Quirky smoothie labels started it and social media has made it worse. When will brands learn I don’t want to be their mate?

These days, every brand wants you to be their friend. They seem to think you’d like nothing better than to spend time hanging out with them or helping them flog their stuff to your friends. Am I the only one who’s sick of this?

It seems not. You may have read the excellent An Open Letter To All Of Advertising And Marketing From A Fairly Normal Bloke on the equally excellent Sell Sell blog. The fictional author of the letter, Brian, captures my feelings exactly when he says:

I don’t want to make a film, or draw a picture, or nominate a friend. Or compose a soundtrack or re-edit your advert. Really, I don’t.”

If brands aren’t asking you to interact with them on social media, they’re trying to talk their way into your affections in ever-more-desperate sounding copy (there are some great examples on Rebecca Nicholson’s Wackaging blog).

I’d agree that it’s good to be friendly (a little quirky or funny, even). But do you make friends with people because they write you gushing notes on the side of food packaging?

Probably not. You probably make friends with people whose values you share and with whom you build trust over the years. Shouldn’t it be the same with brands?

From notebook

Case study

About us

Small by design

Because Polon is a small studio (run by Matt and Janet), there are no layers of account management – you get to work directly with a writer.

Find out more