August 31, 2010

Advertising's Final Solution

Good news!

We no longer need creative people in advertising.

We can finally get rid of those annoying, whiney, pains-in-the-ass.

According to The New York Times there's a new software program developed by an agency called BETC Euro RSCG,  that can generate advertising by itself.

But before we get to the software, let's talk about the agency for a minute.

Does an agency really need 8 initials? I mean, the whole name is only twelve letters long -- BETC Euro RSCG. And eight of them are initials.  Maybe they should have used their software program.

Well, anyway, according to the Times, this program can generate up to 200,000 "perfectly acceptable" ads for print, billboards, or banners. This sounds to me like an improvement because, honestly, I've seen a lot of banner ads that were perfectly awful, but I don't think I've ever seen one that was perfectly acceptable.

Now that computers can write and design ads, we can get down to the real business of advertising -- you know, meetings and downloads and uploads and briefings and off-sites and powerpoints and metrics and brand audits and deep dives.

We don't have to pretend we're in a "creative" business anymore. We can just do the things we're good at -- imitation anthropology, sidewalk psychology, strategy torturing, and data misinterpretation.

No more of that so-called "creativity" bullshit.

Thanks to Sharon Krinsky for the heads-up on this.

August 30, 2010

Does Your Brand Truly Care? Truly?

Last weekend I read a blog post in the American Express Open Forum. It was called Serving Is the New Selling: How to be a 'Brand Butler.'

That's right -- a 'Brand Butler.'

Here's what I learned...
"...customers expect that the brands they do business with truly care."
Thank goodness someone in marketing finally gets it!

I want my brands to truly care about me! That's right, ME! I've had it with brands that don't understand me as a person; or even worse, don't even know who I really am! I am special, darn it, and I expect everyone and everything to truly care about ME!

Well, as luck would have it, yesterday I was not feeling well. I'd had a fight with my wife. Coincidentally, I also needed gas in my car. So I went down to the Texaco.

I started pumping away, when out came Razi from behind his bullet-proof glass enclosure.
"Mr. Bob, you look sad. What is the problem?" Razi said.

"I'm bummin', Raz. My wife called me a feckless bag of paunchy protoplasm. "

"Hmm. You have to admit, Mr. Bob, it's kind of a cruelly truthful sort of way," he said.


"You know, Mr. Bob. Here at Texaco, we're not just concerned about "the" environment. We're concerned about everybody's environment. Especially your personal environment."

"Really, Raz?"

"Really, Mr. Bob. What can we at Texaco do to make you feel better by showing you that we truly care?"

"Well, Raz, first I think I need a hug."
"Not gonna happen, Mr. Bob."
"Well, then, maybe you could have a Facebook page with lots of icky platitudes about your commitment to me as a customer. You could use words like "holistic" and "wellness" and "renewal."

"But Mr. Bob, we're a rapacious oil and gas company, not a spa."

"Do you truly care?"

"Then, my friend, you must learn that in the modern world of marketing no wretched level of fraudulent groveling is too revolting. May I quote from a recent blog I read?...
"...brands urgently need to hone their 'butlering skills,' focusing on assisting consumers to make the most of their daily lives..."
 "Their what skills, Mr. Bob?"


"So you mean, I need to be kind of a.... a.....brand butler!"

"You know, Raz, I think you have a future as a shameless bullshit artist...oops,  I mean, a marketing blogger."

August 26, 2010

Leveraging Anxiety, Part 3

In the first two episodes (one and two) of this exciting story, we alleged that:
  • Creating client anxiety about the future helps keep us employed.
  • We maintain this level of anxiety by frequently declaring that something new "will change everything."
  • In fact, the things that are supposed to change everything generally have a modest effect on overall consumer behavior.
Then we asked the question, why are we so credulously attached to the belief that the next
flavor-of-the-year is going to "change everything?" 

