A comment on my last post made a good point: as an employee of an agency for Old Spice, it wasn't really fair for me to call out Axe or BBH without disclosing that I work for an agency that handles a competitive brand.
In the interest of full disclosure, W+K handles Old Spice.
So while that commenter may have wanted to write off everything I posted as bias (how I love the interweb), that doesn't really jibe with all the positive callouts I have done on this blog for other "competitive" agencies...and yes...brrrrr...even competitive BRANDS, doing great work.
Amusingly, the person used an email address that masked their identity to upbraid me about a lack of transparency - "firstname.lastname@example.org".
More importantly, and why I actually felt it important to follow up, is I was accused of "bashing brands going 2.0" by that commenter, and a few others may have gotten that feeling too. Whooaa! By no stretch of the imagination did I mean to suggest brands should not engage in social media - quite the contrary. I have often stated that it isn't actually up to brands whether to "do social media" - frankly, their only choice is whether they will choose to participate in the conversations already happening and maybe start some interesting ones themselves. That is the reality. And I love it dearly. Maybe too much. SO GET IN THERE!
But I believe that "participating" in "social media" isn't just pointing at stuff. Brands just pointing at stuff without a point of view feels like either (a) a bad replacement for a good idea, or (b) a half-assed compromise with a legal department:
Brand/Agency: We want to do social media. Engage in conversations!
Legal: WHAT? ARE YOU HIGH? And get sued when someone posts a music track? I don't need [record label] crawling up my [expletive]. Who's going to vet all this stuff? What's the review process?
Brand/Agency: It's social! We have to let what happens, happen!
Legal: [stony silence]
Brand/Agency: S...s...soc...social media? Web...2.0?
Legal: [stony silence]
Brand/Agency: Right. Ah....what can we do?
Brand/Agency: YAY! Wild and crazy "Social Media", here we come!
No I was posting to call out LAMENESS.
A lame brand is a mirror that simply reflects the world we know now (hence my distaste for creative focus groups, an entirely different subject).
A dynamic brand listens well, engages provocatively and relevantly, and leads me somewhere new.
Do we at W+K always pull it off? No, not always.
We are all learning just how dynamic a brand can be. And how fun and challenging it can be.
No sleep 'til Brooklyn, No time for lameness.