June 28, 2013

Broadcast Rules: I Guarantee It

Some Friday frippery...

Broadcast Rules. I Guarantee It.
Last week, George Zimmer, founder of The Men’s Wearhouse, was fired as their TV and radio spokesman. This made headline news all across the U.S. and created a firestorm among Men’s Wearhouse customers. I’m just wondering, exactly who would give a shit if some online advertiser changed their ad campaign? Who would even notice?

And While We’re On The Subject
I was recently asked by the board of an advertising trade association to help them re-define their mission and purpose. In the course of our work, the president of the board asked the 15 or so board members attending a "retreat" to relate the first commercial they could remember. Almost half the members selected a commercial that was based on a jingle. While this is hardly a scientific study, I still think it’s startling considering that nothing in advertising is now deader than the jingle.

More About Apple
Last week, in a piece called Apple Has Nothing To Say, I commented about Apple's latest advertising effort:
"Apple was once the rebellious, ballsy bad boys of the tech industry. They knew how to build a brand -- you built it with persuasive advertising about excellent products. They have given up that ground and now sound like pompous, overfed CMOs... they have lost their voice. They no longer know who they are. And neither do we."
Apparently consumers agree. If you believe in this kind of thing, according to Bloomberg, copy tests on Apple's latest efforts were dismal.
"The ad scored 489 on the company’s (Ace Metrix) scoring system, below an industry average of 542 and far below past iconic Apple campaigns that often topped 700."
Once again I have to add the disclaimer that I have no idea what Ace's methodology is and whether it has any scientific validity (and I can't honestly say I have a great deal of confidence in any of the copy testing methods I've been exposed to.) Nonetheless, I find it hard to imagine that this advertising would be effective with consumers under any circumstances.

The Ultimate Love Seat
Gerard Streator, 47, was sentenced to five months in prison for having sexual relations with a sofa on a public street in Waukesha, Wisconsin. However, Streator's sentence was stayed and he was placed on one year's probation. You might say he got off easy.

June 26, 2013

The Seven Secrets Of Successful Lazy-Ass Bums

I hate working.

I hate sitting in an office. I hate going to meetings. I hate writing performance reviews. I hate "nurturing" people. I hate listening to bullshit artists and know-nothing loudmouths who dominate our business. Yet somehow I managed to be reasonably successful.

Here are my 7 secrets of success.
1. Assume everyone is faking it. Nobody knows a thing about advertising. All the rules are bullshit. There are a few people who can make good ads. That's all there is.
2. Preparation is everything. If you are not the best prepared person in every meeting you are just another empty t-shirt. You will never get your way and you will always be second rate.
3. Do as little work as possible at the office. Do your real work at home. It's almost impossible to do anything useful in an office. Offices are for meetings and phone calls and memos and emails and Powerpoints and politics and bullshit.
4. Worry about everything. If you don't worry you don't care. Figure out what's going to go wrong and be prepared when it does.
5. Stay as far away from big organizations as possible. Corporations will suck all the joy out of your life and all the life out of your joy. Corporations are poison, and the more they pay you the more they own you.

6. Pay no attention to the industry. The more you read about what other agencies or other clients are doing the more you're going to become a cliché spewing zombie. Figure things out for yourself.

7. Be satisfied. You don't have to work for the biggest agency in the world or be the best art director on the planet to be successful and happy. You're not going to be Bill Bernbach anyway, so forget about it. If you're doing work that is respectable, and you're not suffering 90% of the time, you're way ahead of most of the poor bastards in this business. Enjoy it.
 That's as close to a pep talk as I get.

June 25, 2013

It's That Time Again

Once a quarter I make you pay for access to this semi-lucid blog by filling you full of shameless self-promotion. Today is that day.

