This is the most exquisite and moving tribute to Mr. Jobs. Well done.
I feel like Don Quixote from Man of La Mancha – tilting at windmills. And I know, that sooner or later, the windmill will win (for those of you who never read the play – hint – it does not end so well for Don.)
But for now, I have drawn this technology line in the sand and have not procured the requisite Blackberry. My reasons for resisting this technology are numerous despite the clear and compelling benefits:
- I am not that important that I need to be reached within 20 seconds. As it is, I check email with a frequency that is akin to an addiction anyway. If there is a real emergency, then my ever ready cell phone is my safety net.
- It seems that a Blackberry seems to give permission for people to be rude, as in, “I am so important that instead of listening to you in this meeting, I will check to my Blackberry to see if someone more important than you have contacted me”. I dunno – it seems the self grandiose nature of this is rather irksome.
- You can not give good direction to a team using a Blackberry. The best you can use a Blackberry for is a; “yes”, “no”, “I don’t know” or I will get back to you later” type of answers – nothing more. It makes me crazy when I see junior managers trying to tap out a cohesive and meaningful set of directions using Blackberry. Please, please stop it. It does not work, but I see the seduction of it. With our trusted Blackberry you can answer quickly and you can mark that item off your “to do” list. It may be efficient for you – but I can guarantee you that your team probably has no idea what you wanted.
- Finally, as it is, too much of my day is spent fielding people trying to reach me. I resist being that in contact with everyone for so much of my day. ‘Nuf said.
So there you have it. My list of why I won’t get a Blackberry. I say this with some irony, since some of the reasons I gave above were not dissimilar to the reasons I may have given about 10 years ago when I resisted getting a cell phone. Obviously, that line in the sand was crossed within months and I suspect this one will be too.
While I don’t know how long this line in the sand will hold (and I am unfortunately not optimistic), I intend to hold the line as valiantly as Don Quixote. A quote in the play comes to mind and seems pertinent; “When life itself seems lunatic, who knows where madness lies? Too much sanity may be madness! But maddest of all – -to see life as it is and not as it should be.” I know Blackberry makes total sense … but I choose “madness”. At least for now.
I was somewhat prepared I suppose – Mac users have a reputation for being “passionate” – even a bit nut case-y. I was girding myself for a bit of a backlash when I wrote an article for Ad Age on how easy it is to be slippery with the truth in technology advertising because “heck Judy Consumer won’t know the difference anyway”. The article, for instance, questioned whether Mac’s emphasis on virus free operation was giving “Judy Consumer” a false sense of security.
While I may have prepared, I figured I am not important that anyone would really notice. I was wrong. The Ad Age article did catch the attention of a Mac daily digital daily newsletter, which took exception to my article. Politely, I will restate their point which was they felt that my lack of technological knowledge did not allow me fully appreciate how bullet proof Macs really are.
Got it – they really really disagreed with my point. I respect that.
But then they launched a guerilla attack that was pretty well coordinated to lobb every conceivable personal attack. Many were very funny. Someone took a fair amount of time to create reusable content for others to hurl at me. I was described as an idiot”, worthy only of being in the kitchen, a dishonest reporter (pretty funny since I am not a professional writer), an archetype of silly women everywhere who don’t understand technology. They even pulled the old, tired, “you ignorant slut” why don’t you get some “recreational activities” and stay out of tech. In short, the onslaught was saying – I was worthless as a human being and had no right to even invoke the precious Mac name – much less challenge their sacred reputation.
In many ways, the attack reminded me of a guerilla organization. They come out of the weeds – do their dark deeds and then skulk back into their holes. The editor deliberately took my article and edited it in such a way to suggest the focus of the article on why Macs can not claim their bullet proof status (that wasn’t the focus at all). They created a bunch of content so users could flood me with a barrage of personal insults that had no intelligence in it. They even accused me of being in the pocket of MS or the security company I quoted in the article.
And just like any guerilla terrorist organization, there is no honor in their fight. There is no desire to keep the conversation focused on the real issue — how real people must grapple with new challenges as we all become more dependent on the Internet.
Nope. The site wanted to whip up a frenzy to drive traffic. They did exactly what my article was complaining about – they played with the facts to satisfy their business needs. There was no straight talk in their harangue.
But I am consoled by the fact that I must have hit big time … otherwise they would not have bothered. I know others have been in this Mac Attack club including a recent article from Fortune’s Philip Elmer-DeWitt in his article; “Why are there no Mac viruses?”
http://brainstormtech.blogs.fortune.cnn.com/2009/09/02/why-are-there-no-mac-viruses. But they seem to reserve their special ire for “ignorant women”…
I thought the days of persuasion by coercion were only reserved for close minded fundamentalists. I was wrong and on this point – I wholly admit my error.
If any of you track how “Judy Consumer” is faring with the new BING, you will know that “Judy Consumer” has been pretty hard on BING. “Judy Consumer” recently dinged BING for its lack of delivery on its “decision engine” promise. “Judy Consumer” could not figure out how to get the decision engine price chart promised so beautifully in the spots by JWT.
