Marketing with Myth

Classical mythology provides (or at least, when more of the general public was aware of it, once provided) a deep well of shared meaning from which marketers can draw. Think of NASA’s naming conventions for its space programs in the 60s: would the Apollo missions have sounded quite so noble without the moniker of the god of science and light? But as a former mythologist who now works in marketing and communications, I have a plea for my fellow marketeers: please, please, do your research first. It seems like every other week I encounter a product or service whose mythological name  might sound cool, but provides exactly the wrong message to anyone actually familiar with the story being referenced. Just three of the most egregious examples:

Law School Project: 2012 Faculty Reading

In the course of my day job I don’t design a lot of websites from whole cloth, but one exception is the microsite I build for our faculty’s reading recommendations each year. I enjoy these projects, as they give me a chance to experiment with new techniques (this year’s was an experiment in responsive design), but this was the fourth year I’ve built one, and it’s become a challenge to think up new ways to display what is basically just a long list. So unlike past years, where I organized the list by faculty member, this year I chose to organize it by the books themselves. This wound up being trickier than I anticipated, since several faculty members had actually chosen the same book to recommend, but I think the final product came out pretty well.

My 2012 Mixtape

From the “Better Late Than Never” file comes my annual best of the year mixtape. I made a conscious effort in 2012 to only buy music that came out that year, so I had a bit of an embarrassment of riches to choose from; as a result, I didn’t include tunes from several just-ok albums here. Did I leave of your favorite song of the year? Probably. Let me know what I missed in the comments.

  • Jack White, “I’m Shakin'” from Blunderbuss

  • The Coup, “My Murder, My Love” from Sorry to Bother You

  • The Avett Brothers, “I Never Knew You” from The Carpenter

  • David Wax Museum, “Harder Before It Gets Easier” from Knock Knock Get Up

  • Best Coast, “Why I Cry” from The Only Place

  • Amadou & Mariam, “Wily Kataso” (feat. Tunde & Kyp of TV on the Radio) from Folila

  • Justin Townes Earle, “Movin’ On” from Nothing’s Gonna Change the Way You Feel About Me Now

  • Japandroids, “Fire’s Highway” from Celebration Rock

  • Kelly Hogan, “We Can’t Have Nice Things” from I Like to Keep Myself in Pain

  • Alabama Shakes, “Hold On” from Boys & Girls

  • Rhett Miller, “Marina” from The Dreamer

  • Norah Jones, “Say Goodbye” from Little Broken Hearts

  • Dr. John, “Big Shot” from Locked Down

  • Heartless Bastards, “Parted Ways” from Arrow

  • Cowboy Junkies, “Unanswered Letter” from The Wilderness