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

Monday, 8 December 2008

Aren’t you a genius yet? Shame on you!

How fortunate we all are to live in a period when giants stride the earth, I thought this morning.

I was sitting here in Brooklyn’s fabled** Butler Street writing some copy for a client when I heard that “plink” that denotes the arrival of an e-mail.

What was it? It was an invitation to learn from a “world-renowned” copywriter. I get them every day, sometimes more than once. Many of them invite me to have something free, which is nice. And every now and then I learn something I never knew.

Of course, these helpful folk are not ALL world-renowned. Some are world famous, which means the same, I suppose. Many are superstars. A few, more modest, are ”A-list”. A surprising number make millionaires with a rapidity and frequency one can only marvel at. A fair number are legendary, though I have yet to come across one who is mythical. A strange omission, because that often seems to fit the promises made.

On top of all that, the level of inspiration in our ranks is such that a surprising number are geniuses. Even I have been called a genius, which gives you an idea of how devalued the word has become since the days of, say, Shakespeare or Mozart.

All this stuff is what my old boss David Ogilvy stigmatised as “flatulent puffery,” and I date the start of it to the day some twenty years ago when some silly woman came up and addressed me as a guru. I told her I was a pundit, though I doubt if she knew the difference.

But these ludicrous overclaims about a fairly simple skill whose value grows in inverse proportion to educational levels – certainly in the U.K. and U.S. – make it very hard to talk convincingly about what one does.

I have just started working on a little venture with a long-time partner who has won so many awards that about ten years ago when I asked him how many he had, he said he stopped counting after 150.

What the hell level of genius do I put him at? Intergalactic superstar? He is just very, very good and quick. How do I position what we offer without sounding mentally deranged?

I guess I have to settle for being a cherished antique. Maybe I should point out that Verdi wrote one of his best operas at the age of 80 - and sell by analogy. But many readers don't know who Verdi is, let alone what an analogy might be. And then I remember my friend Herschel Gordon Lewis who is even older and more talented than me.

Tough stuff. But I find that recessions always drag the clients blinking out of the woodwork into the harsh light of the real world.

** Very ordinary and almost unknown. You can get crack at the end that is nearest.

blog comments powered by Disqus