Copyranter to digital marketers: Give up

Mark Duffy has written the Copyranter blog for 10 years and is a freelancing copywriter with 20-plus years of experience. His hockey wrist shot is better than yours.

You’re probably familiar with the late comedian Bill Hicks’ short bit: “If you’re in advertising or marketing, kill yourself.” It actually has nothing to do with advertising, but it is a dead-on accurate condemnation of marketing.

I think Hicks would agree that you new age digital marketing “gurus” have not improved things. Which is probably why you are furiously trying to make yourselves appear useful by blurring the lines between what you do and what advertising people do, by becoming more active in the “ideation” process, which is unfortunate, because you’re horrible at it.

This is mostly tech’s fault. It has provided too many platforms for too many of you marketing communications types intent on commenting on and revising every good idea, almost universally making them worse. To quote Hicks, you are “the ruiner(s) of all things good.”

But I don’t think you should kill yourselves, because there are scores of people ready and qualified to replace every single one of you anyway. No, you should get a new job that creates something, anything: Mister Softee driver, crop duster or even advertising copywriter (many of you are already doing this as I referred to in the above “blurring the lines” comment, but now study and practice at it and actually get competent at it).

The reasons why, in no particular order, you should quit:

Your new words are meaningless.
Marketing buzzwords are now a full-on worldwide plague. You have forced an unprecedented amount of new bullshit terms into “the conversation” like “branded content,” “authentic storytelling,” “online ephemerality,” “microinteractions” and “creative can come from anyone” (so can shit). Seriously, record everything you say one day, and then play it back, and then try not to vomit.

Your new job titles are meaningless.
In an extremely sad effort to make yourselves appear relevant, you now call yourselves Chief Inspiration Officers, Digital Inventionists, Brand Sherpas, etc. You all — even the CMOs — really have only one title: Marketing Associate.

You still create nothing.
Your PowerPoint decks and white papers and whiteboard diagrams with lots of arrows and headache-causing conference “talks” and pithy tweets aren’t anything. They are nothing, virtually immediately forgotten, forever, by everyone.

But you still kill creativity.
If you were just a benign thing, it wouldn’t be so bad. But you digital hotshots — carrying on your forebears’ legacy — continue to say “no” to truly breakthrough advertising ideas that would be remembered and lauded for years to come. I believe most of you do this because you’re jealous of something so simple that it can be looked at and loved on its own, without your expert explanation, or bullet points.

You’ve become wild-eyed click addicts.
It’s very unhealthy, this chasing the click dragon: for you, for your brand, and for the world. Get toasted with some fellow marketers, and discuss your addictions at length for at least three straight days. Eat lots of junk food.

You still call human beings “targets.”
My god, listen to yourselves: “enticing the target,” “nailing the target,” “finding new targets.” What are you — bomber pilots?

A robot can already fully do your job.
Silicon Valley knows this; someone just has to write the boring-ass program. To use one of your own expressions, you are a human “silo,” and your time is running out. (So is mine, but I’m old.)

You will never date interesting people.
Nobody is at all impressed with what you do except other people who do what you do but make less money at it. Caveat: unless you have several interesting hobbies and don’t talk about your job, EVER, outside of work. (This is my ad man caveat — don’t worry, the “ 10 reasons to quit you advertising job” post is coming soon.)

If Google says you’re dead, you’re dead.
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