Posted by Amanda Chapel Wednesday, September 12, 2007
Ya, know, there was a time when I dreamt of having his baby. What a guy... smart... young... charismatic. And then I woke up; rudely, I might add.
This is a sad tale. It’s about Joe Jaffe, a guy I once held in the highest regard, now sadly fallen from grace. Not long ago, the paragon of marketing virtue, he’s now the stuff of Strumpette. Ironically, this is the kinda stuff that makes even us blush.
Let’s start with the promise. I remember first having heard of Joe with his book "Life after the 30-second spot." He uniquely captured Web 2.0's potential for marketing. Mary Whaley from the American Library Association said: “Jaffe, marketing guru and former advertising executive, issues a clarion call to abandon the old rules of marketing and wake up to new opportunities. He cites the lack of imagination in big agencies and then offers a road map for change. The author presents 10 bold alternatives to traditional advertising, which include the Internet, video games and word-of-mouth advertising in which communities have the power to build and invigorate brands. His book offers thought-provoking insight and advice on how to effectively serve the evolving 'customer.' Although not all readers will agree with Jaffe, they ignore him at their peril.”
That was real!
Soon there after (last November actually) I had the pleasure of hearing the keynote he gave to the International Marketing Congress in Brussels. Excuse me, this wasn’t the same Rubel-Scoble-Cluetrain crap. This was genuine. This guy was authentic. Surely he was channeling some marketing god. I directly dropped what I was doing, sold all my stuff, bought a bus pass and like I said, made ready to have his baby. Well, okay, maybe I just set out to emulate a few key memes and hold out his virtue as the standard for PR 2.0. Honestly, all of us here were excited for him and his people when he launched the "new marketing" firm, Crayon.
DAMN. That's a character thing friends. HE USED HIS KID FOR COVER TO RATIONALIZE A SHAMEFUL BRIBE. How awful.
Anyway, word on the street is that his gossamer wings have now all but melted. The firm he started not 10 months ago is reportedly “effectively out of business.” From a staff of eleven, they're apparently down to five. Last June they lost their PR department Neville Hobson and Shel Holtz. Excuse me but that should have been a tell. When ya see the old whores leave town you know the well has gone dry. And more recently Crayon lost a VP of New Marketing (CC Chapman), its Chief Creative Officer (Steve Coulson) and even its CEO (Gary Cohen) for Christ's sake.
We asked Joe about the state of the union. He obfuscated, spun and then refused to answer altogether. So much for openness and transparency. We were otherwise refered to the statement he made a few days ago, Joe said: "Crayon is relaunching itself as a conversational marketing company, specializing in helping its clients engage advertising-weary consumers through the power of community, dialogue and partnership. To achieve this objective, crayon will focus its efforts on transforming prolific thought leadership and vision into cutting-edge, differentiated and prescriptive strategic solutions."
That's a mouthful. Gotta tell ya, it triggered my gag response. He continued: “This will be coupled with a rapidly expanding periphery of best in class freelancers, consultants, creative partners and mercenaries. This vision – to wrap our strategic core with an extensive network of partners that can help us activate our ideas and realize our vision with in-market programs – has always been part of the crayon plan. With these recent changes, we are putting that plan into overdrive." That made me puke.
Hello?! So how’s that any different then what you were Joe? Sounds like you plan to run a pseudo business on the periphery wrapped in genuine business gobblygook.
Posted by Bruce Pilgrim Tuesday, September 11, 2007
Talking to My Cats: 9-11-07
Remember Baghdad Bob? Last seen on April 8, 2003, Bob (aka Muhammad Saeed al-Sahhaf) had just issued his latest (and what turned out to be his last) statement about the invasion of Iraq. He said that Americans "are going to surrender or be burned in their tanks. They will surrender. It is they who will surrender."
Bob did not re-appear for the daily press briefing the following day and it was assumed that he had hightailed it out of there on the fast track to obscurity. Not so. Bob has been a very busy boy since then. He's been working as a PR consultant for a lot of high profile accounts, including the White House.
We've been hearing his words on a daily basis for more than four years. White House press secretaries have been relaying Bob's voice verbatim to the press. He feeds them their lines via special implants, an advanced version of the early prototype we saw sticking up under George W. Bush's suit coat during the 2004 debates.
Think about it. Before he joined the White House, would Tony Snow would ever have said something such as this:
"In response of the news of the day, the President was briefed before and after -- before, during and after the bike ride on ongoing developments in London, and continues to be briefed during the day, regardless of where he may be." (June 30, 2007.)
Would Dana Perino have ever come up with something as idiotic as the following all by herself:
"The President realizes that today is the fourth anniversary of the day he gave a speech on the USS Abraham Lincoln. As I said last Thursday in the briefing, that speech has been widely misconstrued, and I encourage people to go back and read it. The President did say we had a long and difficult road ahead of us. We're moving from a dictatorship to democracy." (May 1, 2007)
The White House is not Bob's only client, however. He's been consulting for such PR-challenged outfits as Jet Blue, Whole Foods Market, and most recently, Robert Murray, CEO and President of Murray Energy. Plus, he's been busy editing Wikipedia entries for the likes of Raytheon, Diebold, Dow Chemical, and Union Carbide.
I tracked Bob down recently and he looks really good. He's shaved off his moustache and traded in his Iraqi military uniform for an Armani suit. He refused to be photographed, but he did agree to share some of his favorite strategies and tactics. "I didn't invent them," he said with his signature smile, "But they come in handy when you're fronting for a dictator, covering-up malfeasance, or spinning a story."
1. Denial is your friend. Americans are unbelievably gullible and they distrust the media. Denial buys you time to come up with a better idea – or implement your exit strategy and get the hell out of Dodge.
2. Misdirection is an art. Disagree with scientists and other so-called experts. What the hell do they know? Say it was an accident, a weather balloon, an earthquake, or swamp gas.
3. Blog, you fool, blog! Slam the competition under a fake name, obfuscate, plant rumors and innuendos.
4. Bombast totally rules. Talk loudly, contemptuously, and authoritatively. It intimidates the media and chicks dig it. Don't be afraid to shout out to the world that you are not gay,
5. Re-read 1984. You are the Ministry of Information. Don't be afraid to ignore reality, remodel the truth, or rewrite the past.
6. Attack the media. Make them the story, with all their negativity, and their myopic focus on bad news. Those bastards.
7. Blame politicians in Washington, even if you yourself actually are a politician in Washington. Millions of yahoos in flyover country will buy it.
8. Pretend to be the victim. Here, you've been working your butt off all these years to serve America, and this is how they repay you?
9. Sue 'em! Or at least, threaten to sue. Even if you never actually get around to filing, it makes it look like you are the injured party.
10. Invoke the Almighty. You're merely a humble servant of the deity, a person of faith trying to do his or her best while accepting God's will. He (or she) works in mysterious ways, after all.
11. Develop amnesia.
How, I asked Bob, would you sum up your PR philosophy?
"If all else fails, parse words, back paddle, and split hairs. Discuss the meaning of the word 'is' and say things like 'that statement is inoperative.'"
On Thursday, March 8, 2007 at 7:41 AM, Ronn Torossian, President and CEO of 5WPR, emphatically promised that he was going to sue us. No real reason, he was just irritated by our teasing him about getting in bed with pornographer Joe Francis. Anyway, Ronn gave his obscenity-laced word that we'd see the complaint in 72 hours. It's now late by
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