We're going to start off with the book, 101 Contrarian Ideas About Advertising. We've been the #1 selling advertising book in the U.S. for several months now at Amazon.  But today I'm going to throw you a curve and reprint some excerpts from Amazon reviews in the UK:
- "This is without doubt the most stimulating book I've read about marketing & advertising. Bob takes a contrarian view but he supports it with data rather than the overblown but unsubstantiated claims of many "gurus"....How many business related books have made you laugh out loud? This one does."
- "This is the most brilliant book on the world of advertising like ever... And it is the funniest too, probably....Story after story ripping into the world of social media marketing, whilst making it very clear that his own house (Advertising) isn't exactly in order, especially attention being paid to planners, head of the congloms and CMOs....He comes at the subject as a creative and also a believer in evidence, being once a science teacher. Slashing at myths and mumbo jumbo in the world of advertising and marketing, like a swash buckling, Bernbach loving, pizza eating (no pineapple) atheist. He takes few prisoners."
- "His close-to-the-bone wit and sharp sarcasm, whilst hilarious (I dare you to read this book on public transport!) it does have some really good nuggets of insight, equips you with a BS detector... and an arsenal of quips when a colleague/client goes into a buzz-word frenzy."
Now that I've convinced you to buy the book, let's do some serious business.

- First, if you are an officer for a consumer products company and you do not have a strategy for reaching people over 50, you are insane. The facts are undeniable and the opportunity is enormous. You need to contact the Type A Group.

- Or, if you run an independent ad agency, it is time for you to figure out what the hell you are doing. If you're early stage, you need to learn how to turn a hobby into a business. If you're middle stage, you need to figure out how to position and differentiate yourself for growth; if you're late stage you need to start planning how you're going to get out with some value (that means money.) You, too, need to contact the Type A Group.

- Finally, if you're a ceo or cmo and your marketing strategy is sucking really bad, you need a whole different way to look at marketing. It's called Creative Turnaround Marketing. Guess how you do that? Bingo. You contact Type A.

Just one more thing. I do one speaking gig a month. I am booked for July, September, and October. If you have an event in August and you need a speaker who will really entertain, stimulate, and annoy your members, act now.

Okay, you are now free of self-serving "content." Contact us then go back to work.

June 24, 2013

Beware Of Marketers With Ideologies

In 1996, Seth Godin had this to say to Fast Company...
"I guarantee you that by the year 2000, Internet banner ads will be gone."

Let's be fair to Seth. He's a very smart guy and he has been right about a lot of things. But the problem with the above statement, like so many aspects of marketing these days, is that it is rooted in ideology.

Seth's ideology was "permission marketing." He believed that the "interruption model" of traditional advertising was on the way out, and that in order to communicate effectively with consumers, marketers would need their "permission."

Like much of new age marketing philosophy, it sounds lovely. The problem is that the world is impossibly complicated. Having operating principles is fine, but being ideologically committed to a "big idea" often ends in a train wreck.

Big ideological ideas are often the downfall of pundits, historians and marketers.  Philip Tetlock is an author, professor at the University of California-Berkeley, winner of lots of impressive awards -- and an expert on experts.

According to Tetlock, experts who are most often wrong are those who have an ideological commitment to a "big idea."
"They tended to have one big, beautiful idea that they loved to stretch, sometimes to the breaking point. They tended to be articulate and very persuasive as to why their idea explained everything. The media often love (them.)"
People attached to ideologies often are not able to adapt their "big, beautiful idea" to the constant surprises of the real world; instead, they re-interpret the real world to fit their big, beautiful idea.

In fact, what has happened is that contrary to permission model theory, the interruption model is becoming more dominant on the web, not less.
  • Facebook is now chock-a-block with display ads and sponsored posts.
  • Every news and entertainment site is packed with pre-roll. 
  • Interstitial ads drive us all crazy every time we click to a new site.
Despite its ubiquity, the interruption model has thus far not worked very well on the web. The reason is simple -- interruption requires grabbing attention, and banner ads are not very good at this. They mostly occupy very little space on a page, and consequently, are weak at grabbing attention.

A TV spot takes up a whole screen. A radio spot takes up the whole audio spectrum. A magazine ad can occupy up to 2 full pages. A billboard occupies a... billboard. But the average web ad takes up a tiny little area of a page that we have taught ourselves to ignore. It most resembles a small space newspaper ad. It has very little impact, and the result is that it isn't very good at interruption.

