Mondelez and the self-delusion of brand purpose

No words are minced in the reaction to Cadbury owner Mondelez's new 'Humaning' approach to marketing: "In any sober industry the perpetrators of this nonsense would be taken out back by grown-ups and beaten to a pulp."

Let's all stop for a minute, take a deep breath, and thank heaven for the endless supply of nitwits in the marketing business who – despite our many problems and anxieties – keep us blissfully entertained. If you've ever wondered why the rest of the world laughs at us and thinks we're ridiculous, let me explain.

Last week, Mondelez (the people who make Oreos, Tang, and other candies disguised as food) introduced a "unique approach" to marketing. They call it 'Humaning'.

No, I'm not kidding.

Listen to this horseshit:

Humaning is a unique, consumer-centric approach to marketing that creates real, human connections with purpose, moving Mondelez International beyond cautious, data-driven tactics, and uncovering what unites us all. We are no longer marketing to consumers, but creating connections with humans.


I guess previously they were creating connections with squirrels or ducks or something.

There is not another industry in the world that would tolerate this horseshit. In any sober industry the perpetrators of this nonsense would be taken out back by grown-ups and beaten to a pulp. Then they'd beat up on the pulp.

You may be wondering about the source of this remarkable stupidity. It comes from that bottomless pit of masturbatory self-delusion called "brand purpose".

You see, these days there is a certain species of corporate dipshit who is unwilling to admit to themselves that they are in the crass business of making money. It's just not very dignifying. Consequently, they create imaginary virtues about their enterprise for the purpose of convincing themselves that they're engaged in noble pursuits.

As far as I'm concerned that's just fine. If you want to pleasure yourself, go right ahead. But please, confine it to your boardroom where no one's watching.

Now that Mondelez has decided their brand purpose is "humaning," I think they ought to align their brand name with their purpose. I'd like to suggest they change it to Morondelez.

A version of this story first appeared on Campaign Asia-Pacific.

Bob Hoffman is the author of several best-selling books about advertising, a popular international speaker on advertising and marketing, and the creator of 'The Ad Contrarian' newsletter, where this first appeared, and blog. Earlier in his career he was CEO of two independent agencies and the US operation of an international agency.


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