The Musings Of An Opinionated Sod [Help Me Grow!]


Why Use 1 Word When 26,532 Will Do?
November 19, 2008, 7:00 am
Filed under: Comment

Could planners please remember our job is to take the complex and simplify it.

No, I’m not talking about simplifying it to the lowest common denominator – I’m talking about simplifying it in such a way that it can be easily understood BY THE MASSES, whilst still being motivating and pragmatic.

Contrary to what seems to be happening far too often, planning IS NOT about making the simple complex … well not unless you work for one of those agencies who has sold creativity, imagination and insight so far down the river that the only way they can make any money is by pretending they’re either one of those state-the-obvious-but-use-85,000-corporatewords management consultants or a make-outrageous-claims-about-what-a fucking-logo-can-do-for-business, branding consultants.

What set me off on this little rant was this …

For those who don’t speak corporatewank, “Leveraging on inverted pyramid thinking to capture the loyalty and attention of the low income segment you want” basically means “get the poor to buy and endorse”.

I am sure the 18 word version appeals to the wannabe intellectuals out there, but I reckon my 7 word version would be better understood by the average man-on-the-street, and given our job is to actually motivate these ‘normal’ folk, I’d say it’s better to talk ‘plain’ than ‘corporate’.

If anyone ever said ‘Inverted Pyramid’ to me, I think I’d be close to whacking them – which is abit scary given I’m speaking at the same event as the person running this workshop and we all know what happened last time someone decided to patronise me.

Oh goodie …


56 Comments

how the fuck do you get invited to so many conferences? how? are they that fucking desperate out there or are you the comedy act? or waiter?

and i bet the guy who wrote that “inverted pyramid” is a fucking planner. who else could come up with shit like that? what the fuck is wrong with it being called an “upside down triangle”? as much as i give you shit campbell at least you dont use words that make you sound a boston consulting wannabe fucking twat.

thats a compliment if you didnt know.

Comment by andy@cynic

Everything that is wrong with planning is in those words “inverted pyramid”. Advertising might be in the business of business but our currency is people and this sort of expression highlights just how far removed some planners are from everyday reality.

Comment by Pete

Putting aside Andy’s first paragraph, I couldn’t agree more with what he’s saying – though Pete summarises it better but that’s because he’s a people planner not one of these emotionless, corporate wannbes.

And the good news is that I got an email today from the organisers asking me to be on a panel with the guy running the workshop – and guess what the subject is?

Yep, “Leveraging on inverted pyramid thinking to capture the loyalty and attention of the low income segment you want”

As Andy would say if he was awake, “There’s going to be a riot … there’s going to be a riot” 🙂

Comment by Rob

Let me assure you Robert that you will never become the sort of individual who translates basic situations into technical expressions. You swear too much for a start.

By the way I love the expression “people planner” and Peter’s overview of what is wrong with the industry. Practitioners of communication should take note.

Comment by Lee Hill

And the winner of most insightful client of the year award goes to ….

Comment by Rob

Pete’s comment nailed it. What I find is that this “inverted pyramid” kind of bollocks that’s polluting the industry without exception is used as a substitute for substance, insight, confidence and ability to explain and tell stories based on fundamental human truths.

Comment by fredrik sarnblad

This sort of language is used to confuse and keep normal people out, or from questioning.

Stupidity prevails

Comment by bhaskar

You’re so right Bhaskar – but that’s people need to speak up because as soon as they dothe ‘oh-so-confident’ speaker will crumble infront of their eyes as they realise [1] their little ruse is up and [2] they don’t know what the hell they’re talking about either.

Comment by Rob

You could start your talk, like Andy is on this blog – It would sure get people startled !

Comment by bhaskar

Good point Bhaskar, but I’m hoping my AK47 will focus people’s attention as well 😉

Comment by Rob

i totally agree with what andy said 🙂

Comment by Niko

I know why you’re saying that Niko, and it’s more to do with the fact he’s right – on this occasion – isn’t it? 🙂

Comment by Robert

You know, you should welcome stuff like this. Without it, you would never have seen Sacrum.

Comment by Marcus

Put the guilt trip on me why don’t you!

Comment by Robert

Good idea, capture their attention by talking utter bollocks following a hideously expensive champagne lunch conference.

