January 31, 2012

Activate Social Audiences On All Media Ecosystems

Friends, I have good news.

I read a PR release from a company named Unified that says it has a new product that can "activate social audiences on all media ecosystems simultaneously." It's a freakin' dream come true.
"Unified's enterprise marketing technology allows global brands and agencies to easily activate social audiences and impact consumer actions on all major social media ecosystems simultaneously."
You know, if there's one thing I love to do, it's activate a social audience. To be honest here, I've unwittingly activated a few anti-social audiences. That's no fun at all. Those people are dangerous.

One more thing. I'm used to activating my social audiences one at a time. Usually over a Ketel One martini, very dry, with an olive. Who'd believe I could activate them simultaneously on all media ecosystems ? It's a doggone miracle.

Not only that, but...
"The SOP is an enterprise-architected multi-tenant environment..."
Now this one's got me a little worried. You see, I grew up in multi-tenant environment in New York City. We called it a project. And I got my ass kicked fairly regularly in my multi-tenant environment.

I don't know if it was enterprise-architected or just architected by, you know, architects. But either way, I'll take a nice uni-tenant environment any day.

January 30, 2012

Overcooking The Set-Up

My so-called  advertising career has included about 1 billion creative presentations to clients. I have made many of these myself, and have witnessed millions of others.

As a result of sitting through so many of these things, I have developed a hypersensitive allergic reaction to "the set-up."

The set-up -- the front end of the presentation before you get to the work -- is supposed to prepare the client for what is coming by reviewing the assignment and calibrating her expectations.

Instead, what it usually does is annoy the shit out of her by repeating to her all kinds of stuff she originally told you; boring her with planning claptrap that she's heard five times before; reminding her of stuff she hasn't forgotten; and trying to inoculate her against evil thoughts she hasn't yet had.

Most set-ups are way too long and way too full of bullshit. The true purpose of the set-up should be to demonstrate that a) you see the problem from her perspective, and b) you have a sensible strategy that informs the creative work. This can usually be done in under two minutes and under 10 sentences.

Do not stand there holding layouts while you explain your philosophy of life. Do not lecture her on what consumers think or say. Do not let account people or planners confuse the shit out of her or put her to sleep before you even get to the ads.

The set-up should go something like this:
  • "The purpose of this advertising is to ____."
  • "Our strategy is to _____."
  • "What you are going to see today is _____."
Then quit tap-dancing and show her the stuff.

Oh yeah, and once she says yes, sit down and shut up.

January 26, 2012

Ungratefulness Runs Deep

Dear General Motors,

I hope you are happy with the 50 billion dollars that I and my friends gave you a few years ago.

Are you enjoying it? Do you have nice offices? Have you been out to a few yummy dinners recently? Are your kids nicely dressed?

That's great. I'd hate to see you unhappy or uncomfortable.

Just one thing. I noticed in the newspaper the other day that you had a 3 billion dollar contract for media that you did not give to an American company. Funny that there is not an American company you could use. I always thought we had a pretty good advertising industry here in the USA.

Just a comment here -- it doesn't look good. There are a lot of people who didn't get bailed out by me and my friends in 2008, and they still don't have jobs. It would have been nice if you placed the contract here.

You could have said, "We are very sensitive to the pain of so many Americans during the ongoing recession. We are bringing 3 billion in business back to the US in the hope that this will put some of our deserving fellow citizens back to work." Even if the reality is that much of the 3 billion will be spent elsewhere and the contract would only create one more job, every job is valuable these days. And it would look so much better to the kind, generous people whose money you are currently living on.

People less magnanimous than myself might even say that GM is unwilling to do for us what they asked us to do for them -- a little sacrifice for the good of all. They might consider this a slap in the face by an arrogant, clueless, unappreciative corporation. That would be unfortunate for you.

People will remember how much money we gave you. And we will remember what you did with it. Ungratefulness runs deep.

January 25, 2012

Humiliation Builds Character

Several years ago, in my creative director days, I was shooting a TV campaign in Los Angeles. I was staying at a suitably  swanky Hollywood hotel.

The hotel had an equally swanky restaurant. The maitre d' was a grimly efficient woman who presided over her dining room very much like a third grade teacher governing her classroom -- with acute attention and an equal amount of thinly disguised condescension.

One morning, having finished my breakfast, I was leaving the dining room. As I passed her station her phone rang. She picked up the phone and I heard her say, "I'm sorry, Mr. Hoffman isn't here."

I stopped and said, "Excuse me, I'm Bob Hoffman."