Meanwhile, permission marketing is useful but limited. It mainly allows us to preach to the converted. It may be beneficial for popular, high interest products and categories. But for the average business - a maker of vacuum cleaner bags or pencils or mufflers - it offers little in the way of leverage.

In the article quoted above, Godin also went on to say...
"Marketing is a contest for people's attention."
He is certainly right about this. However, the grand visions and big, beautiful new ideas about marketing that were supposed to help us gain people's attention in new ways, have proven disappointingly hollow.

The result is that banner advertising -- that horrible, corrupt, and maligned old thing -- not only is not "gone," it is metastasizing.

Many of us wish that banner ads had disappeared in 2000, as Seth promised. But one of the lessons about advertising is that practicality consistently outperforms ideology.

June 19, 2013

Apple Has Nothing To Say

Almost 2 years ago, when Steve Jobs stepped down as ceo of Apple, I wrote... 
Advertising will be an early indicator of whether people without vision and taste are moving in at Apple.
One of the things I said to look out for was "Creeping Brandism"...
Creeping Brandism: The Apple brand was built bottom-up. That is, the products defined the brand. Virtually every Apple ad was about a product, not  the brand (okay, there was "Think Different" but that didn't last.) Keep an eye out for the erosion of this discipline.
Well, guess what? After almost 2 years of ineffectual advertising, Apple has thrown in the towel and resorted to all-out brand babble. Here is their latest effort.

Apple has been taking a beating from Samsung who have come at them aggressively. Their response? Mealy-mouth "branding" baloney.

Apple was once the rebellious, ballsy badboys of the tech industry. They knew how to build a brand -- you built it with persuasive advertising about excellent products. They have given up that ground and now sound like pompous, overfed CMOs. Steve must be spinning.

Industry insiders have reported that the agency is very unhappy with the process. Working for Jobs was never a picnic, but at least the end product always had some bite. This stuff is mush.

At the time I wrote,
The product pipeline will take years to screw up. But the ad pipeline can be screwed up in no time.
After "Siri" and "The Genius" campaigns and this, the "ad pipeline" is now officially screwed up.

Apple has two problems. First is that they have nothing to talk about. They haven't produced anything of major interest to consumers in a long time.

Second, they have lost their voice. They no longer know who they are. And neither do we.

June 17, 2013

The $7.5 Billion Ad Swindle

There are two outrageous scams going on simultaneously in adland. They are interconnected and both are related to banner (or display) advertising.

The first scam is the unscrupulous selling of online display ads.

The second is the tacit cover-up of frauds perpetrated by online ad networks and ad exchanges.

First, the sales scam.
  • A recent study by comScore, reported in The Wall Street Journal last week, found that 54% of display ads paid for by advertisers between May 2012 and February 2013 never appeared in front of a live human being.
  • Even the ads that "appeared" weren't always visible. Among the ads that actually "appeared," the criteria the research company used for considering an ad "visible" was ludicrous. If half the pixels were viewable for one second, the ad was counted as "visible." The industry itself, as represented by the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB), has no standard for determining if an ad is "visible." The issue with "visibility" occurs because a banner ad that may technically "appear" on a page may not be visible to a person who does not scroll up or down to that portion of the page, or the ad may not load while the person is viewing that portion of the page.
In plain English, this means that over half the ads that advertisers paid for, in essence, never ran. And among those that did run and were deemed "visible," an undetermined number weren't.

But that's not the most disturbing part. If companies want to piss away their money on worthless crap, that's their business. If they're too stupid to know what they're buying, they deserve what they get.

The disturbing part is the tacit cover-up.

Can you imagine the outcry if it was found that gas pumps were showing 20 gallons pumped when they were only pumping 10 gallons?

Can you imagine the riots that would occur if it was found that banks were embezzling half the money from their depositors?

That is exactly what is going on in the world of display advertising. Half of what is being paid for is apparently being stolen. And of that which is not being stolen, an unknown amount is apparently worthless. And nobody seems to give a damn.

