A Brand-free January? Appeal for volunteers (update)

Posted by on Jan 4, 2009 in Uncategorized | 34 Comments


Pic (and tshirt) from the lovely people at howies

A number of folk have signed up to this simple pledge: not to use the b-word for the month of January.

Sure it's useful and sure it makes you feel (and seem to others) like a proper marketing bod, doesn't it? Not least because everyone else likes to use it because…well,…everyone else likes to use it because etc etc etc.

But the word itself is a sloppy metaphor for a whole bunch of stuff (much of which isn't entirely true) with the power to distract you from precise thinking, expression and action, (why 'build the brand' when you could be doing something really amazing with the service/product etc…?) so let it go…

I reckon this experiment is also going to be interesting because it'll show you the place where willpower, independent action and social influence meet: to start with it'll seem like you're alone foreswearing it and excluded from the game that everyone else is playing but after a while you'll see not only the benefits of precision but also that other folk are also foreswearing it, too

The latest roll of honour includes: Mark, Helge, Anthony and Alex (fine gents, all)

UPDATE (1-3): welcome








& Katie, too

& Adriana




& Andy

& David















Welcome all!

Come on, get in there!


  1. Chris
    January 4, 2009

    I’m in. The b-word is far to vague and completely over used. It’s the term we use as marketers when we can’t defend our actions. Oh, we’re building the br…

  2. Holycow
    January 4, 2009

    Crikey now I have to get the T-shirt…

  3. Daria Radota Rasmussen
    January 4, 2009

    count me in! one of my NYE resolutions was to convice 2 clients to go away from brand thinking and do some good instead. so avoiding b**** word shouldn’t be too hard. 🙂

  4. RedFraggs
    January 4, 2009

    Yes, definitely up for this one! Half the time when people bang on about ‘building the b****’ they have no idea what the ‘b****’ actually stands for in the first place so how can they build it…etc etc. Anyway, count me in, banish the ‘b’ word for Jan 😉

  5. Charles
    January 4, 2009

    I’m in – have decided in 2009 there are only c and p words – community and product.

  6. David Barnes
    January 4, 2009

    Good idea, I will do my best. One of my projects for the new year involves “promoting the b****”. Now I have to work out some more concrete goals. A tough assignment…

  7. Gavin Heaton
    January 4, 2009

    Count me in too!

  8. Charles Frith
    January 4, 2009

    I’ve been doing it for quite some time. Still occasionally twist my face and use it when context is pushing hard. Often when talking about the old way of thinking.
    Yeah in. Why not. Can I say Fuck Yeah on your blog? 😉

  9. Katie Chatfield
    January 4, 2009

    both my hands are up for this one

  10. Adriana
    January 4, 2009

    I’m in! Reading to much Brand & Crime series recently 🙂

  11. dino
    January 4, 2009

    jumping into this feet first.

  12. gareth
    January 4, 2009

    count me in guv.

  13. paul isakson
    January 5, 2009

    how much am i in? as i type this, working out what to change the sub-line on my blog to say.
    happy new year, Mark!

  14. Andy
    January 5, 2009

    Count me in. Nice simple way of upsetting the balance and keeping the thinking/convos just that little bit fresher.

  15. david cushman
    January 5, 2009

    Go on then, I’ll play. Someone asked me what I wanted communities to be dominant over. Once it was the b word. Now, and more completely, it is edge over centre.

  16. eaon
    January 5, 2009

    ok, i’m in. I’ll add it to the list of words we’ve banned on my side of the office for this year, which includes consumer, audience, exploit, captive and a few others.

  17. Asi
    January 5, 2009

    I’m in.
    can we make it socialmedia-free February???

  18. Anjali
    January 5, 2009

    Why not?! I’m in too 🙂

  19. Chris Thorpe
    January 5, 2009

    I’m in… glad I’d published the last blog post before this as a rewrite to avoid the b word would have been far too painful.

  20. char
    January 5, 2009

    I’m in.
    By the end of the month collectively we should have half a dozen replacement meaningless terms for the b-word.

  21. neilperkin
    January 5, 2009

    Yep. I’m in.

  22. Libby Anderson
    January 5, 2009

    Me too.

  23. Katie Harris
    January 5, 2009

    Definitely! I’m in!!!
    : )

  24. Kate
    January 5, 2009

    I’m in.
    Oops. I’ve fallen off the wagon.
    I’ll keep trying.
    Can we also ban another B word? “Blue sky”.

  25. Adam Crowe
    January 5, 2009

    Too easy. I’m in.
    Can February be the ‘C’ word?

  26. Simon T Small
    January 6, 2009

    For sure, love it, I love it when committees or management meetings argue about the definition, or don’t realise they’re talking about different things, fun times!
    I’m in.

  27. Dan Thornton
    January 6, 2009

    My last blog post was a bit of a challenge, but not using the B word helped clarify whether I was talking about the name of a company, or the belief etc, rather than inherently believing the two are linked like that Norwich Union/Aviva advert at the moment!

  28. Mike Smith
    January 6, 2009

    I am definitely in.

  29. Richard Hare
    January 7, 2009

    I’m in – why not extend it to the whole of 2009?

  30. B.L. Ochman
    January 7, 2009

    For sure! Count me in. And next month, let’s not say “engagement” (unless we’re being proposed to.

  31. Patrick Prothe
    January 9, 2009

    I’m so in for nobrandjan . . .
    thinking of developing a 12-step program for it too.

  32. domenico
    January 11, 2009

    i love it. this may actually cause 90% of the advertising business to have nothing to say… i am in…

  33. Kathryn
    January 13, 2009

    I’m in – may have to exclude all words #eginning with b just to make extra sure…!

  34. Leland M
    January 16, 2009

    Of course I’m in.
    In fact, for the last year, i’ve pleaded with everyone in our company to not use the word…ever.