Bob Hoffman laid a smack down on the crowd at Advertising Week Europe.
I was recently looking through my top 10 most visited posts and was happy to find “Why I Deleted My Klout Profile” among them. Happy, because of its contrarian viewpoint. Happy, because despite people’s continued infatuation with it, I continue to have no desire to turn it back on and no regrets about my opinion of Klout. I continue to believe it’s value is tremendously overblown. I don’t care if I’m crazy. I don’t care if I’m wrong. Mr. Hoffman has raised the bar for me in this regard.
Laura Monroe alerted me to Mr. Hoffman’s presentation at Advertising Week Europe on April 2, and I instantly fell in love. I so desperately wish any presentation I’ve ever given or anything I’ve ever written was as beautifully contrarian and provocative as this one is. He begins his presentation with this:
People who bullshit often don’t know what the truth is and don’t care. They are out to make a point, they are out to sell you an idea and they really don’t care whether what they are saying is true or not. The discouraging part is that bullshit has become such a powerful weapon that it’s hard for us to stop ourselves from using it. We use it on consumers, we use it on our clients, and we are now bullshitting ourselves. In fact, we’re so drunk on this stuff that we’re beginning to believe our own bullshit. There are people in our business who believe that consumers are in love with brands. They believe that people want to have relationships with brands. They want to have brand experiences and be personally engaged with brands. These people actually believe this.”
[vision_pullquote style=”3″ align=”right”] People don’t believe facts, they believe experts. [/vision_pullquote]
Near the end of his presentation, he quotes Jon Lovett, and the quote is worth sharing here. “One of the greatest threats we face is, simply put, bullshit,” Lovett says. “We are drowning in it. We are drowning in partisan rhetoric that is just true enough not to be a lie; in industry-sponsored research; in social media’s imitation of human connection; in legalese and corporate double-speak. It infects every facet of public life, corrupting our discourse, wrecking our trust in major institutions, lowering our standards for the truth, making it harder to achieve anything.”
And while I’ve attempted to make strong statements about the ineffectiveness of organic social media for advertising in different ways, I have never come close to nailing it as hard as Mr. Hoffman nails it here. I do however, take comfort in the encouragement he gives at the end of this presentation. It is a battle cry.
Attending an advertising conference these days (insert your favorite conference here) is like going to an insurance seminar. It’s full of bland, jargon monkeys who just repeat the same overcooked cliches of the same experts we see at every conference. We need people who aren’t afraid to get up on stage at the next big data or social media conclave and pull their pants down. We need people who aren’t afraid to break a cliche or two over a pundit’s head.”
I believe I’m up for that challenge.
I’ve shared this much of what he said here, at the risk of plagiarism, to entice you to watch the entire presentation. As you can imagine from the title, he uses some strong language to get his points across. The video is 45 minutes long, including the Q&A at the end. And It’s worth every minute. Get some popcorn and enjoy.
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Featured photo: Some Rights Reserved by Giuseppe Bognanni
Jeff Turner says
Another take on Bullshit provided by Rebecca Conner Nemeth: http://bradfrostweb.com/blog/post/death-to-bullshit-at-creative-mornings/
Great insights in every paragraph. Thanks Jeff 🙂
cognitive biases spoon-fed feedback loop = bullshit
Jeff Turner says
Those cognitive biases are the root of our self-selection into groups that lack, more than any other kind of diversity, diversity of thought. And those feedback loops just continue to get stronger and stronger. Over a couple of beers, I’m sure we could figure out a few more formulas. One of them might look a lot like Edgerank. 🙂
Vicki Moore says
Klout is in the same category as QR codes. Never cared.
I appreciate people calling it out – whatever “it” is. Maybe the word “advertising” should be replaced with “bullshitting.” It fits. Sugar free. Low fat. 100% natural.