Yes, you read that right. In light of the Thanksgiving season, we’ve decided to take part in one of the typical traditions of the holiday from a rather different angle.

We’ve compiled a list of people who have a name in the marketing industry and for whom we are NOT thankful. These people made innovations and changes to the way things are done in the marketing world, forcing the rest of us to subsequently change everything we do.

How rude.

So here they are—the people we will not be mentioning while we say our thanks around the Thanksgiving dinner table this year.

The Legends

Let’s start off with those who came before us, earning themselves a spot in the history books—or at least as a legend in our minds.

Johannes Gutenberg

Oh yeah. We’re going there. Gutenberg invented this marvelous thing called mechanical moveable type printing, making the duplication of texts possible and Gutenberg Marketingallowing the birth of mass communication to come about.
Thanks to this guy, when a text was created from his time on, people expected there to be more than one copy out there and to be able to have a copy of their own.

Do you know how inconvenient that is? Who cares about the spread of information and literacy? Save the trees. One copy is enough.

Conrad Gessner

This man was a Swiss naturalist and bibliographer who was around in the 1500’s. And, believe it or not, he’s credited with starting what we call viral marketing nowadays.Gessner

That’s right. During some of his work, this guy wrote about the beauty and wonders of the tulip. When his words finally reached the rest of Europe, they seemed to fall under a spell over this flower they knew so little about (seriously, a flower?).

Well, people seriously went nuts. They loved their tulips. Those things sold for the equivalent of millions of dollars today (which is absolutely ridiculous). And boom—viral marketing was born.

So now, thanks to Gessner here, we have to worry about finding creative things and coming up with innovative ideas that might catch on, reach a lot of people, and spread like wildfire.

Like babies biting fingers and cats playing keyboards. Right.

John R. Brinkley

A very astute (and arguably deranged) doctor, Brinkley sought to promote his new venture of transplanting goat testicles into humans to cure male impotence.


Anyway, the way he promoted this, uh…interesting new idea was through radio advertisements. Even though advertising on the radio was frowned upon at the Brinkleytime, he bought his own station and spoke for hours on end about his new project while adding in other forms of radio entertainment in between rants. And his station boomed, earning him a lot of money and a large audience!

Thus, radio advertising became a big thing, requiring everyone else who wanted to promote something to go through the trouble of using it too.

That’s right. This guy’s the reason you can’t listen to music on the radio for five minutes straight because every single station is at a commercial.

Jam Handy

Known originally for his Olympic bronze medal in 1904 for swimming, Mr. Handy became known for his role in the world of marketing later on as well.

While working at the Chicago Tribune, he worked with the advertising staff and researched what made people buy certain products. Among some other skills, HandyHandy began making films, one of his most famous clients being General Motors. Not only did he make training films for the company, but he also made advertisements that went far beyond anything of the time, making him the leader of his time in the field of audio and visual communication.

Thanks to his revolutionary films and ads, the rest of the marketing world had to watch and take note of his techniques and begin to get better acquainted with these new modes of communication.

As if Brinkley’s weird radio advertising wasn’t enough.

Wroe Alderson

This man studied at George Washington, MIT, and University of Pennsylvania. What a show-off.

AldersonNamed the “father of modern marketing” for the twentieth century, Alderson did a lot of research and development on aspects of marketing and how it works. What really set him apart was the incorporations of other disciplines of study into the marketing realm, including psychology, philosophy, and anthropology.

That meant that the marketing world had to worry about actually considering how people think and act to make their tactics more effective.

We don’t want to think. We just want to sell stuff.


These people are just plain annoying. Seriously, why do they have to come up with such “inspiring” ideas, making everyone else feel like they can change the way things are. Who needs improvement? Where we are now is just fine.

But not according to these people, apparently.

Mary Kay Ash

Yes. The infamous founder of Mary Kay Cosmetics, Mary Kay Ash has made it to our list. While her husband fought in World War II, Mary Kay went door-to-door to sell books and earn a profit.

