I might be galloping hither and yon in this one, so try to hold onto the reins and stay aboard, he said mixing his metaphors. Last week an unnamed client of mine "bought" what in my mind was an innovative and unique idea to provide relevant content to its customer base.
Now the word content is the first word I will examine. To most people, particularly webophiles, content is any bucket-load of crap that pertains, however loosely, to a topic. It does not have to be interesting, funny, fresh, original or authoritative. It just has to be there. There are many in the industry who say "content is king." Tru dat, but only if it's interesting and unique. Most content is crap. Crap with a capital K. It's just a hodgepodge of crap or moving images meant to show the client, the only person outside of a creative's 360-review-group who will spend time on the site, how much stuff is on the site. When the client, and most clients are so distracted by fear that, honestly, I don't believe they can read, sees a bucket-full of drivel the agency calls content, the client remarks, "look at all that content." It is at that point that the client proclaims the site robust and wields her cliches like a Viking double-sided broadaxe. "The content is rich and our site is robust." At that point there's not a single person within axe-length who will ask, "Oh, it's full of stuff all right, but is that stuff interesting?" That would be considered by agencies and clients alike to be controversial and inflammatory. And would probably, eventually get you shit-canned.
Gerry Graf, the creative doyen of TBWA/CD NY, is video interviewed in the ever- star-fucking Creativity magazine this month. He doesn't have much to say but what is important. He can say what's important in ten seconds--but that's too short to qualify as content so the video runs and runs until Graf repeats himself about nine times. Basically, Graf says, a commercial isn't any good if people have seen it before. In other words, if it ain't interesting it's just a continuing onslaught of panicked pixelled pusillanimity.
Now, let's talk specifically about web agencies for a minute. "Dear Web Agencies: sixteen months ago I found a statistic that said there are over 600 billion web pages in the world, ergo there are probably 700 or 800 billion pages today. Must you produce more and more filled with crap no one cares about outside of a conference room? My god. Aggregation is not work. It's taking a bunch of someone else's crap and calling it your own. It's kind of like going to twenty restaurants and taking portions of meals from each, mixing them together in a Cuisinart and re-serving it up with your client's logo attached. Would you pardon me while I retch."
OK. I've got one more phrase to cover in this philippic. "Soft launch." The client doesn't feel something is ready so they, in the feckless, fuck-faced farce of fuckdom decide on a "soft launch." A launch that's not really a launch. Think of it as a soft amputation. A soft pregnancy. Soft genital herpes. Sorry, Mr. and Mrs. Client. A soft launch is soft-headed. And a new-speak excuse for half-assed.