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Gonzo Marketing: Advertising of the future?

By jep in Op-Ed
Sun Jul 01, 2001 at 03:43:10 PM EST
Tags: Books (all tags)

Writer-turned-Marketing-Guru Chris Locke is working on his new book, Gonzo Marketing, to reach the stores in October. Together with co-author Eric Norlin he sends loads of email to people interested in the work on this book, and in the one I got today he examines the difference between corporate lingo and the discourse in communication between "real" people. Corporate lingo, says Locke, is dying and will be replaced by communication that is more similar to the way you and I communicate. I decided to write him back with my views on the Gonzo idea.

Locke's first work as a guru, The Cluetrain Manifesto, was widely acclaimed for its views on online markets, and now Locke apparently is going to take this one step further by defining conversation with Hunter S. Thompson's word for a journalism that requires the emotional and sometimes physical participation of the writer. I'm pretty sure that this, in essence, is Locke's idea, but maybe a lengthy quote from one of countless emails will illustrate it better. This is from today's mail (and actually an excerpt from an article he's working on):

"The proof is simple and requires no advanced degrees. First, clip a dozen random paragraphs from email you've received from friends. (Note that you must have actual friends for this to work. For those who may not remember, friends are those people you would not normally address as "Valued Customer.") Then clip a dozen similarly random paragraphs from online "offers," press releases, and annual reports. Now put all two dozen clippings in a hat, give it a good hard shake, and hand it to Granny -- who, let us assume, has never been online in her life (no, not even on AOL). Ask her to sort them into two piles: one from human beings, the other from corporate androids. Unless she has Alzheimer's, Granny can accomplish such a sort in approximately 9.3 seconds. So you see, we're not talking rocket science here."

This is witty. And as Locke writes further down in the text, the Gonzo idea "represents a change in business so profound, so huge, it's invisible." Then he continues:

"However, I haven't yet figured out what this change is. It's invisible to me too."

I wrote him back regarding this and my views on the future on both online and offline marketing. What follows is my email to Chris Locke, now an open letter:


It's much more than meets the eye when reading your sketch for the Harvard article. Writers (or anybody pushing stuff to people) are, of course, gonna have to be able to write in a way that triggers my attention and makes me curious who they are. This is a key point; I want to know who they are! That's why it's not just about writing - or about selling ideas, for that matter - but ultimately: about allowing corporations to be their employees, and vice versa.

And I'm not just repeating the well known EGR / TDCRC message here. I think the way it's gonna work is this: The way we handle our own contacts (friends and business contacts) will be the way companies handle customers in some distant future. We just have to develop a subtle way of telling customers what they should expect, because what they DO expect is "you'll be excited to hear about two FEE-FREE online services from American Express® that are designed to help make life a little simpler." Somehow we'll have to let them know that we're not gonna patronize them that way. We'll do this by getting to know them, by getting personal with them, and there's absolutely no easy way around this.

You see, I get loads of email too, and I don't think I'm gonna accept an email getting personal with me, if 1) I can somehow sense that it's not really personal at all (there's many ways of splitting your readership into segments and sending them email tailored to their profiles) or, 2) I have the slightest suspicion that somebody's trying to convince me to buy something. With you and all your amazon links I don't really mind, just as well as I don't mind contributing to some of the content-heavy websites I use frequently, when they ask for help because of dot com doom or whatever it is. But with a "real" company, I do mind.

A company can't rationalize and strategize what you're calling gonzo marketing, because I (the customer) am sceptical. I'm every bit as sceptical to this as anyone who's had the experience of being part of an online community that got involved with commercial interest, even though they promised they wouldn't. Disappointment is exactly what I would feel if I were contacted by somebody who appeared to be my friend, but in the end tried to trick me into getting an American Express Card. If that happened to me, I wouldn't just disapprove of Am Ex and the person in question, I would truly, sincerely hate them.

