Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Ben, Jerry and the Body Shop. And Honest Tea.

I like Ben and Jerry's Ice Cream. I like The Body Shop too, although I haven't bought anything there in a while.

And I like local-boy-makes-good Honest Tea too.

But they all have something in common that annoys me. They all seemed, at one time in their lives to be almost smugly proud of the fact that they didn't ever advertise. Or so they said. You know, our product is so good and our fans just love us and blah, blah blah.

OK two things.

One, they have all since changed their minds.

And two, they all sure as hell did advertise. Maybe it was fliers passed around Shelburne, Vermont, maybe it was signs on the windows in shopping malls or maybe it was label design and shelf talkers for retail outlets. And maybe it was just their web site and the SEO that went with it, but they all sure did advertise.

They just didn't do it in newspapers or television. At first.

And as long as we're talking about people who annoy me (well, nobody asked, but still . . ) right up there with businesses that (whether misguided, arrogant or simply riding the wave as the New Thing in Town) think they can survive without any sort of advertising at all are people who claim they aren't affected by advertising.

Often these are people who spend their days glued to their smart phone on Twitter, Facebook and the web. They are also the people who will run a classified ad or Craigslist posting when they want to sell something.

Look, I don't know whether it is the impressions created by televisions shows such as Bewitched, 30-Something or Mad Men, but there is something about this business that people seem to like to dis on a regular basis.

Except, that is, when they are trying to decide which pair of sneakers to buy.

Back when I was a corporate guy, I was at a company function and was introduced to someone's husband as the guy who handled the advertising and public relations for the company. "So you're the paid liar" he said.

I shoulda kicked him in the knee.

Or higher.

Seth Godin always has something to say

And having just returned from a trip, I can really emphasize with his comments about tourism. Anyway - enjoy.