Drivel of the week

When I wrote a column in Marketing magazine some years ago, I read something that struck me forcibly.

It suggested that if you make your stuff controversial enough, your readers will write your column for you by agreeing, complaining or commenting.

So I was pretty pleased when, year after year, my inflammatory stuff got more comment than that of all the other columnists put together, till I upset someone important and they fired me.

I was reminded of this recently. Ken Jones, a clever chap in Wales who reads my 51 Helpful Marketing Ideas sent me a glowing example of the thriving “how much self-centred tripe can we cram into one message” school of creativity.

Here it is: a firm explaining the natural wonders they think their name conjures up. You just couldn’t make it up – but somebody did.

“Why Meltwater? The term ‘meltwater’ refers to droplets of water resulting from the melting of snow or ice. Glacial meltwater forms streams and rivers which carry rock material away from active glaciers, before re-solidifying and becoming a larger, stronger entity than before.

The name Meltwater recognizes our humble beginnings, our contribution towards re-shaping the traditional archaic notions of media monitoring, and our objective to become the preferred choice across the global market we service. We continue to invest in research and development, to produce cutting-edge solutions at a cost-effective price, and thus – consistent with Meltwater fluidity – we develop our offerings to bring our clients increased value for money.

Indeed, you will come to recognize the Meltwater brand as being synonymous with innovation, inspiration, and integrity. The global re-branding marks a new era for Meltwater in 2007:

* To enhance our media monitoring capabilities
* To deliver you more unique, valuable features
* To open more offices across the globe
* To bring you more sources and content
* To provide you an even higher standard of client care
* To diversify and launch new product divisions under the Meltwater brand

At the heart of our service, we place great emphasis on establishing and maintaining a healthy, accessible relationship with our clients. We will not sacrifice the ‘personal touch’ in pursuit of these objectives, nor will we deviate from our client-oriented ethos. This is a very exciting time for Meltwater and we hope that you will be part of it.

Thank you.

The Meltwater News Team”

I just love it! Sheer unalloyed, rib-tickling delight from start to finish.

But I come not to scoff.

These chaps are doing quite well, thank you, which is no doubt why they can take time off to congratulate themselves on their wonderful name.

I think this goes to show that like calls out to like. Just as boring people are happy with other boring people, so those who love jargon are compatible.

They spend countless happy hours being mutually proactive, innovating, finding new paradigms, interacting and interfacing with each other, pushing the envelope, strategising, cascading things down the line, thinking outside the box, giving each other feedback, putting people in the loop, examining their silos, looking at the downside – and so on and so on and so on.

When my son – with whom I stayed last week in Brooklyn – showed me “The Office” years ago I didn’t even smile.

“This is how it really is, Phil. You can’t parody it.”

Thanks, Ken

About the Author


In 2003, the Chartered Institute of Marketing named Drayton one of 50 living individuals who have shaped today’s marketing.

He has worked in 55 countries with many of the world’s greatest brands. These include American Express, Audi, Bentley, British Airways, Cisco, Columbia Business School, Deutsche Post, Ford, IBM, McKinsey, Mercedes, Microsoft, Nestle, Philips, Procter & Gamble, Toyota, Unilever, Visa and Volkswagen.

Drayton has helped sell everything from Airbus planes to Peppa Pig. His book, Commonsense Direct and Digital Marketing, out in 17 languages, has been the UK’s best seller on the subject every year since 1982. He has also run his own businesses in the U.K., Portugal and Malaysia.

He was a main board member of the Ogilvy Group, a founding member of the Superbrands Organisation, one of the first eight Honorary Fellows of the Institute of Direct Marketing and one of the first three people named to the Hall of Fame of the Direct Marketing Association of India. He has also been given Lifetime Achievement Awards by the Caples Organisation in New York and Early To Rise in Florida.


  1. You’re very welcome Drayton. I knew you would find the piece interesting – if for the wrong reasons – as soon as I stumbled on it.

    I wonder how many people have gotten half-way through and then given up – I know I would have had I not struck by just how much waffle there was!

    The sad truth is that had I not picked up on your writings, Drayton, I may have once thought it was quite a good piece. For example, if the writer had explained to me that what he was doing was being “creative”, “new” and making the company sound appealing to customers by using words such as “cutting-edge”, “innovation” and “integrity”, I may have been swayed to think this was actually a good piece. It just goes to show how vital it is to have a proper grounding for one’s marketing ideas rather than accept such wishy-washy explanations.

    I am happy to report that “Commonsense … ” is giving me such a grounding.

  2. When will people actually get to the point. I used to work with a guy who used to be an Estate Agent. He would use a million long convoluted words he didn’t understand to say something simple. His 5 page emails to ask if anyone was popping to the pub after work were legendary. For some reason the fact that people now do most of their communication via a keyboard means that they try to sound like they are nuclear physicists!

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