Merry, Happy, Glad, Good

Happy Time of Year, originally uploaded by R. Walker.

The Murketing Organization encourages you to enjoy the season.

Search me

I don’t know if you have a website, or, if you do, whether you have some sort of plug-in that tells you about search terms that led people to it. I do, on both counts. Normally I don’t notice the latter, but today I did. Here’s what it says:

murketing,  mongols mc,  rob walker,  advertising,  donks

I think it caught my eye because of “mongols mc.” Odd that more people land here as a result of searching that phrase than, oh, I don’t know, my name. Particularly because I didn’t even recognize the phrase “mongols mc.” I had to search my own site to find it! I came up with this item, which I barely remember.

If you’re curious about “donks” — here‘s what that’s about. I really am interested in donks.

Stand by

No column in the NYT Mag today, but of course you should go buy the Sunday paper anyway. As always you can check out or if you’re bored, I tend to update those even when I’m too busy to say anything here, as I have been lately. I hope to get some half-written stuff finished and onto this site in the week ahead, but then I hoped that last week, too.

Meanwhile I’ve noticed a few “Stand By” graphic treatments lately. My opening slide when I was doing Powerpointy self-promotion in connection with Buying In was in fact the classic stand-by color bars. Often the A/V guy would find it confusing. I’ve wondered if anybody else even remembers the image, so I guess I’m glad to see evidence that people do. Anyway if you happen to know of more examples I’d love to see them!

Sewing Room TV Cover by modernjax

Sewing Room TV Cover by modernjax

By Frank Chimero

By Frank Chimero

Also by Frank Chimero, whose work is excellent.

Also by Frank Chimero, whose work is excellent.


Okay so I’m trying a new “theme” for this site — a new design template. I’m still messing around with it and no doubt will be for days. I think I’ve got all the “features” of the prior design here. Will explain more later, but thanks for your patience as I tinker.

Where have you been?

Well, you’ve probably been right where you were, or needed to be. This site has been quiet for a while now, and as some of you know, was in fact labeled as an “attack site,” distributing malware. Apparently was hacked, and while fixing that problem took less than a day, the process of getting off the “attack site” list turned out to be much slower.

Really the only point of this  post is that I’m test driving the site again, as it was freed just minutes ago.

If all goes well I’ll post this past Sunday’s Consumed, and get back to regular … whatever.

Survey says…

So: Thanks to all who answered the survey the other day. The giveaway winner (chosen by counting how many people gave me an address and having E pick a number without knowing why) is C.C., in Butler, PA. You know who you are! I hope. Actually, even if you don’t know who you are, I’m sending the DVD to the address you provided, so watch your mailbox.

All in all it was a pretty interesting exercise, with some surprises. Not surprising of course — in fact it’s inevitable — is contradiction. Notably, several people mentioned liking the Flickr Interludes — and several named them as their least favorite part of the site (or as one respondent put it: “Flickr interlude. WTF?”)

I’m mulling the feedback, and there are a few comments I received that I’ll revisit in the days ahead.

I must say the most salient comment, from my point of view, was: “I wonder how you do this site without $$$ compensation.” This gets directly at the reason for the survey in the first place: I enjoy the site, but I simply can’t justify spending as much time on it as I do.

Also there were several suggestions about adding outside contributors in various ways that I found extremely helpful, and that I’ll revisit in the days ahead after I’ve thought them through.

Meanwhile, if you’re interested, some highlights after the jump. And obviously if you’d like to offer feedback about this feedback, feel free. Read more

2008 / 2009: Consumed, Murketing, etc. (Survey and giveaway included).

So it’s the end of the year. Time for a quick wrapup and an announcement or two.

Also there’s a survey, and to get people to participate, I’ll be giving away a still-in-the-shrinkwrap Blu-ray DVD of the acclaimed documentary Helvetica. (This was given to me, but I own a regular DVD version already and do not have a Blu-ray machine.)

1. Consumed: In 2009, I’ll be writing Consumed three out of every four weeks, as opposed to every week. I’ve now been writing the column for five years, and asked for a reduced schedule because I would like to free up time to write more feature stories, among other things. Am I nervous about reducing the frequency of my steadiest cashflow source? Very much so. But sometimes fear is a good motivator.

2. Back in February I announced — or admitted — that I’d started a Facebook page for Consumed. Recently the page passed the 500-fan mark. That’s nice. Thanks to those of you who fanned up in 2008.

