Talk Stupid To Me: Marketing Edition

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49 Responses

  1. Avatar greginak says:

    Overlord: no. It is easiest to understand if you assume marketing people are all C – students with great smiles, slick hair and are lack any common sense or talent .Report

    • Avatar Saul Degraw says:


      I was trying not to be snobby for a change. But a friend wrote this on FB today

      ‘The slogan for the new film “Mr. Holmes” is “meet the man behind the myth.”

      This makes no sense unless the film is about Arthur Conan Doyle. Which it isn’t.’

      My response was to note that there is a reason ornery people like us don’t have great careers in marketing and advertising. We would be fired quickly for pointing all this stuff out.Report

      • Avatar Kimmi says:

        Getting fired is part of the FUN!
        It’s even more fun when folks forget to pay their PR.
        Then the knives come out…Report

      • Avatar Notme says:


        “I was trying not to be snobby for a change.”

        How nice of you. Instead of “trying” why not just it altogether? Would you lose your liberal hipster card?Report

      • Avatar krogerfoot says:

        Saul, I second this advice. My life really turned around after enrolling in the Notme School of Charm.Report

    • Avatar LeeEsq says:

      Thats my impression. Marketing attracts people who aren’t really deep and reflective thinkers. It attracts superficial thinkers who love flash and go with their instincts.Report

      • Avatar Kimmi says:

        It also attracts trolls and comedians. Guess who comes up with the GOOD ad campaigns.Report

      • Avatar dhex says:


        “Marketing attracts people who aren’t really deep and reflective thinkers.”

        thanks, bro.

        anyway, i’m assuming they’re burning ad budget on attempting to reformat what’s going on with their stores.

        at the end of the day their problem is “how do you advertise something that’s ubiquitous in american life?” which is an interest intellectual problem but far more difficult in real life with actual performance pressures and politics at play.Report

      • Avatar Chris says:

        They’re just like 3 years late on the flash mob craze.

        Also, the marketing people I’ve known in my life have been exceptionally bright.Report

      • Avatar Kimmi says:

        mine too. But it takes a good steady eye and hand to pull off putting 9-11 imagery into a political ad — and have the resulting ad actually work, and not create a political conflagration to dwarf Romney’s “binders of women”Report

      • Avatar LeeEsq says:

        @dhex, sorry.Report

      • Avatar LeeEsq says:

        @chris, I didn’t say marketers were stupid. Looking at advertisements and marketing campaigns clearly shows lots of creative brilliance. What they don’t seem to do in many cases is fully think things out before implementing or think how things could go wrong.Report

      • Avatar Chris says:

        Seems to me that our talking about McDonald’s at all suggests they knew exactly what they were doing.Report

      • Avatar Saul Degraw says:


        I feel the need to point out that what Greginak wrote above is a lot snobbier than what Lee wrote here.Report

      • Avatar Chris says:

        Yeah, I was responding to both.Report

      • Avatar greginak says:

        How is insulting marketing types snobby? Correct and appropriate, of course, but snobby??? Not seeing it

        And i’ll also note something i wrote below about how poorly thought out this was. This campaign is essentially inviting people to offer to pay for their big macs with some of their lovin. Do you think the counter staff is now getting plenty of blue offers to swap some lovin for some fries. Is that really what they were aiming for or a good idea?Report

      • Avatar Saul Degraw says:


        Agreed on your observation along with these two possibilities:

        “Why don’t you call your mom and say you love her?”

        My mom died 5 months ago….

        “Why don’t you call your dad and say you love him?”

        “My dad ran off with his secretary when I was seven and I haven’t heard from him since” or “My dad disowned me when I told him I was gay…”Report

      • Avatar dhex says:

        “What they don’t seem to do in many cases is fully think things out before implementing or think how things could go wrong.”

        the same could be said of all religions!

        more seriously…sure? as a pursuit, the practice of weaponized persuasion requires a genuine commitment to failing quickly – and hopefully painlessly – and as such requires enticement, novelty, and a constant balance between risk-taking and dumb-making. some of these risks are gonna go wrong. some are gonna go real wrong.

        the millions that go right – or at least not-bad – aren’t going to be noticed. in that sense it’s like every other profession. laypersons only notice when something’s really good or really bad.Report

      • Avatar Mike Schilling says:

        I’ve worked with good and bad marketing people. Good ones are worth their weight in gold.

        Look, anyone who’s creative will have both good ideas and terrible ones, and often have trouble telling the difference, That’s why even good writers need editors (and why their books are often so bad once they become successful enough that no one can tell them what to do.) The fault doesn’t really lie with the person who thought the idea up; it lies with all the people who should have had the sense to stop it.Report

      • Avatar aaron david says:

        “That’s why even good writers need editors (and why their books are often so bad once they become successful enough that no one can tell them what to do.)”

