Thursday, September 24, 2015

From the Mutual Admiration Society

The minute you take to social media to start plugging your book, is the minute you are bombarded with requests from other authors who want you to buy their book.

It becomes an instant zero-sum game.

You can barely see the brick on my front porch thanks to all the cardboard boxes that have just arrived from Amazon. Chances are I'll never get around to reading them, but I kept my word with friends and colleagues and fulfilled the time-honored notion of quid pro quo.

(Now checking Google to make sure I used the Latin phrase correctly)

One book I'm glad I've cracked open comes from Bob Hoffman.

I've never met Bob. Once, I did apply for a job at his old agency Hoffman/Lewis with the hope of moving up to San Francisco, buying a house overlooking Half Moon Bay and making weekend retreats to Carmel and Pebble Beach, but Bob never hired me. I didn't even merit a return phone call.

But you know me,  I never hold a grudge.

Bob and I now know each other through the blogosphere. Bob is even older than me, I'm 44. And interestingly enough, it's old timers (dinosaurs, the kids like to call us) like myself, Bob, Jeff Gelberg and George Tannenbaum who are actually telling stories and making the most of social media.

This, despite the often heard knock, that we "just don't get it."

If you don't read Bob's blog, The Ad Contrarian, I suggest you do. After you've read Roundseventeen, of course.

Bob and I are cut from the same cloth, therefore it's not surprising that we share, or overshare, the same New York bluntness and philosophy. Here's a little excerpt that will demonstrate my point.

On the notion of being oneself in an ad agency, Bob suggests you don't.

To be successful in marketing, you have to be very careful not to be yourself.

* Do not speak in simple declarative sentences
* Do not express doubts about anything
* Do not tell your colleagues what pathetic kiss-asses they are
* Never disagree with highest ranking person in the room
* Remember, every sentence you speak must contain the word "brand" or "engagement"
* When a superior says the stupidest fucking thing you've ever heard, smile and nod.

Thanks Bob.

Now you tell me. Where where you about 15 years ago?


Parvez Sheik Fareed said...

"And interestingly enough, it's old timers (...) who are actually telling stories and making the most of social media."

Truth well told. It's funny to see social media experts just talk about social media. But when it comes to making something out of it, changing the battery in a smoke alarm is more interesting than the "content" of these jokers.

Anonymous said...

I would rather listen to a junior high school band play "Three Blind Mice" ten times in a row than read 90% of most ad people's social media output. Bob is an exception. I read one of his books several years ago and plan to read his new one, too.