3. I’ve been giving a lot of thought to the future of this site. I’ve considered everything from expanding it by including contributions from others, to shutting it down altogether. I have drawn no conclusions, but everything is still on the table.

Which brings me to:

The Murketing Survey: It’s only a few questions, pretty straightforward stuff. You can answer anonymously, but obviously if you want to win the Helvetica DVD you’d have to tell me where to send it, which would likely entail revealing your name. Totally up to you. Click Here to take survey. [Survey  closed — thanks, participants!]


And happy new year…

Resolution time: The challenge to commercial persuaders for 2009

I’ve just belatedly read a bit in Ad Age declaring the importance of values such as sustainability and social responsibility in the year ahead, and offering various resolutions for 2009 to its readership of commercial persuasion pros. Number 3 is:

Pick a local, entrepreneurial company that has a business model with social or envieronmental responsibility at its core, and go and work for them — pro-bono if there’s no other way.

That strikes me as pretty lame and unimaginative.

Why? Because the basic paradigm offered is that all agencies do is “go and work for” somebody. They don’t have their own ideas, they don’t have their own beliefs. They’re willing to “work for” someone who stands for something — but they themselves stand for nothing. And are (or so this “resolution” suggests) essentially incapable of standing for anything.

So I would say a better resolution might be:

Pick an idea that you believe in — with social or environmental responsibility at its core.

Now go out there and use your persuasion talents to advance that idea in the public sphere. Change behavior in ways that do not involve buying your clients’ stuff, that do not involve the profit motive at all.

Do it because you  — yes, you; not an entrepreneur or a brand that you work for; you — actually believe in something, and you stand for something, and you have ideas, and you care.

Don’t look for a client, pro bono or otherwise, who has values. Just have values.

In fact, I hereby issue the Murketing Challenge to all commercial persuasion pros (in advertising, marketing, PR, “ideation,” whatever) for 2009: If you do a project like this, of any kind, something where you, the commercial persuader, or your agency, does work to advance an idea that you believe in, tell me about it and I will happily publicize it here. And if anybody really does anything, maybe I’ll even give out a prize. (If so I would base it on the reactions of readers, etc., not just my personal reaction.)

This is not work on behalf of a client of any kind — company, nonprofit, politician, political group, or charity — it’s work on behalf of you, and something you believe in.

It can be as big as unconsumption, and as small as making a positive change in the neighborhood where you are based.

If you like this idea, then spread this post, and tell me what you come up with at

If you don’t like this idea, then don’t.

Fresh links on the roll

Time for another update regarding the links in the enormous linkpile at right on the page. First up is Hello Kitty Hell — where you can find the story of that Hello Kitty military patch at left — which I’ve filed under Brand Blogs (Anti).(Thanks to Byron for the tip on this.) (On a related note, Coudal points to a video of a news report about Hello Kitty maternity ward in Taiwan.) (Oh, and of course I have some thoughts on Hello Kitty in Buying In.)

Next: Peter Kafka’s MediaMemo goes in the Various Other Friends category.

The main thing to note is that I’ve finally added a category for Handmade 2.0/DIYism. Here are the sites & blogs I’ve put there to start it off: Jenny Hart’s Sublime Stitching blog; Jennifer Perkins’ Naughty Secretary Club blog; Tina Sparkle’s First Sample blog; Craftzine, Craft Magazine’s blog; Cyberoptix Tie Lab’s t0ybreaker blog; Inside A Black Apple; Crafty Bastards blog; poppytalk (which maybe should go under Design/etc., but I like it better here); Scrap Smack; Diary of A Crafty Chica; Greenjeans blog; AshleyG’s Kitty Genius blog; a bardis (Christy Petterson) blog; and Etsy’s blog, The Storque.

I was at first going to explain all these but, I don’t know, just look around this site, most of these are connected to things I’ve written about or otherwise mentioned in Buying In, The Times Magazine, this site, or all of the above. I’ll be adding to that new section in the weeks ahead, but that’s a start.

UPDATE: Late-breaking link. I knew I was forgetting something important: I’ve justed added a link to Faythe Levine’s Handmade Nation blog. I was reminded by this interview of Levine by Jennifer Perkins, on Perkins’ site. Worth checking out.

Query to those who read Murketing via RSS: pr0n-spam problems?

A friend of the site who reads via NetNewsWire dropped me a line yesterday to say that a whole bunch of unsavory terms (and, he pointed out, at least one line from Shakespeare) were appearing at the end of the Murketing feed — some sort of porn-spam thing.

