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Bob Garfield is editor at large for MediaPost. A long-time advertising and media industry columnist, critic, author, essayist, pundit, international lecturer and co-host of National Public Radio’s Peabody Award-winning “On the Media” series, he previously wrote for Advertising Age and contributes a biweekly column to The Guardian.

Articles by Bob All articles by Bob

  • P.R. Wild Pitches, Autumn Edition in Garfield at Large on 09/29/2014

    This is fall, which means three things: The NFL is back, more corrupt than ever, Congress is useless (the other three seasons, too), and it's time for the semiannual P.R. Wild Pitches. Publicity worst practices in all their autumnal glory! The Garfield at Large team has spent months saving string, although we can't take much credit. The heroes of this feature are the publicists who week in and week out send out press releases displaying a nearly majestic irrelevance to anything we do here in this column about media and marketing.

  • A Voyage To Uranus  in Garfield at Large on 09/22/2014

    We have our answer: 9 1/2 years. That is how long the entire agency business lives in denial after being informed, politely but firmly, that it is living on borrowed time. That's how long it took Voyager 2 to get to Uranus. Finally, with last week's announcement of a deal between Publicis Groupe and Adobe for integrated data management on a Global Marketing Platform, somebody shows signs of reckoning with reality.

  • Truly Defective: Matthew McConaughey Captured Thinking And Driving  in Garfield at Large on 09/15/2014

    This is about some terrible TV commercials and one not-quite-as-bad commercial --- all starring Matthew McConaughey for the Lincoln MKC compact crossover. Every now and then comes along a campaign that defines all that is superficial, uninspired, pretentious and vacuous about advertising. In its bid to metamorphose from near-luxury to luxury, Lincoln whiffed on its almost-as-critical MKZ sports sedan. It cannot afford to screw up the MKC.

  • ABC News' 'The Brothelette' in Garfield at Large on 09/09/2014

    NEWS ITEM: A recent "Good Morning America" interview with supermodel Gisele Bundchen and Olympian Lindsey Vonn about their new Under Armour advertising campaign was paid for by Under Armour. Team coverage tonight on the remarkable new campaign for the disruptive laundry product they simply call "Smart Seek." From New York City's Fashion Week, correspondent Linsey Davis reports.

  • The Genius Glut in Garfield at Large on 09/02/2014

    Verily, we live in a Golden Age of TV -- terrestrial, cable, streaming, telepathic, whatever. Unless you are devoted to the major networks, or stuff yourself on so-called reality TV, if you are seeking cultural treasure you'd be hard-pressed to fail. It's like fishing in a stocked pond. Everybody leaves with a full creel.

  • Time For A Happy Ending? in Garfield at Large on 08/25/2014

    Ethics are so twentieth century. This is now. Newspapers and magazines are gasping for life; who can afford the luxury of standing on principle? As such, in deciding who gets to work at Emit, one of seven key performance indicators is the ability to create content "beneficial to advertiser relationship."

  • Ideate. Activate. Opiate. in Garfield at Large on 08/18/2014

    We at are all about authenticity. Authenticity and heroin. We are the disruptive serial entrepreneurs to first reach market with artisanal opiates (think: methadone on steroids, with a hint of fennel) merchandised through an empowered distributed network at scale. We are crushing it. Literally.

  • An Open Letter To The Author Of An Open Letter To John Oliver  in Garfield at Large on 08/11/2014

    In your attempted takedown of HBO's John Oliver for his very funny takedown of native advertising, you made a number of interesting points I feel compelled to challenge, on the grounds that they are self-serving horseshit. You addressed, for instance, the blurring of "church and state" by advertising disguised as editorial content.

  • The Tide Is Turning. Also Febreze. in Garfield at Large on 08/04/2014

    Yo, A.G. I was struck by your bold plan to consolidate your brand portfolio to focus on core businesses and avoid further creeping incrementalism that depresses margins and distracts management. But as long as you're being all strategic and so forth, why not take it up a notch -- by rethinking the very core of your core businesses? Namely, promotion and distribution. What if you could dramatically reduce marketing costs and simultaneously streamline your distribution by subtracting one little element from the fulfillment chain...such as, oh, I don't know...retail?

  • You May Already Have Won!  in Garfield at Large on 07/28/2014

    It's all about the relationship -- the bond of trust. Sometimes it works out better than others, as Dug Dugger can tell you. He's the general manager of Ourisman Rockmont Chevrolet in Rockville, Maryland and about the world's most likable guy. "In car sales," Dug told me the other day, "trust is everything. If you don't have trust, you have nothing."

Comments by Bob All comments by Bob

  • From Shark Week To Snark Week by Barbara Lippert (Mad Blog on 08/14/2014)

    When I do my Shark Week interview this week, I will not even hesitate to invoke "jump the shark." Not for an instant.

  • Supreme Disappointment by Bob Garfield (Garfield at Large on 06/30/2014)

    Marcelo, Dude...irony. Irony. Bob

  • Literally The Worst Thing Ever by Bob Garfield (Garfield at Large on 01/13/2014)

    Oxford: informal used for emphasis or to express strong feeling while not being literally true. "I have received literally thousands of letters" Merriam-Webster: in effect : virtually

  • Literally The Worst Thing Ever by Bob Garfield (Garfield at Large on 01/13/2014)

    @Lynn Taylor Not an oops, Lynn. A joke. It's about language errors, so I threw in a malapropism.

  • An Open Letter To Time Inc. CEO Joe Ripp by Bob Garfield (Garfield at Large on 11/04/2013)

    Al, Print is in trouble, Al? Really? I wasn't aware. Look, there may or may not be business models out there to save print (and digital) media from The Chaos Scenario. Me, I'm pessimistic. But if the cost of saving independent journalism is to sacrifice its independence, that's not just Nauruian economics, it's a Faustian bargain.

  • Hey - It's A Sponsored Content Travelogue! by Bob Garfield (Garfield at Large on 07/29/2013)

    Thanks, David. I didn't think the point was all that elusive. Bob

  • Countdown To Zero by Bob Garfield (Garfield at Large on 07/22/2013)

    Douglas, Beer? Huh? See, the subject isn't beer. It is sugared soda. Do you not see that those are different things? One is beer. The other is soda. Why not ask me about why I'm addressing soda instead of malaria or war? In short, your criticism is both a non-criticism and a non-sequitur. BG

  • Countdown To Zero by Bob Garfield (Garfield at Large on 07/22/2013)

    Steven, Not irrelevant, but irretrievably stupid. We are talking about billions of calories being phased out of the world's diet. Bob

  • Angry Birds: Le Untold Story by Bob Garfield (Garfield at Large on 07/08/2013)

    Andrew, That is absurd. Service and conduct are global concepts and will increasingly be the core of marketing. There is no Brie-ification that will change that. Bob

  • Angry Birds: Le Untold Story by Bob Garfield (Garfield at Large on 07/08/2013)

    Audrey, I think the answers to all your questions reside in the text. But the answer is simply this: based on decades of unfortunate personal experiences I have drawn some conclusions about the French service culture -- such that it is -- that happen to coincide with the ugliest stereotypes of French haughtiness. But as we increasingly enter the world where customer relations -- not advertising -- assumes primacy in marketing, I fear the French are in a deep hole that will be difficult to escape. That was my point. The world is in a Relationship Era and (anecdotally speaking) the French service sector is saying, sorry, there is nothing it can do. Thank you for being a reader, and thank you for your thoughtful comments. I am sorry that I can't deliver better news. Bob

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