Tuesday, 16 February 2010

The marketing conference, the keynote speech, the return to fucking greatness

Sometimes, life is cruel and unfair, like a teenage step-sister. But sometimes, life sees that you're in the gutter and propels you like Sputnik fucking 99 into the stars.

Yesterday was the former. Today was most absolutely the latter.

For the last nine months, I had been booked to deliver the keynote speech at Strategy - Winning Improved Performance Enhancement 2010 (S-WIPE 2010), the marketing community's most cerebral conference. It's a gathering of the biggest brains in the business, and previous keynote speeches have covered behavioural economics, consumer psychology, the psychic landscape of persuasion and the Jungian collective unconscious in advertising culture.

Now, nine months is a long time. Long enough for someone to get a conference organiser drunk, hassle them relentlessly to give that someone the keynote speech, drink some more, fall asleep, wake up, completely forget what had happened, spend the next nine months in total ignorance of the agreement that had been made and get an email a week before the conference to make final arrangements.

Many marketing professionals would have received this news with horror. Me, I just poured another Glen...something, and fired back the following missive:


Can't fucking wait. You cunts might learn something for a change. My title for the keynote speech is Why Consumers Hate Marketing. It'll be fucking fantasticicic.

Yours bye,


I then poured another Glen...whatever , fell asleep and forgot the whole thing again.

For that reason, Peter's call this morning did, I have to say, cause a momentary flutter of anxiety. But once I'd seen off a breakfast of omelette, roast potatoes, fried bacon sandwich, coffee and ham, I was prepared for anything. I took to my desk to prepare. However, during a particularly intense think on the sofa in my office, I fell asleep.

The taxi driver woke me up with a call to say he was outside and ready to take me to the conference. 'No worries!' I said and left, grabbing a bottle of Glen...thingy, a pen and a pad.

The journey went extremely well. After a couple of snifters, I began to write. The motion of the car, and of the whisky, did make me a little drowsy and I dozed off a bit a lot.

I woke as I arrived at the venue and walked, slightly very stiff-legged, into a backstage room where I had 10 minutes to gather my thoughts. I found that the remaining Glen...stuff really helped, and by the time a stagehand came to usher me on, I was ready for anything. I didn't strictly have anything to say, or anything prepared, or anything in mind, but I was ready. And the great orators don't need a script! They need a stage and a spotlight!

I walked onstage, slightly very stumbling a lot, and found the lectern. It was very sturdy, and just right for holding with both hands until my knuckles went white. Before me sat 500 of the nation's most refined marketing thinkers.

'Ladies of gentlemen,' I began, to a scream of feedback that shook the glasses off a Germanic-looking woman in the front row. 'I would like to talk to you today about...(I consulted my notes quickly)...Why Consumers Hate Marketing.'

Silence. (See? The power of anticipation. They were already in the palms of my hands.)

I continued. 'Consumers are people. They are people just like the people we see in the street every day. People with hopes and dreams. People with...possessions. People like you and...well, not like me, but like you. They haven't really got much upstairs, have they? 'Sheep with wallets' is what we call them! No, but seriously...we do call them that. Because they are, aren't they? Fucking stupid - and soooo fucking whiney and annoying. "Ooooh, this washing machine blew up and killed my cat, boo fucking hoo..." We've all heard it, right? Anyway, consumers are people...'

It went on for an hour after that and I tell you what - they fucking loved it. It was quiet at the start and then they really got into it - even though I fell over a couple or seven times. They laughed in all the right places (and lots of the wrong places - all the time, in fact) and when I finished with the line 'It's good to fucking speak to people who agree with my way of doing things - especially my beliefs about bristolas', they fell about, then applauded!

Afterwards, Peter was full of praise. I think he'd been at the old fizzy mind, because he said 'Are you taking that act on the road?' Did he mean a lecture tour? I might just do it - and it'll be fucking brilliant!

Why? Because I AM THE CLIENT!


  1. You missed a trick there Dave. Every client knows that when you get that email from the conference organisers a week before, the only thing you need to do is forward it to your agency and get them to knock out 200 charts of marketing mumbo jumbo. Best to keep suggesting changes right up to the point you walk up on stage just to keep them on their toes. And of course make sure you remember to not only get the charts but also the word for word script that goes along with it. As long as you're not too pissed to read then you're home and dry.

  2. ...and next time, take a laser pointer or several,(different colours are really good.)I find it's quite a good idea to warm the audience up with one or two pictures of the family, and get them involved, ask them some questions right at the start, like do they really believe in global warming ?

    Nothing too controversial of course or you'll get sidetracked by zealots. If you do, don't forget the chairman/speaker has significant legal power. Justifiable force they call it, to sort the troublemakers out and show them the door.

    No worries.

  3. i cant believe ive missed your appearance at the s-wipe conference. reads fucking brilliant. maybe, ill get a chance to rejoice in your greatness if you take that act on the road. in the meantime, i just continue getting inspiration reading your genius on here.