Thursday, May 23, 2024



Not long ago, one of my many friends in the UK brought the commercial pasted above to my attention. During an age where no one trusts anything the hear, see, smell, touch or taste, the tagline "Does exactly what it says on the tin," might be the most-brilliant advertising expression of our times. It fills a psychic need and swims against the tide of bombast.

The disconnect--we experience it every day, one-hundred times a day--between what brands, or people, say they're going to do and what they actually do is a dozen Grand-Canyon's wide. This is not only a trust problem and a brand problem, it's an advertising problem. It's a survival-of-our-industry-problem.

Because if a brand's advertising says, "we're friendly," and a person's experience of the brand is surly, uninformed and unhelpful, they'll likely not only dislike your brand, but your advertising as well. In other words, you've paid twice for a disconnect between what you say and what you do. To my eyes, it seems that virtually every brand and therefore every ad is responsible for decaying a trust with the customer and the viewer that's already as rotten as a Detroit-area water main.

Again to my eyes, the advertising industry is guilty of extending the disconnect between what brands say and what brands do. 

Because advertising agencies, in the current "we're treated like vendors" client-agency relationship, don't have to strength, courage or bravery to say, "you should fix your customer experiences before you advertise your customer experience."

We take the assignment.
We hire a director who's paid to make people appear real.
We cast actors and tell them to smile and be concerned, like the staff we want to depict.
We take feedback on our script and our edit, to make it more satisfactory to our clients.
We hire and direct the gushy VO that says how much we care.
And then customers are treated like dog-shit on the cosmic crepe-sole of the shoe of life.

Sixteen and a half years ago I wrote a blogpost about a dead telco called Sprint. I said,

"This is from Ad Age: 'Last week, Sprint reported a fourth-quarter loss of 683,000 postpaid customers, those billed monthly for service and who are considered the industry's most valued.' In other words, Sprint lost almost 7,500 customers a day--despite having contracts with their customers that are 'Shylock-ian' in their rigidity.

"No advertising can fill a "bucket" that leaks that quickly. Mr. Kelly (their fired CEO) has been canned because he was throwing money at advertising to continue to re-fill Sprint's leaking customer bucket. I've learned over the years that it costs five times as much to acquire a new customer as it does to retain one. Kelly's $1.2 billion of marketing spend should have been focused on treating consumers well."

Every brand seems to be as disconnected as Sprint was before they were subsumed and consumed by another telco. In a few weeks, agencies and their holding companies will be renting yachts in Cannes. They'll be blowing hot air on how successful they are. Meanwhile, marketing spend as a percent of revenue has fallen to just over six-percent an almost 50-percent drop from where it was five years ago. 

FCB, one of seemingly 27 or 21 agencies of the year just let go a reported nine-percent of their people from their Chicago office--roughly 75 humans. Ogilvy was just named D and AD "Network of the Year," while they fire people left and right and hemorrhage money from even more directions.

Orwell is alive and well. 
War is peace.
Collapse is success.
Dreck is award-winning.
Inconsequence is importance.

One thing GeorgeCo., LLC, a Delaware Company will do for your brand that no other ad agency will do for your brand is to help you see your brand as customers see your brand. If you're an airline and you hire me to do your ads, I will book middle seats for myself and tell you how my 'experience' was. I won't then shoot a commercial with attractive near-models luxuriating in that middle seat as if they're Roman emperors.

I will find the truth and tell the truth.

As good brands do.

And I'll work with you not just to make better ads (that's a given) but to make your company better, too. 

That's supposed to be what competition, honest, and good thinking does.

I'll do exactly what it says in my blog. 

(I don't have a tin.)

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