So, I picked up an issue of Advertising Age (actual print *gasp*) last week and slowly perused. On the cover article, reading,

“Brands aren’t simply brands anymore. They’re the center of a maelstrom of social and political dialogue made possible by digital media…”

as an opening quote from Jack Neff’s article about Unilever CMO, Simon Clift.

Further, this was a direct quote from Clift while speaking at Ad Age’s Digital Conference – a conference (I assume) full of brains MUCH bigger than mine. And to think of it, bigger than Simon’s as well.

Ouch? Why insult Mr. Clift, you say?

Although sage advice, Simon Clift had a room chock full of marketing communications and advertising GENIUS, and he pukes out a statement like that? What the heck was he thinking?

I can only imagine the room groaning and writhing in their seats as he muddled through his “theories” about how social media and consumers are taking brands under siege – and that corporations, managers, and marketing ilk alike had better watch out!!!

Well, he’s only about 2-years late with that opener… is he just now getting it?

I think so…

About a year ago, I wrote a post (somewhat disturbing) about making bad branding decisions; and that, in time, social media would determine the success of a brand. Can you guess who the branding agent was I picked on? Mr. Clift’s very own UNILEVER!

In that post, I wrote a scathing opinion of Unilever’s choice of using ragged, skank-pop star, Madonna as a role model for one of their shampoo lines; stating,

… here’s a warning to Unilever. Madonna is a Brand Mess. Like a hair stuck in the back of your throat, she’s simply… ACK!

And there you have it… Ack and all…

If you were at that conference, wouldn’t you like to have more relevant information? More timely?

As a reader of the article, I certainly did…

How about HOW corporations should use social media for extension and definition of their brands? How about creating a discernible link between the need for social media as a Public Relations tool? (of which he touched on)

I’m sorry for the rant, but as an avid reader of Advertising Age and a HUGE proponent of social media in branding, I found this article and Mr. Clift’s theories to be pandering and, honestly, boring.

So, when faced with the opportunity to speak to your professional peers — the movers-and-shakers of your industry; if you can’t be unique, at least make sure you’re timely, truthful, relevant and engaging

Just a little advice…

Keep Cooking!
Andrew B. Clark
– The Brand Chef