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My Interview With A Marketing Douchebag
Written by Brendan at 12:40 pm • • 5 Commentsawesomeness, content, digital

If you work in social media and/or advertising (seems like the two are mutually exclusive these days, whether you like it or not), there’s a good chance you’re on Twitter. And there’s a good chance you are following @mktgdouchebag.

The anonymous twitter account is run by someone in the industry who laughs at his own profession, really. His dry wit and blunt, humorous commentaries on the industry’s oftentimes ridiculous behavior and overly indulgent self-appreciation is a welcome change of pace.

Being a gigantic fanboy of his, I was honored to have been able to interview him (albeit through email…the guy has to remain anonymous, right?). I obviously work in social media and advertising, so it’s pretty easy to get caught up in they hype of it all. He reminds me to stay humble. And maybe make fun of this industry every now and again in the process.

Without further ado: My (@brendangahan) interview with @mktgdouchebag.

And yeah, I just shamelessly found a way to put my twitter handle in this post to gain followers. I’m a marketing douchebag. It’s what we do.


Q: What incident made you start the @mktgdouchebag persona? Did something/someone push you over the edge?

There are many reasons why I started the @mktgdouchebag persona, though I’m not sure which are true. Here are a few that sound good to me.

First, I was conflicted, plain and simple. Most of my free time is spent with people who actually make stuff: food people and musicians and clothing designers and furniture makers and software developers and other artists who don’t want to read me whining online about marketing.

Yet, I felt compelled to share my stupid opinions gleaned from failing at social media marketing since the late 1990s, when the greater marketing industry thought what we were doing was heresy and a waste of time.

Therefore, I felt a good option was a pseudonym with which I could talk about marketing but in a fun way. Not the “Be All You Can Be!” motivational-coach way.

What started as a place to blow off some steam, though, has taught me more than any other social media project I’ve ever worked on. It’s quite the sociological experiment. How will people interact with an anonymous person who could be, in reality, an intern? Will anyone agree with my weird thoughts? And will they turn on me as familiarity breeds contempt? Will I use the opportunity to try to gain some friends only to monetize their asses when I come out with my book?

The greatest thing about Twitter? It helps improve your writing by constraining you and offering you a means to receive immediate feedback.

Q: Are you going to RT the blog post to this interview? That seems like something mktgdouchebag would do.

Hell yeah. Not only am I going to RT the blog post, but I’m going to clandestinely contact some “influencers” whom I’ve “cultivated” and ask them to retweet it too. Soon, you’ll see this “groundswell” of word-of-mouth action that’ll hit the world like the swine flu. It’ll be akin to the last political movement you forgot you “Liked” 20,000 hangovers ago.

Q: Who in the social media space do you admire?

My mom. She has a way of posting embarrassing pics of me on Facebook that really crystallizes my personal brand. I admire her and dead people whose works have stood the test of time without their having to suck up to anybody, which you can’t do really well when you’re dead.

I don’t know. I guess I admire the regular people who use social media in tasteful ways because it’s fun. Anybody who thinks they’re a big deal because they’re known around the world as a social media marketer is about as good for human progress as AIDS. Cool people understate their accomplishments.

Q: Who’s the douchiest in the space?

I’m clearly the douchiest in the space. Fully admit. Although, I tend to chuckle at the people who are basically frat boys dressed like they’re from the movie Wall Street, but pretending to be anthropology professors or whatever. Dude, you’re a publicist, not Claude Levi-Strauss. These are the self-styled pundits who are one chromosome away from writing catchy religious sayings on those billboards outside churches.

I also laugh at Social Media Gluesniffers who disagreed with my friends two years ago but, now that it’s fashionable to question everything, have changed their tune. The front lines get the arrows, I guess. The followers pick the arrows out of their backs and sell them.

Everything I say is in good fun; I don’t hate anybody. Perhaps if I weren’t making my clients cash doing social media my way I would.

Q: What’s the most douchiest marketing campaign that you’ve seen in recent memory?

The entire emergence of Facebook has been pretty textbook.

Step 1: Gain grassroots support by pretending to be humanitarian through championing the Ministries of Authenticity and Transparency (two ministries Orwell forgot).

Step 2: Once you have a groundswell of people using the service, exploit it to get investment and advertising.

Step 3, to come: Get acquired or go public, and then suck.

I prefer how Twitter markets itself. Tastefully. You can tell which company is staffed with people who actually have real friends.

All social networks are like trendy bars. Once the jocks from high school (or your grandpa, as of late) show up and start hitting on your girlfriend and yelling loud stuff, your friends will leave. Anybody who buys a social network with the tall dollars obviously doesn’t go to enough parties to know better.

Do the people you work with know about your mktgdouchebag account?