And now, we reveal the answer... actually, the answers...
  • We Are Visionaries. We have an image of ourselves as visionaries. Advertising philosophy seems to have evolved from finding a differentiating attribute and communicating it, to anticipating the next fad and pouncing on it. Since trend-hopping has become such a big part of our business, we’ve talked ourselves into believing that we’re good at predicting the future. In fact, we have proven to be terrible at it. 
  • We Love New Things. We love new things and hate old things. Just look at the advertising we create. People over the age of 50 control 77% of the wealth of this country. Please show me one Super Bowl ad this year that was directed at them. The average American buys 13 cars in his lifetime -- 8 of them after the age of 50. When is the last time you saw a 50 year old in a car ad? We love the new, we hate the old. 
  • A Badge Of Honor.  Advertising and marketing people are the early adopters of just about everything. In other words, we are way more trendy than is healthy.  Appearing ahead of the curve is our badge of honor  -- even if we have no idea what the hell the curve is.
  • It's A No-Lose Proposition. No one ever follows up on the wrong-headed prognostications of marketing gurus. They keep churning out baloney and we keep buying it. You can say whatever you want about the future without a care in the world because 5 years from now no one’s going to go back and take you to task.
  • It's A Winning Strategy. And finally, we'll end where we started. Nobody ever made a nickel reminding marketers that while there are always a handful of game-changing innovations, most consumer behavior tends to stay surprisingly stable. Part of what keeps us employed is keeping our clients in a state of constant anxiety about the future. The more we can convince them that everything is changing around them --and they need us to interpret the changes -- the longer we stay employed. 
As I've said way more than I ought to, marketing and advertising people always overestimate
the impact of new things and always underestimate the power of traditional consumer

August 25, 2010

Leveraging Anxiety, Part 2

In Leveraging Anxiety, Part 1, we asserted that...
Part of what keeps us...employed is keeping our clients in a constant state of anxiety about the future....The more we can convince (them) that everything is changing... and they need us to interpret the changes -- the longer we stay in business. Consequently, every few years we come up with a new "thing that will change everything"
Today, we're going to take a look at some of the "things that were going to change everything" and see how they're doing.

My first experience with this phenomenon came with the advent of videotape (yes, I'm that old!) Videotape was going to change everything. Commercials were going to cost 50 dollars to produce and they would be shot in the morning and aired in the afternoon.

Then came cable TV. When it was first introduced there was a flood of hysteria in the ad world about how cable would "change everything." Clients were going around looking for agencies that "really understood" cable. What was there to really understand? The signal came through a wire, not the air. Big shit.

Then the VCR was going to change everything. People were no longer going to watch live TV. They would tape their favorite shows and play them back at their convenience (sound familiar?) And worst of all, they would fast forward through the commercials (sound familiar?) Naturally, hysteria ensued.

Then the computer was going to change everything. Creative people would be able to produce TV spots right on their desktops. And then agencies would disappear because clients could create spots right on their desktops, too.

Then the web was going to change everything. Brick and mortar stores were dead. We were all going to buy our cat food and our batteries on line. The web was going to create "disintermediation" which meant we would buy all our goods on line, directly from the manufacturer. There would no longer be a need for distributors or retailers.

Then there was TiVo - - which, of course, was going to change everything. TV advertising was finished. Nobody was going to watch tv in real time. We would time-shift all our viewing and skip all the commercials.

Then YouTube was going to change everything. We would watch all our video online. We could watch whatever we wanted whenever we wanted, without the annoyance of advertising.

Between TiVo and YouTube, television was declared officially and unalterably dead. Last week, I Googled “TV is Dead.” How many results do you think there were? 369 million.

Now just to give you a little update on some of the recent things that were supposed to change everything, here are some facts. You remember facts right – those were the things we used to use to make business decisions. Now we make business decisions on “buzz.”
  • eCommerce: Online retailing accounted for about 5.4% of retail activity in the first half of 2010. 95% is still done the old fashioned way. Last time I looked my supermarket was still in business. If ecommerce grows at a 10% compounded rate for the next 5 years, it will still account for only 8% of retail sales.
  • DVRs:  TiVo and all other kinds of time-shifting devices now account for about 6% of total tv viewing. That’s it, 6%. People who use DVRs skip ads about 50% of the time. So the total number of ads skipped is about 3%. Meanwhile, since the introduction of TiVo, average individual TV viewing has increased by 21%. So the positive effect on advertising of more TV viewing is 7X the negative effect of ad skipping. Try finding that fact somewhere.
  • Online Video: As for consumers watching their video online, 99% of all video is currently being watched on a television. 1% is being watched online. So YouTube, Hulu, Vimeo, all the porn your kids watch and all the idiotic viral videos combined account for 1% of video viewing.
  • Mobile Video: If you’re all excited about mobile viewing, don’t read this. Mobile viewing currently accounts for 2/10ths of 1% of all video viewing. In other words, it essentially doesn’t exist.
So, if the facts keep telling us over and over again that these amazing new technologies create small to modest changes in consumer behavior, why are we so credulously attached to the belief that the next flavor-of-the-year is going to "change everything?"

