Marketing cynicism
Posted by aogTuesday, 13 January 2004 at 09:57 TrackBack Ping URL

The Chicago Tribune had a short feature on Despair, Inc.. This company sells “demotivators”, posters and knicknacks that are parodies of the motivational items used by type A personalities and corporate management.

The article attributed Despair’s success to the modern, cynical culture. I think that’s a strong contributor but what I like about them is they are humourists. Real humour is not just funny but true as well. Many of Despair’s offerings touch a real vein so it’s not just sarcastic.

For instance there’s the slogan

Consulting: if you’re not part of the solution, there’s a lot of money to be made in prolonging the problem

Has anyone who’s worked in high tech not seen that happen?

The one I want has a picture of the Leaning Tower of Pisa with the motto

Mediocrity: it takes a lot less time and most people won’t notice the difference until it’s too late

That rings so true. I spend quite a lot of time in my job fighting against people who really have that exact attitude and I suspect most of Despair’s customers are in the same situation. If the person who wrote the article isn’t, that’s a whole different world than I live in.

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pj Tuesday, 13 January 2004 at 20:43

At my old software company we had a number of these. My favorite was the half-sunk ship with the legend, “Mistakes: It could be that the purpose of your life is only to serve as a warning to others.”

Geoff Shotts Thursday, 15 January 2004 at 16:48

pj, I have that one framed and hanging on my wall at home.

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Tracked from 'Nother Solent: Can you feel the power coursing through you? on 15 January 2004 at 20:47

Then take your finger out of the plug, stupid. I like success books, I really do. That's why I was so entertained by the product line of a company selling demotivational tools that I found out about via Thought Mesh.For...

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