September 26, 2011

Apple, Pepsi and Bullshit

Over the years, I have written a lot about Pepsi and Apple. These two companies have a few things in common, and one big thing that separates them.

They are both enormously successful. They are both conscientiously committed to innovation.

The difference is, when it comes to marketing, Apple keeps coming up with amazing successes while Pepsi keeps getting tangled up in its underwear.

It is my opinion that one major thing that separates the marketing abilities of these companies is something that is rarely talked about in business circles, but is a huge differentiator among organizations. It's the ability to recognize bullshit.

The world today is swimming in bullshit. It is drowning in bullshit. It is submerged, inundated, and deluged with bullshit.

This is a serious issue. One of the most harmful, insidious forces in contemporary business, politics, and education is bullshit.

Among the critical skills of talented leaders is the ability to identify bullshit in all its many varieties and disguises. It is my contention that one of the key reasons that Pepsi beverage marketing has been a mess is that whoever is running it cannot recognize bullshit. Below are some quotes I have published before from Pepsi executives:
" much are we encouraging the continual learning from inside our staff about how to leverage these technologies with inside of their communications and engagement plans but as well as just for their own personal communications and internal communication with inside each other and from employee to employee."
"[Before] it was more of a global coordination as opposed to a global management,...Technology, both social networks and mobile platforms, have created this global generation. We really want to connect our global brands with the global generation, and the best way to do that is with global management."  
In your wildest dreams, can you imagine Steve Jobs sitting still for this nonsense?

A friend of mine worked at a high level on the Apple account. He tells of a meeting at which the agency's planning director was presenting some typical planning hooey. After two minutes, Jobs put his head down on the conference table. After 5 minutes he lifted his head and said, "Lee, am I paying for this bullshit?"

Pepsi not only would have paid for it, they would have gone back for seconds.

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