Nobody's been fired. Nobody's been sued. Nobody's gone to jail.

Incompetent, greedy agencies, and crooked online ad hustlers are just going about their business as if they hadn't screwed advertisers out of billions of dollars. Pathetically clueless CMOs are keeping their heads down and pretending they don't know.

Where's the outrage? Why are the victims of this fraud not holding their agencies responsible? Why is the press not reporting on this? Why isn't this front page news in every trade journal and website?

This is the biggest advertising story of the decade, and it's being buried.

The day after The Journal ran their story, I checked Ad Age and Adweek. I couldn't find a single mention of it. I found stories about hot dog eating contests, and  Rupert Murdoch's divorce, but not a peep about the multi-billion dollar swindle being perpetrated on advertisers. (In fairness, Adweek has done some quality reporting on this story. But their reporting has put the size of the fraud at about 5% of what it may actually be.)

Here's why nobody wants to know too much.

How does an agency answer a client who asks, "You mean more than half the money you were supposed to be custodian of was embezzled from me and you knew nothing about it?"

How does an ad network answer, "You mean all those clicks and eyeballs you promised me never existed, and you knew nothing about it?"

How does a CMO answer his management when they ask, "You mean these people screwed us out of hundreds of thousands (millions?) of dollars in banner ads and you had no idea what you were buying?"

Everyone is in jeopardy and everyone is in "protect" mode. Everyone wants to maintain deniability. Nobody wants to know too much.

If display advertising were to suffer the disgrace it deserves, imagine the fallout.

Imagine the damage to agency holding companies whose "trading desks" are buying online media at one price, marking it up, and selling it to their clients at a higher price. The justification? They're "adding value." How's that for a laugh?

Imagine the damage to Facebook, which at last report gets over 80% of its revenue from display.

Imagine the damage to online publishers whose bogus, inflated numbers probably constitute their margin of profit.

If the comScore findings are correct and projectable, it means that of the 14 billion dollars spent on display advertising last year in America, 7.5 billion was worthless and constituted some degree of fraud or misrepresentation.

Last month, before this study came out, I wrote...
"Everything about online advertising is corrupt... The promises are corrupt. The data is corrupt. The suppliers are corrupt. And the buying and selling is corrupt...This industry is in desperate need of investigation."
Will the advertising industry be successful in its ongoing attempts ignore or bury this story? I don't think so. Soon enough someone big, smart and influential is going to realize what's going on and all hell will break loose.

June 16, 2013

Father's Day

This story comes from my book "101 Contrarian Ideas About Advertising."

The Talkative Child

Since Sunday was Father's Day, and I'm sick to death of writing about advertising, I thought I would serve up a little Father's Day reminiscence.

My daughter was a very talkative child. In fact, when we went on car trips it was not unusual for her to talk non-stop for 3 hours. Anyone with a motor-mouthed child knows that this is not an exaggeration.

One day we were on such a trip -- my wife and I in the front seat, my 5-year-old daughter in the back in her car seat. We were about 45-minutes into one of her relentless monologues, when suddenly the question popped-up: "Mommy, where do babies come from?"

We looked at each other, gave the nod, took a deep breath, and dived right in.

We told her about eggs and sperm and penises going into vaginas. She received this information in stunned silence.

Then came the kicker. We told her about how she was special. How, because of some medical issues, the doctor had to take the eggs from mommy and the sperm from daddy and put them together in a dish and then put the fertilized egg back into mommy.

Now she was totally lost in thought. You could almost hear the wheels spinning and smell the synapses burning.

One minute went by, silence.

Two minutes went by, silence,

Five minutes went by, silence.

Finally she spoke.

"Mom," she said.

"Yes?" replied my wife.

"I'm so glad you didn't have to do it the regular way."

June 13, 2013

Half Of Display Ads Not Seen By Anyone

The Wall Street Journal reported yesterday that...
"An astounding 54% of online display ads...between May of 2012 and February of this year weren't seen by anyone... 
"A significant number of display-ad "impressions"... are based on fake traffic. Malicious software makes a website think a person is actually on a page and ads are served up to that fake visitor. In other scams, ads show up on several Web pages but they are hidden behind a window on a website that is the size of a pencil point."
Astounding? To whom?