For the answer, tune in tomorrow for the final exciting chapter of "Leveraging Anxiety, Part 3."

August 23, 2010

Leveraging Anxiety, Part 1

Part of how we advertising and marketing hacks stay employed is by keeping our clients in a constant state of anxiety about the future.

The more we can convince our clients that everything is changing around them -- and they need us to interpret the changes -- the longer we stay in business.

Consequently, every few years we come up with a new "thing that will change everything" to get them all hysterical and jumpy.

The pundits who predicted that digital technology would spawn the death of ad agencies missed this point entirely.

Digital technology isn't destroying the agency business. It's just presenting a new generation of ad and marketing hacks with a new "thing that will change everything" which they can frighten clients with and build businesses around.

The thing that makes all the hysteria so silly and unwarranted is how quickly consumers digest and adjust to "the future" and how seamlessly it arrives.

We have a vision of "the future" as a startling new thing that will confuse and disorient us. In fact, it works in quite the opposite way. Someone introduces something astounding -- a mobile phone with a touch screen that can surf the web, play video, and take photos -- and in about three weeks we're ready for something new.

Marketers are prone to assuming that technological advances are going to lead to large scale disruptions of consumer behavior. They have conferences about it every two weeks. In fact, consumers have developed a breathtaking ability to incorporate astounding technological advances into their lives without much disruption to their traditional behavior patterns.

As in every generation, there have been a few recent technological changes that have had substantial impact on consumer behavior.

Nonetheless, one of the untold stories of the digital age is the surprising degree to which consumer economic behavior has remained stable in light of a revolution in technology, communication, and media.

More about this in our next exciting chapter, "Leveraging Anxiety, Part 2." Stay tuned.

Quote Of The Day...
"A career in advertising is a lifetime on probation."  S. Krinsky

August 16, 2010

Why Is Advertising So Crappy?

Like most sensible people, here at The Ad Contrarian world headquarters we do our best to avoid advertising.

This keeps getting harder and harder.

Despite all the witless proclamations of new age marketing gurus about the death of advertising, advertising isn't just growing, it's metastasising.  Every click of a mouse brings us at least three ads. TV watching is at its highest level ever. Every person wearing a hat or a t-shirt has become a walking billboard.

Things that used to be just helpful have now also become advertising carriers -- ticket stubs, museum maps, dry cleaning bags, milk cartons...

You can't swing a dead media planner without hitting an ad.

And while advertising has gotten bigger and bigger, it hasn't gotten much better.

I'm not one of those old guys who thinks that there was a golden age of advertising (or music, or movies, or literature) in which everything was brilliant and that everything since then has been crap.  I believe that most advertising (and most music, movies, and literature) have always been pretty lousy, and today's lousy is no worse than any other era's lousy.

The reason most advertising (and artistic endeavors) are lousy is not that people set out to create crap. It's that creating something good is really, really hard. And there are very few people who can do it.

The idea that we are all creative and that if we just free ourselves from the stultifying shackles of society we can unleash a torrent of creativity is juvenile nonsense. Creativity is rare and precious. Many seek it. Few have it.

With all the amazing advances in technology and communication, you would think there might be some concomitant blossoming of creativity. But there hasn't been. Not in advertising, not in music, not in art, not in literature, not in movies.

Maybe that's why our industry has become obsessed with technology and media. There have been impressive, sometimes startling, leaps of innovation and inspiration in these areas.

But, sadly, the "content" is just as crappy as ever.

August 11, 2010

The "Give-Up" Strategy, Part 2

If you can't hit homers, declare that the object of the game has changed, and it's really all about good bunting.
There are a number of popular beliefs behind new age, web-centric marketing thinking. They include the following:
  • The era of mass marketing & advertising is over
  • Markets are "conversations"
  • Consumers seek "relationships" with brands
  • The furtherance of this relationship is accomplished through a process called "engagement" and is best achieved on the web
  • The "big idea" is dead (see yesterday's post)
At best, these propositions are dubious. At worst, they are self-serving and unsavory fairy tales fabricated by people looking to hustle a buck. I have dealt with many of these notions previously in this blog. Today I want to talk about the last one -- the supposed death of the "big idea."

To a substantial degree, digital ad agencies and digital gurus have accepted and helped spread the notion that the big idea is dead. The question is, why?

