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Articles by Bob Garfield

Articles by Bob Garfield


Social Media Is About Cultivating Community, Not Corralling Cattle

Mon, 23 Apr 2012 12:00 EDT

In the Relationship Era, sales tactics may drive consumers away.

Quit Wasting Your Time and Money Trying to Produce Viral Videos

Tue, 10 Apr 2012 11:11 EDT

Chances are you won't win the Mega Millions lottery or catch a 42-pound rainbow trout. So why plan on striking viral gold when there are better online investments to be made?

Apple, Amazon, Google or Comcast -- Who Will 'Win' TV 2.0?

Fri, 23 Mar 2012 14:08 EDT

The future won't hinge on content; an unlimited supply is a given. It will hinge on the discovery of content.

Murdoch Reveals Bieber's Dark Secret: A Future Timeline of the Hacking Scandal

Mon, 12 Mar 2012 15:20 EDT

The phone-hacking scandal is getting awfully convoluted, so I've taken the trouble of putting together a timeline of events so far. And also in the future.

Project Baby Slobs Shows That Sharing Works Better Than Branding

Fri, 24 Feb 2012 11:00 EST

Maybe brands shouldn't be tasking anyone to create branded videos contrived to catch fire online.

McD's Pit Bull Brouhaha a Perfect Storm of Loathsomeness

Fri, 10 Feb 2012 17:03 EST

Every so often the universe presents the perfect package: an enterprise so monumentally loathsome that you can safely despise everyone involved.

The Rot at Apple's Core Could Sicken Consumers -- and Its Business

Fri, 27 Jan 2012 14:00 EST

Perhaps many Apple aficionados are prepared to strike a Faustian bargain -- vague tugs of guilt in exchange for the coolest stuff ever -- but some will not. The backlash is no doubt under way.

Advertisers Will Be Last Line of Defense in Decency Wars

Mon, 16 Jan 2012 13:31 EST

Why memorialize a First Amendment exception if technology will soon render the exception moot?

How Secret Found Inspiration in Perspiration

Sun, 01 Jan 2012 00:00 EST

Getting involved in bringing women's ski-jumping to the Winter Olympics was relatively inexpensive but paid big dividends for the brand.

Ignore the Human Element of Marketing at Your Own Peril

Sun, 01 Jan 2012 00:00 EST

Product positioning? Selling propositions? Talk-at-consumer promos? That's so 2011. This is about tapping into the Human Element.

How to Venn Friends and Influence People

Sun, 01 Jan 2012 00:00 EST

The problem of adapting business models is like that of changing engines in midair. How do you retrofit your institution without putting ongoing operations -- and quarterly growth -- into a stall?

No More Living in the Past: Garfield's 10 Resolutions for 2012

Tue, 27 Dec 2011 11:15 EST

Get ready for "The Human Element" -- an essay that will appear in this very publication in a few days that reimagines the practice of marketing for 2012 and beyond.

The Bellyachers: How Marketers, Politicians Play to Our Worst Instincts

Mon, 12 Dec 2011 17:43 EST

Again and again we are told how bad we have it. And so, convinced that we are in extremis, we bellyache and bellyache, and tune out the rest of the world.

Ramen Music Has It All: Except a Huge Subscriber Base

Mon, 28 Nov 2011 12:00 EST

This is about a startup brand that has it all: Good content. Value added. Simple technology. A big social component. Low price. Essentially no apples-to-apples competition. Virtually zero overhead. So what's the problem?

One Strike and You're Out: In Relationship Era, Bad PR Pitches Will not Be Tolerated

Fri, 11 Nov 2011 14:32 EST

Aimless pitches from haphazard young Courtneys have always been a PR Worst Practice, but in the Brave New World they are deal-killers.

Who Underwrites 'The Sky?' A Parable of Marketing Do-Gooderism Out of Africa

Fri, 21 Oct 2011 16:20 EDT

I had just finished lecturing marketers about divining in their businesses their core purpose and cleaving to that purpose in all they do, with all their constituencies, all the time. What if a certain corporation distilled its core values down to "investing in the communities where we do business?"

The Central Genius of Apple's Advertising Under Jobs: It Was True

Thu, 06 Oct 2011 11:22 EDT

With each successful effort, he pried the thumb of some Big Brother-like monopolist off our slavish selves. He wasn't merely a canny psychologist with an eye for design. He was Moses in a turtleneck.

Actually, Pricing, Not Content Is King -- and Netflix Might End up Retaining the Throne

Sun, 02 Oct 2011 00:00 EDT

The eventual loser will not be Netflix, or its new owner. The loser will be the distribution channels which do not greedily charge $16 per month, but which greedily charge, on average, $80 a month and don't recommend anything but pricier tiers of service.

Obama Speech Was to Congress, but Target Was Voters

Sun, 11 Sep 2011 00:00 EDT

Seldom has a presidential address so hinged on a call to action. How many times did President Barack Obama admonish Congress to pass his proposed jobs bill? I counted 22.

A Social-Media Evangelist Dons a Hair Shirt

Fri, 02 Sep 2011 17:08 EDT

I can talk the talk as well as anyone. But, when push comes to shove, do I really walk the walk?

Hey Marketers, Give Me a Call Before You Pull a Nivea

Fri, 19 Aug 2011 14:36 EDT

Apologies in advance, but what follows amounts to an ad -- an ad for a business that should not exist.

Dentsu Hits up Canon's Publishing Partners for U.S. Open Tickets

Wed, 10 Aug 2011 12:22 EDT

Petty exaction in advertising went online this week when a media executive sent an email to publishers soliciting freebies -- specifically, tickets to the U.S. Open -- for its Canon client.

Proponents of Online Self-Regulation Disadvantaged by Inability to Regulate Themselves

Fri, 05 Aug 2011 17:40 EDT

Broken industry promises about safeguarding consumer privacy will yield demands for legislative and regulatory remedies, putting at grave risk the fragile business models undergirding the digital economy.

A Pheromone-Laced Scent for Social-Media Set Isn't Mad Science

Fri, 22 Jul 2011 12:52 EDT

In trying to prove the value of its medium, CrowdGather risks insulting its core consumers.

Cannes Takes One Small Step Toward Catching Up With Reality

Fri, 08 Jul 2011 14:04 EDT

MOFILM contest entrant shows that a winning idea can come from outside the industry.

What Marketers Can Learn From Weiner-Gate

Fri, 10 Jun 2011 18:37 EDT

I've previously used this space to chastise marketers for being too corporate, too stilted, too impersonal in their social-media outreach. Weiner's is a cautionary tale of too little institutional dignity, too relaxed a voice, too personal exchanges.

To What Extent Are We Ethically Responsible for Our Tech Breakthroughs?

Fri, 27 May 2011 16:19 EDT

When unleashing a data technology onto the internet, is it enough to imagine only the proximate benefits?

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: The 'Truth' About Facebook PR Gaffe

Fri, 13 May 2011 14:30 EDT

We can't reveal our sources, but intelligence officials may have found evidence of links between Facebook and al Qaeda.

Advertising May Be the Thing That Saves Us From Donald Trump

Fri, 29 Apr 2011 17:38 EDT

Advertisers bailed on Glenn Beck; they'll do the same to Donald Trump.

Death Stalks the Twittersphere, Offering a Lesson in Consumer Exposure

Mon, 18 Apr 2011 00:39 EDT

The online marketing industry at the moment is at pains to assuage the feds on the privacy implications of online behavioral tracking. Imagine what will happen when they realize the physical privacy risks of mobile apps