George Parker: A Double Dose Of Branding Bullshit!

George Parker is the perpetrator of adscam.typepad.com. Every week he shares his opinions on the advertising world with PSFK.

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As my last weeks column on the bullshit of branding seemed to strike a cord with quite a few people… I’ll hammer away about it a bit more… After all, it’s one of my favorite subjects. Did you ever think it strange that so many communications companies and the people who run them are the world’s worst communicators? Yes, it’s a given that people in advertising have always talked shit, which is why we’re on a par with second hand car salespeople and ambulance chasers. But, that’s no excuse for talking shit that the man or woman on the street can’t relate to.

I was at one of those endless marketing conferences last year, where a bunch of people with $1200 to waste and nothing better to do, spent a day listening to big time industry douchenozzles give boiler plate presentations about shit everyone already knew. Which no one actually cared about, ‘cos all the wankers in the audience were so busy blogging, facebooking and tweeting, they couldn’t have heard much of what the people on stage were rabbiting on about anyway.

So, one of the major presentations was given by BBDO and GE, who proceed to give a multi-slide Power Point snore-fest about their recently launched “Imagination” campaign. They show a few magnificent TV spots, which thanks to the miracle of CGI and many millions of production dollars, re-create man’s first flight at Kitty Hawk with giant fucking GE jet engines magically appearing on the fragile wings of the cardboard airplanes. And so on, and so on. Total cost of this extravaganza? $350 million… But they assured us, it was worth it because “GE’s brand image was enhanced!”

Next up was the guy from Blend-Tec, the people who do the YouTube “Will it blend?” viral stuff. On stage he blends bricks, ball bearings, an eight foot garden rake and a fucking Blackberry that some schmuck in the audience gave him. He then explains with one simple slide that each video is shot in the factory, costs $50 and every time one runs sales go up between ten and fifteen percent. The crowd goes nuts. Backstage GE cuts the throats of the BBDO suits (OK, I made that bit up, but they should have.)

And it never stops… When the economy hit the skids, a senior Interpublic wanker at another $1200 a pop conference said… “Hard times call for hard sell ads… We have to start doing advertising that demonstrates provable results!” To which I have to say, so, does that mean in the good times we should do stuff that doesn’t necessarily work. Did he realize he sounded like a fucktard? Of course not. Ogilvy recently started a new division aimed at helping clients with reduced budgets make their dollars work harder. Yeah, ‘cos once again, I assume they didn’t think that was necessary until the shit hit the fan and clients started spending less.

Which raises the question… Don’t Big Dumb Agencies realize how patently dishonest they sound when they talk like this. Shouldn’t they simply accept that they should be judged on the basis of the effectiveness of their efforts, irrespective of the current state of the economy?

Shouldn’t they stop this perpetual branding smoke screen, and remember the words of David Ogilvy that I quoted last week… “Advertising is about selling.”

He was right all those years ago, he’s still right today.

George Parker is the perpetrator of adscam.typepad.com, which is without doubt, one of the most foul and annoying, piss & vinegar ad blogs on the planet. He is the author of MadScam and his new book, The Ubiquitous Persuaders, which is currently setting the ether ablaze (and which you can order now on Amazon). He will continue to relentlessly promote the crap out of it until you are forced to stab yourself in the eyes with knitting needles.

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