Marketing Tonality

Somewhere between lying blatantly, and being completely truthful

My week started with this gem from Archana, the wise:

Marketers mostly cheat when they market ‘cause they make it sound amazing but really it’s not … that amazing. So everyone gets super disappointed. And in Zobar, the planet where KP and OP live, they are, some are … if they have done things like this before then they are arrested.

It was one of those joyful parenting moments where the child’s evolving brain stitches together something incredibly wise and spouts it nonchalantly.

I’m not sure what triggered this flow of thought. It’s possible that Amazon.in listings were on her mind. She knows that we check user reviews because the product description may not be entirely trustworthy. And she knows that marketers write the description.

Off camera, she also mentioned that “HyperVerge is probably not like that since everybody seems honest.


My week ended with the re-discovery of this gem:

This reminded me of conversations I’ve had with engineers who believe that “people will buy if we honestly and truthfully communicate the purpose and value of the product.” Some engineers really love this quote: The best minds of my generation are thinking about how to make people click ads. That sucks. Jeffrey Hammerbacher (one of the first 100 to join Facebook, and one of the first to leave). The quote is from this 2011 Bloomberg article. More nuance in this interview from 2013.

I’m considering showing this C&H strip to the next marketing candidate who applies to me and challenging her/him to redraft Calvin’s marketing plan for “a swift kick in the butt.” What do you think?


I guess most marketers live their daily lives between the extremes of entirely truthful and completely dishonest.


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