Friday, May 17, 2019

Uncle Slappy's periodic Slap-of-the-Week.

Thursday, May 16, 2019

A (Brief) Modern Advertising Lexicon. #2 in a Sporadic Series.

An agency in the top 95% of all agencies.

Brain-storming: 52 minutes of caveats, eight minutes of unexecutable ideas.

Brand mission statement: A concise declaration of things a brand will never do or values they'll never uphold.

Brave: A client who approves an ad with fewer than 14-seconds of product shot.

Customer-centric: A focus on a customer’s centricity. 

Customer-engagement: Junk mail or commissioned salespeople.

Data ethics: A surveillance state oxymoron.

Deck: The sole deliverable for 97% of all people in advertising.

Engagement: Any contact with any sentient creature, whether they want it or not.

Experience: A word appended to other words to complicate communications and confuse the viewer. (ex. ‘How was your bathroom experience?” “How was your GoGo experience?” “How was your medical test experience?”

Future: A time that will never arrive. And no one will be there when it does.

Humble: Modern boastfulness.

Hustle: Vaynerchukian synonym for flatulence.

Influencer: A ubiquitous loudmouth.

“It's awesome”: How to say, “It’s been three days and I haven't had time to look at the work you sent” without admitting that it’s been three days and you haven't had time to look at the work that was sent.

Linked-In: A job-hunting site for people who will never get another job.

Narrative: Random language, usually laden with jargon, containing no discernible meaning or practical purpose.

Raise: An increase in pay. A relic of advertising’s Golden Age. Eliminated by holding companies delivering shareholder value through the undervaluing of their own employees.

Robust: Expensive banners or websites that no one will look at and are hard to produce.

Rockstar: What’s needed for any and every open hire.

Scrum: 14 people in a conference room for no apparent reason.

Vision statement: The first 51 minutes of an hour-long presentation.

Views: The number of people who accidentally click on your pre-roll.


Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Plaintive Doritos.

A friend of mine just sent me a plaintive email. The fact of the matter is I probably get about a dozen plaintive emails a day.

There’s a lot of plaintiveness in our industry. There always has been. But I think there’s more now than ever. 

In fact, if I were the King of the World, I think in addition to the CPI, the Consumer Price Index, I’d develop the  CPI2, the Consumer Plaintive Index. The metric to measure CPI 
would be how many "help!-I'm-drowning" looks I get on my way to the men’s room, and how many emails stained with digital tears jam my in-box.

A lot of this o’er-weening plaintiveness comes from today’s au courant business practice of solving every business problem by hiring yet another person who “will change everything.” Almost always these self-proclaimed changers-of-everything are changers of nothing except their own jobs.

My experience says that they’re usually long on talk and short on results. In part because of they’ve usually ascended to the top by riding a wave of Charlatanism and in part because most companies don’t really want to or know how to change. In hiring someone new they’re seeking a panacea, rather than expressing a willingness to do the hard work of change.

(BTW, you see the same thing every day in your email in-box, the one with all the spam. Success made easy emails. Their subject lines usually say something like “Lose 5.5 pounds overnight” or “One drop cures baldness.”)

Nevertheless, agencies and other businesses that seem to behave like agencies, seem to fall for silver-tongued orators every time. I don’t quite know how you become a silver-tongued orator. If I did, I’d probably have become one. But the first step seems to be not to write anything down, or if you’re a creative, not to actually create anything, or inveigle effectively enough to get your name on a lot of notable work, or, most-often simply make up case studies.

One vaunted digital agency I once worked for had a veritable sweat-shop set up to create slick case-study videos. It seemed to me they produced more case-studies than actual work. And 92% of those case studies had the same line in their scripts, coming about 1/3 of the way in: “And then we introduced an idea that would change everything. And it worked.”

I dunno about you but as much as almost everything today is different than the world I was born into so many windings of the clock ago, not all that much has really changed. Or at least changed for the better. We still travel cross-town at about three mph, the subway still smells like piss, and the rich still get away with not paying tax. As the Romans might have said, "O tempore. O mores." That is, O, the times. O, the customs.

If 20% of agency case study videos actually contained a scintilla of truth, we’d be living be living in a world that would make the Elysian Fields look like Poughkeepsie.

That being said, as an industry we’re producing and hiring and promoting and promoting again and again Charlatans like Dorito’s produces line extensions.

They’re not good for much.

But I'll give them this: They do fill up a shelf.