All Marketing Executives Should Be Fired

I know this is a bold claim, but I really mean it. The old ways of marketing are dead and gone. You used to be able to create a great marketing campaign, spend a lot of money in ad dollars, people would pay attention, and you would win. Not anymore though. And sadly, many of the top marketing executives don’t get it, don’t want to get it or just don’t know what to do about it. The same could be said about many of the startup founders I meet.

And so, all marketing executives should be fired.

The best marketing executives can have their jobs back, if they prove that they know what marketing means in 2014. If not, sorry pal, you’re a dinosaur. You’re closer to Don Draper than you are to a successful marketing executive in this crazy new world we live in.

Let me give you two examples I experienced first hand at the FIFA FanFest in Rio de Janeiro. The first company doesn’t have a clue. The second actually did a pretty stellar job.

A Miserable Failure

Hyundai, don’t take this personal, but whatever money you spent at the FanFest has gone completely down the drain. You have this prime location with this huge layout and you totally blew it. What did you do? You brought in two cars and build a showroom. A SHOWROOM! Seriously?!?!

Do you really think people at FanFest want to go to a car showroom during the middle of a World Cup game? What were you thinking? You’ve spent your marketing dollars the exact same way you probably spend all of your advertising budget — trying to ram your message down the consumer’s throat any chance you get. There's a reason why this was totally empty when everything else was overly crowded. Major fail.

A Remarkable Success

Moving on, let’s compare this to what Sony has done. Sony created a totally unique experience at FanFest. Unique, remarkable, engaging, memorable, perfectly branded. They created these two giant towers on either side of the FanFest and put a zipline between them. Yes. A zipline. Over the crowd. Brilliant!!!

Every single person at FanFest wants to go on the zipline because it’s pure amazingness. They come to the giant Sony Towers, there’s some subtle Sony marketing floating around, then you have a totally unique perspective of what 20,000 screaming World Cup fans look like from the sky. People have a remarkable experience thanks to Sony.


These zipliners are going to be taking pictures of themselves and putting it all over social media, bragging to all their friends about how they ziplined across the crowd and ultimately they are going to associate that (consciously or not) with Sony. Oh, and Sony had some TVs set up with Playstations for people to play FIFA 2014 and lot’s of other fun, engaging stuff. Huge win!!

That’s how you do marketing in 2014. That Sony marketing executive can not only keep their job, they should get a promotion and a big, fat bonus.

Be Sony, not Hyundai

As you're thinking about how to attract new users, spend your precious marketing dollars, increase sales and spread the word about how awesome you are, remember to be like Sony and not Hyundai. Avoid at all costs the “look at us, look at us” marketing. Instead be unique, remarkable and engaging.