Back in March I wrote...
...online ad hustlers are picking the pockets of marketing morons and their clueless but oh-so-fashionable agencies.
Only fools and CMOs believe the bullshit that the liars, con men, and crooks in the world of online ad networks and ad exchanges are peddling. The Journal went on to say...
"The finding implies that billions of marketing dollars are being poured down a digital drain."
Implies? It doesn't imply anything. It confirms.

You know what I love most about this? I love that all the "big data" geniuses and cybermetric prodigies can't even figure out that they're getting fucked blind by the online ad hustlers who are selling them this garbage.

As for the famous precision targeting of online advertising, according to the Journal...
"ConAgra's ads sometimes reached its preferred demographic—women aged 25 to 54—only about 30% to 40% of the time."
What a joke this whole online advertising scam has turned out to be.

The amazing thing is that these findings by comScore won't change a damn thing. Watch -- agencies will continue to sell this trash to their clients. They know when they have a cash cow and they'll keep milking it until the cow drops dead.

Of course, they'll tell their clients...well, yeah, everyone else is getting screwed but we have controls in place...and the dimwit clients will believe it.

As I said here in April...
When you take a gullible industry that has acted in an irresponsible and foolhardy manner to sell snake oil to its clients, add to that some very sophisticated crooks who are way ahead of the naive buyers and sellers of ads, and top it off with indecipherable metrics that are intentionally designed to confuse and mislead, you have yourself a very toxic blend.
The display ad industry is crooked. Agencies are greedy. Clients are clueless.

Watching these clowns is the best show in town.

June 10, 2013

Big Data And Appalling Mischief

The snot really hit the fan last week when The Washington Post and The Guardian reported that the US had secret spying programs that are "tapping directly into the central servers of nine leading U.S. Internet companies."

It was inevitable that our industry's obsession with Internet data collection would come smack up against questions of civil rights and individual liberties. But no one in the marketing or advertising industries seems to care about the consequences of our obsession with data, or the central role we are playing in this controversy.

It is an article of faith among the pundit digerati that the Internet has given us reg'lar folks more control over our lives. One of the mantras of marketing's chattering class is that "the consumer is now in charge." These people think that because we can tweet "the fries at Wendy's really suck" we now have greater economic, social and political control. They are alarmingly insensitive to the trade-offs the web has presented us with.

On several occasions during the past few years I have taken the, ahem, contrarian position that not only are we not "in charge," but the illusion that we are is masking the fact that the powerful are getting more powerful and that the individual citizen has less control than ever.

I first wrote about this in Adweek on December 29, 2010 in a piece called Big Brother Has Arrived, And He's Us.
The Internet now knows everything about us... It knows our political beliefs and our sexual habits. It knows what we eat and whether we drink too much... It knows what our ailments are, what drugs we use, what doctors we see and what our psychological profiles are....There's no reasonable way that this is a good development for a free society... There is no realistic vision of the future in which this will not lead to appalling mischief.
On April 13, 2011, I wrote:
There is an outrageous amount of personal data being collected. It is too accessible, and anyone who takes promises of internet privacy and security seriously is an idiot.
On April 9, 2012, I wrote,
Never before in history has this kind of information monopoly been in the hands of non-governmental institutions. This is completely new and we have no idea where it leads...
Whether the benefit we are getting in security information is worth the price we are paying in civil liberties is above the pay grade of advertising bloggers. But the issue of marketing's role in all this is not.

We've got to get ourselves out of the snooping business. We've gone too far.

So far as I can tell exactly no one in the marketing industry seems to give a shit. The big time web honchos at Google, Facebook, et al are in denial and playing word games. According to the San Francisco Chronicle...
...when speaking about complicated computer systems it is easy to play word games and — technically — tell the truth. “Direct access” or “open-ended access” are terms that can be truthful simply when you install another system between the first two...

