S02E01 – Saying No To Pulling The Wool Over People’s Eyes

Talking About Marketing Podcast by Steve Davis and David Olney

The marketing rebellion is here. Are you with us?

This is an important start to our second season. Through the Marketing Rebellion book by Mark Schaeffer, we are all reminded that we control only a small slither of our branding efforts.

Customers rule the world.

We explain in more detail, along with poking fun at stuffy branding agencies, making notes about the upcoming change to Google Analytics, and reflecting on whether or not the University Of Adelaide's 2016 campaign, Seek Light, actually lit a fire for their enrolments.

Talking About Marketing podcast episode notes with timecodes

01:39  Person  This segment focusses on you, the person, because we believe business is personal.

When Branding Goes Bad

Over summer I listened to some old (2020) episodes of Very Bad Wizards, a podcast featuring a philosopher (Tamler Sommers) and a psychologist (David Pizarro), and they took a blowtorch of cynicism to the newly announced University of Oregon branding document.

I mention this because as people in our business, we are often our brands and we can feel inferior next to "big brands" so I thought I'd start with a little taste of how these two professors mocked pretentious branding, when the University Of Oregon released its branding kit.

Here are some of the sections that David Olney and I then lampooned. Jeez. The pretension!


We never take our eyes off the horizon. We exist to help push humanity forward. To pass on a better world than we inherited. We don’t just lift up the people around us, we build stairways so the next generation can climb even higher.


Ever notice how purely itself nature is? A tree is a tree; it doesn’t try to be anything else. As always, we take our example from nature.  Sometimes we’re intense and focused. Sometimes we’re relaxed and approachable. Either way, we don’t try to force it. We just are.


Everyone has an irreplaceable gift to offer. Corny, but astoundingly true. Inclusion means more than just acceptance, though. It means welcoming everyone into the room. And listening. And supporting. And collaborating. And celebrating their uniqueness.


You know when you crest the summit and catch that first glimpse of the whole world laid out at your feet? Yeah, that feeling. We never stop chasing it. Our hunger for the extraordinary is what makes us… well, extraordinary.


We love research that raises eyebrows. Insights that spark new perspectives. Solutions that defy old assumptions. And don’t even get us started on art. Surprise disrupts our thinking, opening space for new ideas. It’s why we sometimes zag when others zig.


We know who we are, and we call it like we see it. But never in a rude way. Bold is what you get when you combine self-confidence with respect for others. We speak courageously, take risks, and stand up for what we believe. We’re not arrogant or conceited, but we do swagger sometimes.

What's the main point for us? Be yourself. Even if that self aligns with how we want our brand to per perceived. We are unlikely to have that disconnect that big brands have.

13:36  Principles  This segment focusses principles you can apply in your business today.

Will You Join The Marketing Rebellion?

In his book, Marketing Rebellion, Mark Schaeffer, talks about the current state of marketing as being one that comes at the end of lies, the end of secrets, and the end of control.

David Olney explains this in more detail in our discussion.

He also references, the author, Pulizzi, who argued for the concept of "audience first".

In other words, as Adelaide Fringe artists are noticing at the moment as The Advertiser stops doing reviews and other media outlets all seem to be favouring their advertising-supported shows, you need an audience before you sell a product or stage a production.]

David also shares an insight from his partner, Karen, whose embroidery group embodies this wisdom.

27:46  Problems  This segment answers questions we've received from clients or listeners.

Give In To Google Re Analytics

Amid the upcoming end of Universal Analytics also known as Google Analytics 3, comes much worry about what to do to maintain reporting of visitor behaviour on websites.

Steve's big tip: Google is offering to migrate your old GA3 Universal Analytics to GA4 and if you have not set up GA4 and done very little with analytics, then let Google go for it.

If you put effort into GA4 set up, then go into your current GA3 accounts and in the GA4 Set Up Assistant, click into it, scroll down and turn off the offer of transition.

31:14  Perspicacity  This segment is designed to sharpen our thinking by reflecting on a case stude from the past.

Have You Seen The Light?

For our glance back to our past this episode, we discuss the University Of Adelaide's 2016 campaign, Seek Light.

David Olney has particular insights because he was a lecturer at the university then.

As a side note, our editor, Tim, was a student at the university then and features in the ad and its thumbnail cover image on YouTube.

The question is, did this mysterious and supposedly uplifting/inspirational campaign lead to more enrolments?

As far as David recalls, the answer was no.

And the reason: students were contemplating large HECS debts. They needed more than vague allusions about seeking knowledge (something applicable to all universities) to let it sway their decisions.

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