty that is promoted in ads and women’s magazines.
Hope is a powerful tool in elections
Donald Trump was a brilliant merchant of hope. Trump is a great salesman. He perfectly understood that there was a gigantic untapped reservoir of frustration and humiliation in rural America. Trump sold hope to these people. He promised them revenge, respect, jobs and excitement. He sold them the hope that someone would finally look after them again.
The poor person who buys a lottery ticket buys the hope for a simple shortcut to escape the grim prospect of becoming wealthy through hard work.
Are you hoping for new business interventions that work?
In our Behavioural Ideation Sprint we search for new interventions to create behavioural change. With our method, you don't have to rely on hope because you use real insights to tackle the desired behaviour in the right way.
Companies are selling hope
Every time someone buys a subscription to the gym, they’re buying hope. They hope for more self-confidence, more sexual admiration, or more success. And they buy into the hope that they’ll build a workout habit and stick to it this time.
Every boardroom that hires a top-level consultancy is buying hope. They hope McKinsey can solve their problems and get them unstuck. They hope that the external forces might persuade them to get stakeholders finally aligned and that success will follow. They also buy into the hope that their peers will look at them as intelligent, responsible leaders for bringing in the best of the best.
Every company is selling hope or a dream. And of all the things we’re selling, hope might actually be the strongest emotion – the thing we are addicted to.
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