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June 09, 2008

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I suspect that your profession suffers from the twin "How hard could it be?" and "You paid someone for _that_?" syndromes. The first, as we know, is the default attitude by people who have never come anywhere near your job and haven't the faintest idea of what goes into it. This is, I believe, a general attitude toward any job that involves creativity, because _after the fact_ it always looks easy.

The second comes from people who see occasional (in their opinion) less-than-stellar exemplars of the craft and conclude that everyone who does the job is a moron. As John McIntyre has put it (with some editing, sorry), "Readers don't see how hard we work, what obstacles we face, how good our intentions are. They see the product. When the product is defective in some way, they conclude that we are dim-witted, lazy, incompetent or all three." If a person is cynical about Phillip Morris to begin with, they're ill-disposed to the idea of a new brand for the company, and might well conclude that this naming business is just a bunch of corporate self-serving hooey.

It's not really that different from the law, I think -- everyone is scornful of lawyers. At least, up till the moment they need one. :-)

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