Tuesday, March 24, 2009

"The meaning of progress" toilet paper

Fedora mailing list it's boiling over about the launching preparations for Fedora 11. I hope it will not be like my previous marketing endeavours.
My love with marketing departments goes way back when I was a layouter for a small newspaper. The marketing guy would come and make me do a stupid layout with a lame idea bossing me around just because the cleaning lady and I were the only persons that listened to him. The frustration of having a fancy job name but actually being a driver/secretary (until recently called so) would transform any reasonably dim person in the perfect reason why my unbrevetted chef-d'oeuvre invention would be a success: "The One Shoot Office Gun Dispenser".
Years later, when I was boss enough, it was my favourite pass time to fuck them over and watch them vomit a learn-by-heart Kotler phrase to justify why their idea is better than the one the doorman passed me that morning. I'll always end the argument with "ok you deserve your salary now go and mimic some more work".
What's bothering me most are the overly "catchy" but meaningless slogans like "The future of Quality" for a chocolate bar or "The meaning of progress" for some toilet paper. Trying to appear smart, slogans end up being just words put together without any semantic relevance. If you have a toilet paper why not "Wipes your ass" - dammit, this is what it does!
And of course there is the meeting dynamics! Gustave Le Bon, Durkheim and Baudrillard would be in experimental study heaven in any marketing meeting. The boss, trying to conceal that he has no idea what the meeting is about and didn't even opened the documentation listens to the marketing babbling and goes something like "Yes, and we also have to convey the idea of progress and how young and fresh our company is". The marketing jumps on the wagon with "Of course, we thought of that. We want to go with 'progress'" (he's mental abilities allow him to remember only the first word mentioned). And then, the recently fucked secretary, proud of her new cunt power starts climbing the organisational ladder: "Yes 'progress' is good". The joke of the hangover-plagued design guy goes unnoticed "What is the meaning of progress?" so the sales, now knowing where the tides are turning, seal the faith of progress: "'The meaning of progress', yes, that's good, we can go with that. I have a client that has for his stores 'shopping for progress', he would like that".
People, please, if you really need them (for whatever reason that might be) please, please, please, don't make them "smart".

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