“I find it extraordinarily unlikely that this could happen without these companies’ cooperation,” says Dan Auerbach, the Electronic Frontier Foundation’s staff technologist.
Governments have always concocted reasonable sounding excuses for spying on their citizens. There has never been a time when there wasn't some threat to public safety that articulate leaders couldn't twist into a rationale for a secret branch of government. The difference now is, we in the marketing/media complex are complicit -- we're one of the greatest assets they have.

Is this a good thing? Do we really want to continue our relentless efforts to collect more and more data? Responsible people in our industry need to think about these questions.

Did I say "responsible people?" In the marketing industry?

Yeah, right.

June 06, 2013

Stormy Weather At Yahoo

I am a heavy Yahoo user. Yahoo has been the home page on all my computers since the beginning of time.

However, like most users of most brands, I'm not terribly loyal. I'm just too lazy and disinterested to change.

But lately, despite all the hoo-hah about their new ceo and all the miracles she's planning to perform, I'm thinking of leaving Yahoo.

According to the news reports I've read, she seems to think that Yahoo needs to find "innovative and differentiable angle(s)" for their products and services. Apparently they will be focusing on "content" and "mobile" (by the way, is there anyone on the planet who is not focusing on content and mobile?)

To tell you the truth, I don't really give a shit about new content or new mobile capabilities. I'm not all that interested in innovative and differentiable angles, whatever the hell that means. I'm thinking of leaving them because their weather module sucks.

Their weather module won't let me change the cities I monitor (the ones I travel to most often.) According to the threads I've read on line, this has been a problem for years, and they haven't bothered to fix it.

One can only imagine the frenzy of trying to discover "innovative and differentiable angles" that is going on at Yahoo these days. There must be hundreds of content strategists and  software strategists and strategy strategists running around in concentric circles looking for angles. Meanwhile, real live customers who want to know how the weather is in Buffalo are sitting there scratching their asses.

It seems to me that the weather is one of the simple, practical things that people want every day from their home page. I can't envisage how you can expect to be a preferred home page when you can't reliably provide your customers with this most basic of needs.

I'm a believer in specifics. When I have a brand preference it is usually for a specific reason. I think a lot of people are like me.

I have a favorite Italian restaurant. I don't go there because of their "real old world goodness." I go there because I like the garlic rolls.

I don't go to my favorite gas station because their gas "keeps my car running smoothly." I go there because it's 3 blocks away.

I don't fly out of Oakland Airport because they are "my gateway to the world." I do it because the TSA lines are shorter than SFO.

I guess what I'm trying to say here is that if you run a business, most people don't give a shit about your grand vision. They are your customers for simple, practical reasons.

So before you run off looking for innovative and differentiable angles, first fix your fucking weather module.

June 05, 2013

Everything Gets Bigger

Over the past few weeks I've been mildly obsessed with the damage that globalized ad holding companies have done to the ad industry. Just allow me one more post about it and then I promise to move on to whining about something else.

There is very little good that has come from the consolidation of the ad business. The only beneficiaries have been the sharks at the top of the food chain. So why does it go on?

I have come to the conclusion that all human endeavors follow an irresistible path toward bigness.

I think that the trend toward bigness goes on in advertising because it goes on in everything. Big businesses gobble up small ones. Big countries gobble up small ones. Big organizations gobble up small ones.

Even when no one is gobbling, human institutions seem to have an uncontrollable urge to merge and get bigger -- e.g., the United States, the European Union, Sprint Nextel, the National Football League...and a million others.

In the cosmic world, scientists tell us that physical forms want to decompose. They call it entropy. In the human world, social forms want to aggregate.

Humanity used to be organized into a million little tribes and a have thousand little gods. Now we have 200 big countries and one giant god. We used to have a different mens' shop on every corner, now we have the Gap. We used to have pen pals, now we have Facebook. 

Everyone seems to want to be part of something bigger. They may claim to prefer smallness and independence, but they rarely do.