Then after being looked over for a promotion (that was given to a man she trained), Mary Kay decided that it was time to do her own thing. With some help Ashfrom her son and her life savings of $5,000, she started Mary Kay Cosmetics, Inc. in 1963. With a Golden Rule philosophy and the opportunity for women to have financial success, Mary Kay boomed and became a huge hit across the country.

Thanks to her success in network marketing (recruiting independent sales agents to distribute and sell your product, while encouraging them to build their own sales force), Mary Kay made it imperative for others to adopt similar philosophies to hers—satisfaction guarantees, making customers feel special, and super-fun party nights.

What are we, five? Sheesh.

Andy Warhol

Yes—the man who mixed artistic expression with advertisements. A big name in the 1960’s and still today, Warhol was known for challenging what was Warholconsidered art. He also had a huge impact on the world of graphic design and creating illustrations for advertisements.

Why we’re not thankful? His works forced the rest of the marketing and advertisement world to be more creative and artistic to attract people to them.

Yeah, because soup cans are really “thinking outside the box.”

Adam Short

The creator of the Niche Profit Classroom, Mr. Short here has compiled a list of tools and advice to help even everyday people become successful at niche Shortmarketing. Whatever a person is interested in or knows a lot about, with this new resource they can market to people with the same niche and make money off of it.

What was wrong with overarching, broad, less-specific marketing? And demographics? Who needs demographics? Now we need to act like everyone isn’t exactly the same.

Must we?

Dharmesh Shah

This guy’s the co-founder and CEO of HubSpot, a company that provides advice and tools for business’ online marketing. Yeah, so?

ShahWell, HubSpot’s biggest perk is where the name comes from. They provide a single place for those who use their services to control all of their online marketing mediums.

That means that people don’t need to go to three different social media sites and four different blog sites to access all of their different accounts. They can go to this “hub” (get it?) and access all of those accounts from one place.

Wait, making things more convenient for clients? What craziness is this? That means more hard work for us and more happiness for them.




David Aaker

An organizational theorist and marketing expert, Mr. Aaker is most well known for his contributions to the concept of brand identity. Perhaps his most famous contribution is the “Aaker Model” (yeah, real original name).

Anyway, this model deals with the idea that brand equity consists of brand awareness, brand loyalty, and brand associations. It’s all that stuff about makingAaker your brand name more well-known, because then people are more likely to buy your products than they are to buy those of a less well-known brand name.

All this to say that because of this guy, everyone else in the marketing world has been forced to focus on building their brand name and giving themselves a bigger and better image and having standards and blah, blah, blah.

Let’s be honest. “Brand image” is just another way of saying, “we want you to think we’re awesome so you’ll spend money with us.”

Are we right or are we right?

Seth Godin

Finally, number eleven. Mr. Godin. This guy’s the former VP of Direct Marketing at Yahoo!, author of 17 books, founder of, and one of the most Godinpopular bloggers in the world. Oh, and he created the first internet-based direct marketer, Yoyodyne. Yeah, apparently he’s kind of a big deal.

What gets him on our list, however, is his philosophy and obsession for not settling for the norm. He promotes standing out and creating and spreading new ideas.

Thanks to this guy and his success, we have to dig down deep and find what makes us different and special. We can’t just “fit in” anymore. We have to accept the fact that things do and should change.

Change? Standing out? Who wants to be original, anyway? Originality is…hard.

Well, that’s our list of people we’re unthankful for. People who push themselves and succeed, therefore forcing others to become better as well.

You know some things we ARE thankful for, though? Those who have an appreciation for sarcasm, a sense of humor, and the willingness to laugh a little.

We’re thankful for all of you.

And we mean that…unlike this immensely sarcastic blog post.

Happy Thanksgiving!

By Joshua Cranmer, Director of Client Marketing at ProspectMX

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