Readers of AdScam will know that the header incorporates my favorite definition of advertising as stated by George Orwell… “Advertising is the rattle of a stick in a swill pail.” And although he said it more than seventy years ago, it’s even truer today than it’s ever been. Particularly as the swill pail is overflowing with digital detritus disguised as marketing messages.
My last book, The Ubiquitous Persuaders, is a fifty year update of an advertising and marketing classic, Vance Packard’s, The Hidden Persuaders. And, as I point out in my incredibly well written and fascinating tome, fifty years ago you could reach ninety percent of the unwashed masses, who might, hopefully be interested in the soothing properties of your raspberry flavored hemorrhoid cream, by advertising on three TV networks and placing print ads in three national magazines. This meant that before most of you were born, true Mad Men spent a couple of hours a day creating ads, leaving the rest of the day for such worthwhile activities as smoking, drinking and fucking their brains out.
Now you know where the phrase “The good old days” comes from!
Anyway, I was somewhat amused to get my new copy of Media, the glossy, hard copy version of MediaPost.com, which is usually a pretty good read, to see that this issue is “Guest Edited” by David Skokna, of “Huge.” Now this is a company that enjoys a worldwide reputation, whilst having its global headquarters in a back room of Nathan’s Hot Dogs, in Coney Island. Oh, and in common with most “Agencies of the Future” they make a big point of featuring on their Web site the fact that their employees bring their fucking dogs to work!
But, cutting to the chase… This Skokna edited issue of Media is all about “SuperConsumers,” which after you have waded through the turgid prose of the various writers, seem to be a class of people aged between three and eighteen… And, the message is that if you don’t aim ALL your efforts towards them, you are destined to spend the rest of your life living on the beach behind the Coney Island Nathan’s shack. Yet, no one seems to question where these douchenozzles get their money from to buy all this shit they claim to indulge in through the digital bazaar. Unless, you are as clever as one featured seventeen year old, who doesn’t have a job, go to school, or have a credit card, who texts and tweets several thousand times a day, then when he decides to buy a Ferrari or some other shit on-line (because he wouldn’t be caught dead in a store,) it’s no problem, ‘cos he’s memorized all of his parents credit card numbers. Now that’s what I call a “SuperConsumer!” His parents should kill the little fucker. But they’ll probably just extend the cards credit limits.
I blame it all on Ubiquity… Both in advertising and computing – What we used to call digital shit – “Ubiquitous Computing” was first talked about twenty odd years ago at PARC. As usual, Xerox did fuck all with it. But now it’s all around us, as is the resulting advertising. AdTards will tell you that today; it’s all about giving consumer’s choice and the ability to engage in conversations with brands.
That’s bullshit… Because, it’s all about turning “SuperConsumers” into “SuperSuckers” by making it way too easy for them to buy shit they don’t need and very probably can’t afford. But hey, that’s what we do. Even if we bring the dog to work.
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.