George Parker: listen dude, Bob Hoffman’s new book on advertising is…awesome

As you would expect from my fellow curmudgeon, Bob Hoffman’s new book, “Laughing @ Advertising,” is a scathing indictment of the current state of the ad biz… But one done with a wonderful combination of sarcasm, obscenities and humor. I would encourage everyone making a crust from the profession to read it from cover to cover.

The plebs in the trenches, because everything they are producing is little more than stale crusts, and senior management in the executive suites, because although they own the bakery, they don’t give a toss about the quality of the bread, as long as their next performance bonus gets them that mansion in the Hamptons.

The book is a collection of previous blog posts, assorted fucks and other writings that Bob has managed to put out over the years thanks to the therapeutic action of copious servings of Ketel One. Or, as the destroyers of the English language populating today’s ad biz would say… It’s been curated, and I always thought that was about collecting stuff for a museum exhibition. Bob takes great delight in pointing out the Ad Biz’s ever increasing bastardization of language superlatives.

My particular annoyance is the use of “Awesome” to describe everything from sheet metal to suppositories. Bob has a wonderful chapter describing an imaginary email he receives from Tyler at the “NewAgeAdSchool,” titled “Enhancing Your Global World, One Awesome Click At A Time.” Every other word in this priceless email is “Awesome,” and to make things even worse, Tyler continually refers to Bob as “Dude.” It’s a totally awesome chapter.

Like I have done on AdScam, Bob has some wonderful stuff tearing down ace wanker poseur, Kevin Roberts, when he was chairman of Saatchi & Saatchi. This is the guy who invented something called “Lovemarks.” Roberts describes it as “Reaching your heart as well as your mind, creating an intimate, emotional connection that you just can’t live without.” Or, as Bob describes it… “The quintessence of insufferable brand babble.” Kevin travelled the world on first class flights, staying in five star hotel suites, and attending International rugby tournaments. All on his Saatchi & Saatchi AmEx Black card.

The bottom fell out when he said that there are few women in ad biz leadership roles ‘cos they lack ambition and would rather remain shoeless and pregnant in the kitchen. He was out of Saatchi within a couple of weeks.

Besides the Big Dumb Agencies and their respective Big Dumb Holding Companies, Bob hits on everyone and everything, from clients, the media, ad trade mags, conferences, and most of all the clients who daily demonstrate their complete lack of understanding of what the purpose of advertising is. As David Ogilvy once said to me, many, many years ago: “The purpose of advertising is selling.” But then again, most ad agencies have forgotten that. For years, they have been “Blowing up the silos and knocking down the walls.” All to create the “Agency of the Future.” Most of which have long since disappeared down the shitty tubes.

There’s lots and lots of good stuff in “Laughing @ Advertising.” And I think it’s all neatly summed up in the final piece…”Robbie and Ruthie talk about pickles.” In which Aunt Ruthie wants her nephew Robbie, who’s a big wheel in an ad agency, to do her an ad for her home-made pickles. Robbie explains that advertising isn’t really about selling her pickles. “It’s about developing a relationship between the consumer and your brand by having integrated communications that create advocates by over-delivering on brand expectations and creating relevant brand experiences and conversations.” Aunt Ruthie hangs up on him.

Listen Dude… Read the fucking book… It’s awesome!

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