It seems perfectly obvious that with the enormous growth in media consumption, with the colossal increase in the number of marketing messages the average person is asked to pay attention to, it is more important than ever to have an idea that sits up and attracts attention. So why would some in the digital crowd go out of their way to deny this?

To answer this, the first thing we need to do is look at where the really good online work is coming from. To a surprising extent, it is not coming from digital agencies.

For the next 5 years or so, social media marketing maniacs will be hitting us over the head with the new poster child of social media marketing -- the Old Spice campaign. Like them, I believe this campaign is terrific and will continue to be extremely successful.  However, there are two things we need to remember about it:
  • It started as a TV idea
  • It was not done by a digital agency
In fact, according to Adweek...
"...(traditional) agencies can claim more success in some areas of digital marketing."

At Cannes, for example, top honors in the Cyber category went to Wieden...and DDB Sweden....The Cyber Agency of the Year Award went to Crispin Porter + Bogusky."
This must be galling to digital agencies. For years we ad people had to put up with their smug declarations that we "just don't get it."

Well, it turns out there's nothing to get. Communication is communication. Some of it is good. Some of it is bad. Some of it comes through a cable, some of it comes through the air. Some of it is persuasive and entertaining. Some of it is dull and ineffectual.

What sensible marketing people have been saying for years turns out to be true.  More than anything else, it's the idea that counts, not the delivery system.

I am not surprised that traditional agencies are now catching, if not surpassing, digital agencies in online advertising innovation. Why? Because traditional agencies still respect and believe in big ideas.

The really big ideas in digital marketing are starting to slip away from digital shops. Could that be the real reason why digital specialists and their apologists have given up on the "big idea?"

Is that why they're declaring the game is all about bunting?

August 10, 2010

The "Give-Up" Strategy, Part 1

Among my least favorite aspects of new age web-centric marketing philosophy is the idea that the "big idea" is dead.

According to Seth Godin
The secret of big-time advertising during the 1960s and ’70s was the “big idea.” In A Big Life in Advertising, ad legend Mary Wells Lawrence writes, “... our goal was to have big, breakthrough ideas, not just to do good advertising. I wanted to create miracles.” A big idea could build a brand, a career, or an entire agency.
Alan Wolk says...
...orienting your web messaging around the sales-oriented “Big Idea” is a mistake.
Joseph Jaffe says...
I'm sick and tired of this notion that there is a singular BIG IDEA out there....Big ideas take too much time to find and we don't have the time to find 'em. 
From what I've read, the logic of "small idea" thinking goes like this: Since the consumer is now "in control" we can no longer force-feed her messages. Instead we have to be everywhere she is on the web with an "engaging conversation," not a sales message.

This means lots of small ideas all over the place, rather than one big idea defining and representing all our messages. I've heard this idea repeated frequently by digital agencies and their representatives.

Although Godin, Wolk, and Jaffe are three very smart guys, I couldn't disagree more.

If anything, a big idea is more important now than ever.

More about this in our next exciting episode, The "Give-Up" Strategy, Part 2.

August 09, 2010

6 Things A Creative Director Needs To Know

Here are six things you need to know if you're going to be a happy, healthy creative director.

1. Hiring is everything.
If you have terrific people the advertising business isn’t that difficult. If you have mediocrities advertising is impossible. For your own self-preservation you must get rid of bad people and hire good ones. There is no other way to do good work and have a happy life. Talent is a rare and precious thing. The idea that "we're all creative" is absolute bullshit. Mediocre talent never makes terrific ads. Never.

2. Avoid the “tyranny of strategy.”
Strategies are not written by God. They are written by planners, researchers, account execs, clients and other mildly retarded mortals. Good creative people often have a better feel for the problem than the committee that wrote the strategy. When you are evaluating a campaign idea, it’s not enough to say ‘this is off strategy’. You must also ask yourself, ‘is this a better strategy than the one we have?’

If the answer is yes, you’re going to have a lousy week. You have to go back and un-sell a strategy that has probably taken months to develop, has been up and down the client organization, and has lots of (probably irrelevant) research to back it up. Somehow, you have to convince a whole bunch of people that all the work they’ve been doing for the past few months is wrong.

Sound impossible? That’s why you get the big bucks.

3. Be eternally skeptical of grand strategic insights:
Planners, researchers and their ilk love to take a little information and turn it into a heroic vision. Beware of this. Most valuable insights are small and contingent. There is almost nothing you can say about human behavior that is universal. Including this.