Not that I know of. Though people that I work with unwittingly follow and interact with me. I work with pretty funny people who probably wouldn’t care, though.

What’s funny is that some people who aren’t warm with me in real life interact fondly with @mktgdouchebag. Sort of hurts my feeling. Or half of it.

Q: Does anyone know your true identity?

A handful of people: My best friends and all of my past and current ladyfriends. I’d tell people but I really don’t think it’d be as fun for them or me. People enjoy things they can’t fully know.

Q: Have we ever met?

In your nightmares, maybe. Like, remember when you were falling from the sky after visiting your kindergarten class in your underwear during that show-and-tell with your Lady Jaye action figure with the swivel-arm battlegrip and that guy with the Bluetooth acted like he was going to catch you from hitting the ground? Yeah. You’ve probably gnawed your teeth on me in the middle of the night.

Q: Where does @mktgdouchebag hang out on the weekend?

Restaurants, run by former vegans, that now serve a bunch of questionable meat options like gourmet pig ears and ant tongue. Also: my bed because I like to sleep in late and wake up crying.

Art openings for people with no formal training, house shows where some sweaty cacophonous band is playing, a taqueria where we drink 10,000 margaritas and say really sociopathic stuff, parties at 3:30 a.m. in the morning where I receive the text from home asking, “Where are you? You said you’d be home.”

I also like to make videos and write stuff and play instruments with friends much more talented than I.

Q: Fill in the blank. I hate it when clowns _______ me.

I hate it when clowns don’t pick me to play that game on the Bozo show in which you throw the ping-pong ball into the buckets to win prizes like a BMX bike. I’m still bitter about that. Pretty much all of this stuff is a manifestation of that let-down.

Q: Douchebag marketing word of 2010? 2011? 3011?

2010: Game changer: Half the people who’ve said this have never won a game in their life.

2011: Pivot: The recessionary equivalent of “ratchet up.”

3011: Satan: Because hell will hath frozen over by then

Q: How/why did you pick your twitter icon?

I Google image searched “Bluetooth.” Pretty lame, huh? In real life, I’m all shaggy-haired and dressed like a 1980’s dad playing tennis, which doesn’t engender much trust.

This isn’t an answer to a question but I just want to close with one bit. To paraphrase Zadie Smith, there are no rules. There’s only pulling it off. If you want to survive in marketing, talk to your customers and find out where they hang out. Interact with them there. Ask them whom they trust. Talk to those people. Then, measure what you did to see if it achieved some goal. That’s pretty much it. Anybody that’s a zealot about any new-fangled marketing tool or practice is either an idiot or a salesman.

Thanks, Mekanism. I think you kids are swell and do neat work.

– Marketing Douchebag

10 Million Reasons Why You Should Be Paying Attention To Starbucks
Written by Brendan at 12:25 pm • • 2 Commentscontent, digital,

July was a big month for social media. Facebook hit 500 million users, and Starbucks became the first brand to hit 10 million fans. Clearly this social media thing is starting to catch on… but it got me thinking about a question that comes up often:

Can social media scale & get ‘TV’ numbers? Clearly it will.

The season premiere of Season 5 of Lost got 11.4 million views (yes, the nerds out there will argue Season 5 was lacking, but still…that’s a lot of eyeballs). To me, it’s impressive that Starbucks has the potential to reach almost as many people as a prime time TV show on ABC.


Clearly, there is a lot of potential for brands (and individuals) to create their own new media networks. While this is hardly a new idea, it does beg the question: Where will the future content creators go? Five years from now is the next Conan O’Brien going to hawk his show to a major network in hopes of a pilot or go to a Starbucks with instant reach in the tens of millions?

Facebook and Twitter have allowed brands and individuals to work in reverse and create the TV network themselves. Isn’t Conan O’Brien essentially accidentally building “The Conan O’Brien Network” after he got the boot from a traditional media venue? The man made a Twitter account that had 300,000 followers in 24 hours.

Take that to the next level: you know that Old Spice campaign a few people talked about? It turns out the star of  the brand’s viral videos caused so much of a buzz that he actually got cast in a new movie with Jennifer Aniston. If that’s not an instance of a brand’s online network launching the next big Hollywood star, I’m not really sure what is.

Plain and simple: brands are becoming the television stations of the future. People have talked about it forever. The only thing is…

We’re finally watching it happen.

Mekanista Profile
Written by Brendan at 1:26 pm • • No CommentsUncategorized

Not all of you know this but Jason Harris, the Prez here at Mek, is a bass player and used to play in a local SF band by the name of Lucy. While the band may have broken up, that hasn’t stopped Jason from continuing to rock out. Here he is practicing for his upcoming one man show. Enjoy:

See more funny videos and funny pictures at CollegeHumor.