Published October 27th, 2015
by Swanchita Haze

As someone who puts a fair amount of time, effort and – dare I say – craft into what I do, I have a very serious problem with agency professionals who bullshit their clients. There are still some agencies out there staffed with unqualified, uninteresting, lazy hacks, who wouldn’t know a marketing strategy if it was holding their man bun in place.

I really wish this wasn’t the case because it tarnishes agency staff and digital professionals who are very, very good at their jobs. Seeing talented teams miss out on work because a project has been awarded to a moron who learned what hashtag means and thinks they can develop a social media marketing strategy makes me weep. Now, I know that we working females are the emotional type, but I think you know I have a point here.

And it’s not just me. Digiday recently highlighted that clients have a pretty big problem with it too, which makes it a problem for anyone trying to legitimately make a living in digital. This must be how musicians felt in 1997 when Jas Mann called himself one of you. 

081

So we thought it might be useful to share what we’ve learned in agency environments over the years, and tell you how to spot someone who doesn’t know what the fuck they’re talking about.

Stupid Questions

Check their twitter feed. Do you see questions like “What’s Slack?”, “What does click-through-rate mean?” and “How do layers work in Illustrator?”. Questions that should be shamefully Googled in secret instead of blurted out in public? This is not just a bullshitter, but a bullshitter with exactly zero self awareness. Very rarely spotted in the wild. Endangered. Thankfully.

Job title includes “ninja”

See also “guru”, “oracle”, “evangelist”, “maniac”. Having no real understanding of the academic or artistic discipline behind the work produced by agencies, the bullshit artist will create insane job titles, that cunningly give no indication that they can do anything of any real use. They may even have their own website with a .ninja or .guru domain name. Lawyers love this type of bullshitter, as it’s notoriously difficult to sue someone for not guru-ing.

They’re scared of data

If your agency professional responds to a spreadsheet by hissing like a cat in a bath, they’re a bullshitter. Just as rabies victims develop a compulsive fear of water after a bat bite, morons quickly become terrified of data after one of their expensive experiments comes back and bites them in the arse. Commonly heard saying things like “you can’t track engagement in spreadsheets” and “yeah, I’m the kind of marketer that goes by, like, instinct”.

Eloquent Erseholes

There are some people who genuinely have and use a massive vocabulary in a way that sounds completely natural. Those people are Will Self and Stephen Fry, and they don’t work for an agency. If the bullshit artist you’re sitting across from can’t explain something in a simple, clear way – they don’t understand it. They got their job by baffling a director with sheer force of syllables, and making Google Analytics sound like sorcery. And this ersehole will bring roughly this level of depth and intelligence to a project.

“There’s this new thing called…”

Digital agencies in particular need to work with constantly emerging new and disruptive technologies. And things do change quickly; your mum’s on Facebook now, the millennials are all on snapchat, the teenagers are bitching about each other on YikYak, and Whisper is the portal to the seventh circle of hell. But to an agency bullshitter, it doesn’t matter where their audience is or what new technologies do – this bullshit artist has read one forbes.com article on beacons and decided they’ve definitely found the next big thing. And they’re going to charge you a lot of money to do a campaign on it. By the time it fails, they’ll explain that their shiny new marketing savior is “totally over, but have you heard of that new horse-themed messaging app, ‘jodhpr’..?”

 

The guy you’re talking to is this guy

Note: This post originally appeared on the Habanero Digital blog meaning certain parts are probably weirdly self referential or talk about ongoing feuds that probably exist almost exclusively in the mind of the author.

Digital Agencies
Swanchita Haze

by Swanchita Haze

The true identity of Swanchita is a mystery wrapped in an enigma. We receive her blog submissions written by hand using ink on parchment, delivered by a small Dickensian orphan boy.

< Browse posts

Comment