The wrong trousers – bad judgement

Judgetrouser Yesterday the court case of the lost pair of trousers was concluded when the judge found in favour of the hapless dry cleaners. If you want to pick up on the details of the story then here’s the conclusion as reported by the BBC. It has been one of those funnies which the UK newschannels and papers like to report because suing for $54 million dollars because the dry cleaner lost your trousers appeals to our British highly developed sense of the absurd and also reinforces our smug superior belief that the USA takes litigitation to artistic levels – isn’t every second American a lawyer?  What caught my attention in this item was the call by the Labour Relations Board to have the man who brought the case disbarred. Because it turns out that he was a judge by profession who had spent no less than 1400 hours preparing the case. A case which hung on the argument that his human rights had been breached. And they think he brought the law into disrepute.  They’re not wrong.

Our culture celebrates any extreme endeavour. The Guinness book of records is proof of that. Only yesterday the Germans took the crown for the largest mass rendition of Deep Purple’s Smoke on the Water off the Americans who are expected to compete to win back the title – with over 2000 guitarists taking part.  You really can be famous if you obsess enough.  And this has become a trap for brands who indulge in displays of obsessive behaviour.  – when a lot of brand behaviour is frankly quite odd anyway. Go on. Make a grand gesture – it’ll get you noticed. Yes it will. But the point of celebrity as Posh Spice signally failed to understand is not just to be famous (she once said she wanted to be more famous than Persil) but to be famous for something. Lily Tomlin wisecracked ‘I always wanted to be somebody. I guess I should have been more specific’.  Us communication professionals may get somewhat bashful for getting lost in our brand pyramids and onions (what do you mean you think of brand x as kumquat?) but at least its an attempt to ensure that fame has a point.  The wrong kind of fame is worse than no fame at all – which is the ignominious fate of most so called brands.  Storytellers need to write good stories not just sensational ones.

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