So what comes after advertising (9 years later)?


Back in the early blogging days of 2004, I wrote a little online rant called “The Hughtrain Manifesto”, influenced by all the stuff I was reading at the time: Tom Peters, Seth Godin, Mark Earls, The Cluetrain Manifesto etc.

The question I was asking then was, “What comes after advertising?” If this new Internet thingy meant all old-media bets were off, what would become of the Industry that drove 90% of the latter?

My answer (at least to myself) came in Part Four:

“The har­dest part of a CEO’s job is sha­ring his enthu­siasm with his collea­gues, espe­cially when a lot of them are making one-fiftieth of what he is. Selling the com­pany to the gene­ral public is a piece of cake com­pa­red to selling it to the actual peo­ple who work for it. The future of adver­ti­sing is inter­nal.”

In other words, internal communication designed to create real cultural change. Articulating Mark Earls’ “Purpose-Idea”. All that positive disruption for pennies on the dollar… compared to what you get from conventional ad campaigns.

The logic being that, if you can change your own culture, then you can change the culture of others around you. And if you can do that, you would have a huge competitive advantage over the other guys.

Culture matters. Cultural change is big business, and getting bigger by the day. It’s a huge opportunity for advertising folk; let’s hope some of them actually take it.


  1. How about changing the culture so that the CEO isn’t making 50 times what the average worker is? That might do something more than the CEO being enthusiastic.

  2. Bill Soistmann says:

    Great stuff! I’ve been working through an issue with a client – and this nails it. THIS is the problem they are facing.

Speak Your Mind


Are you ready to work with us?

Get More Info


Hugh MacLeod is a genius.  Genius.

Seth Godin
Best Selling Author

His work acknowledges the absurdity of workaday life, while also encouraging employees to respond with passion, creativity, and non-conformity...   MacLeod’s work is undeniably an improvement over the office schlock of yore. At its best, it’s more honest, and more cognizant of the entrepreneurial psyche, while still retaining some idealism.

The New Republic
Lydia Depillis

Last year my State of the College address was 76 slides loaded with data. This year it was 14 cartoons that were substantially more memorable.

Len Schlesinger
Former President, Babson College

"There are only two daily newsletters that I look forward to opening and reading every time they show up to my inbox: Seth Godin's and gapingvoid."

Tony Hsieh
CEO, Zappos

In moments of indecision I glance at the wall [to Hugh's work] for guidance.

Brian Clark
  • Seth Godin
  • The New Republic
  • Len Schlesinger
  • Tony Hsieh
  • Brian Clark