08 June 2009

Pretend I Used A Hilarious Acronym For B&T Here

I think every blogger says to themselves at some point, "I will not use my blog for personal rants about brands that piss me off or do me wrong". But, I also think that every blogger breaks this from time to time. That's what I'm doing today. And so...
Dear Tim Addington,

Hey dude, what's happening? Staying out of trouble and what not?

What is the word for the opposite of an evangelist? Because that's what I am when it comes to anything print. But with that said, I don't mind your magazine. I think you could probably make it a tad cheaper for students like myself, which would definitely increase your subscription numbers because students are always trying to convince themselves they're doing something important and serious about their career like subscribing to industry magazines... but let's save that for another blog post.

I have a couple of problems.

My subscription is about to end and you kindly sent me a letter reminding me to update it. I like that. An email would have sufficed but I don't mind, I understand you were born before 1980. As an existing and loving customer a yearly subscription was going to cost me $175 and $349 for two years. Except I went to the website and the prices are $119 and $229 respectively. That's a fairly substantial difference, no?

I also have a problem with the daily email you send me. Ignoring the fact you pretty much cover everything I've already read on my RSS Feed, Mumbrella and Campaign Brief, you send it in a fucking pdf file. On the rare occasion I actually want to click on an article, I have to download the whole thing. Why aren't you doing these as individual blog posts?

And my third point is about what you're doing on social media. Your Twitter account actually makes me want to break my fingers as I slam the screen of my notebook down on top of them. Also, I've raised these issues a number of times on Twitter and started many angry conversations, yet you've never gotten in touch. Why Tim, why?

I'm going to give you the benefit of the doubt this time and I've just subscribed for another year. Yes, you're welcome. But maybe you need to buzz me or shoot me through an email some time so we can chat about some of this stuff?

Based on your Twitter performance I imagine you're not monitoring blogs either so I'll send this through to you directly Timmy. You're more than welcome to use this as a letter to the editor. ;]

Zac Martin

34 comments:

  1. Dude, question , why do you post your letter on your blog as your first port-of-call?



    This is just my style/opinion, but I recon you gotta at least give the bloke, or any brand for that matter, the chance to answer your queries properly. I would send the email to the person directly first and then if I wasn’t happy with the response then it’s on like Donkey Kong! In fact, I have a post taking someone to task because I wasn’t happy with their response to an email (I was tempted to post the email on my blog but thought I would at least fight fair to start with) ... it's on the drawing board.



    The thing is, how would you feel if someone had a problem with something you did or said in the middle of a crowded shopping centre and, instead of saying to you directly “hey, blah blah blah”, they stood up on a chair and shouted at you about what you did wrong?



    Would hardly make you feel like coming to the party and apologising or changing your ways. Instead you’d probably say “fuck you!” and walk away.



    It strikes me as strange because there is an old lien of thought that if someone takes the time to complain to you then it is good thing. It is a good thing because the person wants to continue the relationship but they also want you to fix the problem. It is the complains you don’t hear about that should worry you.



    Is your motive any more than being a self-confessed fire starter?



    BTW - I recon all your comments and points are completely on the money :)

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  2. Aight Oyster, you raise some pretty good points. Here is my counter.

    Newspapers encourage Letters to the Editor, which are broadcast in a very public manner. And by doing this in public, I can see if anyone else has any similar problems and if so then it's more likely to cause change instead of just being one grumpy letter writer. This is also a very transparent and open way of doing it, which I feel is more likely to make a difference.

    I have spoken about this a number of times on Twitter, albeit still a public place, to which they've never responded. I also think that brands are not people, some of which are for the most part faceless, and therefore don't neccessarily require the same approach.

    And for the most part, this isn't meant to be taken too seriously, hence the couple of jokes I attempted to throw in there. I still want my point across but I also felt the need to put a post on my blog yesterday.

    Maybe it is just me starting fires though. But if no one does, how will we keep warm? [end wanky analogy]

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  3. Said it on Twitter but will say it here too, I met Tim last week and mentioned the Twitter account. The @bandt account is not setup by Reed Business. It's an auto-RSS feed and yes, I don't think they have monitored conversations because I mentioned that I had read a lot of negative tweets about it which they weren't aware about.

    Coming from my experience at Marketing magazine (where I believe we were the first Australian publisher on Twitter *correct me if you know of another*), firstly, I suggested that they should declare that the account is not theirs, which could include messages in print and online. And, secondly before getting into the space, try contacting the account owner (who I'm sure is @nichodges since he is the only one being followed). The account already has 1,200-plus followers, so, if they can have a mutual handover, a little like yourself and Connex) that would be an ideal outcome.

