CK’s blog (specifically the post about P&G and “conversations”) got me thinking about how everyone is having “conversations” with customers and developing “relationships” and asking for (and playing back) “true stories”. Seriously, it’s getting a little bit nuts. I know these are the right words for marketers to be using, but I’m worried about the implications of their over-adoption. Specifically, I’ll relay the comment I left at CK’s place. I rather liked it, mostly because it combines my major in college (Diplomacy & World Affairs) with my job/hobby:
“Remember in the Gladiator, where Emperor Commodus is lecturing the Roman Senators? He’s talking about his supposed ‘love’ for the people of Rome, and while the words are right, his delusions and underlying intentions invalidate his words.
‘I call it love. The people are my children and I their father. I shall hold them to my bosom and embrace them tightly….’
It comes off as more than a little ridiculous.
Empty words are far worse than silence.
Consider that the goal of our war in Iraq is to spread ‘freedom’. And the goal of the IMF is to ‘foster global monetary cooperation, secure financial stability, facilitate international trade, promote high employment and sustainable economic growth, and reduce poverty.’ That sounds pretty good, right? But most of their programs have f’ed-up royally. And who knows the long-term results of the war. Of course, the good people in the IMF and in the US administration probably have the noblest of goals. But the programs they implement in the name of those goals have tarnished the words they use to describe what they do.
Now, when the US tells the world it aims to spread freedom, how many believe it?
When the IMF says they plan to reduce poverty, how many believe their words?
In the coming years, as marketers aim to foment conversation between companies and people, how many people will be willing to interact?”