I was once at an advertising conference and a planning director was making a presentation. She was talking about groups she was conducting for a bank. The groups were going nowhere. She asked a participant “If you could invent the perfect bank, what would it be like?” He sat there for a minute or two without answering.

“I suddenly realized,” she said, “I had the answer right there before me. People don’t want to think about their bank. Then I knew I had the strategy: Bank of Whatever. It’s the bank you don’t have to think about.”

I have a different explanation for the above. She asked a stupid question and the respondent sat there dazed and confused.

From the flimsiest of observations, she drew a grand, idiotic conclusion. And worst of all, the agency and the client bought it.

4. Simplify and specify:
I‘ve seen thousands of ads that were too complicated or too generic. I’ve never seen one that was too simple or too specific.

5. Remember why people buy stuff:
There is an old blues song that goes like this:
Feelin’ good
Feelin’ good
All the money in the world spent on
Feelin’ good*
The guy who wrote that lyric understands marketing better than any Stanford MBA I’ve ever worked with. That’s what commerce is about – people spending money to acquire things they think will make them feel better.

Save your dark, pessimistic vision for your screenplay. Which reminds me...

6. You’re a salesman, not an artist:
Want to be an artist? God bless you. So do I. I wish us both good luck.

But first you probably need to quit your day job. As a creative director, your job is to sell stuff. If you don’t like that, I don’t blame you. It’s dirty work and hard on the creative ego.

If you are not comfortable being a salesman you will not be comfortable or successful being a creative director.

Does this mean it’s impossible to create advertising that rises to the level of art? No. Every generation has a few people who can do that. But trust me on this one, it ain’t you.
This was first posted in 2007.

August 05, 2010

The Conversation: Is Anyone Listening?

For the past few years, the marketing and advertising industries have been obsessed with the idea that marketing is a "conversation" and that consumers want a "relationship" with brands and companies.

Of course, being the dick that I am, I've gone out of my way to ridicule this obsession.

What if I said to all you conversation/relationship maniacs that most companies...
  • Dramatically overestimate the extent to which their customers actually want to talk to them
  • Running your company as if customers want to talk to you isn't just expensive, it's potentially undermining your efforts to build longer-term loyalty
You'd probably say that I was being the same ignorant Luddite I've always been and that I just don't get it.

But here's the thing. Those two points above -- they're not mine. They are word-for-word quotes from a recent article in the Harvard Business Review via the Kellogg School of Management called Why Your Customers Don't Want To Talk To You.

It questions the whole religion of "conversation/relationship" and provides a lot of evidence that most customers would much rather not talk with you and would prefer to access a self-service option rather than deal with your company or your people.

In one of my many rants on this topic, I sarcastically said that consumers in the new fantasyland of marketing...
...have all the time in the world to develop relationships with brands. And then, when they're finished building these relationships, they go on line to social media sites and have conversations about them. It's a wonderful world. Someday I'd like to visit it.
Or as the article in the Harvard Business Review puts it, "....maybe customers are shifting toward self service because they don't want a relationship with companies."

Here's what people want. They want products that work well, look nice, taste good and are reasonably priced from companies that treat them fairly.

Is that so freaking difficult to understand?

All this conversation/relationship bullshit is just a distraction.

I'll be speaking in St. Louis on August 18th. The topic will be "The Three Most Annoying Trends In Advertising." If you'd like to attend, click here.

August 04, 2010

A Good Reason To End It All Now

If you are looking for a good excuse to stick a knife in your head, I can confidently recommend reading an article in Adweek this week called "Talking Tradigital."

That's right, tradigital. 

Apparently "tradigital" is the new Cringe-Inducing-Buzzword-Of-The-Week among the digi-drivel set. For sheer lexical horribleness, it will surely take its place right up there with "infotainment."

According to the article, there is a "whole new breed of tradigital agencies." We seem to have a "whole new breed of agencies" every three weeks or so. How about we call a time-out for a year and instead of developing whole new breeds of agencies, we just develop some good ones. You know, the kind that know how to sell stuff.

This article -- if you can call a random collection of cliches an article --  has it all.
"Today's digitally savvy consumer has little interest in allowing you to define how he or she will experience a brand. They're people who do things on their terms."
Okay, lift the knife gently...
"What is a tradigital agency going to do better? It's going to integrate better. It's going to understand and maybe even drive the brand strategy. Then it's going to tell you how to bring it to life online"
...Point the knife carefully at your temple... 
"The tradigital agency demands a seat at the table, where all are briefed on who the customer is, what the brand's objectives are, and what strategies will deliver."
...OH NO!... NOT THE "SEAT AT THE TABLE"... (PLUNGE)......AAAAH.....I'M DEad.....

