6 New Rules of Marketing: Get Enlightened, Stupid.

Apparently I have to relearn marketing again, which is fine... it wasn't hard the first time.

The coolest thing about marketers are the titles they give their books. Common, right? They’re marketers. What do you expect?

Yep, while marketing and advertising may be dead, the business of proclaiming it even more dead... is booming. Here are the six rules, and as you can see they defy the 6 marketing rules I learned in my MBA (which I’ve added in italics).

Oh- I think it goes without saying that I haven’t read the book, but I am considering adding it to the prized bookshelf of “The Enlightened Stupid Marketer.” At least he embraces book covers over books, right? Is there any irony to the fact that years after shooting that video I’d write a book and, to date, not read it?

  • The Core is Everything (screw the customer, kill or be killed, don’t sleep)

Key chapters: Brand essence is important, customer knows best, your reputation is vital, play nicely, sleep soundly and work fearfully.

  • You Have Nothing Without The Foundation (integrity is for the unemployment line… Ps in 2006 were product, price, piss the customer, and pimp it)

Key chapters: Integrity, single word or symbol, whole is larger than parts, mind your P’s….

  • There Are Many Choices But Only One Customer (there’s a sucker born every minute; it’s easier to find a new customer than try to keep one).

Key chapters: Strategy is the heart and measurement is the blood, frameworks, perception really is your customer’s reality, communication, more than channel surfing.

  • Do the Right Things for the Right Reasons (we watched Wall Street in Ethics class, talked about Walmart, and then all proclaimed: greed is goooood).

Key chapters: Relationships matter, partner, it’s about them not you…

  • Infrastructure is More Than Pipes (in fact, a virtual tributary allows for add-drop multiplexing of subrate traffic… come to think of that, I might have learned that when my boutique web agency was acquired by Qwest Telcom).

Key chapters: Technology is just an enabler, right information, right people, right time… and don’t have wrong thought.

  • Lead And Others Will Follow (be a fast follower… let your competitor take the arrows, then pull them from their body and use them against anyone that tries suing you for stealing their idea; be sure to pluck out their gold fillings… they won’t need them anymore because they’re dead).

Key chapters: Leadership is a verb not noun.

So, yeah. I have to relearn marketing again, but this time there’s not a test (which sucks because I would have cheated off of my friend Mike Skoler). I wonder if my damned MBA comes with a money-back guarantee (It probably does, but the small print says “not valid on days ending with the letter Y”).

For the record, this marketing-satire video (“Enlightened Stupid Marketer”) was indeed shot in a conference room of an employer who shall remain nameless. You’d never know that unless you worked there, so while I maintained the spirit of the no-camera law (confidentiality), I broke the “letter” of the law. More importantly, it was a satire not of my co-workers at the time but of a Coke executive I’d seen a month prior at a conference. Nobody believed me, and a number of people took offense to this (like the guy who sucked my will to live).

The nice thing about this video is that if you’re offended by it, I’ve struck a vulnerability nerve haven’t I? Are ya offended or are you secure in your marketing competencies? Do you see yourself lampooned, or do you giggle at the absurdity occasionally? If your teeth clench while watching, you MAY just have gelatophobia. There’s only one cure. Avoid people unless wearing ear muffs and blinders. Or just keep reading the latest marketing book that proclaims the last guy slightly dumber.

Meet Evan Spiridellis of Jibjab Media (Via Knestor, the Smart Borat)

Knestor, the smart-man’s Borat, is the awkwardly intelligent alter ego of Jim Meskimen. Jim is that voice you’ve heard as just about every political figure on JibJab’s celebrated animations, and he’s been the subject of countless blog posts here.

Professor Knestor Jackdaws Is Not Just an Awkward British Historian and Curator of Creativity. He's the Alter Ego of Jim Meskimen, The Voice of JibJab.

So it’s a delight to see the bow-tie, tweed jacket wearing faux Brit interviewing the very real Evan Spiridellis of JibJab media. See more of Knestor at Jim Meskimen’s top-secret YouTube account. Knestor sees the flower in the box. Do you?

My four favorite moments:

  1. Spiridellis acknowledges his Ethopian doll is in poor taste. One of those brilliant moments you’re so glad wasn’t chopped out in a dastardly moment of politically correct editing, because you can see he really feels it.
  2. Meskimen is mentioned as the voice of JibJab like he’s not in the room. You can just hear Evan instinctively honoring that his pal is in character.
  3. Knestor thinks the dynamite figures on a birthday cake are, in fact, wieners. That moment may go unnoticed by most, but it had this 14-year-old 40-something guy giggling.
  4. In a wonderful example of Meskimen’s improv abilities, Knestor reminds us that uploading your head to JibJab permits you to keep your head when you’re done. We don’t care if he’s used this bit before, because it seems to glide out his brain like a child from a water slide.

I saw a live webcast of JibJab by FallofAutumnDistro in July 2008, and remember thinking, “wow these guys aren’t just talented, but really likeable.” The company was born in a manger by a frustrated investor banker with a Wharton MBA (Gregg Spiridellis) and Evan, his award-winning animator and brother. In a parallel universe, I was their third brother who was often picked on, never amounted to much, but helped turn some of their bulletin-board notecards green.

This Wright-Brothers Like Logo Celebrates the Brothers Who Gave Flight to Something No Less Important Than Airplanes.

This interview with Evan, a fellow Jim Henson fan, reminds me that the dudes in this Santa Monica, California creative nerve center may not wear tattoos but may sport some of the coolest jobs of our generation.

