Saturday, 2 February 2013

Brand Zero

For the last few months I have been a reluctant local observer to a pointless ‘rebranding’ exercise. In the last few days the noise from empty heads stopped and the ‘product’ was launched at a glitzy private reception.
It would be too cruel to identify it. Suffice to say it flopped within 10 minutes but the self-obsessed marketers were too dumb to notice the sniggering of their guests, many of whom were present by compulsion rather than choice.  Seriously (or should that be “not so seriously”?), I was laughing so hard I had to sneak out after less than half an hour of the most ill-advised antics since 1980’s rock stars (allegedly) served coke on the shaven heads of dwarfs.
As I said to some real creative friends elsewhere that night, “Now I know what David St. Hubbins and Nigel Tufnel did when Spinal Tap broke up.” Yes, it was that bad, and at least one screw-up was eerily similar to the ‘Stonehenge’ cock-up in that classic send-up of naff arty types with delusions of adequacy.
Many months back, I had visions of what we might be in for when I accidentally discovered that the chumps trousering a six figure consultancy fee were led by someone who insisted on being called Binky, who appeared to have graduated from Cheltenham Ladies College circa 1970, dropped some bad acid and lived off the commissions of fellow rich inbreeds ever since.
It never ceases to amaze me how expensively educated people can have nothing but belly-fluff where most people keep their brain cells. I was around folk like Bill Drummond and Tony Wilson when they were starting out. I enjoyed myself, and I have a real soft spot for eccentrics and mavericks. But that was 30 years ago, and they were working on a shoestring and investing all they had.
Dipshit corporate ‘characters’ who risk only the family lives of real people are another matter. And anyway, while the business world talks vapidly of ‘edginess’ or ‘thinking outside the box’ the council estate all-or-nothing visionaries I loved, laughed and learnt with were simply not constrained by a box which only exists as a sort of collective hallucination.
Another thing you notice on these occasions is that, sadly, most of the brightest, most interesting people on the island are working for peanuts in the hospitality industry. More accurately, serving peanuts to clueless wasters who were lucky enough to be born here, or to be the offspring of economic refugees from emergent democracies.
It was like that back in 1983, when I first arrived here. These days the nationalities have changed but the pay has not, and the working conditions have got worse.
I hope those bright and beautiful wage slaves go on to better things, because they deserve it. But like me, at least for now they can laugh at naff products spawned by the stunted imagination of those employing them for less-than-minimum wages.

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