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Tuesday, 8 April 2008

At last, the ultimate meaningless title is achieved!

At the start of that rip-roaring business romp “Commonsense Direct and Digital Marketing” I quote Confucius who thought the correct use of language was the most important thing to worry about if you want run things properly.

“If language is not correct, then what is said is not what is meant; if what is said is not what is meant, then what must be done remains undone; if this remains undone, morals and art will deteriorate; if justice goes astray, the people will stand about in helpless confusion”.

I'll tell you what: in case you hadn't noticed, there must be a lot of marketing people standing about in helpless confusion. I just read in Precision Marketing that a man in one agency is an Executive Strategic Officer.

Now how do you suppose he passes his time? Indeed how can he possibly he know how he should? His title gives absolutely no clue, as it relates to no known activity at all. Not that that usually makes any difference in agencies.

But as an “officer” – another fatuous, empty title that’s become popular – but with no clear function, should he perhaps join the Territorial Army? Goosestep through the halls delivering staccato orders at random? If so, about what? "We need more strategy" might be a rallying cry - except that they have more strategy than you can shake a stick in agencies. Just read their reports.

Probably the people who do the real work just get their heads down and try to ignore him. Just as well, or nothing would ever get done.

One of my old colleagues told me that a good way to save money on rises was to give people meaningless titles. Maybe the people who dish them out are not as stupid as I thought.

Actually I collect exercises in mangled English and allround mental folly.

“Changes have been made that affect the Global Template” is a message I keep getting on my computer. It prompts the automatic response; “What do you mean?” followed by “Why can’t you write in English, you twat?”

C8W sends me a newsletter telling me how they can improve my marketing - and address me as “Dear Name”. That’s a new technique called impersonalisation.

I must be getting more and more irritable in my dotage, because I see stuff that makes me snort with rage every day.

Last week it was the phrase, “Beautiful and innovative handbags”. Uh? Innovative? Can you keep goldfish in them, or what?

“We want to take all your content on the Web and move it to a more visually immersive, immediate experience,” says the chief executive at Vivaty and a former vice president at the big game maker Electronic Arts, without a trace of irony.

Someone else promises to help me in “Achieving closed-loop processes and reporting”. If only!

And earlier today I see that another agency bigwig let the following appear about him on his agency’s website: “Barry is insightful, curious and an avid listener. His natural talents are in writing and he instinctively rolls ideas up to create a logical big picture. He's become a marketing guru from his diverse experience across clients, business challenges and roles in creative, strategy and management.”

How do you “roll up” an idea? And having done so, do you smoke it?

By the sound of it, Barry will never be afflicted by modesty, false or otherwise. Sounds like he spends the first twenty minutes of every day gazing adoringly at his own reflection.

Would you believe I’ve written or rewritten 7 pieces of copy today? It’s being so livid that keeps me going.

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