Did I hear the name Sarcum…?!

Comment by Rob Mortimer

At the heart of Sacrum, he talked warm and cuddly sense – this is just corporate twaddle.

If I was Sacrum, I’d be mortally offended to be described in the same breath as Mr Inverted Pyramid.

Saying that, all this bitching has made me very excited about the conference so I’ll see if I can find a place that will not only video the proceedings, but actually put it out so you can see how shit I am ‘in person’, so to speak 🙂

Comment by Robert

quick pedantic jab at pete: people are our currency?..yeah mate, inverted piramid is wanky corporate/planner speak 🙂

without creatives where would we be 🙂

Comment by Niko

That’s not quite right Rob. Sacrum used warmth and cuddles to communicate corporate twaddle.

Comment by Marcus

Corporate twaddle?

Sacrum?

Really?

But I’ve been using his words in my presos for ages and had great responses. But now I come to think of it, those great responses were from Marketing Directors at Landor, McCann’s and Futurebrand.

And Niko, can you stop trying to get into Andy’s pants, it’s very disturbing 🙂

Comment by Robert

“Leveraging on inverted pyramid thinking to capture the loyalty and attention of the low income segment you want”

If I wouldn’t give my presos titles like that no client would want to pay the 50hrs+ I claim to have spent on it.

Comment by Michael

@Robert

I have a client ex-Interbrand, and I know EXACTLY what you’re talking about.

Comment by Michael

since billy has been slacking on his macking somebody needs to be in support of “the hand of god” 😉

Comment by Niko

I like you more each comment Michael!

And Niko, I am sure Andy will be very grateful for taking up the slack for Billy, though the only reason he’s not commenting is because it’s his last few weeks here before he joins Mr Crispin and we want to work the bastard to within an inch of his life and get some value for money out of him for once. 🙂

Comment by Rob

hhmm so that’s standard practice then all over the world, working people hard in their last weeks 🙂

Comment by Niko

I bet he wont bother with the included lunch when it comes around.

Comment by John

It’s not just that it’s jargon, it’s nonsensical jargon. You can’t really leverage thinking. You certainly don’t “leverage on” anything. I’ve no idea what pyramid thinking is but it implies (like pyramid selling) that you reach more and more people, so inverted pyramids would “logically’ boil down to a single customer rather than the low income masses. Is it the loyalty and attention or is it the low income segment that you’re meant to want? And if you have loyalty you presumably already have attention so it should be and/or.Just shoot him.

Comment by John

If you enjoy going to conferences like that the odds are you won’t ever inspire loyalty through anything other than product quality.

Comment by Rob Mortimer

I love you Dodds … I’m going to ask, “But doesn’t an ‘inverted pyramid’ mean you are only going to reach one low income person?”

That is evil genius, and I wish I’d thought of it – which of course I will claim I did by the time the conference comes. Hey, you were the one that called me Mr Plagarist. Or was it Andy? Symantics 🙂

And Mr M you’re quite right but that’s why I’m going to speak – try and educate some marketing people that low income doesn’t mean low brains, values or aspirations.

[My preso is called, “Why Do You Focus On The Rich? They Can’t Even Spell Loyalty” … and it basically highlights that in many cases, the super-wealthy choose brands based on ‘fitting in’ with societies accepted ‘status symbols’ rather than any sense of personal choice/loyalty and as such, can change their associations at the drop of a hat if something else comes in vogue.

I do bring it back to loyalty in people with less income [see, I can stay on brief. Just] but I couldn’t help myself given I’ve got some evil data from some uber-luxury brands that basically shows how their brands value is almost universally reliant on media acceptance/celebration than any inherent attribute of the brand]

Comment by Rob

By the way, does anyone else think this is the first time in ages this blog has got back to normal? Well not normal – mainly because people are staying on topic – but the banter is kinda back? Mind you Age, Lauren, Seb and Will haven’t come in and shot off a few well placed swear words, but Marcus came back and errrrrrm … OK, OK, I’m a sentimental old fool.

