There’s an episode of The Simpsons where Moe opens a new bar.
His scuzzy old regulars come in and they’re confused.
The new place is strange and unusual.
Homer points to a picture of an eyeball which completely covers one wall.
“What’s that?” he says.
“Oh that: that’s Po Mo.” Says Moe.
They look at him blankly.
He says, “Po Mo: you know Post Modern.”
They still look at him blankly.
“Okay, weird for weird’s sake” says Moe.
That explains it.
I have a Dilbert cartoon pinned to my office wall.
The Chairman is introducing a trendy film director to the board of the company.
He says, “This is the director who’s going to make our new commercial.”
The director begins to describe his vision, “I see a cloud, it changes shape, and changes colour” he says.
“And while it does, there’s music. No wait: just a noise.”
The Chairman hesitantly says, “Then you mention name of our company, right?”
The director says huffily, “Sure, if you want to ruin the ad.”
That explains it.
I saw a brief last week, from another agency.
They were about to launch a product that had a significant advantage over the competition.
The brief went into massive detail about the brand.
The history of the brand, the vision for the brand, brand loyalists, brand rejectors, etc.
I had one major problem with the brief.
It didn’t tell me what the product was.
It didn’t even tell me what it did.
The whole brief was just about the brand.
Apparently the product is so irrelevant now, you don’t even need to mention it in the brief.
Because, according to conventional marketing wisdom, people only make choices based solely on brand.
Well not any more.
That may have been true in the WAG economy.
When everyone had so much money it didn’t matter.
All that mattered was what a brand said about you.
But that’s just ended.
People are going to have to make their money work a lot harder for them now.
Which means products will need to work a lot harder.
Which means advertising will need to work a lot harder.
Because right now, we’re moving into a Po Po Mo economy.