We recently attended a seminal conference, an invitational affair that brought together some of the best minds in the digital world. Unfortunately, beyond the fact that it was put together by a guy named Jerry, we are sworn to deepest silence. The results of this meeting will very likely have enormous impact on your future, yet you'll never know what went on there. Moreover, the elite group of anonymous power brokers who met somewhere outside Philadelphia this past weekend are currently forming a sort of Trilateral Commission of the Internet.
Despite this cloud of secrecy, we did encounter one attendee who agreed to share his thinking with EGR readers. RageBoy® (we were soon to learn how he came by this odd appelation) is an advertising mage who advises some of the world's most revered (and feared) corporations. If you have never heard of him, it's no wonder: RageBoy® & Associates do not themselves advertise, and deal only with the very highest executive levels of the largest multinationals.
We made the near-fatal mistake of asking RageBoy® whether his concept of Stewart Brandship bore any relationship to Ogilvy & Mather's notion of "brand stewardship." At this, he flew into an eponymous rage and began breaking things. Deep research has since revealed that RageBoy® was once a close disciple of David Ogilvy, but that they parted ways over the use of reverse white-on-black typefaces, a rift that made the Freud-Jung schism look like a schoolyard spat.
Among the results of this outburst, he refused the interview he had previously agreed to, questioning how anyone so patently ignorant could possibly add anything to such an exchange. An autodidact from birth, RageBoy® seems to us to follow the classic pattern of the anarchist-turned-autocrat, but rather than lose an opportunity to present his views to EGR readers, we quickly acquiesced to the monologue form that has become his signature.
After recomposing himself (and hurling many gutter epithets in our direction) RageBoy® explained that Stewart Brandship was in fact named for the man who founded the Whole Earth Catalog. He indicated he had drawn enormous inspiration from Brand's "astoundingly effective piece of puffery" on MIT's Media Laboratory. Of the Lab's Director, Nicholas Negroponte, RageBoy says: "That this marketing genius could create near-religious fervor out of the abstruse and arguably deluded distinction between bits and atoms is living proof that people's cognitive apparatus can be fucked with at fundamental levels." Nonetheless, it is to Brand that RageBoy® awards the ultimate laurels for high-tech handwaving, and thus it is after him that he has named what he terms his First Principle of Advertising.
Let's hear what he has to say on the subject, shall we?
RageBoy® was the first
Ad Man to define and promote
Zero-Semantics Advertising and
Zen Schema Analysis (ZSA-ZSA).
Here he talks about Stewart
Brandship on the Internet.
The Twelve Monkeys
of Stewart Brandship
Our notion of Stewart Brandship is a powerful one, and we take our responsibilities seriously in this respect, especially where the Internet is concerned. Of course, our expertise in developing, deploying and protecting your Brand extends considerably beyond online concerns -- to the very heart and soul of your business. The choice of advertising agency is a crucial one, so we want you to think carefully before making a commitment. If your firm does decide to work with RageBoy® & Associates, here are a dozen decisive actions we can immediately undertake on your behalf.
