A video of marketers talking a lot (but saying little)

Ryan Wallman
September 7, 2016

cannes lions

 

The other day, I had the misfortune of stumbling across this video.

It was filmed in Cannes (which is always a red flag) and it features some of the industry’s biggest names.

Now, I’ve never met these people, and for all I know they are wise marketers who usually speak sense. If so, maybe the French rosé had got to them when they recorded this.

In case you don’t want to watch the video yourself and give up two minutes of your life that you’ll never get back, here are some quotes that I thought were worthy of comment.

 

“Of course the purpose of the brand is everything, but so too is how you reinvent your business in a purposeful way.”

You have to admire the confident certainty of this statement, if nothing else. And frankly, there’s not much else.

Any assertion about brand purpose being important (let alone ‘everything’) is questionable at best. At worst, it’s hypocritical, as Mark Ritson recently argued when he shone an unflattering light on lofty claims about brand purpose.

But sure, go ahead and ‘reinvent your business in a purposeful way’, if you can work out what that’s supposed to mean.

 

“We have to change the way we engage with consumers to actually produce stuff they want to see.”

Yeah, yeah, we know: advertising is dead and it’s all about ‘engagement’ now. 

Just as every generation of young people thinks it invented sex, every generation of marketers thinks it invented the idea of appealing to customers. 

 

“Consumers are much smarter than they used to be.”

This statement is huge if true. If people are now much more intelligent than their very recent predecessors, then the human race must be evolving faster than ever. Quick, someone call the evolutionary biologists and let them know.

 

“We want to be the next brand to define this generation.”

Since when has any brand defined a generation? Still, I guess this sort of hyperbole is to be expected from a spokesman for – I’m not making this up – ‘the world’s first community-driven SuperBrand’.

I have a term for these beliefs: delusions of brandeur.

 

“I’ve seen more change in the last 5 years than in the 25 years beforehand.”

This quote is from a highly experienced marketer – so perhaps we should give him the benefit of the doubt and assume that it made sense in context.

But when you hear this kind of thing from a marketer, you should be wary. It suggests a preoccupation with technology and a tendency to put tactics before strategy.  

 

“You’ve got to be that holistic integrator as a marketer.”

Sorry, I don’t know what it means either. I tried to put ‘holistic integrator’ through Google Translate but there was no ‘gobbledygook to English’ option.

 

As a final thought, I find it a bit ironic that this video was put together by The Economist. As a client, they were responsible for one of the greatest advertising campaigns of all time, which was notable for its intelligent use of language.

The late, great David Abbott was the driving force behind that campaign, and a masterful user of words. What would he make of this video, I wonder?

 

By Ryan Wallman, Head of Copy at Wellmark.

Connect with me on LinkedIn

subscribe to our blog
and be alerted to our new posts.

and be alerted to our new posts.


 

@wellmark_health

Essential reading for agencies and clients alike. twitter.com/davetrott/stat…

From Wellmark's Twitter via Twitter Web Client