Mythbuster: The relevance of 'relevance'

Les Binet and Sarah Carter

Les Binet and Sarah Carter get a little bit angry about some of the nonsense they hear around them… like the mistaken belief in the relevance of 'relevance'

Many years ago, we worked on Dulux. At that time, Dulux ads always featured a shaggy Old English Sheepdog. The dog would appear as a branding device alongside the packshot or during the ads, typically padding through beautiful newly-painted sitting rooms. Back then, Dulux made so many ads that they tested them using a proprietory pre-test. One standard question was: 'Why do you think there is a dog in this ad?'

We always felt rather sorry for the hapless respondents. What exactly were they meant to reply? There wasn't really any good answer (other than 'because there always has been a dog in Dulux ads), because there wasn't any good reason for the dog to be there. The story goes that once on a Dulux ad shoot, an Old English Sheepdog belonging to a crew member wandered onto the set. It looked good, so it was kept in. The rest was history.