Off now – have a top night/day folks …

Comment by Rob

fly in the fucking ointment for you campbell because there are certain times where using 40000 words is much better than 1.

take insults.

if i was to call you a “wanker” you might get hurt but not enough for me to feel pleased with myself where as if i were to call you “a planning wanker who sticks his fucking big nose into things he doesnt know about because the adwhore thinks hes quite clever when hes really a great big meddling shit” it truly captures the essence of my underlying feelings.

so there you have it. there are times when 1 word wont do as well as a bunch of the fuckers. no need to thank me thats what mates are for

Comment by andy@cynic

but i do love you

Comment by andy@cynic

am still here. just ridiculously busy with deadlines and showing a lanky midlander about town. and swearing.

rob, please throttle these people for me. i have no time to craft decent vitriol myself.

Comment by lauren

dont worry lauren, his personality will kill them even if his words dont

Comment by andy@cynic

Don’t worry about Andy. He’s a creative, so although he uses 40000 words, only 5 of them will ever be any good.

😉

Comment by Rob Mortimer

“mortimer” blah blah blah “is” blah blah blah “a” blah blah blah “cheeky” blah blah blah “fucker” blah blah blah

guess which 5 fucking words are any fucking good

Comment by andy@cynic

“fucking words are any fucking” ?
“blah blah blah guess which” ??

Comment by Rob Mortimer

youve just proved my point about planners 🙂

Comment by andy@cynic

See the word ‘meddling’ spoils your argument. Makes it feel like your discomfort at being argued with as opposed to real stupidity from someone else.

Probably should have run that line by a planner.

Comment by Rob Mortimer

The basic rule for planners should be that if your Mother doesn’t understand what you’re saying then people with even less reason to care will either.

Excellent comment by Peter, hit the nail on the head.

Comment by George

I agree with George.

Comment by Niko

mortimer hasnt anyone ever told you assumption is the most fucked up thing a planner can do? tut tut

george has killed people for that sort of thing. yes auntie “nice guy” george. well not killed but got very fucking huffy about it 🙂

Comment by andy@cynic

nice to see youre talking a whole lot of fucking sense these days niko but youd be better agreeing with me than george. sure the guy is a pretty smart planner but im in another fucking league

Comment by andy@cynic

Yes Andy, you’re 3 leagues below me. 🙂

Comment by George

i agree andy

Comment by Niko

i know germans funnier than you george. hitler for one

Comment by andy@cynic

better niko

Comment by andy@cynic

Killed in a metaphorical sense…

Assumption isn’t good unless its backed by understanding and insight. But at least we are usually on your side!

Comment by Rob Mortimer

then it wouldnt be assumption would it? i like you mortimer so lets call it quits, our energies should be used against campbell not eachother 🙂

Comment by andy@cynic

apparently Hitler enjoyed telling jokes about the British. He particularly liked Colonel Blimp jokes, not sex or political ones. He always talked nicely about England – he never wanted to endanger it.

Comment by Niko

so his fucking bombs were just a bit of fun? theres that famous fucking kraut humour again

Comment by andy@cynic

I prefer balkan knock knock jokes myself

Comment by Niko

Team Rob and Andy. Aka Team Randy.
Actually… maybe not.

Comment by Rob Mortimer

I’m glad you translated that for me, Rob. I didn’t even understand that “inverted pyramid thinking” corporate speak — and I’m in the ad business! (Albeit, self-employed.)

Comment by Ryan Healy

Hello Ryan – nice to have you come by. I see from your blog that you are a specialist in Direct Marketing, so please ignore any negative comments I’ve said about your particular discipline on this blog 🙂

In all seriousness, given you are paid to write this sort of thing for a living [but obviously in non-bollock ways], can you tell me the worst thing you’ve ever had a client say to you which ultimately was something very simple?

And Mr M – you painted yourself into a corner there didn’t you. Never make the mistake of thinking Andy is a mindless thug, he’s not – he’s a very clever thug who has an ability to take what people say and turn it against them in the blink of an eye. Mind you, he wasn’t always like that but when you’ve been married to the manipulative women he has, you pick up a skill or two in the surrounding misery and mayhem.

Comment by Rob

One of the political books I read about Bill Clinton talked about a strain of learning/philosophy that he loved very much which distinguished between the words complicated and complex. A complex solution can be a simple answer but has been worked through. A complicated solution is just complicated. I’ve been racking my brains for a few years trying to remember the name but can’t even remember which bio it was of the wunderkind.

Comment by Charles Frith




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