April 20, 2011

The Surrender Continues

About a year ago, I wrote a piece called Gutless Ad Weasels.  In it I said...
"There is a growing movement among self-hating ad people to declare failure and join the army of digital dimwits."
Well, the movement has gathered momentum and has now lead to its logical absurdity. You can find it in an Adweek article called Good Advertising Doesn't Sell. A Manifesto.

I've read this "manifesto" three times and I still can't believe what I've read. It starts with this...
"..It’s time for ad agencies to get out of the selling business....The old selling claim—that brilliant creative work and clever media placement could convince any consumer that he or she needed a product—was always pretty shaky anyway..."
Really? In one alarmingly presumptuous statement he has dismissed all the work and wisdom of Bill Bernbach, David Ogilvy, Lee Clow, Hal Riney, Jeff Goodby, Dan Wieden...

Has this guy ever heard of Coke? Or McDonald's? Or Nike? Or Toyota? Or Apple? Or Budweiser? Or Absolut? Or Subway? Or Geico? Or...

And this guy is in the ad business? What the hell has this business come to?

Then he goes all wobbly over people using their cell phones at point of sale. He uses the typical digi-trick of giving pseudo-impressive numbers out of context, and hoping no one will analyze them...
"....Shoppers worldwide are using their phones to rack up purchases that will shortly surpass $100 billion annually—nearly 8 percent of the total ecommerce market..."
Wow. Nearly 8% of the total ecommerce market!

Let's do a little 4th grade math. According to the US Department of Commerce, ecommerce constitutes 4% of US sales. So 8% of 4% equals... not even one percent. Not even half of one percent. Golly, that's huge!

I don't know about you, but I'm in at least 10 different stores every day of my life and I have yet to see anyone use a cell phone to do anything other than call his wife to ask what she wants on her pizza.

As usual, we get the full compliment of worn-out cliches and digi-babble.  Everything is going to increase either "geometrically" or "exponentially;" we get nonsense like "Linear has become nuclear;"  we learn that we need "nuclear integration" and "mobile connectivity" and, of course, what would a "manifesto" be without a little "paradigm shifting."

All this baloney may go down nice and smooth in a new business pitch with the current crop of marketing nitwits but, please -- don't kid a kidder.

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