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70: Bob Hoffman: The Ad Contrarian strikes Badmen

Bob Hoffman on Marketing Today

This week’s episode of “Marketing Today” is déjà vu all over again. Alan talks with Bob Hoffman, the first-ever return guest on the “Marketing Today” podcast. Hoffman, famously known as the Ad Contrarian, is an advertising veteran, best-selling author, and sought-after speaker and advisor. His latest book, “BadMen: How Advertising Went from a Minor Annoyance to a Major Menace,” provides Hoffman’s view on the state of online advertising.

Hoffman casts an unflinching eye on today’s marketers, and he doesn’t mince words in discussing what he sees as the inherent evil in today’s online marketing and the changes that are necessary: “We have to find a new model of online advertising that’s not based on tracking, that’s not based on surveillance and does not subvert our right to privacy.” He goes on to add, “We’ve turned the web into a nonstop marketing machine. And advertising used to be about imparting information, but now it’s equally about collecting information.”

Highlights from this week’s “Marketing Today” podcast include:

  • Hoffman explains how his family’s sense of humor and skepticism of authority shaped him. (1:38)
  • The need to get marketers to think more clearly and purposefully — and not adhere to the prevailing “wisdom.” (3:14)
  • Hoffman discusses the impetus behind his latest book. (5:16)
  • Hoffman calls for an end to tracking and surveillance marketing. (11:15)
  • “The ad industry, I think, is in the middle of a slow-motion nervous breakdown.” (15:52)
  • Hoffman’s take on the problems with consolidation. (20:23)
  • Hoffman on income inequality: “It’s all in the hands of category killers.” (23:46)
  • What Hoffman sees for the future of marketing: “I think it’s going to be totalitarianism. The marketing industry is going to know everything about us and it’s not going to be healthy.” (28:35)