Online communities make good examples for this, actually: You talk to your peers even though you don't know them, you loathe anything that's even marginally commercial, and you VALUE your position in the community - because you've created it for yourself by way of hard work. And that's why these communities don't make money - as soon as they start doing so, users will notice that, "ooh, now they're a COMPANY, no longer an idealistic, philanthropic free zone," and they will go somewhere else and never, ever return.

So, gonzo marketing does not compute with companies as we know them, especially not now that we're all so aware of evil companies polluting the drinking water, monopolising software or enslaving children in the third world to make our trainers. That's what we (customers) think about companies, and that's why, fundamentally, we don't like having to buy their products, even though we have to. The idea of a corporation being idealistic is, in the consumer's critical frame of mind, nonsense.

What, then, if your traditional, off-the-shelf corporation mutates into something else? First of all, to succeed with gonzo marketing the company would have to renounce the idea that it was put on this earth to sell something to me. If not, I would never go into that ever-so-free dialogue with said company. In other words, the company would have to convince me that it's not a corporation, but a place where people come to work, whether they are paid for it or not, because they like to. The company would have to be the sum of the people there. Speaking to the consumer - or to anybody else - the company would have no employees, just people. No titles, just people. And, most importantly, a mission, some values I could relate to, and trustworthiness. A news website, a rock band, or a writer could succeed in this; CNet, Sony or Simon & Schuster couldn't.

More characteristics, then, for the gonzo company: It doesn't have more than ten people. It draws upon those people to communicate their own views, and whenever they feel like it, things that involve the company. These people get paid for running email threads (or some other form of communication, as long as it's ongoing and without a rational-economic purpose) with ANYBODY who contacts them, as a task among others during the workday. In other words, the company is also a medium, - you'll see that thought brought into being in a few corporate weblogs (and that's why it's more easily done by people into communicating - the above examples - than by people who want to sell me something). The company doesn't have a communications strategy. It doesn't use traditional channels or methods of advertising or branding to consumers, whilst engaging in gonzo.

All this will make you and me value the company and our relationship with it. We'll actually have discussions with it - although in our own view, we're having them with people, not with a company. The question is: How will the company benefit from this? In my opinion, it won't. At least not if it's out to sell something. It may benefit from having an enormous network of likeminded people who care about the same things as the company does. That's a privilege when the company is hiring people, when it's in business with other companies, and when it suddenly realizes that a few sales CAN spur a bit of revenue (think merchandising and anything that is related to what the company does - but don't forget the above on the problems in using gonzo and traditional marketing simultaneously).

Maybe sometime in the future we'll see gonzo marketing succeed and out-perform traditional marketing. But I don't think it'll happen before the consumer's understanding of self merges into something else (what if we all looked upon ourselves as one-person companies instead of consumers, for instance? Then we would view ourselves as peers to the "real" companies rather than victims to their evil ways). Or before advertising changes it's character from a psychologically calculated method to trigger the urge to buy - maybe into a more responsible view of people's REAL needs. In other words, until we little people trust corporations and their advertising to be sincere, I think it's a long haul for gonzo marketing.


Voxel dot net
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Related Links
o Gonzo Marketing
o email
o the one I got today
o The Cluetrain Manifesto
o Also by jep

Display: Sort:
Gonzo Marketing: Advertising of the future? | 20 comments (20 topical, editorial, 0 hidden)
AmwaySpeak & Personal / Business Communication (4.75 / 12) (#1)
by quam on Sat Jun 30, 2001 at 12:37:26 AM EST

The method of individuals or entities attempting to communicate on a personal level while developing a relationship to advance a commercial cause is not new. Based on my experiences at least once every two years as I am approached by a fellow employee or friend of a friend, this method is the method deployed by 'networking' or 'pyramid-type but not illegal scheming' companies such as Amway.

