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

Bullshit Brand Bingo …

Years ago, there was an email that went around that invited people to play ‘Bullshit Bingo’, the marketing edition.

Included on the paper were words such as ‘synergy’ and ‘optimization’ and the aim of the game was to take this to your next meeting and cross off each word as someone said them.

The person who crossed off all the words first, won.

It was a tongue-in-cheek way to take the piss out of the marketing industry and it’s obsession with using words that are the absolute opposite of the words the audiences we try to have a meaningful connection with, say.

Well it appears there is a new version of this game in town … except some people haven’t realized it’s a game.

Worse, it appears they think it is a brand building bible.

Have a look at this …

I don’t know about you, but nothing says ‘brand transformation’ like bigging-up the fact you have decorated your reception area.

Don’t get me wrong, a brand should infect and influence every aspect of how you behave and express yourself but – and it’s a big but – it should be something that is truly distinctive to your brand, not just a bunch of brand mumbo-jumbo words and corporate colours that end up making you look and sound exactly like everyone else.

I wrote about this a while back when I said the best brief I ever received was from Richard Branson for his now infamous Virgin Atlantic London lounge.

I also talked this with Martin at Cannes.

The reality is too many companies aspire for best practice.

But the reality is best practice means averageness.

Fitting in not standing out.

Differentiation without distinction.

Staying in the middle rather than reaching for the edges.

I am amazed how many companies fear being different and yet claim to be.

I am even more amazed how many companies then shit themselves when someone comes along with a point of view that is genuine and authentically expressed and executed so that it attracts culture rather than tries to chase it.

Apart from being a law firm, I don’t know who Pinsent Masons are, but if they aspire for their new reception to reflect their bland brand value with words like ‘bold, connected and approachable’, I think I’ll survive living in my ignorance.

23 Comments so far
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Did a planner write this?

Comment by Billy Whizz

If they did, it was a really bad one.

Comment by Rob

You forget Robert, lawyers are paid to ensure the language of their clients remains beige until such time they require it’s ambiguity to be used for aggression. This is simply a law firm doing what they are good at.

Comment by Lee Hill

I bet bullshit bingo in a law firm is incredible.

Comment by George

It is a pointless game to play George, as every word spoken would be eligible for a point.

Comment by Lee Hill

Pinsent Masons sounds like a Malibu shopping mall.
It is not a compliment.

Comment by Bazza

Hilarious because you are absolutely right.

Comment by George

Excellent post Robert however I see this exaggerated twaddle everywhere. It used to be the domain of American companies with their alpha male machismo on full display but it has spread everywhere. Do you think they really believe it or is it simply their way of justifying the expense? That said, with a lot of “business speak”, such as business transformation, I am sure most companies don’t understand what it is or what you have to do to achieve it. The only objective is to claim you do as it drives business or investment. Creating corporate narratives is how consultants get rich, which to be fair, is a pretty ingenious business model.

Comment by George

That is a very interesting perspective George. Highly cynical but very insightful.

Comment by Lee Hill

That is very dark. I like it and may even believe it.

Comment by Pete

That is amazing George. I hadn’t thought of that … and whether it’s conscious or not, it’s definitely a driver of their business model. The great irony being it means their whole approach to helping companies is tactical not sustainable strategy … but then why would I ever think it would be different when their is more money in keeping problems going than attempting to solve them fundamentally.

Comment by Rob

Many business models are built on the claimed delivery of the most expensive billable words – like strategy.

Comment by John

Very true John.

Comment by George

I am confident Pinsent Masons new reception will not look like the Virgin Atlantic lounge.

Comment by Pete

I intend to find out when it opens.

Comment by Rob

May I suggest a meet up in that reception when it’s finished? Let’s see how approachable, bold and connected they can be.

Comment by Marcus.

I think that is an excellent idea Marcus. If they call security on us, then they have failed to live up to any of their values.

Comment by George

Flash mobbing like it’s 2007.

Comment by John

all lawyers are scumfuckers. fact.

Comment by andy@cynic

Specifically divorce attorneys?

Comment by DH

some agency will show whatever shit their new reception looks like as part of their creds.

Comment by andy@cynic

You seem happy today. Hahaha.

Comment by Rob

i was then i came to this shithouse.

Comment by andy@cynic

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