Posts Tagged ‘advertising


Marketing People

I deal with a lot of marketing people, sometimes as many as 3 in a single day, and the conclusion I have drawn about this kooky bunch is that they are (with one or two exceptions) from another fucking planet.



What do they do to these poor people that makes them think that whatever it is they are marketing is basically more important than life itself?

In my mind I see horrible torture chambers filled with marketers-to-be all chained up and getting stretched on racks and shit while their directors whip them and pour boiling oil over anyone who thinks the product or service they’re trying to market isn’t the single most amazing thing the world has or will ever see.

I mean christ, I’ll be honest here and straight up say that these people fucking scare me.

They march into meetings armed with an entire arsenal of information about their target audience and are generally flush with all kinds of demographic information, statistics about what people supposedly like and don’t like and all kinds of other stuff I don’t even begin to understand.



And that right there is the beauty of what they do. No one understands it. And the reason no one understands it is that they invent their own fucking language to explain it. Here are the only examples I remember right now, but I swear there are at least 10 000 000 000 more I’ve heard and instantly blanked from my mind.

  • “Ideation” – to what? Create ideas? Isn’t that called “thinking”?
  • ”Release” – specifically used to describe the way consumers conduct themselves in social situations, ie. “we need to be careful we don’t end up marketing our product to an audience seeking release”. In plain English this sentence reads: “don’t target people who like getting fucking wasted. If we do that it’s back to the torture pits”
  • “Push back” – as in, “you need to manage your pushback” which is a nice way of saying “stop being so fucking lazy and do some work. I was up until 3am working. What were you doing at 3am huh? HUH?!?”
  • And so on and so on…

Funniest thing is that marketing people have this innate ability to make other people buy into their bullshit even though those other people have no idea what any of it means!


Case in point. I recently sat in on an eyeball-gougingly productive meeting where someone from another agency was describing this new target audience that the bad, bad people from marketing had invented and given a snazzy name.

In an effort to figure out what this invented target audience is into, I fired off a whole bunch of questions about them which yielded the following answers:

  • They get bored quickly
  • They all want to be celebrities
  • If given an option for a prize, they would choose cash over anything else
  • They won’t engage with anything unless some kind of reward is guaranteed
  • They aren’t on Twitter
  • They aren’t on Facebook
  • They don’t read blogs
  • They only ever consume mainstream media and nothing else
  • They don’t understand what Tetris is (long story)
  • They wouldn’t know what Mayans are (also long story)

So what we’re basically describing here is a bunch of really, really stupid and lazy people who are self-obsessed and disinterested in anything that doesn’t immediately benefit them in a tangible way.

And all the while, I’m sitting there thinking, If these people actually do exist, I really don’t like them and the LAST thing we should be doing as human beings possessing any kind of moral conscience is trying to sell them alcohol!



It’s a crazy world we live in folks and thanks to people like marketers, advertisers and me, it’s only getting crazier.

Ain’t that wonder 😉



Death By Ayoba!

What I dig about South Africa is that every year when summer rolls around, the cell phone network providers all ramp up their advertising and bombard us from all sides with ‘Summer this’ and ‘Summer that’ and shots of mixed racial groups partying on beaches, having the time of their lives.

And all the while, I look at these ad campaigns and think to myself, How come I don’t hang out in mixed racial groups? Why do I only have whites for friends pretty much with the exception of some Indians and one or two peripheral blacks? What the hell is wrong with me? Christ, I’m a racist bastard!



Then to make matters worse, they choose some random word in a black language I don’t understand and shove it in my face every opportunity they get.

This year it’s ‘Ayoba’ (thanks MTN), I’ve probably read that word about 50 times in the last week alone and there’s still essentially two months of summer holiday advertising to go.

By the end of it all, the word will probably be burned into my retina. I’ll wake up, pouring sweat in the middle of the night, wide-eyed, screaming ‘AYOBA! AYOBA! AAAYYYOOOOOBBBBBAAAAA!’



I think what gets to me is the fact that they attach all this meaning to a word that they know non-black people won’t understand. Why do they do that? It doesn’t seem like the smartest way to encourage racial unity in SA.

‘Hey guys!’


‘I’ve got a GREAT idea for our new campaign!’

‘YOU’RE INCREDIBLE! Cutmeanotherlineofcocaineandtellusallaboutit!’

‘OK! Check it out! There are WAAAAAAAYYYYY more blacks than whites in this country right?’


‘Cool! Let’s make an advertising campaign that ONLY black people will understand!’



‘Yeah, we’ll create a sense of unity amongst the black community while ostracising the whites and making them feel completely unhip, uncool and sidelined!’



‘…umm guys…’


‘We’re white…’

‘Whatever! Shuttup! MORE COCAINE!’



To make things worse, you’ll probably find that the meaning of Ayoba is something completely arbitrary.

After I typed that last sentence I did a little Ugoogle-ising and found the following gem posted on the Jacaranda FM website:

“Ayoba – the word for 2010.

The word for excitement, cool,

fun… pride… joy… football… winning!!!”

Fuck, no wonder they chose that word for their campaign, it means EVERYTHING. Wait, it gets better:

“MTN is celebrating summer by adding ‘Ayoba-ness’ to everything it does”

Well that’s just fucking great. Expect to have this word screamed at you from billboards, TVs, newspapers, radios and magazines at FULL volume.

Ayoba! Ayoba! Ayoba!

And all over the country, whites, indians, coloureds, hell even the Chinese, will be scratching their heads in unison, all thinking exactly the same thing, ‘What the fuck does that mean?’

And as is the case with pretty much everything that gets regurgitated into mainstream media these days, the answer is simple.

It means nothing.

The more people that don’t know the meaning of it the better because it means nothing, it’s just a worm dangling off the hook of the happy holiday summer consumer spendasmuchmoneyasyoucan idea that they want you to swallow.

I’ve got a better idea. Here’s my fist. Let’s see you swallow that.