As I may be considered an Amway magnet, I may be able to explain how Amway, or Amway-type companies, seek to communicate on a personal level. First, there is development of rapport. The individual seeking to expand his/her own network will appear friendly, like most others, and ask passing questions such as, "Do you have a family?", "Do you belong to a church?", "Do you play sports?" and other questions in an effort to determine your own potential in creating a vast marketing enterprise via personal relationships. Second, once rapport is establish, he/she will ask if you would be willing to listen to a tape or watch a video that he/she plans to drop off the next day. Generally, this tape or video will provide information somehow describing how a person's life may change by a) rapidly reaching retirement or b) accumulating wealth to purchase a home or car. Finally, the tape or video is followed by a meeting either during lunch or, as usually preferred by the marketer, at your residence. The meeting usually includes visual photographs portraying individuals who quickly (normally within two years) earned vast sums of money to purchase expensive goods. Also, the meeting usually includes a mathematical demonstration of ways to early retirement by creating your 'network,' and then followed by a question like: "would you like to retire within two or five years?"

Where am I going with these examples of AmwaySpeak? Like you, I was angry once I found at the end of developing a business relationship or personal friendship with an individual (which in these cases was actually a corporate entity) lied a mere sales pitch because of my investment of time and traditional expectations. Of course, after I received my second Amway pitch, I did not fall so easily for this method again. Also, in every instance and after every presentation by the marketer, I developed a solid distrust with the person in the workplace (if I worked with him/her) of with friends associated with the marketer.

With online communication (in this case E-mail), individuals typically have little time and, therefore, I would find if an individual was sucked into such marketing methods via online communication then he/she would be even more resentful.

-- U.S. Patent 5443036 concerns a device for encouraging a cat to exercise by chasing a light spot.
I don't want Gonzo marketing (4.81 / 16) (#2)
by rusty on Sat Jun 30, 2001 at 02:31:43 AM EST

I started this one off thinking you were here to bring us the Gospel According to Locke, but thank god, it turned out you weren't.

I got that email today too, but I didn't make it past "Where do these things come from? Anyway, Veblen was a motherfucker, trust me." I've pretty much given up on Locke. I mean, I may have written this, but I was just screwing around with journalistic form. It's not my only schtick.

Getting to the point: I sincerely hope that "Gonzo Marketing" never goes anywhere. With Locke at the helm, I'm not too concerned about that. But just assuming the impossible happens, and someone listens. As pointed out below, what this amounts to is massive organizational Amway. In fact, Chris has already seen the actual results of here on K5, when he attempted to post a two paragraph story which consisted of:

  1. "Slashdot sucks."
  2. "Buy my book."
With slightly more words, and a more arrogant attitude. Guess how long that lasted in the queue? I then had to endure a weekend's worth of email about how much K5 also sucks, and how we just don't understand that Locke is a genius, and how we should be excited to be hit with an insulting sales pitch instead of a smarmy one.

The point is, Gonzo Marketing is still marketing. Locke has missed the fundamental, basic point of the Cluetrain Manifesto (which is stunning, cause he co-wrote it, but I put nothing beyong the man's peculiar genius). Marketing is not human. Never will be. When it is human, it will cease to be marketing. Want an example? Read John Sundman's diary here on K5. For best results, start at the beginning (chronologically) and work your way up to the present. It tells the story of this discovery better than anything else I can think of.

I just wanted to add this little tidbit to your already excellent analysis of why "Gonzo Marketing" doesn't make any sense from a business standpoint.

Sure, I wish I had more human relationships, and less marketing-babble thrown at me. But ultimately, at least it's easy to distinguish the two. What Locke wants is a glorious Truman Show world, where your best buddy is there to promo the new Miller product, and your wife is publically excited about this snazzy new appliance she just got. Make no mistake. Chris Locke is on the side of marketing. When you find yourself getting dragged into his fashionably stream-of-consciousness prose, just keep that in the back of your mind. He's always trying to sell you something.


And if you liked this comment, be sure to read my forthcoming review of "Gonzo Marketing, Winning Through Worst Practices" just as soon as the book's on the shelves!