I, Judy Marketing Geek, was also down on BING but for entirely different reasons. IMO, the BING campaign took two clumsy missteps.
First, they made the mistake of using the rational thinking of research and strategy to drive a creative strategy (what’s more rational than a “decision engine” position I ask you). That’s not so bad except the resulting campaign is all corporate bore that hangs loosely on a form but it still lacked the ability to really connect to “Judy Consumer”. It lacks “techno-soul”, it lacks creative sparks.
If one compares these spots to say, Apple, the contrast is clear. Apple spots are well grounded in rational thinking but give primacy to the creative spark that animates it all. Every Apple spot has that techno-soul. The BING spots don’t and so they can not really reach “Judy Consumer’s” heart. No spark and no campaign can go from “ok” to great (again think Apple spots).
The second misstep the campaign took and is the one I personally find the most difficult to bear, largely because Microsoft is held as a role model for technology advertising. The BING campaign failed to deliver something as basic as an honest, clear and simple understanding of what BING does actually do. Instead, JWT created a simplistic (note I did not say simple) campaign lacking in any real meaning? How does BING help anyone decide anything? Is the price chart just a gimmick?
“Judy Consumer” does not need to know the algorithmic nature of how results are generated, but she needs to understand how to connect BING’s abilities to what she does everyday. She deserves to understand the basics behind the big promises.
These two missteps represent mistakes made on the part of both the client and agency. Microsoft made the mistake many tech advertisers make – they confused simplistic messaging (that’s a bad thing) with simple messaging (that’s a good thing). Simplistic marketing tends to appeal to lowest common denominator and this often limits its ability to connect meaningfully, emotionally because it vaguely assumes “Judy Consumer” won’t understand anything too complex. On the other hand, simple marketing boils down your value proposition to a comprehensible and honest articulation of what you deliver. BING’s advertising is simplistic and assumes the “Judy Consumers” won’t understand much. That’s an underestimation and its flaw. Its simplistic promise is all big rational promise without its techno-soul.
But what mistake did a great agency make? They failed to drive the campaign to achieve a key magic ingredient – the techno-soul of the campaign. It lacks creative spark. I can’t say what happened for sure, but 12 years on the agency side gives me a pretty good idea. The agency strategy folks (left brainers I’ll call them) probably did some research (quantitative and/ or qualitative) to learn that people are dissatisfied with their current search experiences because they often yield lots of irrelevant results. With that key insight in mind, then multiple ideas were spun off and then another round of testing was done to refine the concept.
Next, the “rational” campaign was smoothed out and polished so that it played well in presentations and board meetings. It probably tested well too. Yet, in all this left brain, rational massaging to get the campaign sold-in, the techno-soul was lost.
In fact, the decision engine position sucks the soul out of BING. Why? Because that type of position goes against the concept of the Internet as a free information resource for all. Not all information seekers are seeking a decision. In fact, this whole decision engine positioning vaguely suggests a new class system within the Internet that favors those who can make decisions, techno-code for people who can buy stuff. Maybe it’s just me – but this approach seems to be limiting the Internet’s natural capacity for unfettered expansiveness. A creative mind would have understood that.
Now as any good client understands, after you’ve told the agency what you don’t want, you must give clear direction on what you do want. So now let me have some fun for a moment and I’ll pretend I am “Judy Client” thinking about how BING might be marketed. My brilliant agency has shown me reams of research to tell me that consumers often get frustrated with search results that are off the mark.
As “Judy Client”, I would want to hear how real people describe their BING experiences. I would ask anyone I knew about their experiences (much to my kids’ chagrin as I interrogate their friends on this type of stuff). Then invariably the inspiration moment would come with my husband being the messenger this time. He described how his friend “BING’d” for an obscure piece of information and was greatly surprised and delighted when he found it.
And then in a breath, I knew he had expressed the perfect position. BING can become synonymous with a new type of search … one that is great at finding the informational needle in the digital haystack. He even said the word BING with a “ring”, suggesting that the word BING is so auditory and should be more overly integrated in the campaign. Or maybe there’s an effort to create “He BING’d it” as a techno-colloquial phrase. I can even imagine how BING becomes the sound you hear when you get a great result.
I get that positioning and I think “Judy Consumer” would get that. I would excitedly call my brilliant agency kindred spirit to share with him/ her the insight. And I would trust they will know how to create life and a soul around that idea. In the end, no research can take the place of gut creative judgment. No amount of rational strategy will help an ad campaign rise above the mundane to greatness. It takes a rare combination of brilliant agency and client talent along with a healthy dose of intuition to create brilliance.
So remember Microsoft, if some clever agency person comes to you with a recommendation to establish “He BING’d it” as colloquial term, remember – you heard it here first.
Filed under: advertising, Apple, Digital Agencies, digital marketing, Google, Microsoft, TV Advertising | Tagged: advertising agencies, BING, BING'd, Decision Engine, digital marketing, internetnews, Judy Consumer, judy shapiro, JWT, techno-soul | 3 Comments »