The Good, the Bad, & the Ugly

(I submitted this piece for a professional blog I contribute to. They said it wasn’t weighty enough, too light. So I’ll tell you what, you guys can have it instead.)

Do your marketing materials depress you? Truthfully? Do they?

When you see them do you cringe with embarrassment? Has the initial self-satisfaction and smugness gradually dissipated with the realisation it was all a horrible mistake. Are your Marcomms materials a victory of imagination over marketing purpose? Are they any use at all? Really now. Be honest.

I once worked in a marketing department and an internal client described a piece of work we had commissioned and managed as looking like an old wine catalogue. And you know what? He was right. I was too close to it. And beguiled by an enthusiastic designer I bought into her hogwash. Bigger fool me.

When you’re out and about do you covet your neighbour’s brochure more than their goods? Do you visit their website late at night, longing for the day when yours will be as achingly stylish. The brilliant copy. The superb photography. The way it all just looks and feels and sits together. Their Facebook page with all their likes. The funky wee videos that suck you in and make you laugh. Those ideas you had but never had time to follow though. Here before you in technicolour, working  in ways you could only hope for.

And what about that big typo that just appeared in your brochure as soon as you opened the box from the printer? You swear it wasn’t there when you signed off that last proof. But, when you check back… when you check back. There it is. There it is. And what’s worse, you fixed something beside it. Suddenly. Slowly. Sickeningly. You realise. You caused it.

It reminds you of heading out on a hot date when a huge carbuncle appears on your nose staring back at you from the mirror telling you “you have no chance tonight my friend”.

And just like the big spot on your nose, you have to talk about it. You’re obsessed with it. Maybe if you tell people they will tell you it’s OK. You go through every grammatical contortion you can think of. It’s maybe not a mistake if you read it this way. Maybe. Everyone tells you no-one will notice but you know in your heart of heart they will.

And when some smart busybody does notice, you smart too. The stuff you spent so long discussing with the designer. You trusted them. You believed everything they said about your brand looking good.

But. And it was a big but. Did you read through it properly? That day when the proofs came in just as you were running out the door. “They’ll be alright you thought to yourself”. You’d been through the material a dozen times. But. You forgot about the one wee thing you changed screwed things up elsewhere.

And if you have a boss. What will they say? Bad enough working for them but on this one they gave you your own head. And look what happened.  All that faith in you. You let them down. The budget gone. Would you have to pay for it yourself. Pay for it with your job maybe. Imagine telling your mum you’d been sacked because you hadn’t checked your work. It would be like homework time all over again.

That sleepless night, sick in your guts. Will I get the sack? What will happen? Should I come clean or not? And when they find out, will it be an understanding arm around the shoulder or a swift kick in the rear. . .

Next time. . . How to avoid this visit to heartache hotel. Some dos and doughnuts.