See. Didn't that suck?

Not the real rusty

Damn it, rusty... (3.50 / 6) (#3)
by Kaki Nix Sain on Sat Jun 30, 2001 at 05:44:12 PM EST

... You can't go making such good posts. It leaves nothing for other people to say.

You are trying to run a discussion site, right?

You're supposed to say something like "wowsers! this new-fangled gonzo marketing thing is like all cool and stuff. I can't wait to have long, intimate conversations with someone that will have a ready, easy-to-buy, and cheap solution for my problems."

Or maybe you could make just one good point and then hint at the other ones. :)

[ Parent ]

Yeah, I guess. (4.85 / 7) (#4)
by rusty on Sat Jun 30, 2001 at 06:36:28 PM EST

I'm bummed that no one else has had anything to say about this, besides the excellent comment preceeding mine.

FWIW, I forgot to mention a big part of my point, which is that companies who pretend to be my friend are guaranteed to lose my business. If you want to sell me something, and I want to buy it, great! Stop screwing around and give me the information I actually need. This feeling applies to both traditional marketing, and Locke's Frankenmarketing, by the way, and is pretty much what Doc's always been trying to say.

If, on the other hand, I have to wade through rivers of [ marketroid babble || false personality ], I'm gone. No company is irreplaceable: I'll either go somewhere else, or do without the product.

Not the real rusty
[ Parent ]

I wonder. (4.00 / 4) (#5)
by Kaki Nix Sain on Sat Jun 30, 2001 at 10:00:04 PM EST

Does this opinion of yours hinge on them pretending? I mean, what if (by the waving of some magic wand, I suppose) companies were real entites that could hold friendships without ulterior motives? Would you still not converse with them?

Pretentions are not a good foundation for friendships among people; this seems to be no different in kind.

Btw, what is "fwiw" short for? And do you happen to need a cheap solution to underhanded marketing tactics, only $9.95? ;)

[ Parent ]

Forward, With Intransigent Will! (5.00 / 7) (#7)
by rusty on Sun Jul 01, 2001 at 04:25:43 AM EST

FWIW == "For what it's worth" :-)

Conversing with companies... I don't think it's even useful to speculate about whether conversing with companies in a truly "friendly" way would make any difference, because companies can't talk. Only people can. I have, in fact, had interesting and useful conversations with people at companies, where I didn't feel like they were trying to con me or sell me something at the end of it.

Case in point: Soon after I bought my Sony PictureBook, I discovered that APM doesn't work in Linux. I found that Emperor Linux sells a linux-ified picturebook, of the same model I have. So I emailed them and asked if there was a secret to getting APM to work that they knew about (I had not bought the machine from them, and told them this). I got a response from (I believe) the president of the company, explaining that no, the BIOS was hosed, and future development of linux ACPI was probably the only answer. It was great. He didn't try to claim that if only I had gone with their superior preinstalled Linux systems I'd be better off. He just answered my question, and said "We think it sucks too."

I tell you, if I ever find myself in the market for a linux laptop again, I'm going to them. And I'll tell you all right now, it's worth the small extra cost. :-)

The reason for all this is that it wasn't "Gonzo Marketing." It was an all-too-often forgotten part of human life called "not being an asshole." So, either Locke is advocating that companies just let their people be people -- which means, essentially, that marketing is now a redundant department -- or he's saying that companies need to simulate that experience organizationally.

I don't think it can be simulated. I think only a person can speak with a human voice. So what you end up with is, any company that has a department dedicated to speaking like a human has already failed. It either is a person, or it's a pretense. I don't think there's any in-between.

By the way, I do agree with the author of this article that it can work with very small companies. See again the Emperor Linux example. In cases like that, though, it's just the obvious way things are done. A 10 person company can't afford a marketing department. At most, they have one guy. It's not hard to speak like a human when you are one, and no one has veto power over what you do. Once there's a chain of command involved though, forget it.

