I went to a local grocery store today to pick myself up something to eat for lunch at my desk. I usually don’t go out to eat during the workday because it’s more expensive, I wind up eating incredibly stupid and unhealthy things, and I tend to wind up sitting next to a table of junior executives spouting buzzword after inane buzzword until I finally reach my boiling point and decapitate one of them with a lunch tray. That’s a misdemeanor in Arizona and the fines can be pricey, so it’s just cheaper and easier to eat at my desk while I surf the web.
Today, however, I was unable to avoid the MBA-moron crowd, as a couple of them had gathered at the grocery store’s Starbucks counter to share their business acumen. “Above all, it is crucial that we let consumers know that we are reinventing the brand,” said one of them while I searched the immediate area for a lunch tray.
I’m pretty sure that I’ve written about my dislike for the concept of “The Brand” before, but I’m too lazy to look it up, and since when has repetition kept me from boring people to tears? A company’s “brand” is the public’s conception of that company. For instance, the Apple brand is synonymous with “cool”, “elegant”, and “chic”, and that’s an important part of Apple’s business strategy because if anyone ever finds out that their products are made from baby seal placentas, the show is fucking over.
So a large part of the job for a company is to use advertising, marketing, and sometimes blunt force trauma to the head to get people to think about their products in a positive light. This is why you see ads like the following:
But here’s what you don’t do: You don’t talk about the fact that you’re manipulating your customer’s image of you for profit. That’s just fucking stupid. You’ve worked so hard to convince people that McDonald’s is a family company, even as half of your “family” has got fatty deposits the size of Buicks lodged in their arteries, why blow it now by talking about the deception? Imagine if they tried that shit with movies?
Bruce Willis: (covers bullet hole in chest)
His Wife: Nooo!!!
M. Night Shamalama-Ding-Dong: Hi folks! M. Night Shamalama-Ding-Dong here. Thanks for watching the Sixth Sense. We’ve worked hard throughout the course of this movie to make you think that Bruce Willis’ character is actually alive. But he’s not! He’s dead! That’s why the little weird kid talks to him, get it? Yeah, we thought it was pretty clever. Anyway, in the next minute, you’re going to learn the big secret: That Bruce Willis’ character is dead! … Although, I guess I just told you that, so you know that already. Hmmm… Maybe breaking the fourth wall and talking directly to the audience isn’t such a hot idea. Fuck it, we’ll cut this out in editing. Never mind.
Leave it to the clueless MBA type to come out of school having retained only the buzzwords and nothing else. “Say, Thaddeus, what say we leverage synergy this afternoon, reinvent the brand, and value-add our way to the top?”
“Wonderful idea, Pemberton! Let me right-size our headcount first, and then we’ll focus on our core competency until we shift the paradigm!”
“Excuse me! Is anyone there? I want a Big Mac combo, with a Coke, and a 10 piece McNuggets. Hello?”
At the previous company that I worked at, we had some big, huge Town Hall event where a very excited management type dude got up on a stage in front of everyone and breathlessly informed us all that we had (hang on to your hats now) A NEW SLOGAN! I know I peed my pants with excitement, although to be honest that may have been because of all the grain alcohol I had to drink to force myself to attend stupid fucking shit like Town Halls.
Anyway, with a big flourish, the management guy revealed the new slogan, which I have not altered in any way:
Bringing new channels to market
That was the slogan. Seriously. Some queef in a business suit sat around in his office playing pocket pool for weeks on end, and at the end of that time period the best he could come up with was, “Bringing channels to market”. Kind of makes you wonder what ideas he had that didn’t meet his incredibly high standards:
- Melting fish with our minds!
- Cornflake sodomy Hitler cat!
- We don’t care for Mexicans!
The job I had before that one was very similar in that they’d hire buses to bring employees to a large theater where they would inflict management upon us. One management guy had been hired three months before, and it was with great pride and excitement that he introduced the sum total of his three months of effort. (I am not making this up at all, it was one of the stupidest things I’ve ever heard and I lost 25 IQ points just from having been in the room.)
“I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about our business regions. We’ve got the Pacific region, the Mountain region, the Midwest region, the SouthEast region, and the Eastern region. Strong regions, all of them. But we can make them stronger!”
He then proceeded to rename the regions. That’s it. The Pacific region was now the Mountain Lion region, the Mountain region was now the Grizzly region, etc. Nothing changed except now nobody knew what the regions were called because their common sense names had been changed randomly by some asshole with a zoo fetish.
Stan in Sales: Hey, who’s in charge of the… Aw, fuck. Puma region? I don’t know, the one with California in it.
Lorraine: Oh, you mean the Porcupine region?
Darryl: No, there aren’t any porcupines in California.
