George Parker: Why Do Corporate Communications Rarely Communicate?

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

At the time of writing, word just in that the seven trillion dollar ton plug that BP was lowering onto one of its massive oil leaks – Could the media please stop calling it a “spill,” it’s a fucking ginormous hole in the ocean floor that will continue leaking shit centuries after Interpublic finally makes some money – has failed to do the job. Apparently, the extraction pipes were blocked by thousands of ice cubes left over from the last BP, congressional lobbyist’s, cocktail party.

Yet for days, we had been assured that this would be the first part of BP’s multi-million dollar effort to wipe the oil off their face. Never forgetting that for years BP has spent a ton of money running a campaign stressing they are a “Green” company, committed to protecting the environment. Right now, the BP web site is pumping out propaganda about how they are committed to handling the situation, meantime the news continues to gets worse. Best part of the current BP site is the headline in the section “Environment & Safety.” It reads… “Safe and reliable operations are integral to BP’s success, and we strive continuously to improve our safety performance.” Shades of Goldman Sachs and its infamous “Core Business Principals,” which translated into AdScam – Parker –Speak, basically says… “Ha, fucking Ha – We fuck customers.” No surprise that these hallowed words have recently disappeared from their Web site.

But if corporate America continues to put its foot in its mouth every time it attempts to communicate with the public, are the professional communicators they employ any better? Go to any BDA Web site and read the drivel they continue to pump out. A few years ago, J. Walter Thompson renamed itself, JWT, which coincidentally, is what people had been calling it since Commodore Thompson parked his battleship in the Hudson and opened the place in the Middle Ages. JWT declared… “Time is the new currency. Our job is to ensure more people spend more time with our clients’ brands. We need to create ideas that people want to spend more time with. The better the idea the more time people will spend with it.” That’s “Time X 4” and “More X 4.” They also stated that they were no longer in the ad agency business, as they had now transmogrified into the lofty heights of “Commercial Anthropology!” This startling admission has long since disappeared from their Web site, but the “Time/More” mangled mantra persists.

Concurrent with this destruction of the English language, is the never ending obfuscation of what used to be easy to understand job descriptions into grandiose titles. One BDA recently created the post of… “Global Director of Strategic Content.” Apparently this person will spearhead the development and dissemination of consumer insights, trend reports, and other thought leadership pieces… Whatever the fuck they may be! I never cease to be amazed how BDA’s concoct these esoteric titles for what used to go by such mundane names as research & planning. Still, I guess they figure it’s another way of liposuctioning money out of clients. This serves to further demonstrate most BDA’s inability to live in the real world. The clock is ticking!

George Parker is a guest columnist for psfk.com. He 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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