Not the real rusty
[ Parent ]

oh shit... (4.50 / 2) (#17)
by enorlin on Thu Jul 05, 2001 at 06:30:29 PM EST

i have no idea why i'm doing this, but.... you write:

"Locke has missed the fundamental, basic point of the Cluetrain Manifesto (which is stunning, cause he co-wrote it, but I put nothing beyong the man's peculiar genius). Marketing is not human. Never will be. When it is human, it will cease to be marketing."

uh, actually, no...a clip from Gonzo Mktg (posted on the Cluetrain list):

"But what does this have to do with business?" business asks. The question itself reflects the problem. Blind to the central experience of our reality, business never thinks to wonder. Is never awed, inspired, never enthusiastic, curious, ecstatic. Business has never wondered -- for the same reason that business has never fallen in love. Yet all these capabilities and qualities are intrinsic to the human character. They make us what we are. Corporations say, "We love our customers! You bet!" They say, "We love our workers! It's the people!" But these are lies. Corporations are incapable of love. This is not a moral condemnation, but a simple truth. They aren't equipped for it. Corporations have no heart. If you cut them, they do not bleed. If they die, no children mourn their passing. When they say "we love..." they are using words as counters in a game, as they count out money.

There is a conjuror's trick of language here, and at first it seems trivial, a mere convenience. Since companies are populated by people, the anthropomorphic projection sets off no alarms. As a result, we have gradually forgotten that "the company" is in many respects a reverse metonym -- a figure of speech in which the whole takes on the qualities of its parts. It is not a reality. Companies produce goods, sell products, manage inventory. So far, so good; no problem. But later, closer to the present, companies begin to want our loyalty, our trust. They want us to be happy. Suddenly, big problem. The metaphor has gotten up off Dr. Frankenstein's table and is walking on its own. It's alive! It's alive!

But it's important to remember that it's not alive. The corporation pretends to subscribe to values it does not and cannot understand. Human values. Like love, like trust, like camaraderie and joy. These are things we genuinely value, but they have been devalued and denatured to advance the very different interests of the company. In the process, we are not only losing our language, we are losing our lives.

In the beginning was the Word, moving silent and unspoken upon the face of the deep. But the word has been incorporated and co- opted into the service of another power, whose force is not grounded in the same spirit. We break bread in the company of strangers and it is as ashes in our mouths, giving no strength, no sustenance. Spirit, once sacred, has become an apparition, a ghost in the machine, and we are haunted by it. The historical journey from Heilige Geist to Zeitgeist moves from churchly dogma of the Holy Spirit to the secular and desacralized soul of a new machine. And the word became dreck and the marketing communicators moved among us.

anyway, whatever...

[ Parent ]

chiming in with rusty (4.85 / 7) (#6)
by John Milton on Sun Jul 01, 2001 at 12:25:55 AM EST

What's being described here is not friendship. Friends want to help someone not use them. No matter what you say marketing is about manipulating peoples thoughts and emotions. It's about using people. There's no way you can mix the totally self-serving desire to sell with true friendship.

I think this is called guile. Salespeople are only my friends as far as Jehovah's Witness are my friends. Forgive me, but when you start a friendship with someone on the promise of future leverage, you aren't a friend. You're a diplomat. All I need is honesty and frankness.

"When we consider that woman are treated as property, it is degrading to women that we should Treat our children as property to be disposed of as we see fit." -Elizabeth Cady Stanton

Just a short anecdote (4.42 / 7) (#8)
by Aphexian on Sun Jul 01, 2001 at 11:04:09 AM EST

It reminds me of a joke I used to tell..

Me: Want to learn how to keep people from using and abusing you for money?
Respondant: Yeah!
Me: I'll teach you.
Respondant: Great!
Me: Here, give me $20.
Respondant: (Hesitantly) Okay...
Me: Were you paying attention?

