Pinko Marketing & the Clueless Manifesto

kinnon —  March 25, 2006 — 4 Comments

PinkomarketingTara Hunt thinks she’s on to something. She feels she’s found the “what next” after Cluetrain. And, apparently, it’s “Pinko Marketing“.

Tara writes,

Pinko is a derogatory term that was used against people who supported communist philosophy during the Cold War in the US. The Pinkos were tried under McCarthyism. Careers were ruined. People were devestated. But ‘Pinkos’ stood strong and proud and railed against an insane witch hunt.

Pinko, tied to socialism/communism/marxism (whatever one wants to attack) is, loosely, a commons-support. As a marketer, you can never truly claim neutrality, but you can support those who support you.

Number two, Pinko Marketing is about the commons itself. It celebrates the rise of the ‘consumer’ voice. It strives to tear down top-down power and message structures. It does away with classes and celebrates the impact of the tiniest voices. Yes, these principles are very tied to Marxism. Deal with it.

Where to begin?

Firstly, Ms. Hunt, McCarthyism was an attack on free thought in a democratic society. McCarthy and his partners in crime labeled anyone who disagreed with them Communists. Pinkos did not stand strong, Ms. Hunt. People who believed in the truth of democracy did – whether on the left or the right.

Socialism/communism/marxism“? Are they equivalent to you, Ms. Hunt? I recognize that you were born in the Soviet Socialist Republic of Saskatchewan but do you really see them as a monolith. St. Tommy of the Clan Douglas would be greatly offended. (Be careful, his grandson, Jack Bauer might come after you, eh!)

Now regarding the commons. Let’s examine the etymology of the word – kindly removing it from the crumbling claw of Karl Marx. With roots in the societies of England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales, the commons referred initially to a piece of land that although it might be the property of one owner was accessible by others. In more urban areas, the commons were represented by Village Greens – areas open to anyone. London’s Hyde Park would be a great example of a commons – an area where people could relax, play, socialize and even debate. Speaker’s Corner being one famous part of the park where voices on soapboxes debated the crowds. (And from which Karl Marx thought the English revolution would come.)

Tying the commons to Marxism is fallacious. Recognizing the power of the commons in democratic society would be a more accurate connection.

You profess love for the Cluetrain, Ms. Hunt. But you want to hang the truth of the Cluetrain’s “communist” roots on the word “manifesto”. Yet Locke, Searles, Weinberger and Levine use Luther’s imagery of the 95 Theses nailed to the Wittenberg door as their metaphor for the end of business as usual. Luther attacked a corrupt system from within that system – calling it back to the truth of its origins. The Cluetrain brothers fairly attacked the perversion of our present market system. Liberals, no doubt. Communists, hardly!

A Nazarene carpenter suggested, over two thousand years ago, that we could judge people and systems, not by their words, but by their fruit.

PinkosickleAnd what is the fruit of communism, Ms. Hunt? The USSR under Stalin. Cambodia under Pol Pot. Cuba under Castro. China, where bloggers like you and I would be imprisoned. Where the very nature of the commons is not just controlled but quashed under iron fists holding hammers and sickles.

Your metaphor appears to come from the naiveté of a middle-class, Canadian-raised, historically-challenged individual. You use symbols of evil, Ms. Hunt to advance your theories for marketing commons. It is a perverse argument. One more accurately labeled The Clueless Manifesto.

UPDATE: Tara responds with Okay…okay…I give – proving her basic premise of the power of the commons.

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A television editor, writer & director since 1978. A Christian since 1982. More than a little frustrated with the Church in the West since late in the last millennium.

4 responses to Pinko Marketing & the Clueless Manifesto

  1. Why does it seem like “McCarthyism” is the word that simply shuts down a conversation, much like calling someone “intolerant” effectively excludes their opinions from further consideration? It’s ironic how the press has always demonized the late Senator Joe McCarthy, and upheld his ‘victims’ as patriots, when in fact at the time the problem of Soviet spys working at the highest levels of the US government was not a fiction.


  2. Tara’s Pinko Marketing seems to be a well intended attempt to gain attention for a conversation she hears and wants to expand. But the metaphor of “pinko” is mistaken. Did she mean to link this marketing model to the hammer and sickle and the evil done by those carrying that symbol? My Ukrainian friends would not be amused.

    You are right Bill, there doesn’t seem to be much historical or political awareness in the manifesto. Moreover, I don’t see much advance over the Cluetrain either.

    How different is the notion of Tara’s commons from that of the Cluetrain’s vision? I’m thinking of statements like, “We’re both inside companies and outside them. The boundaries that separate our converstions look like the Berlin Wall today, but they’re really just an annoyance. We know they’re coming down. We’re going to work from both sides to take them down.”

    Well all of this might not matter all that much; I note that Tara has just posted that she will be changing the name and the logo by end of next week.

    In an attempt to be noticed so many are moving to either the eccentric, novel or offensive. Maybe this fits into the same sort of attempt.

    Still, I understand the need to initiate a conversation. I am the kind that needs to get into a conversation to talk myself clear. Maybe Tara is too. Blogging, putting something out there and getting other’s take on it is what the great conversation is about. Mistakes will be made. And I am sure I will be the author of my share. They don’t need to be fatal. And that is what I love about our emerging networked world.

  3. Yes…you (and many others) not only called me out, but effectively proved my underlying premise. 😉

    I am reconsidering the name as well. However, nothing that has been suggested to date is truly striking me. Perhaps you can help me.

    It has to say “Commons based” and have a memorable name. I’m not trying to be sensational, but I am trying to strike a chord. Cluetrain did it. So did Gonzo Marketing.

    And…for the record, I’ve been chatting with Doc and Chris Locke about this and they are both contributing (the Cluetrain is my basis). I’m not trying to eclipse the Cluetrain…just take the theory further.

    Thanks for keeping me on my toes. 😉


Trackbacks and Pingbacks:

  1. Kingsley 2.0 - March 26, 2006

    Pinko Marketing – Defending against the big-brother accusation?

    I think that Tara Hunts attempt to push the pinko marketing manifesto is really a strategy to forestall accusations of Riya being perceived as Orwellian and Big-Brotherly. As strategies go, I think that is a pretty good one. The fact that Riya…

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