July 26, 2018

Lies Of The Marketing Industry

There are two types of lies. Lies of commission (when you say something that isn't true) and lies of omission (when you neglect to say something that is true.)

The marketing industry is guilty of 10 years of lying by omission.

I am specifically speaking about the events at which the marketing industry comes together -- our conferences. These are the occasions when the industry "gathers" and "networks" and "shares" all the dumb shit that we happen to be obsessed with at the moment.

It seems that there is a new marketing conference every half-hour to solemnly explore whatever the marketing fad-of-the-month happens to be. The trade press, finding it ever harder to make a buck publishing, has jumped head-first into the conference business with a never-ending stream of "insider summits."

The problem with these conferences is that while they pretend to be educational, they usually have a hidden motive that is antithetical to truth-telling. In fact, most of the conferences you attend are financed to a significant degree by companies with an agenda. And what is the undercurrent that defines that agenda? Usually, the propagation and glorification of marketing and advertising technology.

The headline speakers at these conferences are often cheerleaders for whatever new technology is at hand. The talks are usually boosterism disguised as information. Dissenting points of view are rarely represented. The result is that we have become an industry that has lost its traditional sense of skepticism and does not even know what questions to ask when force-fed the latest techno-bullshit.

Do you think Facebook and Google want people at the conferences they are sponsoring to talk about the horrifying dangers of tracking and surveillance marketing? Do you think the adtech industry - whose members sponsor scores of conferences - want speakers spelling out the facts about the waste, fraud and corruption enabled by adtech? If you were paying good money to sponsor a conference would you want people onstage describing what a stupid, dangerous product you were creating? Let's not pretend the conference organizers don't understand the unwritten rules. Let's not pretend they don't book these conferences accordingly.

Here is a list of the so-called "Gold Partners" for this year's Advertising Week conference in NYC...

You don't have to be a philosophy major to figure out what segment of the ad industry is being advanced by this conference.

And who's going to be speaking at Advertising Week? Do you think Google will have a speaker at the conference? No, they'll have at least eleven of them...

Isn't anyone embarrassed that one company has eleven speakers at a conference? Have we gone so far down the rabbit hole that no one thinks this unseemly? And people are willing to pay good money to witness this?

I get invited to these conferences once in a while because I get cast as the amusing, slightly nutty old guy who thinks adtech is a bunch of dangerous horseshit. You know, comic relief.

These things are usually just a 3-day festival of self-congratulation and cheerleading for the stinky online ad industry, the dubious operators who serve it, the "futurist" baloney peddlers, and the gullible suckers who pay to suffer through it.

Adtech corrupts everything it touches.

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