Friday morning post: the usual PR bumf, an incomprehensible pension statement that seems to suggest my retirement fund is being carefully managed until there's nothing left, and an invitation to Farm Animal And Livestock Technology 2004 in Idaho. Ho hum. But wait, what's this? A letter from Ask Jeeves?
"Dear Rupert," it starts. "We're not sure what search engine you turn to by instinct when you need to do some online research, but we noticed you recently mentioned searching online in an article…" and off it goes. Try Ask Jeeves next time, it finishes. It "is a highly cost effective marketing platform to run results driven marketing campaigns for leading advertisers and media agencies."
Well, chaps, if you read any articles I write you'll know I mention Google pretty often as my search engine of choice. Just like everyone else does. And the article quoted was about Google's IPO, not about searching. When's your IPO, eh? And lastly, you appear to be mistaking me for someone who regards "results driven marketing campaigns" with something other than instinctive loathing and repugnance. Not to mention media agencies, which are truly the most terrifying excrescences on the pimpled face of our benighted industry: if you're not in the biz you won't know what they do: it doesn't help if you are.
Talking of which, a freelance friend accepted a job writing some promotional puffery for one such agency. The brief waffled on for a bit, and then said "We'd particularly like to concentrate on Broadband Media Event Zones." Pally scratched their chin, checked on Google (got that? Google! The Search Engine Of Choice for the New Generation) but no, had no idea what on earth one of those was. So he asked the agency.
"Ah!" said the agency contact, brightly. "I made that phrase up! Good, isn't it? I was thinking of places where you've got something going on and the organisers create a place where all the media have access to the Internet. I don't know whether that ever happens, but it would be nice if it did. Wouldn't it?"
You can't make it up.