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Photo from blkcreatives. Melissa Kimble’s billboard tweet in Los Angeles, as part of Twitter’s BLM campaign. Photo by: John Wellington Ennis

Dear Better Marketing readers,

It’s Black History Month, a time often marked by social media posts, campaigns, and proclamations from brands about how they’re supporting and celebrating Black history.

These messages are usually awkward or genuine, performative or sincere, or somewhere in between — but they’re almost always hypocritical. The marketing and advertising industries have an astonishing lack of diversity— African Americans make up less than 6% of the ad industry, and that number decreases to 3% at the CMO level. To quote writer and poet Kyle “Guante” Tran Myhre: “white supremacy is not a shark; it is the water.”


How marketing reflects the ways that conversations about mental health are becoming more mainstream

Screenshot from BetterHelp ad where a woman experiences a manifestation of her anxiety in the form of a house fire during a birthday party.
Screenshot from BetterHelp ad where a woman experiences a manifestation of her anxiety in the form of a house fire during a birthday party.
Screenshot via YouTube: BetterHelp Anxiety Commercial

The experience of anxiety is more universal today than ever. A pandemic, civil unrest, societal issues — we’re all at least a little on edge. So I wasn’t surprised when I started getting a lot of ads for online therapy (and once I’d started bookmarking them for research for this article, I got even more!).

Managing a publication about marketing means that I can’t help but notice the thought process behind an advertising message. I saw how many different approaches and messages there were to choose from for online therapy. Some ads focused on convenience, showing clients in therapy sessions…


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Photo by Patrick Perkins on Unsplash

Dear Better Marketing readers,

Happy mid-February — the longest, shortest month. There are lots of interesting things to read in this week’s newsletter, and it’s too cold and snowy (here, anyway) to do much else, so let’s jump right in!


And advice about the writing process, highlights from other publications, featured writer Jenna Spinelle, and more

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Photo by MI PHAM on Unsplash

Dear Better Marketing readers,

One of my favorite books is The Book of Delights, which I got as a birthday gift from a close friend last year. Author and poet Ross Gay writes a brief essay each day about a moment of delight, a reflection on an everyday occurrence that brought him joy. (If you’re more audio-inclined, the This American Life episode inspired by the book, The Show of Delights, is excellent).

I’ve been working on focusing more on moments of delight, of surprise, of joy. Here are five moments of marketing delight that I noticed this week:

  1. Nike’s new…


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Photo by NON on Unsplash

Dear Better Marketing readers,

It’s fun to learn from the big players in the marketing industry, but sometimes it feels more like lofty nice-to-read ideas than actionable advice. You can learn from the successful strategies of Apple or Coca-Cola, sure — but it also helps to have, say, an extra few million dollars in your budget, or the name recognition of a giant brand, or other advantages. And what happens if you don’t have Ryan Reynolds-level celebrity status?

Marketer-by-day and writer-by-night Geraint Clarke is tackling this advice-gap with his new Steal This Campaign series, which highlights marketing ideas he’s implemented…


FROM THE EDITORS

Adapting NYT’s intentions activity to outline your writing goals, content creation ideas, or editorial guidelines this year

Text reads “More” and “Less” on colorful background
Text reads “More” and “Less” on colorful background
Image created by the author

During New Years’ Resolution season, I came across an article in the New York Times about a More/Less list to set your intentions for the year. The concept is simple: divide a piece of paper in half, write “MORE” on one side, “LESS” on the other.

Then, list things you want more of, and less of, on each respective side. Representing this in pictures or drawings helps tap into your creative side — stick-figure friends and trees to the left, Instagram logos to the right. It’s a gentler, more-fun version of a strict resolution list.

While this is a fun…


FROM THE EDITORS

Image of dying yellow flowers in front of gravestone
Image of dying yellow flowers in front of gravestone
Photo by Greg Ortega on Unsplash

One of our most popular recent series on Better Marketing is Jared A. Brock’s analysis on why certain businesses are in decline, or, as he puts it, “[Insert Company Name Here] Is Dead (It Just Doesn’t Know It Yet).”

If you’re skeptical of sweeping generalizations or the somewhat sensationalized approach of these headlines — well, you might also be missing the point. Explains Jared:

“My goal with this series isn’t to convince people that any given company is bound to fail tomorrow, but rather to point out WHY some of these companies will soon be in sharp decline, so that…


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Photo by Spencer Imbrock on Unsplash

Dear Better Marketing readers,

There’s a lot of marketing and creative-career advice out there about “finding your niche.” They often say: You should niche down! Find the untapped niche! Grow your niche community! You’ll make more money! If you’re talking to everyone, you’re talking to no one! You NEED a niche, you floating aimless wanderer!!

But… do we, really? In Emily Sinclair Montague’s recent article, I’m a Niche-Less Abomination: Here’s Why You Should Consider Joining My Hellish Crusade, she writes: “Embracing a niche-less existence is an act of creative rebellion. You’re essentially saying ‘hey, f*** you for trying to shove…


TIKTOK TIME

There was a ship that put to sea, / the name of the ship was the Billy of Tea

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Image: Canva

Welcome to Memes & Marketing, an occasional series in which I, a millennial, try to understand a cultural trend and then figure out what interesting marketing/creative idea we can learn from it. Onward!

What: “Shantytok”, or Sea Shanty TikTok.

You’ve heard of it if: You have TikTok, or kids who like catchy songs, or, uhh, you have been on the internet lately.

Wait, what’s a sea shanty? From Wikipedia: A sea shanty, chantey, or chanty is a type of work song that was once commonly sung to accompany rhythmical labor on board large merchant sailing vessels.

People say: It’s the…

Brittany Jezouit

Kindness, creativity, curiosity. Editor of Better Marketing. Richmond, VA.

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