As you may have read, Prince’s death threw me way off balance. Me, and most of the social media-sphere. While my social streams teemed with tributes and personal stories, one brilliant Tweet by Chevrolet stopped me in my tracks.
It was simultaneously touching and reverent, and it made viewers feel as if Chevrolet felt a deep loss too. It was powerful and very, very human. I have no doubt that the brilliant mind behind the image had been moved by Prince and experienced real emotion over his death. That mind resided at Chevy ad agency Commonwealth/McCann. And as much as we might not want to acknowledge it, that ad sprung from the mind of a marketer.
We don’t want to think of it as marketing because it wasn’t intended as such (even though it will raise Chevy’s image quite a few notches for many of us). Which brings me to my point: great marketing never appears to be what it is. It never appears to actually be selling to us.
My background is in sales, but many moons ago I read somewhere that great marketing does one of the following:
- Plucks your heartstrings
- Teaches you something
- Solves a problem
Chevy definitely plucked our heartstrings. But the reason marketers are one of the most distrusted professions on the planet is because most marketing does none of the three things I listed. Instead, so much marketing assumes that we are fools and it pushes its bullshit at us assuming we’ll think it smells like roses.
Tonight, while wasting time on Facebook I came across a social media guru speaking to an audience about the power of social media. ALL of the standard cliches were in there:
The consumer has power they never had before.
Brands have lost control of their message and image.
Engagement is what you seek.
Community is the key.
The key to WHAT?
I love social media. I spend hours on it. I’ve met a ton of brilliant minds in the space, and I have used it effectively for helping clients market in ways they never could before its rise. But the jig is almost up on the ninjas out there selling their social media elixir. The reality is that shit is shit in any medium. If you write powerful copy it will touch hearts on Twitter and in the New York Times as a print ad, which is just what Chevy did with their brilliant image.
If you sell absolute shite on Livestream, Snapchat, Blab or whatever the social media de jour is, it will still be shite. Mediums do not make a great message. Great storytelling, great branding, respect for your audience, and hard work that creates brilliance is what great marketing is made of.
I’ve often said I hate marketers, but that’s not really true. I stand here with my hat off to Commonwealth/McCann; stellar work ladies and gents. What I hate are bullshit artists parading around like nouveau marketers. No matter how much lipstick you stick on your bullshit, we all still smell it.