:-) That one seems to always work with friends. Maybe its just my caliber of friends, but you get my point.
[I]f there were NO religions, there would be actual, true peace... Bunny Vomit
Reply from Chris (4.00 / 5) (#9)
by jep on Sun Jul 01, 2001 at 05:32:25 PM EST

Chris wrote this back:


"A company can't rationalize and strategize what you're calling gonzo marketing..."

Actually, very few people have yet seen what I'm calling the gonzo model. When the book comes out in October, it should cause quite a stir, because it is a real business model. Not pie in the sky. And I think it addresses your concerns below. It will work *especially* for the largest companies, even though that may sound counterintuitive. And it will make money for all involved in a way that's totally different from what's happening today. Is it a foregone conclusion that this will work? Of course not; There will be many hurdles. But I'm pretty confident that at least some companies will explore this model seriously, and some of those will get it right. When that happens, their competitors will freak, and for good reason -- so there is also a built-in motivation to do it right first. I think this could precipitate a land-rush phenomenon, and as I say in the book, potentially a new renaissance.

It's a big brag, I know, but some smart folks have critiqued what I'm proposing and gone sorta like "holy shit! this could actually fly!" so yeah, I'm encouraged.

What should I ask him when I reply to that mail? Please suggest.

As for the comments to the story so far:

I agree with your points, rusty, but I'm not that sceptical. As someone else commented, what if some "magic wand" was to merge corporate and human communication into something new? I know it's not likely to happen, but I'm still looking forward to Chris' book as I'm as tired as he is (and as you are) of corporations and their ways.

I'm actually perplexed by the above from Locke (and by chapters 1 and 2 from the book). I guess all I'm saying is that it would be purposeless to try and predict what Gonzo Marketing is really about. I somehow hope this discussion (and my story with it) has misunderstood Gonzo Marketing so far, and that Chris will find a way to surprise us with the book. Maybe he's not going to, but until October, I'll give him the benefit of the doubt.
"Wow this is my first diary entry! This diary thing should be cool! I'll update every once in a while!" (See comment #4).
Chapter 2 has an example (4.50 / 2) (#11)
by Wondertoad on Sun Jul 01, 2001 at 06:48:01 PM EST

I would love it if we could just somehow critique the example of gonzo marketing that he gives there in chapter 2... the bit about Ford and organic gardening. There are holes in it a mile wide! IMO.

[ Parent ]
Holes in Chapter 2 (none / 0) (#20)
by Mabb on Fri Jul 06, 2001 at 08:14:35 PM EST

I'm interested to know what holes you see in the example in Chapter 2.

Critique away...

Cadw'r Ddysgl yn Wastad -- keep the dish level
[ Parent ]
I'm looking forward to it too (4.00 / 2) (#13)
by rusty on Mon Jul 02, 2001 at 12:47:26 AM EST

And I was serious about reviewing it. He declined my request for a pre-press review copy (go figure) so I'll have to buy the thing. But at least you'll get a review untainted by any fear of insulting the author. :-)

Here's hoping he's actually got something. Don't get me wrong, I still won't like the guy, but it would be fun to watch, anyway.

Not the real rusty
[ Parent ]

Thank you thank you (4.75 / 4) (#10)
by Wondertoad on Sun Jul 01, 2001 at 05:50:46 PM EST

I'm on Locke's list and Norlin/Locke's new list, but something just feels wrong about it all now.

Maybe the death of the "new economy" means that the revolution is pretty much over, and nobody is looking for people who can rant in revolutionary ways, or guide them through the revolution. Maybe the revolution was over before it started?

But in Locke/Norlin there is something severely wrong, anyway, because in this whole "conversation" there are no conversations going on. It's just THEM bleating at US.

Now, I will patiently deal with that if the speaker is so damn good that they can't be questionned or ignored. But I though conversations were the whole point here! How can they offer a revolution through conversation with only one-way mailing lists? Isn't that instinctively wrong? Aren't they ashamed?

