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
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
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.