May 24, 2011

Not Eating My Own Words

There is a handy rule of thumb I use to gauge the intelligence of people I meet. It is their ability to draw distinctions.

When I say I think the designated hitter rule is an abomination, and someone takes it to mean that I don't like baseball, I know I'm dealing with a nitwit. When I say I don't like osso buco and they assume that I don't like Italian food, I know this person can't think straight.

There are subtleties and distinctions to be drawn in all arguments. I believe the better one is at this, the more intelligent she is likely to be.

Using this touchstone, the more I write this blog the more dispirited I get about the intellect of the average marketing practitioner. They seem so often to lack the ability to understand the subtleties of logic.

A case in point -- I am frequently vociferous in my denunciation of people I call "digital maniacs."

These are people who think online advertising is magic; it has replaced traditional marketing; it is the answer to every marketing problem. When it's clear that online advertising fails, they always have an excuse (for some excellent examples, see the comments on my post Social Media's Massive Failure.)

There are also a lot of brilliant, wise, and talented people working in digital advertising. I am fortunate to work with some of them. But because I am critical of the maniacs and the poseurs, who pretend to know things they don't know, I have been labeled a digital media hater. I am not. I'm a bullshit hater.

There is no shortage of baloney in the advertising and marketing world. I am no more or less skeptical of online media baloney than I am of any other form of advertising or marketing baloney.

I think I know when online media is appropriate and when and how it can be used effectively. In fact, I've written about it here often. Nonetheless, my reputation as a web hater is solidly established among people who are incapable of understanding distinctions.

In case you've been wondering, this is all leading to a point.

Recently, I came upon a blog post from several months ago. The post was in praise of a successful and highly creative online campaign done by our St. Louis office (shameless plug -- if you're in the mid-West and you need help, they do great work) for the city of St. Louis.

The author spoke very highly of the campaign and ended with this...
It’s a truly integrated campaign – although the funny thing is, Bob Hoffman, one of the shops founders, constantly rants on his blog about how Social Media is a waste and no one watches online video. Bob? Are you eating your own words?
No. Those are not my words and if you want them eaten, you'll have to do it yourself.

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