George Parker: Wots It All Abaht… Alfie?

George Parker: Wots It All Abaht… Alfie?

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

George Parker
  • 30 march 2010

For those of you too young, or too thick to recognize the headline of this week’s opus, simply think of the film that made Michael Caine, Michael Caine and ultimately, Sir Michael Caine. And if you have to ask who Michael Caine is, start standing in line right now so you can be the first on your block to get your slimy mitts on an iPad on April 3rd. Not that any of this has anything to do with this week’s column; it’s simply a light hearted lead-in to a deadly serious subject.

Is advertising fucked?

Well, that depends on what your definition of advertising is, and while you’re at it, what your definition of fucked is.

Anyone who’s had the perseverance to stay with me over the last couple of weeks, knows that I was one of eight people chosen to give a rabid slathering at the mouth presentation to the assembled hordes at the 4 A’s conference in San Francisco. My idea was simply to get rid of the holding companies by having all the BDA’s buy themselves back from the bean counter’s greasy clutches. Yeah, as you would expect, everyone at this shindig regarded my suggestion as some kind of joke and quickly turned the page to get on with the more serious business of datametrics, social networking, knocking down walls and blowing up silos while building “Agencies of the Future.”

Which leads me on to the meat of this conversation… I find it funny that all the shit being written at the present concerning the current state of the ad business, is about how traditional advertising is dead, ‘cos it’s no longer about selling shit, it’s now about engaging in conversations. Namely, people are not affected by advertising; they are influenced by what they see on their laptop, cell phone, or fucking digital pogo stick. So now the primary objective is to have them feel positive towards the brand. Buying shit… Man, what century are you from?

Of course what is so marvelous about this whole situation is that irrespective of the outrageous claims made by the perpetrators of the miracles of “Social Media,” no one is able to put up rock solid case studies showing how some inane Twitter feed sold billions in Rice Crispies (and please don’t give me that hoary old Dell story about 3 million in sales, via Twitter bullshit… the sales CANNOT be attributed solely to the Twitter fantasy.) No, the true genius of this whole thing is that it is merely an update of the traditional smoke and mirrors BDA’s have got away with for years. Because now talking shit to clients about engaging in “Social Media Conversations’ “is as meaningless as blowing gazillions on a massive TV campaign to marginally “Increase Brand Perception” used to be. Neither of these approaches makes sense, they never did, they never will.

Perhaps the saddest aspect of this whole descent into the fiery pit of advertising mediocrity is that irrespective of whether you are spending your money on advertising or conversations, the vast majority of what is being produced is still puerile, soporific, and an insult to the audience’s intelligence.

Worse, it’s a very sad reflection of what this business has become. And finally, is this what you entered the business to become part of?

George Parker is a guest columnist for He is the perpetrator of, 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.


Brand Engagement At The Gates Of The World's Largest Open-Air Gallery

Asia Yesterday

Safe Drivers Rewarded In Japan With Free Coffee

Driving Barista is a new app that encourages Japanese motorists to put their phones down as they drive

Arts & Culture Yesterday

Michael Kors Has Designed Their Own Instant Camera

In a partnership with Fuji, the limited edition Instax Mini 70 comes in an exclusive metallic gold color


Get PSFK's Related Report: Future of Automotive

See All
Health Yesterday

Manage Your Emotional Health Through Your Phone

Pharmaceutical company Pfizer has created a new iOS app meant to help patients track mental progress and set goals

Food Yesterday

Delete Food Pics Off Of Instagram To Feed The Hungry

Land O'Lakes and Feeding America are donating meals for every picture of a meal taken off of the social platform

Related Expert

Leslie Dewan

Nuclear Power, Sustainability, Engineering

Design & Architecture Yesterday

This Shape-Shifting Pod Could Be The Future Of The Cubicle

MIT and Google have designed a new form of work enclosure meant to offer privacy in open-office layouts

Advertising Yesterday

Billboard Spies On People As They Walk By

To promote the movie "Snowden," the advertisement broadcasts information on passersby without their knowledge

Fashion Yesterday

Anti-Pollution Scarf Helps Cyclists Ride Through Cities

An innovative system filters pollutants and its accompanying app monitors quality of the air


Future Of Automotive
Scenarios Driving The Digital Transformation Of An Industry

PSFK Op-Ed Yesterday

Energy Expert: How American Consumers Are Taking Control Of Their Power Use

Jennifer Tuohy, green tech expert at The Home Depot, discusses green home technologies and developments for renewable technologies in US homes

PSFK Labs Yesterday

New Mentorship Ecosystems Benefit All Levels Of An Organization

PSFK’s Future of Work report explores how technology is being leveraged to support cross-team communication

Automotive Yesterday

Volvo’s Self-Driving Trucks Will Soon Be Put To Work In An Underground Mine

The fully-automated vehicles are part of a development project to help improve safety for workers

Work Yesterday

Editorial Roundtable: How Will Companies Staff The Workplace Of The Future?

Managed By Q, Soma, Workbar, Primary, AltSchool and thinkPARALLAX examine the ways that a people-first workplace might disrupt the job hiring process

Arts & Culture Yesterday

Mischievous Drone Will Drop Paint-Filled Balloons On Targets Of Your Choosing

A German photography team developed the flying device to accurately deliver a payload wherever needed

Retail Yesterday

Snapchat Reveals A Striking Pair Of Video-Recording Sunglasses

Spectacles make memories from your perspective and transfer them to the app


Future Of Work
Cultivating The Next Generation Of Leaders

Financial Services Yesterday

This Peer-To-Peer Insurance Company Is Powered By Bots

Lemonade is a new product designed to lighten the paperwork and provide instant, helpful service when needed

Design Yesterday

Concept Artists And Scientists Form Partnership To Visualize The Future

The collaboration hopes to liberate ideas and innovations trapped in notebooks

Automotive Yesterday

Uber Could Be Bringing Vertical Takeoff Transport To Your City

The ridesharing app is looking into the development of nimble aircraft for urban environments

No search results found.