Lately, the Ad Contrarian blog has been breaking all kinds of attendance records.
In trying to analyze the reason for this sudden popularity, I've noticed something. People seem to love posts with the word "bullshit" in the title.
Being the kind of guy who likes to give the customers what they want, from now on every post title will contain the word "bullshit." I think this is what CMOs call "best practices."
Last week, I really gave it to the "Global CEO" of a huge ad agency concerning a video he did in which he invoked the genius of Steve Jobs for his own purposes -- and got it 100% wrong.
The guy was lecturing on his theory called "Why Your Brand Is More Important Than Your Product" which, of course, is the constant mantra of the world's professional brand babblers. To bolster his theory he invoked the name of Steve Jobs and proclaimed that the reason for Steve's great success was that he, too, put brand first.
Only problem was that Mr. Global was absolutely, positively, laughably wrong. In fact, Steve was such a believer in the power of the product, that according to Allison Johnson, his VP of Worldwide Marketing, at Apple "brand" was a "dirty word" and Steve "dreaded, hated" the word branding.
Now we get an equally powerful repudiation of the misrepresentations of this global loudmouth, this time from the man who was closest to Steve at Apple, Jony Ive.
The New Yorker has a lengthy and interesting profile of Ive in this week's edition called "The Shape of Things to Come: How an industrial designer became Apple’s greatest product."
Here are some quotes from the piece juxtaposed with some of the assertions of Mr. Global.
Steve Jobs: "If I had a spiritual partner at Apple, it's Jony. Jony and I think up most of the products together and then pull the others in and say 'Hey, what do you think about this?' He gets the big picture as well as the most infinitesimal details about each product. And he understands that Apple is a product company."
Global CEO: "Product first, I think, is very retro and very 1980's."
Jony Ive: "I can't emphasize enough: I think there's something really very special about how practical we are. And you could, depending on your vantage point, describe it as old school and traditional, or you could describe it as very effective."
Global CEO: (About Jobs) He started with an idea that consumers want to be bespoke...and he back-filled into a product
Ive: "We put the product ahead of everything else."Don't you love it? There is so much bullshit in our business. Most of it arrives in the form of an opinion or an anecdote. Consequently, it is very hard to actually catch a bullshitter red-handed like this.
I don't know why this thrills me so much, but it does. Despite all my tantrums, I really do feel deeply about the ad business and I'm sick at heart from watching it being diminished and dismantled by financial manipulators and insufferable blowhards.
I'm also completely fucking tired of these over-fed meatballs undermining the credibility of our industry with their trite, cunning theories and pompous pronouncements.
Thank you Allison Johnson and Jony Ive.