June 19, 2014

The Cocoon Of Ignorance At Cannes

For sheer stupidity, it's hard to beat Keats' famous assertion that...
Beauty is truth, truth beauty...
But Yahoo ceo Marissa Mayer took a nice swing at it at the Cannes egofest this week by asserting that...
"Art is advertising and advertising is art."
Apparently Ms. Mayer hasn't visited her website recently. As I write this, here's the "art" that is on display in the upper right quadrant of my Yahoo home page:

Man, that is some artistic shit.

Now, it's pretty clear what Marissa is up to here. She's obviously out to kiss the asses of the overfed peacocks who, this time every year, turn Cannes into a grotesque carnival of wastefulness and self-congratulation. There's nothing that makes a self-worshipping ad poser glow and buzz like being told he's an artist.

Marissa then demonstrated a degree of cluelessness about advertising unmatched, even by a tech ceo.
"Digital advertising needs to aspire to be as good as art and then some."
Yo, M -- I got some news for you. In the septic tank that is the ad industry, digital advertising is the stuff flopping around the bottom.

Aspire to be art? This stuff doesn't even aspire to be ordinary.

Advertising has always been 90% lousy, but online advertising has set a new standard for awfulness.

The fact that a ceo of one of the world's largest media companies believes digital advertising needs to "be as good as art and then some" tells you something about the cocoon of fantasy and delusion these people live in.

M-- just a word of advice from an old hand at this game. Be careful what you say in public. People might think you're serious.


Jim Powell said...

Twitter did give her a right good kicking over it to be fair.

I am sure she'll bounce bank and speak more bullshit another day, adding more dollars to her $300m she is already worth. Where there is bullshit there is gold it seems.

The funny thing is Art has never been in such poor shape. I think some artists and digital marketers would make good bed fellows. The work is shit but boy can they talk about the theory, thinking and mind numbing strategy behind it for like, forever. And continually moan that people just don't get it but it's a paradigm shift.

seb said...

mate..that is just brilliant..love it

Scott Lunt said...

"Advertising" and "art" should never be used in the same sentence unless you are talking about an "art director" at an "advertising agency." :-)

Ugly advertising does not necessarily mean lousy or bad advertising. I'm willing to bet that ugly LowerMyBills ad above is pulling a pretty good CTR because it (or versions of it) has been running a long time.

Conor Blake said...

I don't often laugh out loud at blog posts, but that point about the banner at got me.

Maybe if they didn't go to that annual wank-fest their shops could afford to pay somebody who knows what they're doing

Tom said...

Digital advertisings biggest problem is that it's cheap. It's a vicious circle.

Online advertising is currently all absolutely awful, but the strange thing is it needed be that way. If only there was a way to make the media buy expensive enough to make people spend the amount on thinking and production thats required to make it good. If it is was good, it may work, we'd then pay decent chunks for it.

As it is, it's a spiral to the bottom churning our junk that suits nobody.

Charlotte said...

Most of the digital ads I actually ‘see’ are awful. How do agencies justify the hours upon hours of strategists, planners, account, creatives and other ancillary staff spend (yep those are real dollars) to develop those ads? I see it every day, and yet everyone wants more.

And don’t even get me started when a media buyer tells an AE that “whoa! we just got a whole bunch of value add and it’s due by end of day”. Drop everything and do a banner [that no one will ever see].


Digital is a hungry beast fed by morons.

Charlotte said...

And by the way, I absolutely loved this post.

Sonny said...

I've tried to get that ad to appear. They must too busy signing new customers. However I have a strong suspicion that regardless of the age you click on you end up on the same landing page. So much for connection with the customer.

Larry Rosenthal said...

57 shades of Art ? lol

Cecil B. DeMille said...

"Be careful what you say in public. People might think you're serious."

Or people might just conclude, accurately, that she's full of shit. One thing I love about freedom of speech. It means most morons become their own warning signs.

It's what I do said...

In a documented speech called "The Truth is Not Enough," Bill Bernbach clearly defined that advertising is more than just explaining product benefits, no matter how breakthrough or lame they may be. If we are to PERSUADE, then it requires CRAFT that elevates the ad to the LEVEL of art. Of course, people make the leap and call themselves artists. Mostly at family reunions.

Ray said...

Can you be more specific? I worked there years ago and would like to give them an educated comment on why this is "utter bullshit." I'm not a big (or small) fan on facebook advertising or any online advertising for that matter and know that the click-through rates are like 1 in 10,000. seems to me that ad agencies, big and small, don't care about the facts. they just want to continue squeezing money from their clients. Thanks Bob. BTW, I read your blog every morning and look forward to it. Ray

bob hoffman said...

Read this http://www.adweek.com/news/advertising-branding/big-brother-has-arrived-and-hes-us-104111

Ray said...

Thanks. I read that before. Good amo. Will forward to FHB.

bob hoffman said...

My comment about utter bullshit has nothing to do with fraud. It has to do with this bullshit

"But the reality is when someone opts out of all tracking, they are basically choosing to see all types of ads rather than those that align with their interests. Offering a better deal or service is usually very
well received by most!

So while Facebook is not allowing their users to opt out of being tracked, they are giving them the ability to customize their ad experiences. In a world where the price of “free” service is to be
served an ad, this is actually a good thing."

Yeah, we're not smart enough to decide what we want to see. Let's let Facebook decide.

Raymond Duke | Copywriter said...

I've been hearing about this Bernbach guy a lot lately. Is he some kind of idol for the indirect marketing types?