She put the phone back to her ear and said to the caller, "Do you want Bob Hoffman or Dustin Hoffman?"

She listened for the reply, put the receiver to her bosom and said to me, "It's not for you, dear."

January 24, 2012

I'm Not A Whore. I'm A Pimp.

It has occurred to me that I have not pimped my book recently on this blog.

The reason it occurred to me is that I just checked the sales numbers and they're dropping like Tim Tebow at a revival meeting.

So, since there are thousands of you (okay, dozens) who read this thing every day and haven't yet shelled out the meager pennies, I thought I would torment you with quotes from the Amazon reviews until you finally give in and buy the damn thing.

Here we go:
  • "This book is an insightful, hilarious look at what's wrong with advertising agencies, with marketing in general, and maybe even the world overall. But it isn't just for people who work in ad agencies. It's for anybody who ever saw an ad that sucked and wondered how it got that way."
  • "I loved this book. I am not, thank God, in advertising but this book taught me a lot about how to avoid the BS that comes from working with other people...it's an easy, clever read and it will help you feel OK about tuning out and spacing out at office meetings." We all need that kind of help."
  • "This is a great book...I hate advertising...His writing is witty and has a no-nonsense attitude. He reveals that what many ad agencies do is to advertise themselves to sell their services to companies that buy into bizarre concepts of branding and "communicating" with consumers ...This is a great book about advertising for people who don't like advertising."
  • "Bob Hoffman's perspective is terrific because he continually digs into various heaping piles of advertising hype to discover nuggets of truth. And if he doesn't find any, he's not afraid to say how bad it stinks."
  • "Brilliant stuff, funny as hell...This is take no prisoners kind of stuff that is just superbly written always. Buy it, read it. If you are like me it will make you laugh, make you cry and shake your head in wonder."
  • "Bob is one of the smartest guys in the business. His thoughts are not obscured by fads, what's au courant or quotidian bs. He is a straight-shooter. Honest, to the point and fact-based. Qualities sorely missing in the world today."
  • "A handbook for smart marketers... Did I mention he is funny as hell?"
  • "The world's second best book on advertising!...The book is a classic, a compendium of some of Bob's better posts on his blog. They are all gems..."
  • "A must read for advertising professionals... I've been a fan of Bob's blog for a long time. His wit and insight into the business of advertising is spot on."
  • "A funny, enlightening, clear-eyed look at advertising and marketing. Pleasantly didactic and cheerfully challenging of the fables and fantasies that pass for advertising principles... Quite possibly the best $2.99 book out there! "
This book -- that all my relatives these brilliant reviewers are talking about -- will actually cost you less to buy than the tax on that crappy tuna sandwich you're gonna have for lunch.

So c'mon. Do a brother a solid here and buy the damn book. I don't make any money on it but I feel bad when the sales drop.

January 23, 2012

The Human Factor

If I told you that a tortoise had a body temperature of 83 degrees, could you tell me if that animal is healthy or sick? Unless you had some idea of what normal was -- what it's temperature should be -- there's no way to know what the number means.

We have a great deal of data and a great many metrics about online advertising. Other than direct marketing, however, we have little to no idea what all these numbers mean and how they relate to successful advertising.

We are being blinded by science.

On the other hand, we also have feelings and intuitions. But because feelings and intuitions are not very scientific they have become non-factors.

We know, for example, that because we work in advertising, people often ask us whether  we like this or that TV spot. And that no one ever asks us whether we like this or that display ad.

We know that in two weeks the web will be inundated with chatter about Super Bowl TV spots, but TV will have almost no chatter about Super Bowl-related web marketing. The day after the Super Bowl I will once again be invited to go on TV and pontificate on this this year's crop of TV spots, but not a single question will be asked about online Super Bowl advertising.

We know that when we have a TV campaign on the air, or even a radio campaign, we can feel its presence. But when we have online ads or "content" we feel nothing of the sort

We can see that presidential primary candidates -- who literally research their success at persuasion every day -- are using every penny they can scrape up to get their messages on TV. They use the web to raise money from their small cadre of true believers, but when it's time to persuade the masses, the money goes to TV.

You would think this evidence would convince us -- we who are supposed to be media savvy -- that the web is not everything it's cracked up to be as a persuasive advertising medium. But we have deluded ourselves that because the web has great cultural impact it must also have great advertising impact. Even though the evidence is less than compelling.

We have convinced ourselves that consumers have the time and inclination to search the web for "content" (whatever the hell that is) that we -- and tens of thousands of others just like us -- create in support of selling our products when, in fact, consumers continue to show little or no interest in our self-serving "content."