Lorraine: Wait, what am I thinking of, then? Hedgehogs?
Carol: They’ve got possums out there, maybe you’re thinking about possums.
Me: THE PACIFIC REGION, YOU FUCKING MORONS! IT’S STILL THE PACIFIC REGION! WHO CARES THAT SOME FUCKER WITH AN MBA FROM WE-BLEW U WANTS TO CALL IT THE BUTTPLUG REGION? IT DOESN’T FUCKING CHANGE THE FACT THAT IT’S STILL THE PACIFIC REGION!!!
Stan in Sales: …
Carol: No, the Buttplug region is out near Kentucky, isn’t it?
This is exactly how office massacres get started.
First of all, you left an “ama” out of my name.
I take offense to that.
Secondly, all my daughters were born in the Buttplug Region. I’ll have you know it’s in Southern Ohio.
Get your facts straight.
Aside from those two factual errors, this was ….
I loved it. Especially the man in the business suit. Who IS that chap?
Mr. Shimmy-shimmy-coco-pop (can I just call you M?) I apologize for misspelling your stupid, stupid name. I will rectify the situation by never mentioning it again, something I notice you’re encouraging by pumping out and endless variety of shitty movies. Well done, sir.
The man in the business suit is, according to the website I “borrowed’ the graphic from, Pemberton T. Bollweevil III, a management expert in agrarian outsourcing and synergistic corn-holery.
Queefs never hurt anyone. Why ya gotta be that way?
Ah, so this is your page, then:
There’s somethin’ just not right about that boy.
But those douchebags in suits should be eliminated to provide more sweet, sweet oxygen for the rest of us.
Soylent Green should be made of these people. Then fired into the heart of the sun.
What??? You would waste Soylent Green? It’s FOOOOoooooddd!! Wait, I may have that backward. Never mind.
This cracked me up, especially the conversation between Thaddeus and Pemberton.
“Bringing new channels to market” is so lacklustre that
Oh, Thaddeus and Pemberton, will you never learn?
But, wait! How lackluster is “bringing channels to market”? You got cut off, and I need closure!
…so lackluster that I cannot be bothered to finish this thought.
Ok, good. Thank you.
The first time I worked for a company large enough to have constant pointless meetings I was about 24 years old. Before then I’d mostly been a professional nanny, and had only worked as a secretary for one small company which wouldn’t have bothered dragging secretaries into meetings.
So I get pulled into this meeting with claims reps and I have no idea why I’m there when all I do is touch files and mail.
The manager reads a … mission statement? I think that’s what it was. Then asks what it makes people think. Nobody speaks. Since I’ve been there a week, the manager decides to turn to me and ask my opinion.
I say, “it sounds like something I could hear at any other company.”
Dead silence. Stares. They’re all looking at me like I’m retarded. Oh god. The manager doesn’t even know how to reply.
FINALLY, one of the claims reps opens his mouth and mutters something about how it’s just rhetoric. I breathe a sigh of relief and never do anything but shut my brain off in meetings again.
God, mission statements. How about this? “We’re too busy getting shit done to come up with pointless things like fucking mission statements.” There. There’s your mission statement.
Doing our jobs. How ’bout that?
I want to start a company just to make that my mission statement.
Oh my god, The Brand. I freaking loved it when they wanted to discuss that in meetings. I worked in what is probably one of the most money grubbiest industries in the world. The unofficial slogan was – We Take People’s Money (which, I guess, is the unofficial slogan of all corporations, but at least most companies provide some sort of service or product).
You can brand that any way you want to, but it won’t change the facts.
I love the concept of a despicable organization trying to rehabilitate their image:
Dilbert comic, anyone?
My employer just came out with a (I shit you not) 40-something point Master Plan (’cause that phrase never gets old). One of the points says something about utilizing employee creativity and initiative… I’m all over that one.
Say synergy over and over and over until you’re either lobotomized or made CEO.
Also, if you secretly record that, I’d love to do a commentary on it.
I may actually try that. I’m currently silently saying “job hack” most days, but it would be fun to sit in a meeting and try your method.
Don’t forget Social Media Engineering. Oh god. It’s all over the place now. Rather than focusing on making better products – OH HEAVEN’S NO, WE ARE GOING TO USE SOCIAL FUCKING MEDIA TO MARKET CRAP PRODUCTS TO A NON-EXISTENT AUDIENCE. If you are some boring, coding-monkey, software company, who the fuck would like your Facebook page?
Most of management consists of some wanker/psychopath trying to keep his job while spewing out an endless line of bullshit.
Yeah, we get prodded to like our own Facebook page, and I’m thinking, “I don’t enjoy coming here in the morning, why would I want friends and loved ones to be exposed to this shit?”