|12.||Shut Down Your Web Site|
|There are many things that can go wrong with a web server. We can advise you on how to plead intractable problems and lay off the blame on some hapless hardware vendor. The fact is, your "Internet presence" is a ludicrous sham and there's just no way to fix it. Don't fart around with complicated but useless redesign schemes. Don't waste time arguing that your hit count will come back. Take the site down. Now. Blow up the building if all else fails.|
|11.||Cancel Your Tradeshow Appearances|
|Who do you think you're kidding with these dog-and-pony sideshows anyway? We can tell you with a very high degree of confidence: no one. Dump the brochures and 86 the flyers. And that sadsack video clip you paid a million bucks for... just hope that nobody ever gets a load of that one. Contrary to popular opinion in many quarters, your company does not need more exposure. You need to put some clothes on.|
|10.||Shitcan Your Legacy "Information Systems"|
|Nobody wants to take this drastic but necessary step. You've invested so much. And for so long. Believe us, we understand. That's why RageBoy® & Associates retains one of the most feared gangs of German crackers. One of these nights soon, without you even having to know it's happening, they'll trash your file system beyond any hope of backup or repair -- thus freeing your organization to join the 20th Century at last.|
|9.||Turn the Tables on the Jackboots|
|We'll identify your best people. You know: the ones you always trot out as scapegoats for your most embarrassing bad calls and unforgivably egregious blunders. In short order, we'll discover where you've buried the creative talent within your organization. Pretty soon you'll be dancing to their gratuitous orders and whimsical demands.|
|8.||Deflate the Windbags|
|You admit you don't know what you're doing. Why then hand over the critical communication of your objectives to the chowderheads in your Public Relations department? These well-meaning but misguided souls actually believe the crap they're peddling, and thus lack any semblance of external credibility. We know how to handle these people. Trust us.|
|7.||Put the Art Department on Permanent Leave|
|Where did these Rembrandts get their training, Famous Artists School? But it's not their fault, really. All they've ever done is crank out the graphical equivalent of computer documentation to satisfy the turgid specifications your Marketing ciphers thought up. Don't lay them off, just send them out to draw the pretty trees -- say somewhere like the Yucatan Peninsula. Unless, of course, you want your corporate identity to remind customers and prospects of Motel 8.|
|6.||Get a Life|
|Forget all this Corporate Culture horseshit. None of your people believes a word of it anyway. Did your Flavor-of-the-Month management style ever bring in an extra ounce of productivity? Result in one iota of innovation? Of course not. Listen. Lose the tie; kick off the wing-tips. Loosen up. Learn to laugh at yourself every once in a while. Hell, your customers do it all the time!|
|5.||Get a Product|
|While you're at it, take a long hard look at that product line. Do you really need another high-powered market research outfit to tell you why nobody's buying? Face it: this stuff is shit! But take heart. We can help you identify new opportunities better suited to your skills. For instance, there is lucrative potential in waste management.|
|4.||Keep Senior Managers Away from Terminals|
|Tired of telegraphing your cluelessness to the world? Of course you are, but what to do? Easy. Make sure every senior person in your operation has a fax machine, a cellular telephone -- and nothing else! The last thing you need is for one of these bozos to get online. Most businesses are doing OK in this department already. But it never hurts to make certain that nobody important is logging in.|
|3.||Have a Fire|
|You're insured, right? Well, what are you waiting for? Those mountains of obsolete user manuals you published just last month, that vacuum-tube mainframe you finally ripped out, those two million over-optimistic CD-ROMs of next year's annual report... We know you've got this stuff. We've seen it. So, you were planning to have a yard sale maybe? Look: you buy the kerosene; we light the match. Wouldn't it be nice if everything in life could be this simple?|
|2.||Off Your CEO|
|Everybody knows the Top Gun is the real problem, but everybody's scared shitless of this individual. Well, not us. And to prove it, we have CIA-trained disappearance squads standing by on seven continents. Any one of our seasoned operatives would be only too happy to take out your Chief Executive. Just give the word and consider it done.|
|1.||Tell the Truth|
|We realize that, compared to the rest, this one's pretty radical. Not every company can face the unvarnished facts of the situation it has created for itself. That's why, when it takes more courage than they can muster, many companies call on us to do their dirty work. Who wants to admit that their corporate strategy is bankrupt, that stockholders are fleeing like half-drowned rats or that the R&D pipeline has been dry as a bone for 15 years? For RageBoy® & Associates, it's all in a day's work. We'll tell the world what buttheads you really are -- and you can respect yourselves in the morning.|
Most people think of RageBoy® & Associates simply as an advertising firm.
We hope this brief reconnaissance has broadened your view
of the many ways we can work with you that go well beyond
flogging your sad and sagging image.
Still, this hardly scratches the surface
of what we mean by Stewart Brandship.
Ultimately, we won't be satisfied until
we're running your entire operation.
After all, it's clear that you can't!
Some of you have asked whether I'm still at IBM. Absolutely. Of course, the views expressed here do not necessarily reflect those of the organization as a whole. Just in case you wondered.
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Entropy Gradient Reversals CopyLeft Christopher Locke firstname.lastname@example.org http://www.rageboy.com
"reality leaves a lot to the imagination..." John Lennon