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Well this is nebulous and repulsive

Posted: 11 Jun 2012, 14:53
by Cartollomew
Behold, an actual email, sent from a PR firm to an academic at a university:
From: Connor, Aimee (MAN-WSW) [mailto]
Sent: 16 May 2012 16:27
To: **********
Subject: Research request for Holiday Inn

Hi ******,

I’ve been given your contact details by the research team as we are looking to commission a piece of research for Holiday Inn.

We would like to work with an academic (ideally a physiologist) to find a formula to reveal that ‘a long weekend’ is the best type of break.

I have included the brief below and can confirm that you would be paid a fee as this involves research, creating the formula, providing a quote for press release and being available for a radio day in London ideally at the end of May (if possible?) or the beginning of June?

I’d love to know if you think this is something ******** Uni would like to be involved in? If so, it is a project that we are looking to progress quite quickly and it would be great to chat to you in more detail about the logistics etc.

Look forward to hearing from you.

Kind regards,


• Work with a well-respected university to find a formula for the best break... to reveal that “a long weekend” is the best type of break

• Position Holiday Inn as a leisure destination for weekend breaks

• Work with ********* University to identify what factors make the perfect break i.e. distance travelled, cost, duration = the best type of break
• Discover that a long weekend is better for creating long lasting memories than a two week holiday in the sun
• Algebraic formula and expert comment from ********** University used in press release that will also highlight why Holiday Inn is a great place to visit for long weekend breaks throughout the year
• Create a long weekend package after the research is completed to show how HI have responded to guests needs
• Radio day with expert and Holiday Inn spokesperson to discuss the findings
Sorry, did I say, "PR firm"? Silly me, not a PR firm - an "Engagement Agency". Here is what might once have been called a "mission statement" (blech), but is now apparently "rules of engagement" (ffs).

Science doesn't work that way - generally speaking, you pit an expected outcome, relationship or trend against a "null hypothesis" (roughly, that there is no outcome, relationship or trend). The idea of someone (anyone) paying for research to result in an outcome favourable to them is repugnant. Unfortunately, it's also old, and commonly used.

I did well in the brief encounter I had with marketing at uni. But I have felt filthy every time I successfully used all but the most basic techniques.

My commentary to their vomitous whatever document:

Rule 1: Say something meaningful. Anything. Trying really hard at being shallow is not the same as being deep. What the fuck are you talking about?

Rule 2: "You are not in control of your brand any more... so have a conversation with [your customers]". Are your prospective/current clients so desperate or stupid that they can't see you using the exact same techniques on them that you intend to use on their clientèle?

Rule 3: "Be bold and original and be the drop that's drunk" - yeh, I'm beginning to think it's the drunk drip that wrote this shit. If I worked for an "engagement agency", I think I'd have to be drunk all day just to get by.

Rule 4: NONE OF THESE THINGS MEAN ANYTHING. You have to specifically focus on where people are looking. Which is EVERYWHERE. What? This isn't Mystery Men and you aren't the Sphinx. "You must master your marketing bullshit, or your marketing bullshit will master you..."


Rule 6: Oh finally, you're saying something concrete amongst all the fairy floss. "First, we pick a destination. Then we decide how to get there. Then we go there." Well done, gold star. Next time: Try saying something incitesightful, instead of insipid.

Rule 7: Ah, the disclaimer rule. "Despite all the money you give us, really whether or not something becomes viral isn't up to either of us. So you're playing roulette. Don't sue us." Also, I hate you so much, man on a scooter in a pool. You represent everything that marketeers stand for.

Rule 8: We have something that others don't. And it's good. But we can't show it to you. But it works. Honest!

Rule 9: "Whatever you do, don't close your eyes." Also, here's a picture of a kid with a blindfold and a pinata. What the fuck?

Rule 10: We don't change much. Give us your money.

Quoth Dilbert: "If engineers were like marketeers, we'd all still be sitting around in a cave, trying to figure out if rocks are edible."

Re: Well this is nebulous and repulsive

Posted: 11 Jun 2012, 15:02
by Jmickey
This is officially the best thread on this entire forum.

+1000 internets to you Cart!

Re: Well this is nebulous and repulsive

Posted: 13 Jun 2012, 14:21
by Grouse
Oh Cart. Don't ever change.

Re: Well this is nebulous and repulsive

Posted: 13 Jun 2012, 14:37
by Cartollomew