    I think journos working in the marketing and advertising arena have a hard time – and I'm talking generally here. You see, their audience expects them to be as savvy and as knowledgeable about marketing as they are. It's one thing writing a decent news story or feature about marketing, but it's another having a blue-chip marketing education, and marketing and business experience. You only learn so much about business from being a newspaper cadet from age 17. And, perhaps that's why the major metropolitans have had so much trouble – it's journos that get put at the helm and not trained business people?

    Anyway, to stop the tangent, I guess I'm saying, cut them some slack! Yes I know the editor is a figurehead of a publication, but really the issues mentioned above of the responsibilities of the associate publisher, the subscriptions team or marketing department (although alot of smaller publishing houses don't even have those!).

    In your email you say that the content in B&T is good and it's the stuff around it that is annoying, therefore could this mean that you are saying that Tim is doing a good job and that his periphery teams are letting him down?

    Some food for thought.

    As a final note, I think it is really gutsy and spectacular of you to continue to put strong thoughts out there. I hope that you never get it drained out of you because, like you say, if no one ever questions, nothing ever improves! It's healthy for us all to be kept on our toes!

    Kate Kendall

    And the context – online editor of Marketingmag.com.au.

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  4. P.S Ignore some of the errors in the above – Blogger has a comment editing pane about the size of a pindick so it's hard to even see what you've written. ;-P

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  5. Perhaps it is unfair to target this at Tim, but as editor he is the one running the show, no? I'd never write an open letter to an unknown Junior Assistant in the Taxation Department, it would always be addressed to K Rudd.

    I certainly don't want to say Tim is doing a bad job, he's the man behind one of only a few print media publications I actually read!

    "Gutsy and spectacular" is a nice way of putting it, but I don't want to alienate my audience too much. Massive internal debate going on here behind the scene between the authors of Pigs Don't Fly, let me tell you!

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  6. Ooo interesting... without hijacking this post too much and your blog, I am surprised to sometimes see such a polite young man with the best of manners posting such vitriol. And not everyone knows you in RL Zac! I know it mostly is in jest, but perhaps you could put a 'happy- positive' post in between? On another note, have you considered blogging under a pseudonym? You could take it in whatever direction you liked, and still have your professional profile at where you last left off. :-)

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  7. I considered it, especially with the amount of criticism I know I'm going to get for The Punch articles, but I don't really like the idea. Half the reason I'm controversial is to get people involved which is one of the reasons some people know my name and why my career is slowly taking off in a big way.

    I think the biggest problem with pseudonyms is that people spend more time trying to guess who it is rather than reading the content.

    I'm sure as I mature my posts will to, but I figure I have at least a few years before I have to worry about that! ;]

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  8. When does a disgruntled consumer turn into a cyber bully?

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  9. some advice - a smarmy, smart arse tone pretty much devalues everything you're saying here.

    if i was tim i'd probably tell you to go fck yourself purely from the tone of this letter. it smacks of self importance zac.

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  10. @ Anonymous

    Is this any differnet to me having a rant to my mates at the pub? Perhaps a slightly larger audience, but just as public.

    @ talkingdigital

    Point taken, this was meant to be more so casually writen than smart arse. He is, of course, more than welcome to come out and say that and I wouldn't be offended.

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  11. Hi Zac,
    Having once had my name appear on the template that Tim A’s now occupies, I can report that although as editor you have influence over publishing decisions like subs pricing and marketing strategy, you don’t have the final say. It’s a fair bet that he feels your pain and then some.
    But funnily enough, public posts like yours do give the editor something to take to the powers that be and explain that there is an engaged readership that does give a damn. I’m sure you are being helpful.
    So don’t expect Tim to come hunting you down. He may even make you one of his famous tuna neopolitanas instead.
    And by the way there is now a real live Twitter feed from B&T Today, which is edited by wee James Livesley. You’ll find it at http://twitter.com/bandt_today and it’s not even a spammy RSS feed robot thing. In another half an hour or so, it’ll be two days old.
    Cheers,
    Tim Burrowes – ex B&T editor, now Mumbrella

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  12. Found a great make your own Zac recipe.

    http://tinyurl.com/e2vae

    Enjoy!

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  13. @ Tim

    Thanks mate, intentions weren't to be a total douche.

    @ David Pascoe

    I'd normally give you a nice big cup of go fuck yourself, but that gag is worthy of a compliment. Well done sir.

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  14. nice one zac. all of it - the post, the level of tongue-in-cheeky tone, the level of comments and your relative maturity in responding.

    i've got no idea what b&t is (care factor=0), but it matters not, disgruntled customer is disgruntled customer. (and one post is hardly a cyber bully, although if you kept at them and at them now on twitter, i might raise an eyebrow).

    btw, how the hell do you set so many refreshes per minute on this blog - it's like a disco on my address bar :D

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  15. Don't listen to TD if your going to be a smart ass may as well be good at it. Your opionions are quite personal and somewhat grounded. I find that other people who represent large media companies should tone down their attitudes as swinging dicks is so 1990.

