If you are not familiar with the term “chutzpah“, it is Yiddish which roughly translates into “cajones“, which is Spanish that roughly translates into “shameless audacity”,  “impudence” or “bravado”.

Lately, “chutzpah” has been showing up in, of all places, the normally staid, boring world of enterprise software advertising.

Exhibit A.  By now, you have probably seen the NetSuite ad that takes a major swipe at SAP :

Reproduction of NetSuite advertising dissing SAP

That is a funny form of chutzpah.

On the SAP side of the coin, yesterday’s Wall Street Journal contained the full realization of SAP’s latest ad campaign:

  • The first page (not shown) ominously warns us: “Technology can save us all.  Provided it doesn’t kill us first.”
  • The second and third page are as follows:

Reproduction of SAP Run Simple Ad

(Sorry about the font size there.)  You will have to trust me that in the second and third pages SAP let’s us know how important it is to “Run Simple” and assures us future ads will demonstrate examples of how SAP helps clients to do just that.

This is a different kind of chutzpah.  This is the kind of chutzpah where a marketing guy decides “Let’s use “jiu-jitsu”!  That is, we will take one of our greatest perceived weaknesses and simply claim it to be one of our strengths”.  And everyone agrees.  I understand this approach.  It is a tried and true strategy even in enterprise software.

But, I really want to meet the guy who then decides “Let’s run the “Run Simple” print campaign using a three page ad with two pages of copy explaining why simplicity is so important.” That is chutzpah.

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