Careers: The Secret Diary of Brian The Brand Manager

Another frustrating week at GBH in which I have failed to push the peanut forward by even one picometer. Meanwhile, the market for psychopops is disappearing faster than Paula Yates can say ’overdose’.

Another frustrating week at GBH in which I have failed to push the

peanut forward by even one picometer. Meanwhile, the market for

psychopops is disappearing faster than Paula Yates can say


Maybe I should have stayed in nasal hygiene. Maybe I am just too slow

for this market. We have scarcely started product development and it

looks like psychopops are finished. For the past two quarters the market

has been completely flat. By this time next year it will be half of what

it is now. In two years’ time psychopops will be history. In three

years’ time Mutant will just be hitting the shops.

It makes you wonder what is happening to marketing. There was a time

when you could depend on a successful brand having a life cycle of at

least ten years. These days you are doing well if a brand lasts ten


Entire new sectors mushroom almost overnight, explode into a gaudy

proliferation of niches and segments and then fade away.

It is becoming apparent, to me at least, that the ponderous old military

paradigm of marketing, with its vocabulary of campaigns, offensives,

tactics and strategies, can’t cope with such shifts in tastes.

We need a more entrepreneurial model that can cope with the consumer’s

obsession with novelty. Fashion is the one that seems most


After all, fashion houses stake their entire reputations twice a year on

new products that have been developed in weeks with no reference to the

consumer whatsoever.

We wouldn’t have brands any more, we would have labels - which seems

fair since that is the only difference between most products in a given

sector anyway. There would be no product portfolios, but ’collections’

instead; no ’new product development’, just ’brand couture’. Any product

over six months old would become a ’classic’.

Of course, most of us in marketing would have to turn gay. Mind you, it

would lend new meaning to the industry’s annual cruise in the


I can just hear the corridors of the Oriana echoing to screeches of

’Cooee, Brian’.

Those who didn’t go gay would have to develop severe eating disorders,

or in the case of companies like GBH, drinking disorders. I can see the

headlines: ’Alcohol chic is drinking till you are sick’. Fat blokes with

beer guts would become sex symbols and Gazza’s mate Jimmy Five Bellies

would be the new Naomi Campbell. How absolutely fabulous.


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