emperors, clothes, and how to waste colossal sums of money
first of all, let me first say that truly gifted creative people are worth thousands more than everybody else in their creative fields, and maybe even millions, or, in some important cases, billions. having just had my socks blown off by the marvel that is jen kearney and the lost onion last night, only one night removed from having my socks blown off by the marvel that is southern culture on the skids the night before, is to be reminded that all musicians are NOT created equal, nor are they rewarded in any proportional sense to their talent, observing that the piped in tunes between sets last night included something breathtakingly banal, derivative and soul-less by U2, as compared to the vibrance and elan that was los sugar kings on the one side, and the lost onion on the other. which is all to say, if someone creates something truly brilliant, then mere denominations of cash can't be used to measure its value, and there's no reason to blink if it costs 100 dollars or 1000 dollars or even a hundred thousand dollars. (keep the "hundred thouseand" denomination in mind, cuz it comes up again in a little bit).
in my world, not even hundreds of thousands of dollars, but millions of dollars, literally, were just spent promoting the most insipid, pointless and trivial thematic tag line i think i have ever had to endure as a professional. the fact that my salary competes with such investments amidst the great corporate balance sheet, and that more than a few people along with me could be driving a whole fleet of brand spanking new cars, possibly enough to even save general motors, with what they've poured down the sewer on that drivel, is enough to drive any man or woman to drink. (yes, in addition to the music, i'm using that as an excuse this week). yet, this morning, sober as a judge, i realize that, no matter how colossally bogus such things can be, there will always be an example, and someone even more colossally bogus even than that, to come along if you just wait for it. and here, in my morning paper, (actually two days ago, since i'm kinda behind right now), is the antidote to all my professional discouragement:
"the city of lowell. alive. unique. inspiring".
actually, as ridiculous as those four words are together, it's not even that which crowns the accomplishment--it's the fact that somebody actually said that because they only paid the single source marketing people $160,000 for this steaming turd of a slogan, instead of the $250,000 they were paid the year before for similar services, that we've just somehow saved $90,000.
lemme get this straight--me and my taxpaying brethren and sistren have just dropped 160 large on something so embarrassingly bad that you know before the year is out we're going to have to pay at least that much to paint over the PR diarrhea we caused by releasing it in the first place. and we're being told that the best part of it is that we didn't lose $250K instead???
i'm even considering adopting this as my new best example of the concept of sunk cost, as in, once you've already wasted the first 160 grand, the best thing to do is put the whole mess into the crapper and flush before it taints anything further. but, no, here in beautiful downtown alive, unique and inspiring lowell, (see how it trips right off the tongue?), we hoist our five pound bag of s*** with the ten pounds of s*** in it right from the highest flagpole we can afford to find.
you just can't make this stuff up.
so what i want to know is how many people swallowed that little bit of throw-up they tasted in their mouths when they first heard this as this was making its way from the drawing boards at single source to the town manager's mouth the other day.
seriously. we just paid $160,000 to a company whose best marketing slogan they could come up for themselves, in a creative industry no less, is: "execution is everything". no joke. it's right there on their website. you can go have a look and see for yourself. you know i don't have the creative capacity to make this stuff up myself.