I keep an eye on my own feed via a different reader, so I hadn’t been aware of this, and nobody else has mentioned it.

Are those of you reading via RSS seeing anything similar?

Apparently this might be one explanation. My tech team (which is me) is looking into the matter, but if you have anything to report, please let me know, it will help my troubleshooting greatly. Thanks!

And obviously, apologies and so on if anything in the feed was jarringly offensive lately. (I mean anything outside of my actual posts, which I realize can be offensively lame, but that’s different.)

48-Hour T-Shirt

So, uh, this news about a forthcoming Murketing Organization project got out a little before I was prepared.

But … on the off chance you’ve made your way here from that Core77 blog post, and you want to be alerted when the first offering is made, please enter your email address below to join the hastily-assembled mailing list. (And check your junk folder and all that — it’s a double opt-in thing.)

[ List services by Dada Mail ]

All you need to know for now is that the project is structured in such a way that I don’t make a dime off it. Okay? More about it here on at a later date.

Very minor site note

I added a plug-in that puts recent comments, or the start of them, in the sidebar. It’s below the ever-rotating Delicious linkpile box. It says, “Comments.” You can’t miss it.

I thought this might be interesting for  people coming to the site for the first time. Suggestions for improvements to that, or to anything else on, are always welcome.

Thank you and good night.

Fresh links on the roll

Latest editions to the linkroll at right follow. I’m going to try to do this once a month.

First: My Etsy store. Filed under Solipsism in the sidebar.

Next up are three additions to the Bigshot category:

* Joseph Nocera’s blog on the NYT site: Executive Suite. Mr. Nocera is someone I really admire.
* James Surowiecki’s blog on the New Yorker site: The Balance Sheet. I’m surprised at how long it’s taken for this to happen. Mr. Suroweicki was writing online for Motley Fool before any of you had ever heard the word “blog.” That’s because the word hadn’t been coined yet.
* Steven Heller’s blog on the Print Magazine site, The Daily Heller: You already know all about Steve Heller. Nice guy, interesting blog.

And there’s more. Under Hard To Categorize:
Book Of Joe. I thought this was already in the linkroll, but it wasn’t. Check it out.

Under Critiques:
Public Ad Campaign.

Under Artists:
Michael A. Salter, maker of styrobots.
Ernie Button, particularly the Cerealism series.
Steve Schofield.
Little People, “A Tiny Street Art Project.”

And finally, in the the Design/Style/Aesthetics category:
DC Goodwill Fashionista. More about this later.

September recap (+ playlist)

I like reading other sites’ month-in-review posts, so I thought I’d try one, too.

Actually though …  I’ll open with a question: If you have a site, what do you use to track your stats? I’m using a WordPress plug-in that I’m not that crazy about. I’ve never really cared about stats before, but if I’m going to do this, maybe I should use some service that’s more detailed and accurate. Recommendations welcome.

Okay so on we go:

* The most commented-on item of the month is this one, Pessimism (Or: Is Main Street a bunch of spoiled, overspending babies?). These are also the best comments of the month, I think, and I’m still mulling them over and hope to have more to day on this subject soon.

* The most “active” (most views, I guess) items were this Q&A with Harriete Estel Berman, and this post Bias, rhetoric, and cognitive dissonance. A different plug-in (ShareThis) indicates that the Berman Q&A is also the “most shared” item of the month.

* The item I thought would get more comments was this one on Expressions of musical fandom in the digital era.

* The item I thought would get the most attention and “sharing,” but didn’t, was this on 3M apparently biting an ad idea. Or at least, it didn’t get a lot of attention here. Consumerist did a post about the same thing a few days later that probably drew more traffic than this site gets in a month. (That’s not in any way a knock on Consumerist, which I am confident came to the topic through its own channels, not by reading I’m just a little disappointed that their 9/15 post got a lot of traction and my 9/12 one got none — for instance, about a thousand Diggs for them vs. zero for me. Ah well!)

* My personal favorite posts that haven’t already been mentioned were this excellent Q&A with Little Friends of Printmaking, and this bit of Mad Men Musing: Changing Times.

The playlist for September is after the jump if you’re interested. Read more

Dept. of my new favorite reader

That — my new favorite reader, I mean — would be Allen Weaver, for the above Murketing foam finger image. Nothing captures the spirit of like a foam Number One hand. Seriously.