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"We Apologize For the Inconvenience"
By: Brian Keller
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"Due to unusually high call volume, you may experience a greater hold time than usual. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause."


Texture was an application that, for $6.99 a month, gave the subscriber an array of magazines in digital form. One could download magazines and read them offline (mobile devices). You could keep magazines forever or delete them. Apple Computer bought Texture and wrapped it into its News Plus application for, $9.99.

We got the app and immediately had a hard time trying to download magazines. We called Apple, “Welcome to Apple, I’m an automated system that can handle complete sentences, so tell me how can I help you today?”

“I’d like to know how to use the application you purchased and rolled into Apple News?”  

“So, I can route your call correctly please choose one of these four options.”

“I’d like the option on how to use the application you purchased and rolled into Apple News?”  

“I’m having trouble hearing you, let me transfer you to a specialist Thank you for calling Apple.”

“Thank you for contacting Apple Support. Can I have your email address?

"I’m on the phone, why do you need my email address?”  

“So, we can email you articles, is this an Apple product?”

“Yes, it’s a magazine subscription service.”

"Oh, that’s iTunes; can I have your email address?"

“No, I want to use Apple News Plus, download magazines, read them offline, and delete them.

"Go to the Apple News Plus App and press the heart on your selections."

“Great, how do I read them offline?

“There is no capability for that, we delete them for you when we see you’re running out of space.”  

"I can’t read them or delete them that’s not good.”

“Correct, you’ll need an Internet connection, may I have your email and I can email you our some great articles on Apple News Plus?”

“Do you need an online connection for email?”

“I don’t understand your question, let’s screen share.”

“I’m not behind the Mac, the application works only on mobile devices.”


Advertising is morphing. Agencies are either dying or scrambling to take advantage and capitalize on new technology and make some money.

Brand stories are showing up real-time, virtual reality is real, TVs are marvels and personal data is creating targeted messaging. You got your Influencers, Thought Leaders, YouTube stars and messaging is personal. Then, why are consumers having such a terrible time dealing with advertisers?  It could be the fact that much of the humanity that made a brand great is missing. The brand is not delivering on the promise. No one seems to care.

Companies are creating relationships with agencies that preclude the agency’s ability to find insights and knowledge. Brands are now so scattered and sometimes so large they forget to deliver the promises they make.  The wait to talk to a representative at Verizon is, at the time of this article, 15 minutes (with a 6-minute average), Verizon is a phone company with a lovely campaign, and it’s just not true. A call to Wells Fargo had me verified four times in 45 minutes. None of the “bankers” passed information to the following agent, nor did they know where the call should be handled. One “banker” mentioned ‘we take your security very seriously and that’s why you reintroduce yourself. Another told me it is incumbent on each representative to pass on information.  

“This is Wells Fargo” is the campaign and it includes “digitally friendly colors and tone.” The campaign revolves around Wells Fargo team members helping customers with financial needs. Wells Fargo has been fined over 4 billion dollars since 2016 for, among other things, the creation of fraudulent personal bank accounts. We imagine that a few years ago an agency would have steered Wells Fargo in another direction. Agencies don’t have that juice any more or the insight, “The agency is only as good as the client allows it to be” has never been so true.

CMOs are battling budgets and in-house agencies are expanding. According to Forbes, “While in-house agencies and consultancies are on the rise, the former lack agency-grade talent and the latter lack creative or media capabilities for marketing campaigns.”  This cost-cutting measure makes things too familiar and there is no line drawn between the advisor/creator and client.

Forbes goes on to say, “And, while CMOs have the fastest-growing technology budget, CIOs are more involved in agency deals because technology plays such a vital role in execution.  These new stakeholders prioritize new vendor capabilities over traditional CMO/agency relationships and the agency’s knowledge of the business.” This could be one answer to where have all the ideas gone?

All the new forms of media and iterations in technology are great. The lack of people to give a little push back is not. We have a solution. First, pick up the phone. Second, do what you say you’re going to do. Third, don’t fix it if it isn’t broken. Fourth, take some advice from someone who is not you.

 



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About the Author
Brian Keller is the Creative Director at Chomavision/Chromavision Brand Lab in Manhattan, NYC, USA.
He graduated from the University of Maryland (English), went to grad school at NYU (Cinema Studies) and went to University of Baltimore School of Law.
 
He likes skateboarding with his son. He also falls off his skateboard and amuses his son. When not amusing his son or riding bikes or playing basketball or working he writes for Beyond Madison Avenue & that's why Beyond Madison Avenue appears twice in this sentence and Talent Zoo once.

 
brian@teenyagency.com
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