I don't mean to be a hater. It doesn't pay to hate. And it especially doesn't pay to hate on one of the best-known, best liked and all around cuddliest members of the marketing business.
Surely you've heard of marketing consultant C.C. Chapman. He's a popular speaker, who has 45,000 Twitter followers and thousands of Facebook likers who include some of the most prominent marketers around. His résumé is a bit motley (including stints at companies named "crayon"—lower case—and "Campfire"), but as he puts it, "My career has been a whirlwind of following my heart, chasing dreams and always trying to do right by my clients/employers."
Chapman announced on his blog last week that "over the course of the last thirty months, I've been doing a lot of soul searching. Hours of thinking about what was right for me, my family and the days ahead in my life."
Turning forty last year was a major milestone. The reality that I might have less years ahead of me, than behind me was a not so gentle nudge that I needed to make sure I was doing work that mattered.
I kept looking for opportunities that would empower me to do this. Every turn I took lead [sic] to a dead end.
It became clear that the answer was right in front of me all along, even if I was trying to avoid it.
What was the answer? The answer was, to start a new one-man marketing outfit. But not just any old marketing outfit.
Never Enough Days is a conscience-based consultancy with a focus on social good, cause marketing and corporate social responsibility. Our goal is to help any organization or individual that cares about more than only their bottom line to succeed in changing the world around them for the better.
I could create amazing marketing campaigns for any company, but I only want to create them for brands that care about giving back.
I could consult with big corporations to do better business, but I’d rather work with them on developing corporate social responsibility initiatives that make sense for them.
I could talk about how much help NGOs and nonprofits need to thrive in today’s connected world, but I’d rather work with them directly to help them succeed.
So what's the problem with Chapman's announcement?
Is it a little prematurely self-congratulatory? Well, the guy is a marketer, what do you expect?
Does it contain some sloppy English? He's a marketer, not an English major.
Is it full of gassy thought clichés? Sure it is! But marketers live in a world where every brand is "amazing"—especially those that care about "giving back" (to those from which they took something?).
And yes, the plan seems a little short on details, about what, precisely, Chapman means when he proposes to "succeed in changing the world for the better"? Lots of people bomb, starve, rob and mislead people in the name of changing the world for the better, after all. But I'm sure we can be confident that C.C. Chapman doesn't plan to do any of that.
In fact, there's nothing at all wrong about Chapman's plan. Nothing wrong, and nothing even odd, really, when you consider the source.
What's troubling is that 94 out of 94 blog comments in response to Chapman's self-congrulatory, sloppy, clichéd and vapid announcement seem to have been written by people who are high on some drug I'd like to get my hands on.
"My heart sings for you," wrote one commenter.
"Another day, another amazing move," wrote another.
Here were more:
Hurray for the misfits, and all of us risk takers who approach life with arms outstretched, and hearts engaged!! This is perfect for you, you big-hearted, super intelligent man of conviction!
You are awesome! Rock on!
So, so proud of you.
Can't wait to see all the world-changing programs you bring to life! Amazing things ahead.
Woot woot! Fist pound, chest bumps, and man hugs abound … so enthusiastically happy for you and your cause. Proud of you and big believer in all things CC Chapman!
Absolutely delighted for you and … feel like this is a glove, snug and supple, that's just the right fit for you.
My heart swells with pride for you, my friend. I am so incredibly happy for you. You inspire me to follow my heart and my dreams and do what matters the most in my life.
Change is always good, and changing the world is even better! No doubt that amazing things will happen with your new venture!
I really love this. You've inspired me … I needed that. Thank you.
As my wise old friend Matthew Campbell might say, "I think you all done lost your damn minds."
I understand, a lot of these people are Chapman's accolytes, having seen him speak or having read his book, which is titled—wait for it—Amazing Things Will Happen.
Others are no doubt hoping to sidle up to Chapman in case his thing gets off the ground and he needs help.
And we live in a world of LinkedIn log-rolling, where near-strangers are constantly "endorsing" your skills and congratulating you on "work anniversaries" that mean nothing to you. It pays to praise. At least, people seem to hope it does.
But don't we each have a responsibility to a proper sense of proportion? If I walk into the kitchen and announce that I'm thinking about going on a diet, I don't expect to be lifted into the air and carried around as if I just pitched a perfect game in the World Series.
Also: In a normal professional world, wouldn't an announcement of an intention to "change the world" with a one-man marketing shop raise at least one or two logistical questions amid the Beatles-on-Ed-Sullivan hysterics?
And doesn't anyone find Chapman's attitude even the least bit self-righteous? I mean, what if someone in another business—waste management, let's say—announced that from now on he was only going to collect from people who he deemed to be changing the world for the better.
Wouldn't someone—someone—take natural umbrage at the sudden self-sainting?
Where the fuck do you get off, Chapman? So you think you're fuckin' better than me now? I got the grime of commerce all under my fuckin' nails, and you don't? My money's dirty and your money's clean? Where the fuck did you get the money to spend 30 months lounging around looking for—how do you call it—"empowering opportunities"?
Ah, take it easy, Chapman. I'm just bustin' balls. But it seems to me that some professional ball-busting might be good for you. Might help you refine your thinking, anticipate objections, sharpen your pitch.
Maybe if your marketing colleagues responded to you more critically before you were 40, you wouldn't put forth such soft-headed, soft-bellied stuff now. Maybe you'll read this, and offer your virtuous clients more rigorously argued marketing messages than you've written for yourself.
And maybe one day you'll thank me for this amazingly thoughtful, pro-bono critique of your new-company announcement.
I sure hope so. I mean, I'd think you would! After all, the only reason I write is to change the world for the better—one communicator at a time.
Now, who's next?!