hypocritical : talking the talk without walking the walk

September 19, 2007

Adobe Photoshop logo: You have chosen poorly


File this under "you can't please any of the people any of the time." Or "how not to launch a new identity." Or, to paraphrase the Grail Knight from Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, "You have chosen... poorly."

Looks like the release of the Adobe Photoshop "logo" went over like a lead balloon with the Photoshop community.

Not exactly a sterling example of "using the blog community to your advantage."

Nevermind the confusion between the Photoshop mark and the Photoshop application icon. The mark, itself, is drawing a ton of negative feedback.

Now, I've done a great deal of work around rebranding and brand refreshes, so I've heard it all in terms of how much people hate the work or the look or the identity or the voice. But this trainwreck is especially interesting as many of the users of Photoshop are actually professionals who work on identities for a living.

I haven't seen this kind of vented bile since the exceptionally awful London 2012 Olympic mark was released.

Can't wait to see Brand New's take on this one.

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Adobe Photoshop logo: You have chosen poorly

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September 06, 2007

Apple iPhone rebate: A hypothesis

[Full disclosure: I have been an Apple Macintosh user since the late eighties and I bought an Apple iPhone the day it was released.]

For those of you who know me or for those of you who read hypocritical, you realize there is an evil, evil marketer buried within me. One with whom I have to battle. One I have to keep at bay.

I'm a Darth Vader in the making, if you will. Even if you won't.

So when I see the whole Apple iPhone price-drop-rebate thing? The evil marketer cackles with morbid cacophony.

It's the same kind of cackle that erupts when people say things like "How did Prince get to play the Superbowl halftime show?"

And then, it changes into a sad, sad headshake. Pawns we are. All of us, pawns. P0wned.

Oh, I'm sorry. What Apple iPhone thing?

Well, in case you didn't hear, Apple recently cut the price of the iPhone by $200. And then, all of the early adopters whined. And then Steve Jobs became Mr. Magnanimous and gave us all $100.

Wow. What a heartwarming story.

If only it hadn't been planned from the beginning.

Here's my hypothesis about what really happened:

The Apple rebate? It's all marketing, people. Marketing.

And I'm willing to bet the price-reduction-rebate tango has been part of the product launch plan since day 1. Or at least day 2.

Apple wanted... nay needed to hit a certain number for the financial community. That number was based on the "new" price of the iPhone ($399). That number was not based on the "original" price of the iPhone ($599).

The original price provided Apple with a good deal of float. So that, if they could sell more than they expected, it was all gravy.

They were pocketing $200 above and beyond the required price of the product.


Because most of us iPhone buyers? We were going to buy it anyway. Price be damned.

But not everyone is as rabid as we.

They were planning to drop the price all along. And they knew people would squawk.

They have to drop the price to make it through the holiday season. No one is going to shell out those kind of funds for gifts. It had to be done. Well, Apple users will. But the general AT&T customer?

So, I guess the point, more correctly, is that Apple didn't need to drop the price. AT&T did.

So, to get more folks, they have to make it appear that they have "substantially lowered the price" of the iPhone.

Mind you, Apple is just moving the iPhone price to the required price now. (And I'm not even going to mention how the new iPod Touch has bolstered Apple's buying and production power, allowing them to make the iPhone at an even cheaper price than they could previously. Let's just ignore that thread for now.)

But they still have $200 extra for every iPhone that has been sold.

So now, as if by script, Steve Jobs comes out and says he's going to give us early adopters a $100 rebate.

They dropped the price, waited patiently for the public outcry that they knew would come, and then provided the gift that they had always planned to give.

Winning hearts and friends.

$200 - $100 = Apple is still $100 up.

What's more? That $100 rebate is a store credit. It's not cash folks. It's a gift certificate.

You know what happens if you don't use a gift certificate, right? The company gets to realize that revenue after a set amount of time.

And if we do use the gift certificate? They get that revenue back and move more product.

And they're still $100 up.

Genius. Marketing genius. Evil, but genius.

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Apple iPhone rebate: A hypothesis

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March 05, 2007

Mythbusting marketing communications platitudes

UPDATE (March 16, 2007): Just wanted to mention that there's a post over on More than a living that continues this rant, entitled "Know thy enemy: 100 ways to kill a concept."


Maybe I'm just attuned to stupid.

I guess I could really just stop there.

Oh wait.

Maybe I'm just attuned to stupid--and incorrect--marketing communications platitudes as of late. Or maybe there are just more of them flying around these days. More myths.

We're bandying them about like there is no tomorrow. Myths of marketing communications. Things we say all of the time. Things we say to reassure ourselves that our inadequacies are okay.

If you're in a room and you hear one of these, I suggest you head for your nearest exit. If it's your boss or co-worker saying it, reprimand them. If it's your client, reprimand them.

