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Marketing Agency Exposed Podcast

Jun 2, 2021


Today we chat about how cancel culture impacts business, brands, and marketing. We talk about how truth is hard to find in the media and how we have the apparent ability to judge others as a massive group, which can be powerful and dangerous. We explore the importance of sincerity as well as the balance between being genuine and expressing an opinion about something that may overstep boundaries with your customers. Throughout this episode we chat about morality and acceptance and the role they play in advertising. 


Top 3 Curtain Pulls in this episode: 


  • Who benefits most from you believing what you believe? This was one of Bob’s thought provoking questions that he uses in polarizing situations to help gain a more rounded perspective on the issue. 
  • There is a delicate balance between being genuine or passionate about an issue, and overstepping boundaries. Understand the relational dynamic between a brand and it’s customers. Stepping outside of this can come off as awkward and actually harm the cause. If a brand enters a cultural conversation, they must be fully equipped to do so, otherwise they risk being hypocritical. This is exactly how businesses do not want to come across to their customers when developing an opinion on a sensitive issue.
  • Fighting injustice is crucial, but being self-righteous isn’t the way. We discussed the negative impact cancel culture has on life and business and how our own life experience and opinions often are the main forces that drive it.



For more tips, discussion, and behind the scenes:

About The Guys: 

Bob Hutchins: Founder of BuzzPlant, a digital agency that he ran from from 2000-2017. He is also the author of 3 books. More on Bob: 

Brad Ayres: Founder of Anthem Republic, an award-winning ad agency. Brad’s knowledge has led some of the biggest brands in the world. Originally from Detroit, Brad is an OG in the ad agency world and has the wisdom and scars to prove it. Currently that knowledge is being applied to his boutique agency. More on Brad:

Ken Ott: Co-Founder and Chief Growth Rebel of Metacake, an Ecommerce Growth Team for some of the world’s most influential brands with a mission to Grow Brands That Matter. Ken is also an author, speaker, and was nominated for an Emmy for his acting on the Metacake Youtube Channel (not really). More on Ken: 


Show Notes:

[0:33]  Bob opens this week’s episode with a brief conversation about the recent competition between Facebook and Apple.

[3:36] Brad connects the clash between Facebook and Apple with today’s episode’s topic of canceled culture and its effect on brands, business, and marketing.

[9:19] Brad begins a moral discussion that is articulated throughout this week’s episode. “when does a brand finally go enough is enough?”

[11:27] Ken points out that brands often side with the popular opinion despite their own. “it's really a money thing”

[14:24] Bob talks about his experience in his college mass media course. The one thing that stuck with him was “left to the masses, media will always gravitate to the least common denominator”

[16:49] Ken acknowledges that there is often more than meets the eye and, “no one's perfect enough to judge another”

[21:04] Brad changes topics and asks about how to deal with sensitive and controverisal issues and clients. 

[22:46] Brad says that the best way to balance corporate communication and PR is to “control the narrative versus react to the narrative”

[25:41] Bob expresses his dislike of the term “canceled culture” because it “is an easy way to dismiss consequences, and holding people accountable. And there are times when people need to be held accountable.”

[28:49] Bob also says that in order to put your money where your mouth is, “you have to practically live out what you stand for, or otherwise you will be exposed.”

[37:20] Ken discusses how all media is merely entertainment and thus, rarely any of it is true. “We don't even go through the trouble of understanding is that actually true? And the in this day and age, like anything could be untrue.”

[39:04] Bob explains the thought process that he uses to guide himself when dealing with a sensitive or polar situation. He has 2 main questions he asks to try to gain a more rounded perspective.

  • “What would happen if what I believe is wrong?”
  • “Who is benefiting most by me having this opinion?”

[41:44] Brad says that one of the ways he deals with his human predisposition to be a part of a tribe involved in controversial issues is through a quote by Mother Teresa. “You will never see me at an anti war gathering. But I'll always be at a peace rally.” 

[44:46] Bob changes gears and talks about a fascinating psychological study done in the sixties by Yale professor Stanley Milgram. In this experiment, a volunteer was instructed to shock a student (in another room) if said student answered a question asked by the instructor incorrectly. The person in the other room was an actor, but this information was not disclosed to the volunteers. Almost all of the volunteers were continuously persuaded by the instructor to continue shocking a random person in another room until this person was unconscious. “If we're in the right environment that fosters and promotes something really unhealthy, it's easy to get wrapped up in it, and to be persuaded, because we want to be part of the tribe. We want to be accepted.”

[51:46] Ken illuminates the injustice, hypocrisy, and mob mentality of social media. “We're sometimes trying to call out injustice, but the fact that we're judging someone as a massive group and destroying their life, that seems unjust.”

[57:39] Bob contemplates the delicate balance of being authentic and passionate and overstepping boundaries. “Because we're always telling brands, be human, be authentic. And then when they do say something we don't like, and it's very human, we go, oh, stay in your lane… 

[1:01:47]How do you be human and vulnerable? And at the same time, navigate these issues?”

[1:03:17] Brad concludes this episode with his one liner “we canceled canceled culture”