We have tortured the logic of advertising and tied ourselves up in knots to the point that we no longer believe the evidence of our eyes. Yes, as a former science teacher I know full well there are times when science is right and our instincts are wrong. But this isn't one of them.

Most of the web metrics we see have the appearance of science because they are numbers. But they are not science at all, because we don't yet know what they signify. They are numbers without context or meaning.

It's like knowing the tortoise's body temperature but having no idea what it should be.

Until we know what these numbers mean, and whether they relate in any way to advertising impact and persuasion, we'd be well-served to have a little less faith in the data and a little more faith in our eyes and our instincts.

January 19, 2012

Davey and Me

A few months ago, the advertising industry celebrated the 100th birthday of David Ogilvy.

I was lucky enough to know David (or as I called him, Davey) intimately. I used to think of him as a younger brother. I thought I'd share my experiences with him. With you. I mean, the experiences were with him but I'd share them with you. You know what I mean.

Most people think of David as an elegant man with a pipe and suspenders and a chateau in France. I knew a different David. I can clearly remember the Saturday nights we spent in his basement apartment in Bushwick getting high and watching Golden Girls.

David was born David von Ogilheimermann in a town in Sweden that has one of those little circles over the A. He came to America during the great lutefisk famine of 1951. Thinking his name sounded foreign, he changed it to Larry von Ogilheimermann. Then he met a drapery salesman named Ogilvy. He liked the name so much that he changed his name to Ogilvy von Ogilheimermann. Finally, in 1954 he hit on David Ogilvy.

Although David was a very famous advertising pioneer, what many don't know is that he made his fortune in dry cleaning. Being a former chemist, in 1974 he developed a new formula for dry cleaning fluid and sold over 5,000 franchises. He called his stores  "Carcinogen Hut." The stores did very well until 1981 when they all mysteriously evaporated.

One of the most famous quotes that David passed down to us was this: "The consumer is not an idiot. She's your wife." I was there when he said it, and I can tell you that for all these years he has been misquoted. What he actually said was, "The consumer is not an Indian. She's your wife."

In 1970, David and I started a band. David played the 12-string tambourine and I played the melodicronathon. Our first album, "Chinese Hernia" went platinum in certain neighborhoods of Banff.

David was a modest man. I remember one night we were in a quiet little bistro in London when a couple of "swingin' birds" (that's what we used to call "smokin'-hot nymphos." It was a simpler time) recognized him. When they asked him if he was the famous ad man he demured and said no, he was King of Denmark.

Working beside David was always an exciting and illuminating experience. He had an unquenchable passion for advertising (or as he called it, "all that bullshit"). He was particularly fond of the creative process ("that artsy bullshit") and strategy ("that marketing bullshit.")

Although David never actually did anything, he was known as a great mentor and coach. In fact, David pioneered the idea of standing on the sidelines with a laminated flow chart in front of his mouth talking into a headset.

The advertising industry may never have another David Ogilvy. And if we do it will be really weird because he's dead.

January 18, 2012

Conscience Of A Contrarian

I have mentioned on many occasions that my first job was to teach science in public schools.

The one thing that teaching science imbues you with is a high regard for the difference between a fact and an opinion.

In science, establishing something as a fact is a daunting process. First you need convincing experimental data. Then you need to establish the reliability of your data by repeating the experiment several times and getting the same results. Then other scientists will "peer review" your experiment by trying to duplicate the results. Or, more likely, by trying to disprove your results.

Science doesn't just accept something as a fact because someone with a big name, a chest full of medals, or a fancy title says so. Even after a hundred years, scientists are still questioning and testing Einstein's ideas about gravity and the speed of light.

The world of advertising and marketing couldn't be more different. If enough loudmouths say the same thing enough times at industry conferences or in trade magazines, facts are born. These "facts" are rarely if ever validated and they are often repeated ad nauseum in meetings and conference rooms.

While in most fields there is a great gap between an opinion and a fact, in advertising and marketing a "fact" is usually just the elongated shadow of some blowhard's opinion.

The result of this is that we have an industry without reliable principles. We have trendy "solutions" that blow with the wind. We have charlatans successfully masquerading as experts. We have a vocabulary of dreadful jargon that passes for insight. We have a class of leaders called "CMOs" who can't seem to hold a job. We have ad industry titans who have never actually practiced the art.

Our industry has reached such a level of effete confusion that making a self-evident statement like "the purpose of advertising is to sell something" is now controversial, and can get you into a heated argument.

