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Saturday, 14 April 2012

Good versus bad: the best way to learn - an all-new seminar and a little Oscar Wilde

I don't know if I told you this before, but God knows how many years ago I got an interview at Young and Rubicam in London - then one of the two or three best agencies around.

The creative director was Norman Berry - but before I found out whether I would get the job, he left.

He ended up as worldwide creative director of Ogilvy and Mather, and the work they were doing was so good that it was one of the three chief reasons I sold my business to them.

I met him again, after a twenty two year gap, at a big dinner to celebrate David Ogilvy's 75th birthday. I said "So where's the bloody job, Norman?"

By that time I was doing the same job as him on the direct side of the business, and I was interested in how he taught people.

He did a show called Good Ad, Bad Ad - and as far as I can tell he did the same talk every time. Being easily bored and lacking self-discipline I could never manage that. But I have always thought that showing examples of what is good and bad is better than waffling on about theory.

As Einstein observed, "Example is not only a way to teach; it is the only way to teach."

So here are two email subject lines I saw this morning.

One read: These 4 Things Happen Right Before a Heart Attack

Every year, approximately 785,000 Americans suffer a first heart attack. And 470,000 who've already had one or more heart attacks have another one. The scary thing is that 25 percent of ALL heart attacks happen "silently," without clear or obvious symptoms.

Even when symptoms occur, they can be so mild or vague, most people don't even realize it's heart-related (unless they are made aware). Four things in particular are the most sinister signs of a silent heart attack.

These four things are the focus of a recent video presentation by renowned cardiovascular expert Dr. Chauncey Crandall.

That is brilliant. To anyone of a certain age, it is almost irresistible.

The other read: Here it is...the email you've been waiting for..


I'm gonna come right out and say that this product is unfair. I resisted buying it at first because I thought it was too good to be true..

Some people using it have been able to literally quadruple their income with it..

I know because that happened to me..

What am I talking about?

Check it out here.

To me this is good too in one sense.

It is good if you are a shameless liar bent on parting gullible fools from their money because it uses some neat tricks that work - like the suggestion that it's so good it's unfair.

But this person, and many like him, should be in jail. They are the Bernie Madoffs of marketing.

Anyhow, would you be interested in 149 examples of what NOT to do? After all, if Peter Drucker was right in saying the aim of business is to avoid making a loss it could be useful.

Well I am doing a seminar next Tuesday in London about this - but I'm afraid you can't come as it filled up in two days a week ago after two emails from the organisers - the Royal Mail.

Clearly, folly has its attractions. Therefore on May 31st I will be incorporating this talk into a one day event in Bristol on integrated marketing.

You will be hearing more than you could ever want to about this in the next three weeks or so.

I apologise for that, but there is an easy alternative: just don't read my emails.

The full title of the talk I mentioned is I wouldn't do that if I were you: 149 simple, stupid and amazingly popular ways to screw up your business.

You get the idea?

During it I will lovingly describe some (but not all) the dumb things I have seen, with more than a few shamefaced references to my own vast catalogue of stupidities.

Oscar Wilde said "Experience is the name we give to our mistakes."

I have a LOT of experience.

NB: Quite a few people have said they are interested in a seminar on how to integrate their marketing.

But if this added selection of assorted buffoonery appeals, just email me, Drayton@draytonbird.com, saying "Buffoon" - because I often am.

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