On toiling in Marketing Communications mines

My old friend Steve Lewis and I fell out of touch for almost a quarter century after college, leading almost entirely different lives in different parts of the world. We diverged on graduation in 1969, after having both been philosophy majors. I went on to careers in journalism, retailing, frozen produce wholesaling, ice cream truck driving and radio, among too many others to mention. Steve stayed on an academic track, leveraging Fulbright scholarships and other graces into research and work that had him become fluent in a number of languages and rich in knowledge and experience about countless arcane aspects of history and cuture in the far corners of Europe.

But one thing we had in common: we both also labored in the fields of marketing communications when we weren’t doing other things we enjoyed more.

In his latest Hak Pak Sak blog post, Steve revisits a number of remarkable texts, including a Flemish novel whose lead protagonist’s work recalls some of our own. He describes it this way:

  The Journal, Boorman boasts, has print runs in the millions despite its paid circulation of zero and a full-time staff of nobody. In fact, the publication is an archetypal promotional magazine. Customers can place glowing written and visual portraits of their companies and products in the journal merely by committing themselves to purchasing tens or hundreds of thousands or even millions of copies of off-prints which they pay for in cash or in kind.

An interesting commentary on what’s a little too true about way too much of what at least two of us have had to do for a living.

1 comment

  1. Stephen Lewis’s avatar

    Doc, Thanks for the mention. Actually, “academics” (urban and architectural history and field work, history of national identities, and quite a bit of architectural and ethnographic photography as) was only the half of it. The bulk of it indeed was “marketing communications,” much of it ala Boorman, and later strategic and change consultancy and using communications to open companies and organizations to the perceptions and wishes of the individuals and groups comprising the outside world (not unlike VRM implemented from within to without). This propelled me though a hundred or so clients in a score of industries in just as many countries. Now, even as I continue the academic things in the off hours, I am glad that we are back in touch and collaborating on projects and appraoches that contribute to ensuring that the internet (except in its humor and irony) never turns into Boorman’s Journal. Steve

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