Frankly, in the current environment, I don't know how anyone in our industry who can think straight can be anything but a contrarian.

January 16, 2012

The End Of Broadcasting. Don't Miss the Party.

Get out your tuxedo. Mark your calendar. Advertising is dead again, and we're having a celebration!

It's all being brought to you by the Content Marketing Institute. They're having a "Post-Advertising Summit" and we're all invited.
"The Post-Advertising Summit celebrates the end of the broadcast age and the dawn of a new era for marketing." 
Now, this isn't the same "end of the broadcast age" that happened last year, or the year before, or every year for the past ten years. This is an all new funeral for advertising. And the way you know it's for real is that this time it's sponsored by an Institute. That's right, an Institute -- not just a bunch of self-righteous web hustlers trying to make a quick buck.

The only thing is, somebody better tell Apple and McDonald's and General Motors and Nike and Toyota and All State and Budweiser and Kraft and Proctor & Gamble and Microsoft and Bank of America and Ford and Burger King and Chase and AT&T and Coca-Cola and Disney and PlayStation and Geico and Pepsi and Subway and...well, somebody better tell all these idiots that advertising is dead and it's the end of the broadcast age because if I'm not mistaken I thought I saw spots for them all over TV this weekend.

But you know what? I'm not gonna let the evidence of my own eyes undermine the brilliance of these "content" marketing guys. Heck, they're not making stupid commercials like we are, they're making real live content!

Plus, the party sounds like a totally wild time. Don't think for a moment that it's the same old bullshit you've been hearing at every other "advertising is dead" conference. Heck no. This one sounds like a real fun fest... 
"You will leave the Summit having CREATED two pieces of content"
Ohmygod. Two pieces of content! I never dreamed I could even create ONE piece of content. This is so awesome.
"You will be part of conversations and workshops that shape the future of marketing."
Me? I'm gonna shape the future of marketing? With conversations and workshops? Little ol' me?
"Our speakers are experts across varied disciplines, not just marketing or social media."
That's awesome because, honestly, the speakers at the last ten thousand conferences I went to about the death of advertising and broadcasting didn't get it exactly right. As a matter of fact they were totally and utterly full of shit.

This time it's different, though. These people are experts.

January 12, 2012

All Marketing Is Local

Tip O'Neill was was one of the great American politicians of the 20th century. He was the second longest-serving Speaker of the House in U.S. history. O'Neill once famously said, "All politics is local."

From Wikipedia...
"...this phrase...encapsulates the principle that a politician's success is directly tied to his ability to understand and influence the issues of his constituents. Politicians must appeal to the simple, mundane and everyday concerns of those who elect them into office. Those personal issues, rather than big and intangible ideas, are often what voters care most about..."
If you substitute "brand" for politician, and "consumer" for constituent, you get a pretty good idea of how I think marketing works.

While I shudder at ever saying "all", "always" or "never" about anything human (human behavior is far too complex for such absolutes,) I believe you can't go wrong viewing consumer behavior the way Tip O'Neill viewed voter behavior -- as a series of calculations about individual self-interest.

That's why I find the apparently irresistible urge of big companies to "globalize" their marketing so profoundly stupid.

Yesterday, I was reading about GM's review for its "global" account. This whack-a-thon has been going on for six months. And in the end, all it will do is take responsibility for marketing GM products out of the hands of people who know their markets -- who know the "simple, mundane and everyday concerns" of their consumers, and put it in the hands of overfed suits who deal in "big and intangible ideas."

I have worked in the automobile category for over 30 years. Cars are like every other category of consumer goods and services in that there are regional and cultural beliefs and practices that are critical to understanding consumer behavior in the category. A car that sells well in one part of California doesn't sell well 100 miles away in another part. You can't walk a block in Portland without seeing a Prius, but you can spend a week in St. Louis and not see one.

The idea that someone in New York or London is going to make better marketing decisions about selling cars in India than someone from Mumbai is simply absurd. 

In the global dream world you can have a worldwide perspective but a regional interpretation. That's the Powerpoint version of reality. The genuine version is that once you initiate globalization the seduction of homogenization is irresistible.

There are only three reasons for "globalized" marketing. The first is laziness. Let's face it, managing agencies all over the world is a royal pain in the ass. It's much easier to have a couple of guys in Detroit or Chicago to yell at.

The second is arrogance. It's the "we know better here at headquarters" mentality.  And there's probably a lovely little undercurrent of racism mixed in with the arrogance.

