Book: Syrup by Maxx Barry

Categories Marketing

I read this book a while back, and I am just now getting around to writing a review. This means of course my memory is a bit blurry…but no worries, I still haven’t returned the book to my friend so I can sneak a peek whenever I’m starting to embellish the story 😉

Written in -99 you would hope that Syrup did not have much to say about the world of marketing today. Unfortunately, or luckily, it hasn’t changed that substantially.

Just look at some of the Marketing Case Studies that are presented throughout the book:

Triple you price. This gives customers the impression of great quality. Helps profits too.

Mktg shampoo: Pick a random chemical in your product and heavily promote it’s presence. […] [Your customers] will assume that it’s a good thing.

Mktg cereal: Base your advertising around the insinuation rather than the claim that the product is healthy. […] When done properly, you don’t even have to lie.

Mktg music: Revive a rock star from the 60’s and appeal to baby boomers nostalgia. Never fails.

Mktg lies: Occasionally, just occasionally, your company will be caught in a lie. This is not good. If possible, immediately fire someone expandable and publicly apologize. If not, you must stick to the lie. Perception is reality.

Mktg magazines: Give away free crap (preferably advertiser-supplied free crap.) Doesn’t matter how worthless or useless it is: sales will rise. Strange but true.

Mktg film: Films live or die by word of mouth. If you have a bad film, suppress WOM utterly: No previews, no reviews and bucket loads of advertising. If you have a good film, pull in as many opinion leaders – critics, celebrities and Hollywood heavyweights – to see it as soon as possible.

If you haven’t already reached the conclusion yourself, this is a book full of humor and equally filled with irony. The actual story – about Scat, 6 and Sneaky Pete, about business ideas that get stolen and what advertising will be in the hands of the right (and the wrong) people – is entertaining and a fun read, but it’s secondary to the fact this book is the BEST book in basic marketing you could ever read!

It takes you a couple of hours and it feel like reading a bestselling novel, one that’s close to a no-brainier.
BUT, and it’s a big one – it’s also a good test of anyone remotely involved in marketing. If your CEO wants to decide what and how you do your marketing – ask him to read this book. If he’s a smart CEO he’ll laugh his ass of or step aside from the decisions. If he’s a dumb ass he won’t get it and you’ll have to find another company to work for 😉

If you’re employed by a marketing manager that doesn’t even smirk while reading – RUN, Forrest!

If YOU can’t see yourself in these situations then step away from the marketing!

If you hate marketing – you’ll feel reimbursed after reading
If you love marketing – you’ll feel energized after reading, ready to take on the world.
If you’re indifferent – you’ll either see marketing people for the nuts they are or you’ll feel sorry for them, since they obviously don’t know better


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