So I have a question for Adweek. When did you start to take lesson plans from the first day of ad class at bad junior colleges and publish them as "think pieces?"

August 03, 2010

You Can't Handle The Truth

If The Wall Street Journal is correct, the federal government is covering-up its knowledge of the falsity of sensational accounts of "unintended acceleration" in Toyota vehicles.

Earlier this year, Toyota acknowledged that it had problems with floor mats that might interfere with gas pedals and condensation in pedal housing that might briefly cause a pedal to stick. It recalled all vehicles that might have these problems.

But the recall led to weeks of hysterical headlines and congressional buffoonery over claims of another kind -- electronic glitches causing "sudden unintended acceleration."

According to last Friday's Journal, George Person, chief of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's Recall Management Division, who retired last month after 27 years, said that the NHTSA had inspected 23 vehicles in which sudden acceleration had occurred.

In all 23 cases the vehicles' electronic data recorders showed the car's throttle was wide open and the brake was not depressed. In other words, the drivers were stepping on the gas pedal, not the brake.

Person said...
"The agency has for too long ignored what I believe is the root cause of these unintended acceleration cases," he said. "It's driver error."
But this isn't news to ad contras. What's really news is that the government is refusing to release this information.

From the Journal...
Senior officials at the U.S. Department of Transportation have at least temporarily blocked the release of findings by auto-safety regulators that could favor Toyota...
"It has become very political. There is a lot of anger towards Toyota," Mr. Person said. Transportation officials "are hoping against hope that they find something that points back to a flaw in Toyota vehicles."
The government is embarrassed by the shrill ravings of grandstanding congressmen. The NHTSA is afraid of claims that it is "in bed with the auto industry." The press is embarrassed by its sensational repeating of unsubstantiated charges.

And the truth goes unreported.

August 02, 2010

Doing My Twitter Homework

In my never-ending quest to educate myself on the many marketing marvels that Twitter affords, I decided to do a little homework last week.

I read an article called What Your Company's Twitter Account Says About You. Foolishly, I had never stopped to think about what my company's Twitter account might be saying about me. Here are some of the things I learned.
  • If your Twitter feed is "...mostly retweets of nice things that other people are saying about you" you are telling the world "...we don't have anything interesting to say, and we don't care about you..."
  • If your Twitter feed is " engaging feed clearly written by humans, including a good mix of news, tips, deals, contests, photos/video and basic customer support" that means..."we're here in earnest and we care.
  • Then I learned that when it comes to excellence in tweeting, some of "the best we've seen include Starbucks and Virgin America."
So naturally I went to these Twitter feeds to absorb some of their excellence.

The first thing I noticed was that three of the first four tweets from Virgin were "retweets of nice things other people were saying." Figuring that Virgin must have lost its Twitter mojo, I went to Starbuck's.

Here are the first three non-retweets I found:  

"We're thinking of offering a Veggie Breakfast Sandwich. We have two versions & want your help. Let us know your pick"
Huh? I'm supposed to tell them which Veggie Breakfast Sandwich to offer? I have never eaten a Veggie Breakfast Sandwich in my life and if there's a God in heaven I never will. As a matter of fact, I've never even heard of a Veggie Breakfast Sandwich and just the thought of it gives me the willies.
 "Happy Friday! I'm drinking the new Ethiopia Limu. It's citrusy and flavorful."
Now this is some fascinating shit. A pimply intern is sitting in a cube in Seattle pretending to be drinking Ethiopia Limu. This is information I've been starving for! By the way, have you ever heard a real human say "citrusy and flavorful?" Oh, and just for the record, the next person who says "Happy Friday" to me is going to get a knife in the head. I mean it. 
"Who's listening to the our (sic) new hip-hop mix? Great tracks from Tribe, De La Soul, Digable Planets and Del. Learn more"
Amazing coincidence -- it was me! I was the one who was listening to it! Okay, I really wasn't. What in the world would make them think I want to "learn more" about some hip-hop CD they're trying to peddle? Are the twits who follow these companies really that pathetic?

The startling thing about all this is not how inane the subjects are. It's the attitude. These tweets have the tone of a condescending nurse talking to a demented gerontology patient.

Now that I've seen some of "the best" of corporate tweeting, my reaction is this -- you couldn't squeeze a thin-crust Veggie Breakfast Sandwich between the best and the worst.