Have you ever had a well planned out idea? One where you feel organised and in charge from the very beginning?
Well, here’s mine. I recently bought Bob Hoffman’s book ‘Marketers are from Mars Consumers are from New Jersey‘. Buy yours here, it’s less that £6 and it’s piss funny. If you haven’t read Bob Hoffman’s blog called The Ad Contrarian have a look here. Once again piss funny and very astute.
He don’t pull many punches baby when it comes to marketing bullshit, often in the cross hairs is branding bullshitters and digital zealots. Few escaped unscathed and I hope better for it too.
So when it arrived I thought I’ll read it with the intention of reviewing it, rather than just ploughing through it. It’s a plan of sorts isn’t it?
My plan was that I’d review just one chapter, my favourite chapter. Okay, okay, so it’s a simple plan. What I’d do is I’d turn over the corner of the page that started the chapter that I’d enjoyed the most. I am a page ruiner by the way be warned, my wife will never lend me a book for this very reason.
So I made it. Here I am, doing the planned review, looking at the book with pretty much every other page turned over in the corner. I simply can’t choose my favourite chapter. Which is annoying. And a testimony of this amazing book. Funny. Poignant. Sarcastic. Angry. A sort of manifesto for busting the delusional thoughts of marketers versus those of consumers, which the title gives away I suppose..
Here’s the first page that I cornered, page 3 – Bob writes “Today you need to be at least a sidewalk sociologist and even better, pseudo-psychiatrist to be taken seriously in marketing today.”
In fact, you need to think and speak in ways that no consumer in the history of civilisation has ever thought or spoken. How marketers think and how consumers think couldn’t be more different.”
On Page 19 is a great example of brand babble – “Co-creating with brands and people in the Phygital (if that word doesn’t make you taste sick in your mouth what does – my add) world. Modern consumers are ‘connected protagonists’ They are the heroes of their own stories and, thanks to technology they now have access to an audience of unprecedented size…It gets worse stroke funnier but I just sicked and laughed at he same time – Bob does that to you.
He’s right isn’t he? How many agency sites or creds have you read and thought – I really have no idea what you are banging on about citing some cognitive scientist work done on students? Or using made up words to elevate themselves in some way.
Bob explains why on page 34 titled – Fear of Selling. I agree, people in many agencies and client side want to be anything others than salesmen. As the scientist Richard Feynman, who is one of Bob’s heroes, once said “You don’t like it go somewhere else, to another universe, where the rules are simpler, philosophically more pleasing, more psychologically easy…”
This is Bob’s point, he writes referring to people in agencies – “They’d rather make-believe that what they’re doing is some form of social intercourse. It makes them feel better.They are not here to sell you something. They just want to have a conversation and form a relationship.”
But in the end they will be judged on whether they sell or not, that’s business. That’s the way it is. You don’t like it, go somewhere else. To another universe. Mars maybe?
If you don’t like the book that’s too bad, this is the way it is. Or at least it should be.