        We call this the Stephen King/Ryan Adams problem.Report

      • Avatar Mike Schilling says:

        I was thinking of Heinlein in particular.Report

      • Avatar Saul Degraw says:

        @aaron-david @mike-schilling

        I was thinking Robert Jordan and J.K. Rowling myself…Report

      • Avatar Mike Schilling says:

        I enjoyed For Whom the Bell Tolls.Report

      • Avatar kenB says:

        The other possibility to consider when a particular marketing campaign looks lame to you is that you might not be the intended audience.Report

      • Avatar Kimmi says:

        ain’t that the truth.
        a GREAT marketing genius can sell you on his BAD ideas, though.
        *cough* Qwikster *cough*Report

    • Avatar Mo says:

      @greginak I’m not a marketing person (some of my best friends and all that), but a lot of marketing is complex and deep data analysis.Report

  2. Avatar Jaybird says:

    I thought that “We Love To See You Smile” was a solid B when it came to ad copy. It had a decent cadence but was a hair clunky but, at the end of the day, it wasn’t too obtrusive, had a decent jingle, and did its job.

    “I’m Lovin’ It” struck me as a C+ at best. Who is the “I” in the statement? Why did they drop the ‘g’? What is the “it”? I SHOULDN’T BE ASKING THESE QUESTIONS!!!

    “Pay With Lovin'” was the obvious next step. It’s confusing, lends itself to weird hypotheticals, and they will encounter more people irritated that they can’t pay with hugging a stranger than pleased that they got a free burger.

    The VP in charge of the ad department will be gone before summer.Report

    • Avatar greginak says:

      Not to mention plenty of McD workers will have to put with off color offers from people who really really would love to “pay with lovin”. They really didn’t think through that they just made their counter staff official ad recommended targets for every offer of lovin someone can think of.Report

  3. Avatar Kimmi says:

    “I just can’t fathom why anyone thought it would be a good idea to make people perform stunts for their food. Is corporate America really trying to be an overlord?”

    No. That’s corporate JAPAN. Pictures available on the internet, I’m not going to link.Report

  4. Avatar Reformed Republican says:

    At least they aren’t retweeting Mein Kampf.

    • Avatar Chris says:

      “The result was that for a couple of hours on Tuesday morning, Coca-Cola’s Twitter feed was broadcasting big chunks of Adolf Hitler’s text, albeit built in the form of a smiling banana or a cat playing a drum kit.”

      The internet is over.Report

      • Avatar Mike Schilling says:

        This is actually great news. If we’re ever threatened by advanced robots trying to take over the world, we always have one weapon that can reduce them to harmless imbeciles.Report

    • Avatar Mo says:

      That stunt makes Gawker look worse than it makes Coke. Coke has a somewhat lame idea to turn internet meanness into cutsey ASCII art to “counter” the fact that the internet is a hive of scum and villainy. Gawker decides that Coke is right and decides that sending Mein Kampf would be totes funny. If Gawker was legitimately creative they would have sent over Pepsi ad copy or comments from environmental groups that slammed Coke.Report

  5. Avatar Damon says:

    Dear jebus, that’s even stupider than a corporate type telling me that the Quarterly Business Review will happen in February on January actuals. Jan is the beginning our fiscal year.


    • Avatar LeeEsq says:

      Yet, you keep advocating the wonders of the free market to us. ;).Report

      • Avatar Damon says:

        I don’t actually recall advocating free markets, although I support them. I recall criticizing the current regulated markets and the incompetence of gov’t but don’t recall specifically advocating free markets on this website. Of course, I’m willing to state that I could have forgotten. 🙂Report

  6. Avatar Kazzy says:

    Every so often, Ikea does free breakfast day. You get whatever their basic breakfast is, something that normally retails for $1.99 or so. People line up around the block. People love free shit. So if people think, “Hey, maybe I’ll be the lucky one to get free breakfast today,” they might be more likely to go to McDonalds and, boom, huge sales increase.

    Think of it this way: How many people are not going to eat at McDonalds today (who otherwise would have) on account of this promotion? Now compare that to how many people are going to eat at McDonalds today (who otherwise would not have) on account of this promotion? I’d venture to guess the latter far outpaces the former. Ergo, marketing genius.Report

  7. Avatar krogerfoot says:

    Also, have I missed previous entries in the Talk Stupid To Me series, or did you have a different title in mind?Report

    • Avatar zic says:

      It started as “Talk to me like I’m stupid,” a tagline Ta-Nehisi Coates used when he wanted help with research or understanding a topic. Frequently abbreviated TTMLIS.

      But sometimes, talk stupid to me works, too. Depends in your perspective.Report

  8. Avatar Stillwater says:

    I just can’t fathom why anyone thought it would be a good idea to make people perform stunts for their food.

    I think it’s one of those “we’ll be greeted as liberators” sorta thing. So alien you can’t even imagine what it’s like to actually believe it.Report

  9. Avatar DensityDuck says:

    This isn’t an idea, it’s a joke that a hack screenwriter has a stereotypically clueless business executive say to illustrate the marketing world’s humorous lack of creativity.

    (I ripped that off from an Onion AVClub comment about the movie “Chill Factor”.)Report