Debating Lovemarks

Meeting Brian Sweeney the Kiwi end of the Lovemarks team was interesting. We had a good-spirited dialogue about Lovemarks. As in, we were both willing to hear each other’s points of view. I found Brian more than willing to acknowledge criticism and essentially his position was that the book is a work in progress. It will be interesting to see what happens next.

I suggested that Kevin and Co try out blogging as a way to develop thinking. Jack Yan (who was at the lunch with me)and I both thought that a public debate with Kevin and Brian would be a welcome next step in the dialogue.

I don’t think Lovemarks presents a vision of the future beyond brands. In some ways, it epitomises what I dislike about branding practice: too much promise, not enough coherence. I despair of many of the examples used; surely we as a species can do better things with our time than pretend that Cheerios are an efficient way to improve parenting?

That said, I am interested in a genuine dialogue about whether marketing can make itself truly relevant to helping humans get beyond our current unsustainable chaos. For me, that may involve moving beyond the Punch-and-Judy of polemics into a place where there’s a greater willingness to admit uncertainty and possibility.

So, in the spirit of transparency and openness, I hope Kevin and Brian will treat this as an open invitation to more face-to-face conversations, with or without an audience…

By the way, Tony Goodson has been writing some provocative thoughts on Lovemarks lately.

7 thoughts on “Debating Lovemarks

  1. Earl Mardle

    I agree about Lovemarks. In essence it is the epitome of marketing, in this case marketing marketing itself. I can never think of it without thinking of Love-bites, that primitive process by which lovers mark (or brand) their partner.

    Starting a blog is a good idea, but my feeling is that it is antithetical to marketing which depends in large measure on controlling the terms and the imagery of the discourse. Blogging, dammit the whole net, is essentially a conversation, and successful companies in future will be those who stop marketing and start conversing.

    But a successful conversation has open ends, open sides, equality, respect, humour and is guided by the collective needs of its participants. Marketing exists to manipulate needs towards the products and services that I want to sell.

    The day marketing gets on the Cluetrain is the day it will vanish.

    Reply
  2. hugh macleod

    Kevin Roberts is just a guy trying to make a buck, same as the rest of us.

    What’s happening on Madison Avenue is lots of people scrambling around, trying to find new, useful ways to justify their high fees.

    And they are failing. Which explains why so many good people from that industry are now on the street.

    Kevin’s is a gallant effort, better than most, but still, I don’t buy it.

    The reason I don’t buy it is simple: Love Marks is just a sweetened, cutey-pie metaphor to justify his company’s and industry’s behavior. But the basic behavior, the basic biz model remains fundementally unchanged.

    Reply
  3. Jack Yan

    I agree this would be a useful next step, Johnnie. I thought the conversation between you and Brian was most pleasant and that you both managed to cut through a lot of the BS.

    My own thoughts on Lovemarks have already been published in a couple of magazines. Given Lovemarks’ widespread nature

    Reply
  4. gapingvoid

    the love marks-cluetrain deathmatch

    “The Love Marks-Cluetrain Deathmatch”: I posted the following comment recently on Johnnie Moore’s weblog:Kevin Roberts [of “Love Marks” fame] is just a guy trying to make a buck, same as the rest of us. What’s happening on Madison Avenue…

    Reply
  5. gapingvoid

    the love marks-cluetrain deathmatch

    “The Love Marks-Cluetrain Deathmatch”: I posted the following comment recently on Johnnie Moore’s weblog:Kevin Roberts [of “Love Marks” fame] is just a guy trying to make a buck, same as the rest of us. What’s happening on Madison Avenue…

    Reply
  6. Stanley Moss

    Good for you, Johnnie. If Mr. Roberts really believes his big idea, then he should be eager for an open forum of discussion about it. I would welcome a sustaining public debate on this. We need articulate advocates from the counter-Lovemarks contingency, and the main benefit may be the re-education of Kevin Roberts himself. Get him to back off his convoluted message. The tenor of the Lovemarks campaign- and it’s nothing more than that- recollects P.T. Barnumism. Roberts needs to understand that there are fewer and fewer suckers born every minute. Lovemarks is essentially weightless blather taking up precious bandwidth, while there is other more pressing work yet to be done.

    Reply

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