Bob Miller: Modern Advertising Is “B#llshit” And “No One Ever Talks About Cashflow”

Bob Miller: Modern Advertising Is “B#llshit” And “No One Ever Talks About Cashflow”

Industry legend, marketing professor and former Toyota CMO, Bob Miller, has had a veiled dig at agencies that misreport by attacking Facebook and its own recent tribulations where it was caught proffering dodgy numbers.

The undoubtably old-school and droll Miller, guest speaker at the recent AANA industry Christmas drinks, suggested that anyone caught fudging the numbers should be “hung from the lamp posts in the town square as it discourages other people from stealing”.

“I see that fellow who started Facebook, whatever his name is, he lied four out of five times recently,” Miller said in a clear attack on Mark Zuckerberg.

“He lied, although they call it misreporting, but he lied and that makes him a thief and a cheat. And you’re letting him steal… but if that’s giving you good value for money then that’s fine so long as earnings are ticking a long. But if you find out who is stealing from you you need to kill them off,” he said.

Miller went on to give an account of his time as CMO of Toyota particularly during the hectic and heady 80s. “Advertising was hugely important, well our definition of advertising, being good Japanese engineers, was that we had a clear idea… that advertising was to create reasonable expectations of future cashflow at net present value.

“Cashflow’s not a term you ever hear mentioned, (these days) it’s all customer journey and experience and all this other bullshit. But when you report to the board members, they don’t ask you about (customer) experience they talk about cashflow.

“If you can’t tell the cashflow story then you’re going to have a less than interested audience down in the finance department, and the finance department is where all the money comes from. If you let those idiots take control the next sound you’re going to hear is a knock on the door from the purchasing guy, and he’s going to help you because the finance guy is going to send the purchasing guy or acquisition idiots or whatever you call them these days.

“They send these clowns around… our director of finance was also the director of sales and marketing. And I’ve got a message for anyone in business, do not put your finance guy in charge of sales and marketing,” Miller half-joked.

Miller then went on to add he was no fan of creative and media being done by separate agencies, preferring when the two used to be housed under the same roof.

“You needed people we could trust and some of you may remember the joyous days when we had media and creative in the same building.

“It’s a not a struggling concept and then the creatives gathered one lunchtime to wave goodbye to the media guys, and as they left to start their own business all the money went too, because the media is where the money is. There’s not much money in making TV commercials,” he said.

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