Oprah: Get Hank and John on TV to Show the REAL YouTube

You know who you should have on your show, Oprah? Hank and John of Vlogbrothers, who became popular when they communicated for a year strictly through alternating “video blogs” (vlogs).


Here’s the pitch, Oprah producer (or someone who knows them and will forward this on). The two guys have a loyal following of “Nerdfighters” who use online-video to reduce world suck. They’re smart, talented, and nice guys… and are helping promote a new YouTube volunteer program. Their fans proudly wear the Nerdfighter badge, and rally the community in funny and life-enhancing ways. It’s not cats and skateboards. But it’s indicative of the power of social media (and video, its most visceral form) to influence masses… in positive ways.

If I was promoting an important cause, I can think of no greater honor online than having John and Hank lend their influential voice.

In fact the only thing they’re not good at promoting is themselves… because it’s not ABOUT Hank or John. It’s about improving the world.

And that’s why I’m pitching you for them, dear Oprah. I would like to be in the green room as they prepare to enter the stage. Because I’ll totally moon one of them before they join you on TV to help improve the world.

P.S. If you’re a nerd fighter, join the cause! Get Hank and John on Oprah, where they can maximize their reach beyond the inner YouTube community!

vlog brothers promote video volunteers on youtube

Parody of Billy Bob Thorton’s Radio Flip-Out

I was making $16,000 a year for the Georgetown Courier, when our photographer got news that Pierce Brosnan was shooting Live Wire. The determined photographer convinced the doorman at the Watergate to ask Brosnan if he’d let her take his picture. Then she asked if I wanted to cover the story. What a break! Brosnan’s handlers told me NOT to ask about James Bond, however. At the time, Brosnan’s Remington Steele contract forbid him from being the next Bond, and that was a touchy subject.

How do you think I opened the interview? How can you NOT ask about something so important to him? I did it delicately by asking him why it was so important as to not be discussed. And then he spilled the beans.

I’m reminded of that story when I watched the Billy Bob Thorton video, where his handlers must have insisted to the show’s producers that the topic of Thorton’s film career not come up. How can it NOT come up? Really? Are you now a rock star only, Billy Bob, in your post Angelena days?

But really, should Billy Bob Thorton be blamed for flipping out on Canadian Interviewer (QVT/CBC Radio) Jian Ghomeshi?

No way. It’s the interviewer’s fault. Here’s my experience with the SAME guy (Ghomeshi) last year. He made me so mad I was fixin to kill him with this lawnmower blade. Hmmm.

Footage used with permission by QVT and CRC Radio (I called their media team on commute home and spent hours more than you might think on this stupid video. The tension builds up around 6 minutes in the actual clip:

Coolest Interview JibJab Creators Have Ever Done

jibjab logo“People like to look at themselves,” JibJab co-creator Gregg Spiridellis told fans last night to explain the appeal of JibJab Sendables — one of just a few cash-makers for the company that spawned several of the most viral video animations ever. Gregg and his brother Evan said it the live show with fans was the “coolest interview” they’ve done (see 10-minute clip below).

Alan Lastufka, know on YouTube as fallofautumndistro, invited the NJ natives to interact with JibJab Junkies via live video on Blog.tv. (a website helping some YouTube Cewebrities connect with fans and earn some additional cash through ads).

The Spiridellis brothers talked from the heart — not the marketing script — and dropped words like “nipple” and “banana hammock” as if we’re with them in their Freshman dorm. If you’ve ever marvelled at the JibJab cartoon musical satires, then you may find this unscripted format intriguing. The fourth wall is gone, and the brothers relax with the lack of lights, big cameras and nervous action from journalists, producers and production assistants.

On a continuum between meeting someone live and watching them on a late-night TV interview, the Blog.tv experience was an experience far closer to the former. The duo took random questions in a relaxed, bemused style unlike an edited TV package or even live television. We watch the awkward pauses between their sound bites, how they transition between each other, and the way they handle quirky questions with improvisational wit.

There’s a moment where they chuckle about their paultry earnings, and we get a peak into a playtful motive of their collaborations. And the event punctuates with them walking off camera and out the room, but not before inviting their “marketing guy” to speak to the audience (he doesn’t, but in fairness he does look like he’s younger than my Charlie).

The Spiridellis are now my second favorite brother duo. Above the Cohen brothers, but second, of course, to Nalts and his brother Chris [who I love even when I don’t return his calls… and from whom I stole the college nickname “Nalts”].

Gregg and Evan’s live appearance makes it hard to hide the fact that they are far more interested in the fun and humor of their satire than in capitalizing on it. They seem to work like crazy and love it, and you may not watch another JibJab without thinking back to this fascinating peak at the Spiridellis. While there are moments that drag and a few gratuitous plugs for JibJab, we experience insights into the spirit lurking behind the whimsical JibJab moments.

Do I sound like a fan gone rabid? Yeah, I am.

Exposed: Big Media’s Bias Against Online Video

nalts interview mediaI was interviewed Friday by a major U.S. television network on the subject of online video, and caught some footage of the reporter’s loaded questions and biased reporting. You’ll hear how he tries to shape the discussion to confirm his own belief that online video is crap, and that big media will continue its reign. See it on YouTube, where it’s titled “Big Media Lies!

The footage was shot documentary style, so the reporter is off camera and I’m against a green screen. Be sure to watch the “debrief” video before you render judgment but after watching the first one.

P.S. Leave the shoes alone, Sukatra.