WELCOME TO THE DRAYTON BIRD BLOG - Commonsense about marketing, business and life

Leave now if easily shocked or politically correct. Otherwise, please leave your comments. Statements such as "brilliant", "hugely perceptive", "what a splendid man" and "can I buy you dinner at the restaurant of your choice" are all greeted with glee.

If you like, I'll e-mail you each new dollop of drivel when I publish it. Just click here to subscribe. If you want to succeed faster, get my 101 helpful marketing ideas, one every 3 days. People love them - maybe because they're free. Go to www.draytonbirdcommonsense.com and register. You also a get a free copy of the best marketing book ever written

Saturday, 29 December 2007

Poltergeists and animal crackers

Logorrhea, I was told at school, is the word for people who can’t stop talking.

I’m afraid I have the literary equivalent; just can’t stop writing. For a while I was banging out a good 6 columns a month for an assortment of marketing and business publications.

At one point, I vaguely recall, I was boring the pants off people not just in the U.K. but in Portugal, India, Australia and Malaysia.

This was much easier than you might think. You just open any marketing magazine and within 60 seconds you’ll find something ludicrous to write about.

Take an old December issue of Marketing Week I found amidst the old bread crusts in my office recently.

On the first page I learned Vodaphone had a Global Director of Brand and Customer Experience, which is reasonably but not insanely pompous, but below him was someone with a markedly more fatuous title: Director of Brand Strategy and Manifestation.

What is that then? Does he direct ghosts and poltergeists? No; it’s just our old friend corporate masturbation, which always thrives best when a friendly economy gives encouragement to idle brains.

The best title ever was held by a man I knew whose job title was Being Volkswagen. What can you imagine he did at meetings? Maybe say “Beep-beep” every now and then?

Besides silly job titles, you can always rely on marketing mags to keep you au fait with the latest vogue in asinine advertising.

The news pages of Marketing Week began with a jokey piece about Egg, the credit card that Prudential (wisely I suspect) have unloaded on Citibank. This no doubt will add to the impressive panoply of loss-making activities their glorious leader, “Chuck” Prince, came up with.

I'm not surprised they paid him $40 million just to go away and do no more damage. Of course, if he were one of the many ordinary employees whose jobs he has put at risk they would have told him to clear his desk and get out. And if life were fair he would then have been taken outside the office and run over a few times by a truck.

But I digress. See if you can extract anything vaguely resembling sense from this piece of persiflage about Egg.

It seems they have axed a campaign that said their card was “tested and approved by guinea-pigs” – which they allege “was popular with the public but had failed to raise brand awareness or sell its products.”

How the hell can something popular not only fail to sell, but despite being (as was claimed elsewhere in the piece) “well-loved” – not even get noticed. A double flopperoo like that that takes rare talent. I suppose it’s a new kind of minus-advertising.

Anyhow, it doesn’t matter how they managed it: just picture the mellifluous waffle the agency used to persuade the client it made sense! Imagine how little the client must have studied advertising to have run it! Then pause, gentle reader, and ask yourself why the client still has a job. Maybe he or she is not as culpable as ole Chuck, but wouldn't a remedial course in advertising basics for 4 year olds be in order?

I wish to God some of these people would just give me the money. I would just piss it away on booze and exotic trips and guarantee to achieve nothing.

Anyhow, Egg laid an egg with guinea-pigs, so the new campaign features a dolphin called Raoul, who has the advantage of being as irrelevant to money as any other animal, but can at least perform tricks.

Maybe marketers would do a bit better if they recalled from time to time that their job is to sell more stuff more often to more people at higher prices – an excellent definition I gladly credit Sergio Zyman with.

I look forward eagerly to the effects of the coming Gordon (the financial genius and all-round creep) Brown recession, which may put an end to some of this indefensible crap.

blog comments powered by Disqus