Wouldn't the whole idea, if it is correct, stand up to the testing of it by the intellectual elite that must constitute both EGR and TDCRC "consumers"? Wouldn't some sort of feedback mechanism help refine the ideas and bring about new ideas? Aren't the contributions of the masses more valuable than the contributions of one or two guys? Don't they regularly take emails from readers and turn them into stuff to write about?

So I wrote to them both, independently, asking when we the patient audience were going to get our chance to be in on the conversation. I even offered to set something up for them; I'm so dying to talk about the relevant issues and find out if there's anything there.

But Locke blew me off and Norlin told me to sit tight, that he liked the idea but nobody is getting paid for it all.

Well hell, man, nobody's paying me to read your stuff either - nor to write to/for other opinion/community/revolution sites. But that's where it's at, not one-way mailing lists.

You don't really want that... (4.00 / 2) (#12)
by rusty on Mon Jul 02, 2001 at 12:38:25 AM EST

But I though conversations were the whole point here! How can they offer a revolution through conversation with only one-way mailing lists? Isn't that instinctively wrong? Aren't they ashamed?

Having suffered a two-way interaction (I won't call it a "conversation" because it wasn't) with Locke, I can attest that you don't really want that. You think you do (I thought I did) but you don't. Trust me on this -- it doesn't get any better than the HIM bleating at US bit.

Not the real rusty
[ Parent ]

Not typical interaction in my experience (5.00 / 1) (#19)
by Mabb on Fri Jul 06, 2001 at 12:31:32 AM EST

Rusty, I think the conversation you're talking about was influenced heavily by pique at being so summarily rejected first by the Plastic editors and then by the K5 members.

[Historical note: I was also part of this frustrating conversation and in fact, was the person who told Chris Locke to post a story on K5 in the first place. It dive-bombed out of the queue in a matter of hours because nobody had any idea who he was or what he was on about. That bit, I'm sure, for a person used to talking to a willing and fully opted-in choir.]

Actually a couple of days later I re-read some of the emails that went back and forth, and laughed a lot. Rejection is tough and perhaps the more you subject your writing to peer review, the easier it is to deal with. I don't think Chris dealt with that rejection very well :-)

All that aside, I've had several very productive and enjoyable two-way conversations with him. which is why I'm pegging this one as an exception.

On another note, it's interesting to see how many people are (not) participating in THIS conversation. Are they all busy like me? I haven't even been near K5 for 2 weeks because of work and family committments. It took me 3 days to find the time to write the two comments I have posted here.

Or are they just not interested?

Cadw'r Ddysgl yn Wastad -- keep the dish level
[ Parent ]
conversations and mr. toad (5.00 / 2) (#16)
by enorlin on Thu Jul 05, 2001 at 04:38:05 PM EST

dear mr. toad- if you wish to join the conversation, you may do so at the cluetrain list on topica -- a 2 way conversation. if you feel its all wrong -- um...okay. all i meant in my comment to you (via email) was that we were talking about ways to turn the site into a conversation, but we didn't like the unmoderated list -- and we were both too busy to install all kinds of shit. as for my behavior on the list/site -- ashamed? you're kidding right? the beauty of taking money from no one is that we say what we want, how we want, when we want.....shame is impossible. i write for the "ideal reader" envisioned in my head -- not much else i can do. ejn

[ Parent ]
Two-way Conversations and ex-Cluetrainers (5.00 / 1) (#18)
by Mabb on Thu Jul 05, 2001 at 10:08:41 PM EST

... can still be had on the original and lately, surprisingly busy Cluetrain mailing list (http://www.topica.com/lists/cluetrain/).

EGR (http://www.topica.com/lists/egr/)was always a favourite of mine because it was just so outgrageous, and Chris Locke still has some good things to say about business in general. It's a real shame that EGR has dwindled to a trickle.

