Bullshit Part deux: Complication

What actually happens when  a client meets an agency for the first time?

‘I’d like to sell my chocolate bar to lots of people.’

‘Right. Well you’re going to need a 360-degree engagement campaign.’


‘It’ll give you some conventional media along with the digital, social, experiential and DM that will make sure your engagement is fully holistic.’

‘Is that good?’

‘You can’t really do anything else.’

‘OK. And all the places will say ‘buy the new Astro Bar with toffee and toasted banana’?’

‘Sort of. On TV we might prefer to go for a brand message that talks about how nice chocolate is in general, then on Facebook we could have a vote on how many banana chunks you put in the bar. It’s pull rather than push, you see. Then we might create an app that is actually a game, perhaps an updated Space Invaders so that people can engage with the Astro Bar brand. Later, in the digital part of the campaign, we could get people to upload videos of themselves eating Astro Bars all over the world, and then we might upload an Astro Bar song to iTunes.’

‘Could we not just run a TV and poster campaign with a big shot of the bar and a nice clear line, like ‘New Astro Bar with toffee and toasted banana’?’

‘You could, but then you’d lose out on a big slice of the crucial 18-24 demographic that likes to use the internet.’

‘Do they not watch TV or walk past posters?’

‘Well, technically, yes. But surely you want something that’s going to get them more engaged, more involved in the Astro Bar brand experience?’

‘I just want people to buy the bar.’

‘That’s why you need to give consumers a chance to become part of the brand, to create the meaning of Astro Bar along with you, to feel some degree of emotional investment. To scale the giddy heights of brand saliency until they immerse themselves so deeply in the Astro Bar experience they are swimming in a pool of liquid engagement, picking fruit from the tree of real-time value justification and frottering their loins on the soft, spongy genitalia of long-tail impact analysis.’

‘Um. I think I’m going to try the other agency down the road.’

‘Be my guest, but they’ll tell you the same thing. You see, we’ve all agreed to turn selling a chocolate bar into an enigma of utter bollocks so complicated that it will make separating two spider webs in the dark, drunk, on a row boat in heavy weather seem as simple as blinking. By adding layer after layer after mind-crushing layer to the process we’ll be sure that you have no idea what you’ve paid for, how to measure its success or why things have reached this pretty pass. Yes, you might say, but humans are essentially the same things they were twenty years ago: they read lots of magazines, drive past posters and watch hours and hours of TV, but that would be missing the point. You see, we need to make a cunt-load of money out of this and unless we make up more shit for you to pay for we’ll be fucked. In fact, in many ways, we’re already fucked. Kids are making films for tuppence and getting them seen by hundreds of millions of people for precisely fuck-all. How can we compete with that? To be honest, we can’t. That’s why bullshit, more than it ever was, must now be the ordure (sic) of the day.’

‘Where do I sign?’