Thomas Bruso and Consumer Categories
'Does Thomas Bruso deserve to be lionized? Or is he just a crazy old coot? And what, if anything, does this video say about generational and racial conflicts in America? (In my opinion, the only real hero in the video is “Black female passenger #1″ [see transcript below], who is just about the only person who tried to intervene and stop the violence.)
I get the feeing that, basically, people just like to see an authentic fight, unedited, and all the analysis is just justification for our bloodlust. Perhaps, in the long run, this video’s only lasting impact will be to introduce the word “ambulamps” to the English language.'
That's Zombie's concluding take on the bus brawl antihero Thomas Bruso story. I think its a telling conclusion.
My take? I think people can be slotted into three categories, actually two. The ones who want to see and enjoy a fight at another's expense and the ones who want to stop it. Of course, the latter's a minority. The ones who want to see the fight soon line up to support either of the parties engaged, thus get categorised into two. So old man Bruso gets his supporters and the guy who got whupped gets his. Deep down that's what all of us in the majority do. Line up on either sides. A few among us play neutral.
Our response to brands almost works out the same. We are with it, against it, or play neutral and have no opinion. The numbers may either be stacked equally or unequally across the three categories. For a marketer, its the ones who line up for the brand that matter most. May their breed increase, as their support, is what the marketer prays. The ones who stay with the brand do so as a result of positive attitudes built within them. And then there's the enemy camp that consists of people who harbour a negative attitude towards the brand. Its best the marketer leaves them alone as changing attitudes is a difficult proposition. Instead the ones he should focus on are neutral consumers who can be persuaded. To form the right attitudes and join the camp of the faithful.
Bruso is currently a hero for many and a racist for many others. Either way it doesn't matter, for in this show, the only one who needs to be applauded is the one who tried to stop the fight. From the video it seems to be just one lady.
What can I say, at least one than none?