In business, the tendency to consolidate is partially driven by economies of scale and partly by misguided government policies that punish small businesses and reward large ones. The U.S. tax code is essentially thousands of pages of special pleading for certain entities -- the big ones that have friends in Washington. This gives them enormous advantages

Of course, there are always cross-currents. While one system is growing another is falling apart. There are often reversals during which organizations grow too big or too dumb and decompose (e.g., the Soviet Union.) But in the fullness of time they usually re-organize under new management.

I am sure some historian or economist has already written about this and, as usual, I am late to the party. 

The magnetic attraction of "big" seems hard-wired. I doubt that it bodes well for advertising or, for that matter, most human endeavors.

June 04, 2013

Land Of Linkin'

What do you do when you're too lazy to write a post?

Here are some links of interest
  • Cliche festival disguised as futuristic ad wisdom: Here
  • My ranting about over 50's confirmed by University of Michigan: Here
  • I'm shocked, shocked I tell you: "Research" done by online video ad company finds online video more effective than TV. Here
  • What are the best and worst times to post on social media networks? Here
  • Would you rather have the internet or a washing machine? Here
  • Google scheming to avoid taxes? Get outta here
  • Think it's easy? You try it: Vice-Mayor of Mount Carmel, TN driving 90 MPH with genitals hanging out window. Here
 Thanks to all the people who send me interesting links. I really do appreciate it.

June 03, 2013

How Many Global CMOs Does It Take To Sell A Can Of Soda?

There's wonderful news from never-never land. The folks at Pepsi are at it again. This can only mean more fun and laughter for the rest us.

Having completely forgotten that their job is to sell sugar-water to pimply-faced geeks in Newark, they are doubling down on their bonehead search for worldwide, universal truths.

They have just hired a Senior VP-Global CMO for the Pepsi Trademark. Don't confuse this with the guy who used to be PepsiCo International CMO but is now CMO at Pepsi Beverages North America or the Pepsi Global Beverage Group Foresight Director or the President-Global Enjoyment or the Global CMO-Hydration. 

Ad Age reports that Pepsi's President-Global Beverages Group says that the new role of Senior VP-Global CMO for the Pepsi Trademark is "consistent with the global operating model PepsiCo has established. That model includes a global beverage group, global snacks group and global nutrition group. Eventually, each of the top 12 global brands will have a global leader."

It's a big globe after all. They're gonna need Magellan to design the org chart.

With all due respect, I would like to suggest that this really isn't Pepsi's "global operating model." If I may exhibit a little hubris here, I think I described their global operating model a little more accurately in a recent post...
"Many companies are powered by products or services initiated years or even decades ago... They persevere largely on inertia...That's why all the monkeys running around having meetings and writing memos really aren't doing that much harm."
Pepsi, however, seems to be uniquely qualified at identifying only the most dangerous monkeys and placing them where they can do extraordinary harm. But this doesn't seem to deter them.

The President-Global Beverages Group has this to say...
"Pepsi is our biggest and most global brand...
Most global? Are there degrees of globularity? It seems to me that a brand is either global or it ain't. Are there secret parts of the globe we haven't been told about? (Maybe that's where Jimmy Hoffa and the WMDs are!)
"...We have never up until very recently managed brands on a global basis...We’re marketing to global consumers that are hyper-connected to each other, no matter where they are in the world."
Yeah, well I have little update for you, amigo. It turns out all the pimply-faced geeks in Newark who are "hyper-connected" with pimply-faced geeks in Norway are not having "conversations about brands." They're texting pictures of their girlfriends' tits.

While Pepsi's new President-Global Beverages Group is pretty good at this globu-babble stuff, I'm afraid he really isn't up to the standard of inter-globularity of his predecessor Massimo d'Amore, who was quoted thusly...
"[Before] it was more of a global coordination as opposed to a global management," Mr. d'Amore said. "Technology, both social networks and mobile platforms, have created this global generation. We really want to connect our global brands with the global generation, and the best way to do that is with global management."
Just a word of caution. I'm afraid Mr. d'Amore is no longer at Pepsi. He was given a sudden involuntary globotomy.

Maybe he's with Hoffa somewhere keeping an eye on the WMDs.