Hasn’t Subaru has done a remarkable job of marketing?
They ride around in all-wheel drive, convincing us that it’s better for the planet to drive their air-polluting machine made of environmentally unsound materials than it is to drive some other brand of air-polluting machine made of environmentally unsound materials.
It’s an extension of their broader brand theme of love being what make a Subaru a Subaru.
Love for your family. Love for your pets. Love for your planet.
Subaru shares the love, but…
At the end of the day?
Everything in their business comes back to mining and drilling.
They risk being precious.
But they’ve done a great job dancing around it.
“Fight for the environment covered in clothing made of materials not found in nature!”
A huge outdoor clothing manufacturer loves suggesting their very expensive outdoor gear is better for the planet because the people who sell it hate environmental rape.
It seems that a righteous belief in stewardship of nature justifies selling products of manmade fibers, plastics, metals, and other materials not found in nature.
Don’t think too hard about that, and the facts are irrelevant.
Standing arms akimbo atop a snowy peak of marketing while proclaiming objection to planetary rape by selling products made possible by planetary rape is an irony worthy of an Ayn Rand novel.
Rebelling against the status quo is so fashionable!
I was just reading one of the many tags that came on a new garment by another company.
“Born from our rebellious philosophy to question everything, break the rules, and reject the status quo.”
Their products resist, defy, and oppose the norm--right down to good grammar!
Wearing their products tells you they represent freewill!
So, the company’s modus operandi is rebellion and breaking things? Only insofar as it doesn’t endanger the norms of manufacturing, supply chains, online sales and brick & mortar stores. (Just a guess.)
And the garment is resisting and defying the norm? Is it sentient? Give me two!
Rebellion! Resistance! Defiance!
Why does the garment have only two sleeves and one neck hole?
Why not three sleeves and three neck holes?!
Does the clothing come with a Molotov cocktail and a pocket to put it in?
The precious can range from genius to disingenuous to jabber.
But it’s all an effort to make the customer feel some way about the brand.
Skillful or inept, the preciousness is intentional.
The purpose is to take a position. And being precious with purpose and intent is better than being pablum.
“What is pablum?” you ask?
You probably know, intuitively if not literally.
Pablum is a one-time brand name for processed cereal fed to infants.
As a food, Pablum is an unchallenging mush.
The word has also evolved into a metaphor.
It means simplistic, bland, unappetizing, infantile, or (yes) mushy.
So much ad copy is pablum. The writing takes a weak position. It has no zip. It has no attitude. It lacks pizzazz.
It just lies there like a lump.
Even the name: “Pablum.”
The word is a lousy advertisement even for itself.
Has anyone ever said, “More pablum, please!” Doubtful.
The actual Latin root word for the name is “pabulum.” It means “foodstuff.”
At least the extra syllable makes the word sound like it's trying harder. Say it out loud: “pab-yew-lum.”
It sounds like it’s on the periodic table of elements between titanium and kryptonite! “Crank up the pabulum, baby!”
I was looking at “pablum” and thinking: We need another word.
Pablum is a descriptor for writing that is mushy and makes the customer feel nothing.
We want the customer to feel something!
Elegance! Excitement! Engagement! Electricity!
Electrium is the anti-pablum.
Are you writing copy? Is it just lying there? Ask yourself, “Is this pablum?”
And if the answer is yes, and you know in your heart it can be better, ask yourself, “Where is the electrium?”
Ask, “How do I electrify this? What electric words am I missing?”
How can I scare someone?
How can I make them excited?
How can I give them hope?
How can I make them laugh and feel the love?
Use your words!
Are your words are failing you?
Thumb the thesaurus!
Lexicon! Vocabulary! Onomasticon! Treasury of words!
Shorter sentences! Attack words! White space! Silence! Stomp into the room!
Find the Electrium and bring on the battle!
Let the customer encounter the conflict. Somewhere in the sell, there is a fight between good and evil.
Selling something good? There has to be something bad!
In a noisy world, words must cut through.
And in a polluted world, sometimes it sounds like shared love for family, pets and planet.
Even if it gets precious, it’s better than pablum.
Your Lean, Mean Creative Director in
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Blaine Parker is prone to ranting about any and all things related to brand. In many ways, he is a professional curmudgeon. While there is no known vaccine for this, the condition is also not contagious. Unless you choose it to be so.