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Branding Only Works on Cattle


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Table of Contents

Introduction: Challenging Ptolemy's Imagination 1 1. Your Branding Is Useless 10 2. Traces in a Cloud Chamber 33 3. The New Nike 56 4. The Rise of the Anti-Brand 79 5. The Myth of the Consumer/Producer 104 6. The Outsourcing of Consent 127 7. Games as Purpose, Not Distraction 151 8. It Takes a Company 172 9. The Buzz in Buzz Marketing 195 10. The Emperor's New Clothes 219 Notes 243 Bibliography 249 Index 253

About the Author

Jonathan Salem Baskin runs a global branding consultancy and has worked for many of the world's top brands over his twenty-six-year career. Jonathan speaks extensively on delivering branding with more than images and words, and writes the slightly contentious brand marketing blog, Dim Bulb (


Branding expert Baskin plays the merry iconoclast in this witty guide that marshals the latest research and a good serving of common sense to debunk branding's many myths. The author's claim that "branding is a waste of money" is likely to be controversial, but his research is sound and persuasive: he covers the failure of the Gap's Red campaign, the useless Burger King mascot, why Starbucks' success has nothing to do with branding, and he revisits Coke and Pepsi's rivalry, which culminated in their multimillion-dollar dueling ads featuring Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera that had scant effect on sales. Baskin's understanding of consumer behavior is nuanced and sophisticated, as are his explanations for why branding myths have so perniciously persisted (he draws parallels between the longevity of outmoded marketing strategies and that of Ptolemy's geocentric concept of the universe). Baskin is impatient with the resources and energy poured into branding, and readers will be, too, when they realize how little it influences consumer choices--and his well-reasoned, well-written book will garner him a wide and appreciative audience. (Sept.) Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.

"...provides an interesting read" (, February 16th 2009) "His observations generally are excellent, and his chapters on search, social media and the Internet in general are near brilliant." (, March 24th 2009) "...a lively, chatty easy-to-read book...It's well worth a look" (Research Magazine, April 2009) "Baskin's book certainly has something valid to say...worth picking up...I would also recommend it for branding specialists" (, April 16th 2009) "Baskin's thesis is compelling...worthy and brave...Baskin has at least started a debate." (, August 7th 2009)

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