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  16. Wow, you showed him huh.

    Here's a summary of what you said:

    ' Your business delivery sucks, you're old and therefore have no idea about business or the internet, but I'm still at uni so it's ok for me to take a huge swipe at you and still be seen as endearingly young and naive, *insert unnessesary swearing in an attempt to reinforce my point*.

    I still don't like you and I'm going to show you my disgust by giving you some cash anyway. I'm so upset that before I give you the right of reply I'm going to post it on my blog and publicly embarrass you because whenever someone Google's your name this blog post will now be referenced by countless search engines.

    Lets chat so I can tell you how to run your business... seriously...call me? '

    Yeah Zac, way to stick it to the man.

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  17. Hej Zac,

    I have been @bandt -ing them for 2 weeks now about mass tweets. I realise I was not alone.
    I am very happy that they are now moving to a human powered digital interactions.

    p.s. Good luck with exams.

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  18. "What is the word for the opposite of an evangelist? Because that's what I am when it comes to anything print."

    Problem is that once you finish your studies Zac, you'll need print because if you're studying marketing, advertising or writing it's in print and through print most likely you'll actually get paid.

    And surely you don't think the quality of info you get from Campaign Brief and Mumbrella outweighs that of the newspapers and marketing mags like B&T, Marketingmag and Adnews.

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  19. So Zac you are a 'social media consultant'

    Would you advise your clients (and exactly who are they) to take the angle you have taken to enforce change? I think you have embarassed yourself.

    Oh, and your line about your career 'slowly taking off in a big way' not only doesn't make sense, but no person who has a career would big note themselves like this.

    I hope you take this mistake as a learning experience. You have just damaged your personal brand.

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  20. STOP THE PRESS!

    Rare sighting of 19 year old uni student and outdated magazine editor discussing their differences man to man.

    http://tinyurl.com/mo7xxd

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  21. we all know it is shit - honestly I would like to have a sit down with nathan rees and tell him a thing or two ... better yet, k rudd or the general secretary of the United Nations... then I remember I'm a nobody, a crazy paranoid wannabe dictator nobody but a nobody nonetheless...welcome to the sad reality dude...just because you write a blog doesn't mean your opinon counts any more than anybody else...

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  22. Spot on about the PDF thing though. Why oh why oh why?

    However misguided your approach was, it's generated a lot of comment, a lot of thought, and already there is a human tweeting for them.

    So, to sum up - it's got results. What would you do next time?

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  23. Thanks for explaining the situation Kate!


    Just to let you all know we have just reclaimed the twitter account for B&T so we will now be able to monitor your replies and direct messages now.

    This is something we have been attempting to do for a couple of months and we have finally been able to track it down and we have reclaimed it as of about an hour ago. Thanks @nichodges, much appreciated.

    As Tim said, James Lively is now tweeting from the @bandt_today account and there will be no more 5 at once tweets that have been the staple for @bandt up until this point.

    Stay tuned for further updates, but perhaps not here.

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  24. No problem – glad I could help a sister out! :-P

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  25. @ Lauren

    What do you mean refreshes on this blog? Thanks for your kind words though. :]

    @ Anonymous 1

    Hahaha, thanks mate. Sometimes I think people forget this is my blog with my opinion and my thoughts. Who'd have thunk it?

    @ Anonymous 2

    Interesting summation of my post, but there's pieces in their I'd agree with. How am I any different to any other customer with any other brand? These are challenges brands will have to face in the future. I'm not saying old people don't know anything, there's plenty of old players out there rocking it better than I ever could.

    This is not a public embarrassment. In fact, this is a perfect opportunity for B&T to turn this into a win, and the fact they've already responded and changed their Twitter account... well I'm impressed.

    The question becomes would this have happened had I sent a lousy email? Also insert the word fuck for emphasis.

    @ Glenn

    Just because I hate traditional media doesn't mean I don't realise how important it still is and will be in the future. New media, at least for the next fifteen years is about integration with old media.

    @ Anonymous 3

    Clients who are brands are different from customers. I don't see how this is relevant.

    This blog has done so so so much for my career. And it is taking off. I don't see why one can't say something like that in public.

    And please don't talk to me about personal branding if you're going to post anonymously. If don't mind if you do it, but if so don't talk to me about identify. :]

    @ Gordon Ramsey

    You have been in the media too much lately. Gtfo.

    @ Anonymous 4

    If you don't give a shit about my opinions then don't read this blog. Simple. Fuck, why don't people understand that this is my blog and... dun dun dun... my opinions will be written here. Amazing.

    @ Anonymous 5

    Perhaps the best comment posted here yet.

    No matter how misguided, it becomes the learnings I take away from this. To which, I am not sure exactly. I could perhaps more careful with my tone and mayhaps seek initial contact directly with the brand. But the problem is the majority of times I go public with something, it gets people talking and change does actually take place.

