April 15, 2014

The Sadness Of Sameness

Here's what a once-great agency looks like when it turns its message over to jargon-monkeys.

This agency used to awe us with wonderful ideas. Now it can only bore us with the same dreadful drivel we've heard a thousand times before.

It's a very sad thing.


April 14, 2014

Hard Times For The Cult Of Social Media?

It could be that the social media zombies have had their day.

Frankly, it couldn't happen to a nicer bunch.

Now, before the hate mail comes rolling in, let me state the obvious. There are some very capable, hard-working and talented people in the social media world.

But there is also a roiling cesspool of arrogant, insufferable charlatans who parlayed a few buzzwords into a career and with whom we have had to put up for the past five years. Seeing them crash and burn would not irk me one darn bit.

Why do I think they've had their day? A few reasons:

First is that hideous, moronic, infantile song video from Social Media World that has become an embarrassment to the marketing industry. If you've never experienced the insularity of cults, this will be a good primer.

There is very little else that is as effective at taking the piss out of a cult than mockery. Ironically, in this case, it is self-induced mockery.

Any sensible person who looks at this thing can only believe that these people are utterly and completely demented. No one in his/her right mind would hire these people to sweep the floor, no less develop "business strategies."

Second, is a personal experience I had recently at my talk in London.

Frankly, I was apprehensive before the talk. I knew I was going to say a lot of things that would not sit well with the digital crowd. When I saw a largely young audience file into the theater, I thought for sure I would be facing a somewhat hostile audience.

Instead, I was pleasantly surprised at both the reaction of the audience and the follow-up reaction to the talk when it was posted on YouTube. It seems that at least some people are ready to hear a different point of view.

Finally, there are the facts. It seems that every few weeks a new study pops up showing that social media's impact on product sales is somewhere between small and not-at-all.

Of course, the social media crowd (having learned failure management from the traditional advertising crowd) will throw a false goal at us and say the purpose is not sales, but branding (whatever the fuck that means.)

I doubt the "branding" bluff will work. I'm sure some CMOs with "sluggish cognitive tempo" will buy this bullshit, but most are under pressure these days to perform. That means sales, not brand babble.

I have a feeling the bloom is coming off the social media rose. From here on, it's going to take more than cult culture.

April 08, 2014

My Talk At "Advertising Week Europe"

Last week I was honored to be asked by ITV to deliver their “Spotlight Lecture” at Advertising Week Europe, which was held in London.

It was a week-long conclave of ad, marketing and media people.

My talk was called “The Golden Age Of Bullshit” and was about the difference between the predictions of experts and the reality of the past 10 years.

The fellow introducing and interviewing me on stage is Mark Austin who is chief newscaster for ITV.

If you’re interested (or having trouble sleeping) you can find my talk here.

By the way, love this tweet...