In no particular order:

  1. X doesn't matter.
    People like to utter this one when they're up against a deadline. We have to do this, this, and this. Do a good job on the first two. The third doesn't matter.

    Guess what? They all matter. No matter how well you do on the first two, the one on which you didn't spend any time will be the one people remember.

  2. We have to do x.
    This one tends to surface during pitches or assignments. It's a tell, belying sheer laziness, masquerading as rigor and valor.

    Guess what? No matter what the rules say, you don't have to do anything. In fact, most people appreciate a fresh take on the problem. (Be forewarned. These myths travel in groups. Accepting that you have to do something usually directly follows "X doesn't matter." As in "X doesn't matter. We have to do x.")

  3. They didn't ask us to do x.
    Do you seriously think the person assigning the task was cogent enough to think through every single permutation of the potential solution? And if so, why are they asking you? Couldn't they just tell you the right thing to do? Maybe thinking about it differently and suggesting some potential, creative solutions would be wise?

    Guess what? People who continually do exactly what I ask them to do, every single time, usually wind up doing less and less for me. I quit asking them. Because they're boring. And because they are not adding anything. I'd rather ask the psycho who comes up with the crazy ideas. Don't give me "reliable" as an excuse. Be reliably crazy on a regular basis.

  4. They'll never notice x.
    Yes. They will. Trust me.

  5. We don't have time to do x.
    Then we don't have time for this project, either.

  6. You're such an x.
    Okay, this one isn't a myth. You caught me. This is what people say to me when I reprimand them. Someday, I'd like to be an x of mythical proportions.

Got some favorites of your own? My list isn't exhaustive by any stretch of the imagination. Let's hear them.

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Mythbusting marketing communications platitudes

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February 19, 2007

Punk Marketing

UPDATE (February 20, 2007): Apparently, there is a "boycott" of this Punk Marketing book via Punk Stinks (via a comment on Try this on for size).

Know what it looks like to me? A lame attempt at a fake site with a fake boycott to hype the book.

Genius. And of course by genius, I mean idiotic, because I'm being a punk marketer.


Um. I just stumbled upon Punk Marketing.

Where exactly to begin? The irony is so thick in here I can barely see my hand in front of my face.

Punk Marketing.

This is either going to be the greatest idea ever, or it is a sure sign of the apocalypse.

Hoping for the former. Assuming the latter.

I feel ookie. Does anyone else feel a little woozy?

Wait wait wait. Deep breath. Deep breath. Maybe it's supposed to be ironic. You know, as in two well-seasoned marketers writing a marketing book and getting it published by HarperCollins (chez punk, indeed) to tell us how to break the marketing mold with punk ferocity.

"According to the definition on page 13 of the book by same name, Punk Marketing is 'a new form of marketing that rejects the status quo and recognizes the shift in power from corporations to consumers.'"

*Cough* Excuse me. Give me a second.

I mean, they're already selling tchotchkes in advance of the book.

Oy. I feel like I've been riding the merry-go-round too fast, too long. I seriously feel ill. But I'm sure it will pass.

I've purchased the book. A pre-order. So, I'll withhold judgment until I've read the book. Even though I won't, apparently, withhold bias or criticism, site unseen.

It's called "hypocritical" for a reason, gentle reader.

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Punk Marketing

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February 01, 2007

Accentuate the negative, eliminate the positive

We, in marketing, tend to live in a very Pollyanna existence. Walking around in our rose-colored-glasses. Constantly amazed by how great we are. How great our products are. How great our company is. How great we are to be imparting this knowledge to our customers. And finally, how lucky those customers are to even subsist in the same universe as we.


Alas and alack, this sticky sweet realm of positivity can get old. So sometimes, for the sake of our sanity and our creativity, it's important that we take some time to accentuate the negative and eliminate the positive.

I know where you're going. Where do all marketers go when they want to get negative? Competitive analysis. (Paul "Scrivs" Scrivens, CEO of 9rules, has a great post on this entitled "What don't they do well?")

I mean, those idiots over there don't know what they're doing, right? Their product is bad. Their customers are confused. Their execs don't know what they're doing. And their brand is completely in the toilet.

Silly competition.

You know what? The idiots over here don't know what we're doing either.

So, why not take that negative microscope and turn it upon yourself? Get really negative about your company and your products. Get mean. Treat yourself like your competitor.

Why is our brand in the toilet? Where are there gaps? Where have we made mistakes? Where are our weaknesses? Why does everything we say sound both trite and officious at the same time? What would it take to make a customer walk away? What don't we do well? Why do we suck?

Better yet, expand that realm of negativity and ask your customers why you suck.

You'll be surprised at how refreshing it is.

How much do I suck? Tell me.

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Accentuate the negative, eliminate the positive

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