    This is something I'll definitely be thinking about next time I post a post like this.

    @ willemrt

    As bad as it sounds, I posted this for a response like that. Kudos on the reply and the effort in making a change. Let me know on Twitter how things are going sometime. :]

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  26. Fair enough, Zac.

    Oh, please don't use 'learning' as a noun.

    'Learnings' is awful, academic/corporate pap.

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  27. Hi Zac and friends, three thoughts, if I may?

    First, the comment 'If you don't give a shit about my opinions then don't read this blog' makes sense. That makes me feel much better as I started my own blog a couple of weeks ago. Not sure why -but it does.

    Second, I don't mind the B&T pdf. That must make me born before 1980 then. Yep. Well and truly. It's better than the adnews 'subscription only' site esp as I can't log in from my new mac, but can from my old pc. And I don't care enough to work out why.

    Third, why are there so many snarky, angry, anonymous people commenting on blogs? Are they all out of work? I suppose that'd make some people angry, snarky and anonymous.

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  28. sorry - behind the times on the response here.

    so, when i sit here and read all the anonymous comments (now that scamp is gone, all the vehement cowards gotta go somewhere i guess) your page refreshes every second. which means you get a tonne of meta ranking page view awesomeness. which is either luck, or arse. smart thinkin' 99.

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  29. zac - do you really think B&T is that shit?

    "I also have a problem with the daily email you send me. Ignoring the fact you pretty much cover everything I've already read on my RSS Feed, Mumbrella and Campaign Brief, you send it in a fucking pdf file. On the rare occasion I actually want to click on an article, I have to download the whole thing. Why aren't you doing these as individual blog posts?"

    This basically reads - I think your content is stale and old ... it's of no use to me. Plus you're stupid for formatting it as pdf.

    If you think it's this rubbish I guess the argument is futile as you're arguing around something you hold no value to.

    Or - do you actually like B&T? And you care enough about it to write this?

    Or do you want a writing gig with B&T as a guest contributor and this is a way to grab their attention?

    So many contradictions. Explain to us the man behind the facade!

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  30. @ Glenn

    Maybe those academics at uni are having more of an effect on me than I realised!

    @ JamesW

    Writing a post about the anonymous right now. Just checked out the blog, keep it up dude.

    @ Lauren

    Unfortunately I am not that smart. :]

    @ talkingdigital

    I think B&T Daily only really provides me value on rare occasion. As I said I get "breaking campaigns" and "industry movers" from other sources. Perhaps this would change if their formatting was different.

    I think the magazine itself is definitely of value, enough that I'm happy to pay a subscription even on my terribly poor student budget.

    And Tim, if you're looking for a guest contribution and you don't hate me yet, give us a yell.

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  31. Zac - you are such a guest post slut! Don't forget where you were first published... or second if you can count that student rag. ;-)

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  32. I personally find it hard to write the posts that create conversation but also stir some people up. The problem is if you just write boring posts that aren’t a little edgy then people won’t be excited about your writing.



    Not throwing rocks here but I find it very easy to write a post that has a go at people and is full of vitriol etc but I often try and find a way to write it in a toned down manner while still getting my point across. It is a definite challenge. The strange things is I see a lot of myself in Zac’s style at his age … maybe he’ll get soft in his old age as well?



    A good example is the Fitness First post I wrote a few weeks back. I could have taken Zac’s approach but chose instead to post a bit of a mini case study and got great comments. I then took all this and sent it to Fitness First in a nice but to the point style through there websites … I have had no response. I am pretty pissed they can’t even write and say “thanks” for the feedback. I think it needs a follow up post.



    Different Strokes! Oh sorry Zac, you are probably too young to get that reference J Ok, I am mean, we don’t want all blogs to have the same style etc because that would just be boring.

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  33. Zac, don’t let these dudes get you down. There is a lot of criticism here in the comments.

    Take this in the tone that you know I mean. You are young, enthusiastic and adventurous. As you get older you will learn - both from your mistakes and by watching others. Maturity and experience are things you just cannot teach.

    Some of you that have commented should remember this. Zac has never had a proper full-time job and he is so far ahead of the average student it is embarrassing to them. Instead you should try and take a more “advice” driven comment approach. Don’t throw rocks at him because he chose to post his opinion. As I commented initially, I didn’t agree with it – but I didn’t bag him about it.

    Instead, impart your experience and knowledge like a parent would. If you have or had kids then do you or would you yell at them just because they tripped up and made an error of judgment? Do some self-reflection. Zac certainly has after reading your comments.

    Tell everyone about your career Zac. Good on ya and more power to you. The day you stop being proud of what you are achieving is the day I stop reading your blog.

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  34. Dear Zac, you are Australia's answer to Arthur Kade. Keep up the great work mate.

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