Tuesday, November 14, 2006


I just finished The Hummer and the Mini: Navigating the Contradictions of the New Trend Landscape, and I feel cheap and used. Did Robyn Waters write this easy-peasy book of off-the-cuff anecdotes on her BlackBerry while sitting through tedious marketing meetings?

Because she certainly didn't bother getting an editor or fact-checker to read over her work. In addition to an embarrassing number of typos, Ms. Waters claims the "technological revolution" that was The Polar Express took "an express ride to profits at the box office" (um, I think it had disappointing ticket sales and press). She also raves about how "consumers are flocking...[to] oxygen bars" (oxygen bars are the day before yesterday's news). And my favorite oopsie: saying McDonald's was "practically shamed into offering salads on their menu and removing the Big Gulp from their drink lineup by media attention on the childhood obesity epidemic and the fallout from the movie Supersize Me." Here's the deal Robyn: Big Gulp is a 7-11 trademark; McDonald's quit offering to supersize--get it, supersize me? It's in the movie's title!)

But as if her lazy fact-checking weren't bad enough, Robyn Waters has a grating habit of ending every one and a half page chapter with a cutesy zinger that "sells in" the brand innovation or trend. About a company that offers custom lip color: "The options have customers smacking their lips in satisfaction." About Cold Stone Creamery: "If you don't want to be left out in the cold, figure out how to give your customers what they want, their way."