Direct From NOLA

”Creative kids used to start bands. They’re starting brands now.” -Rob Walker

Polygamous Wedding, the innaugural one-day “connection planning” conference that went off last month in New Orleans is now offering some of the presentations on their blog. The offering above is from Robbie Vitrano, principal of New Orleans’ agency, Trumpet.
The presentation I’m nost interested in learning more about is from Rob Walker of The New York Times Magazine. Word is he tapped a 1939 Harvard Business Review article that presents many of the same issues we’re grappling with today. I have an email in to Rob to find out more about it.

About David Burn

Co-founder and editor of AdPulp. I wrote my first ad for a political candidate when I was 17 years old. She won her race and I felt the seductive power of advertising for the first time. I worked for seven agencies in five states before launching my own practice in 2009. Today, I am head of brand strategy and creative at Bonehook in Portland, Oregon.


  1. Hi David,
    The talk was the most recent evolution of one I’ve done a number of times while working on a book, sort of drawing from material from the book research. That particular point you’re referring to, where I bring up some stuff from the past including an old HBR article, is something I added fairly recently. Not that there’s any particular article from 65 years ago that reveals all, but it’s interesting to see how often some of the same basic ideas (Consumers aren’t fooled by ads!) have come up over and over through time. One of the things I particularly wish to debunk is the idea that up until a few a years ago consumers were a bunch of passive couch potatoes that marketers could manipulate at will.
    Neither the talk nor the book is a history lesson, and I absolutely think there’s been a lot of important change in the last few years. But I think it’s worth taking a bit of a long view to understand what the changes are — and what they aren’t.
    Mostly the particular version of the talk that I gave in New Orleans drew on the part of the book that’s about “murketing” — murky/marketing, my word for the convergence of marketing and … everything else. Partly that’s about stealth stuff, and word of mouth “participatory” marketing, etc., but also the brand-underground phenomenon of young people responding to commercial culture by creating more commercial culture of their own. That’s where the “kids are starting brands instead of bands” bit comes from.
    And what’s that? You want to know what the book is called and when it will be available? Okay, you didn’t actually ask but as long as I’m here, it’s called “Buying In: The Secret Dialogue Between What We Buy and Who We Are,” and it’ll be out next year from Random House. If you’re interested, stay tuned to for details. And if you’re not, well then, as you were.
    Trumpet got quite a lineup of actual pros to the conference, by the way, and among them they covered a lot of ground. The attendees I chatted with all seemed to have enjoyed the day.
    Anyway, hope that helps… Thanks for the interest and the notice/ rw

  2. Hey, I asked! I’ll add it to my Amazon wish list.
    Thanks for filling us in on your talk.
    I wanted to attend and go to Voodoo Fest on the weekend.
    Maybe next year.

  3. Yes, and while all those fools are using all their newly-minted communications buzzwords to talk about ‘reinventing the future of the industry’, everyone else back at the agency actually making the work happen.
    “Connections Planning?” Right. Better start planning for the next recession.