August 03, 2009

Meet The New Boss, Same As The Old Boss

One of the very charming aspects of Web Maniac Disease (WMD) is the callow belief in the virtue of all things digital.

For a wonderfully annoying look into the mind of a WMD sufferer, I wholeheartedly recommend The 95 Theses of The Cluetrain Manifesto, one of the foundational documents of the "conversationalist" school of web zealotry.

Here are a few points from that document.
8. In both internetworked markets and among intranetworked employees, people are speaking to each other in a powerful new way...

11. People in networked markets have figured out that they get far better information and support from one another than from vendors. So much for corporate rhetoric about adding value to commoditized products.
Yeah, right.

For an alternative view (and a good laugh), read the article* about the BlogHer convention in Chicago from last week's Ad Age. Here's a taste:
At the BlogHer '09 conference in Chicago marketers were lining up to woo around 1,500 mommy bloggers with swag, celebrity appearances, shopping sprees and lavish entertainment of the sort that seems part of a bygone era to most of the marketing world...

In one corner of a convention hall at the Sheraton Hotel and Towers on Saturday, Procter & Gamble Co.'s Tide and Bounce had Tim Gunn of "Project Runway," not to mention a luncheon topped off with an invitation-only shopping spree at Gymboree.

In another corner, Walmart had celebrity chef Paula Deen was showing off a new line of her products to be sold at Walmart bakeries. A day earlier, Food Network chef Dave Lieberman was cooking dishes using products from Walmart's Great Value private-label megabrand.

Not that they would be hungry with so many luncheons and dinners, including a lavish Ragu luncheon in the convention hall and a list of around 20 non-sanctioned BlogHer events akin to Olympics ambush marketing throughout Chicago.

General Motors, which scaled back its Escalade shuttle service at the Super Bowl in February... wasn't concerned about shuttling BlogHer moms around in hybrids in Chicago.

Though Nikon signed on Carson Kressley, star of "Queer Eye for the Straight Guy" and "How to Look Good Naked," it was hard to outdo Kodak, which had the most sought-after swag of the activities -- a Zi6 handheld digital video camera valued north of $100.
Yeah, these new intranetworked internetworks sure are different from that good ol' boy network that used to run the world.

My favorite quote from the piece:
Asked how PepsiCo, which appeared to be the biggest sponsor of BlogHer activities, would be measuring its success, Global Chief Marketing Officer Jill Beraud, said: "We believe it's the way of communicating in the future, so this is not a short-term ROI ... this is really an investment in our brands and understanding our consumers."
Oh. It's about branding! Well, you Pepsi guys ought to know.

*Thanks to Jeremy Baker for this.

For those of you under 90...
...the title of this post comes from the song "Won't Get Fooled Again" by The Who.

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