I have to agree with you about the "conversation" on the TDCRC mailing list being loud-mouthed and one-way. In fact I am probably going to unsubscribe, because I haven't read anything past the first para in about 2-3 weeks. I'm finding the subject matter (and there does seem to be only one these days) and the writing style boring and I'm almost feeling harassed by the number of emails I'm getting a week from this "mailing list". Settle down boys!

My other favourite business-zine-from-ex-cluetrain-author: JOHO (http://www.hyperorg.com/) from David Weinberger, is ALSO writing a book and maintains his wit by producing less and writing on a more diverse range of subjects.

I do think that Chris has somehow been lost in his own enthusiasm for Gonzo Marketing, forgetting that to many people, marketing just don't matter. He is still a very entertaining and intelligent writer though, so I'm inclined to reserve judgement until I read the whole book. I just wish that his new venture was a little less single-minded in its portfolio.

Cadw'r Ddysgl yn Wastad -- keep the dish level
[ Parent ]
she watch channel zero (4.66 / 3) (#14)
by lucidvein on Mon Jul 02, 2001 at 01:44:30 AM EST

Why is it that advertising itself has gotten so far away from its intended purpose? The goal is to make the consumer aware of the product and give them incentive to choose it over another... Ads I see or hear lately are full of fluff, "real-life" dramatizations that seem nonsensical, unrelated subplots. Cross company tie-ins trying to evoke some response from the viewer. Just sell the product for its merits.

This Frontline story seems to relate to where Locke is heading... merchants of cool / interview. Have the culture reporting to itself what is new and interesting. The sad thing is, whatever it is currently still becomes hugely popularized and loses touch with the humanity of being special to the community. But what if it didn't become corporatized in the process? If some local artist grew in recognition because of a wide network of support and interest, but was unchained by any companies goal to make a percentage off the product, wouldn't that just feel more wholesome?

Another example is /. where the community is so voracious for new ideas, they literally crush unprepared companies or websites until they crumble under the pressure. Look how quickly the business model for the iOpener or CueCat disolved when the community took advantage of the broken marketing. These were businesses that were never prepared for success.

Serious mistakes are critically necessary to the learning process.

This is something many people seem to have forgotten. Schools don't teach how to deal with failure. Science experiments always work. Math problems always have an answer. Creative writing will land you in the counselors office.

One of the problems with schools is that they were designed as training grounds for the factories. Get in before the bell, 15 minute break, salivate at noon, sit in your chair and do your work... But very few people move in to factory work after school. Even the factories aren't the same anymore. Nowadays schools have just become training grounds for prisons. Of course if we really taught people how to be creative and entrepreneurial there wouldn't be much room left in the job market for all those middle managers.

What I'm afraid of though, is that marketing won't die when it realizes no one is paying attention. They'll just become lobbyists.

Similar to the way you and communicate? (5.00 / 3) (#15)
by bediger on Tue Jul 03, 2001 at 11:13:04 AM EST

Corporate lingo, says Locke, is dying and will be replaced by communication that is more similar to the way you and I communicate.

What, you mean that the hucksters, shills and liars that compose marketing and advertising departments will quit lying to us? I don't believe it. Marketeers are pathological liars, by definition.

Here's a good story: I was chatting with an acquaintance of my wife at a social event. I happened to mention that I thought that having only 2 or 3 huge, heavily regulated, multi-national corporations providing goods in any particular market wasn't really an instance of a "free market". This is pretty standard economic doctrine, and has been since the turn of the previous century. The acquaintance of my wife gave me a very odd look, and asked if I was a "libertartian or something".

My wife's acquaintance turned out to be a lobbyist for one of the huge, heavily regulated, multi-national pharmaceutical conglomerates, but the point of the story is that advocating standard, capitalistic, free-market economics is enough to trigger The Marketeer's reflex to subvert language.

-- I am Spartacus.
Gonzo Marketing: Advertising of the future? | 20 comments (20 topical, 0 editorial, 0 hidden)
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