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Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Bullshit Watch

"Skymag is designed with the ABC1 woman in mind," said the Sky director of communications, Christian Cull. "A typical reader is serious about her career and family, she is an avid TV fan with a passion for celebrity news, and is always looking for ways to improve her home and entertainment lifestyle." Pick any sentence and tell me precisely what it means. "Looking for ways to improve her entertainment lifestyle"? "Serious about her family"? "A passion for celebrity news"? This man just tapped out a load of buzzwords and then tried to arrange them into a sentence.
And while we're here does anyone share my deep rooted prejudice against the expression "mag"? In my experience it's only used by vicars, people in advertising agencies or newspaper publishers trying to get down with ver kids. At least one of which may be the case here.

19 comments:

  1. This sort of thing makes me feel like lying down in the road and ending it all.

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  2. Having said that, Christian Cull is an amazing name...

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  3. I don't understand how they can say what a typical reader is when it gets sent to all subscribers. Do the rest of us just throw it in the bin? Instead of sending us rubbish that doesn't even make its way out of the plastic why don't Sky send us something useful to Sky subscribers like comprehensive listings?

    Most people I know who subscribe are male and subscribe mostly for the sport. They are not therefore "typical readers". I can see more heading straight for the bin.....

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  4. I think what it all means is that they're trying to get some cosmetics advertising.

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  5. I used to work on this 'mag' about seven years ago. It had two name changes and at least three revamps in the two years I was there.

    There's little point in any of this rebranding, as it's a magazine about TV that's got no listings in it, the content of which is dictated by two girls in marketing who want it to be Heat magazine. But that's customer publishing. I almost bit my tongue off.

    The sooner they acknowlege no fucker reads it and it goes straight in the bin in 99.9% of homes the better for everyone.

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  6. Explaining a concept for a new magazine these days is clearly done using those poetry fridge magnets, hoping that if you use enough buzzwords, someone will like it. Sky Mag's new audience is clearly 'every damn woman with a bit of money to spend'.

    The other problem with the Sky magazine is that it's free, ie you get it with your subscription whether you like it or not. Nobody ever loves a free magazine, do they?

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  7. Nobody ever loves a free magazine, do they?

    No - that's a very good point. I used to subscribe to Sky and mine went straight in the bin every month without fai l (or even a glance at who was on the cover, what was in it, etcetc)

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  8. You may be missing the point that this is a serious attempt at a self help programme.

    I shall be passing this issue around to various family members who I hope will become more "serious about (their) career and family" and encourage (them) to look "for ways to improve (their) home and entertainment lifestyle", because they are "avid TV fans with a passion for celebrity news" which tends to absorb most of their waking thoughts it seems.

    Where can I get an audition for 'Grumpy Old Men'?

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  9. Nick C1:23 pm

    As a member of that rare breed who actually does take it out of the wrapper (my local council won't recycle it in the polythene bag) and glance through it, I am at a loss to understand how exactly this supposed new positioning actually differs from its current one.

    It was relaunched only a few months ago as a women's mag, complete with Grazia-like design touches, while male readers were duly catered for with new standalone film and sport magazines. What they are describing here is exactly the same as what they currently produce, only with a nasty new name and some new fonts.

    The truth, as people have commented, is nothing to do with their readers' needs, but about trying to convince the media agencies to spend money with them. And given the idiocy of the people employed at said agencies, no doubt they'll fall for it hook, line and sinker.

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  10. The solution is to stick with freeview and go to the pub to watch the match.

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  11. Charles Crabtree1:38 pm

    Hmm last two posts - angry at Sky, and angry at PR people - anybody in a bit of a grump lately?

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  12. On the subject of nobody liking free magazines, there's one exception that I love over here. It's called Totally Dublin and is a really good listings, interviews and reviews magazine. Usually has a good fashion section and the advertising isn't too intrusive. Nicely designed and printed on uncoated stcok, it's one of only 2 magazines that I hunt down every month for fear that I'll miss the latest copy.

    What's the other one? As if you have to ask!

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  13. If no one loves a free magazine, I wonder how that imminent Mike Soutar men's mag launch will fare?

    No doubt advertisers will rush to be in it, and then find themselves littering the bus and tube like the free newspapers.

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  14. Oi! What all the Printers and Print Finishers these mags (sorry DH!) keep in jobs.

    I've got a Sky Subscription to pay for you know!

    Ian

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  15. Talking of free publications, we're inundated with them in London. Metro was joined by London Lite and thelondonpaper (sic) this year, all of which are so devoid of personality or journalism they are actually worse than not reading a paper. I glanced at both, for research, on the Central Line this afternoon and they are like black holes, with some Pete Doherty gossip. What have we done to deserve them? And if they're free, why do poorly-paid operatives in branded polo shirts and hats desperately shove them in your hands as you walk down the street? Because they're not free, that's why.

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  16. I'm not particularly angry about this kind of thing. Just genuinely bemused by the way that people herd words in the general direction of sentiments rather than saying what they mean.

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  17. Charles Crabtree7:56 pm

    i used to have a boss who said 'i hear the words but what do they mean' - it's probably a question we should ask ourselves all the time...

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  18. Noticed this priceless bit of rubbish in a BBC report about the "rebranding" of the Dandy recently...
    "Following extensive research, we discovered The Dandy readers were struggling to schedule a weekly comic into their hectic lives."

    How extensive I wonder? Don't answer that.

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  19. Oh dear. I have reread my comments with a mixture of embarrassment and shame. Although I may not be the world's best writer (as clearly demonstrated!) I have always aimed for better standards than those delivered here. I will certainly aim to do better in the future.
    What I was trying to say was that we want to make skymag a better magazine. I believe we are getting there, but undoubtedly there is more to do.
    Whether you like the term "mag" or not is definitely a matter of personal taste. For what it is worth, I think that "skymag" is a good name for our magazine. Other views are equally valid!

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