The third is money. If you're willing to trade the long-term health of your business to save a few bucks on agency fees, "globalizing" your marketing is probably a fabulous idea.

January 11, 2012

Twitter's Phony Numbers

One of these days Twitter is going to have to stop being a hobby and become a business.

When it does, presumably it will make its money from advertising. And when that happens, its numbers are going to be critically important to advertisers in determining value.

Right now, I have no idea how reliable Twitter's user numbers are. But I do know one thing first hand -- the number of followers ascribed to those users is completely unreliable.

When I first signed up for Twitter, and knew nothing about it, I checked a box somewhere that automatically had me follow everyone who followed me. I have no idea why I did that. I guess I thought it was Twitter etiquette.

Consequently, I am now following about 7,000 people. Except I am not. In fact, I only follow about 10 people. I don't know who those other 6,990 even are. I never look at their tweets, and I have tried my best to get rid of them, and can't.

You see, Twitter makes it as difficult as possible to stop following people once you start. In order to stop following 6,990 people you have to unfollow them one at a time. Which means I'd have to devote 10 years of my life to this. It's so much easier to just continue not-really-following them.

Not only that, when you try to find a third party program that has an easy way to stop following in bulk, you usually find that Twitter has intervened to stop the third party from distributing this program.

The only reason I can imagine Twitter is doing this is that they are trying to artificially maintain follower numbers so they can monetize them.

If Twitter's user numbers are as bogus as its follower numbers, it may continue to be a hobby for a long, long time.

January 09, 2012

The Future Of Nonsense

There was a time when it was believed that the web would be a beacon of rationality that would deliver a deep blow to the forces of ignorance. According to Arianna Huffington...
"Thanks to YouTube -- and blogging and instant fact-checking and viral emails -- it is getting harder and harder to get away with repeating brazen lies without paying a price..."
If you need evidence of the astounding naivete of the above sentence, I suggest you Google "9/11 plot" or "holocaust denial." While the web has certainly opened up some powerful new avenues for free speech and news, it has also become an incubator for nut jobs, terrorists, pedophiles and all manner of unpleasant human life. More a mixed blessing than a utopian dreamworld.

Another of the questionable claims made about the web is that it will make advertising less effective by diminishing the influence of media-driven images in favor of person-to-person experience. In other words, consumers will consult the web for the true experiences of people like them instead of relying on the vague assurances that advertising provides. Once again, while it is certainly true that many people use the web to check peer recommendations, the idea that this will replace advertising is highly questionable.

Whether the web will make advertising less effective is an interesting proposition as it goes to the very essence of how advertising works, how ideas are distributed, and how our behaviors are shaped.

It is pretty clear that people substantially rely on others for their opinions. We believe all manner of nonsense we would never accept without the assurances of "experts," "spiritual leaders," and "political leaders." In the electronic age there also arrived a new and very powerful formulator of beliefs, called "the media."

"The media" is ostensibly just a vehicle by which ideas are distributed, but you would have to be a fool not to believe that media companies have gotten deeply into the business of formulating and spinning many of the ideas they trade in.

One of the huge advantages that large enterprises have over small ones is the money they have to influence us through the use and manipulation of media. It is hard to exaggerate the power that media distributed ideas have on our opinions, and even more importantly, on our behavior. It is also hard to exaggerate the lengths to which advertisers have been going, and will continue to go, to blur the line between media-delivered information and advertising.

Consequently, if the predictions that advertising will become a less pervasive force in our lives is true, then it must also be true that media-driven ideas will become less pervasive. This seems highly unlikely.

In fact, the amount of time people spend with media, particularly TV and the web, is nothing short of alarming. And as mobile devices become more prevalent the number of hours spent with media may actually surpass the number of waking hours (because of the ability to use more than one device at a time.)

And media is supposed to become less influential? I don't buy it.

The web notwithstanding, experts, spiritual leaders, politicians, and media will continue to fill us full of nonsense and we will continue to accept it.

Yes, there is a future for advertising.

January 05, 2012

The Way-Too-Simple Online Ad Strategy

It seems that every company in the world is trying to cut through the hype and baloney about online advertising and produce an online ad strategy that makes sense. Here at The Ad Contrarian, we always put our loyal readers first and so today we are going to speculate on how you might spend digi-dollars sensibly and prudently.

Let's start with all our cards on the table. As you know, when it comes to online advertising, I am a Luddite dinosaur.

One of the insufferable things about us Luddite dinosaurs is that we require facts before we believe something, and we insist on strategies before we allow money to be spent. I know, we're totally out of it.

