A contrarian smashes some shibboleths of modern marketing

Ryan Wallman
April 11, 2014


You probably don’t need me to tell you that the world of marketing is blighted by charlatanism. For whatever reason, our industry is a magnet for snake-oil salesmen.

We had a little satirical dig at these shysters here. And here.

But those were mere tickles compared to the truly magnificent demolition job done by Bob Hoffman in this speech he gave at Advertising Week Europe. The title gives you a pretty good idea of what to expect.



It’s quite a long video, clocking in at almost 45 minutes, but is well worth your time if you have anything to do with marketing. Or even if you just want a laugh.

But if you don’t have time to watch the whole thing, here are a few gems from it:

  • Dudes who say they are “passionate about brands” need to get a girlfriend.
  • Most marketers use the language and tools of science but not the scientific method.
  • Advertising is not dead. When the end of the world comes, there will be two things left: cockroaches and copywriters.
  • The idea that people will use social media to have ‘conversations’ about brands is an infantile delusion.
  • McKinsey recently reported that email is 40 times more effective as a way of acquiring customers than Twitter and Facebook combined.
  • Everyone seems to know the fairy tales and no-one seems to know the facts.
  • Many ‘experts’ speak in dreadful jargon that obscures what it pretends to clarify.
  • Stop listening to big-mouths; nobody is smarter than the truth.

Oh, and a word of warning: if you object to colourful language, you probably shouldn’t watch the video.


By Ryan Wallman, Head of Copy at Wellmark.

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‘Credulity is not a virtue’ image courtesy of Aaron Muszalski via Flickr Creative Commons (under the following licence: CC BY 2.0)

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Only 3 weeks to go now – and almost sold out, apparently. So get your ticket ASAP if you want to hear from a fantastic line-up of speakers (and me). lnkd.in/erpnm38 lnkd.in/ek5MEDx

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