Nonetheless, just for the sake of argument, let's pretend that there are some imaginary marketing people in the world who want to implement an online ad program that is based on facts and has a strategy behind it (c'mon, it's only a game.)

Let's start where intelligent marketers always start. Not with demographics or ethnographics or psychographics or any of the other jive-o-graphics of marketing, but with actual consumer behavior.

It turns out that people do a lot of things on line. Here's a list of the top 10 activities people engage in on line and, according to Nielsen, the order in which they do them:
  1. Social Networks 
  2. Online Games 
  3. E-mail 
  4. Portals 
  5. Instant Messaging 
  6. Videos/Movies
  7. Search 
  8. Software Manufacturers 
  9. Multi-category Entertainment 
  10. Classifieds/Auctions
The first thing to notice from this list is that the vast majority of time spent online is not spent buying or searching. In other words, not in "shopping mode." From the numbers that Nielsen has published, I deduce that the amount of time spent online in "shopping mode" is about 5%. I stipulate that this is an imprecise number and for all I know it could be twice this. However, according to Nielsen's data, 5% seems like a reasonable estimate.

My key hypothesis in deriving my strategy is this: When people are in shopping mode the web is a very effective advertising medium. However, when people are not in shopping mode the web is a dismally ineffective medium. This is an important concept.

As an advertising medium, the web resembles the yellow pages more than it does television. People use the web much as they used to use yellow pages -- as a way to gather information and make comparisons once they've decided they might like to buy.

In other words, if one were a marketing professor, one might say that online advertising has thus far proven itself to be very good at fulfilling demand i.e., helping people who are already inclined to buy make a final decision.

On the other hand, online advertising has not proven itself to be effective at creating demand. Unlike television, we cannot think of a single mainstream non-web-native consumer-facing brand that has been built primarily by web advertising. Can you?

The clearest evidence of this fulfilling demand/creating demand dichotomy is the dominance of search. Search constitutes 4% of online time but receives 45% of online ad dollars. This is telling us something.

Knowing all this, what is a sensible online ad strategy? It's so simple, even a marketing professional can understand it.

Instead of slathering the web with 360 degree silliness, go where the shoppers are.

Spend your money where people go to fulfill demand -- in the locations where people are spending the 5% of their online time in "shopping mode" and are willing to pay attention to your message. A lot of this is search, but remember, search is just a middle man. Search takes you somewhere and there are other web venues where people go to do research and compare.

Unless you're a direct marketer, don't spend money trying to create demand in the locations where people spend 95% of their online time. It's just not cost effective.

I realize this way of thinking is way too simple for today's techno-hypnotized marketing professional. Nonetheless, if someday you happen to find yourself on a planet where facts matter and strategy rules, it might prove helpful.

January 03, 2012

2011 Top 10 Best Of Bullshit

It's the time of year when everybody is making Top 10 lists. Here at The Ad Contrarian, we want to be part of the fun too, darnit.

2011 may have been an astonishingly stinky year, but one thing you have to say -- it's been a fabulous year for bullshit.

Since bullshit is our beat, we thought we'd make a list of the varieties of bullshit that made 2011 such a delight. So here is the 2011 Top 10 Best of Bullshit.

We'll count 'em down from #10 to #1:
10. Mobile Phone Bullshit: It's the era of 4G and every phone company has the best blazing-fast 4G network in the universe. So, one question -- how come I still can't get my f/ing email?
9. Nutrition Bullshit: Usuga beans grown only in the Olduvai Gorge make your liver lovelier and your pancreas pancre-asskickin'. 

8. "Reaching Out" Bullshit: If I hear one more dimwit say they "reached out" to someone there will be blood in the streets.
7. Security Bullshit: Note to Congress: hundreds of otherwise unemployable people standing around airports scowling at us while they do nothing doesn't make us feel safer.
6. Parenting Bullshit: Please, 12 pictures a day of your precious spawn on Facebook is a dozen more than we need.
5. Movie Bullshit: An amazing year. Check the ads. Every movie released was "the best film of the year."

4. Exercise Bullshit: We are all thrilled that you ran a 500K potato sack race. Really, we are.

3. Foodie Bullshit: I don't care how many stars that precious new restaurant has, there's nothing they make that's better than a pizza.
2. Celebrity Bullshit: One giant, pathetic freak show. A few hundred years ago entertainers were called 'fools.' Today fools are called entertainers.
1. Wine Bullshit: Just shut the hell up and pour it.