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Interview with Mark Earls, Advertising Contrarian

Research ProjectI’m very pleased that Mark Earls is the next interviewee in this series on Perceptions of Coaching in the UK Creative Industries, as his book Welcome to the Creative Age was one of the inspirations behind the project – particularly his concept of the “accelerator manager”, whose job is to “help my people get a better job next time”.

Mark EarlsMark Earls is one of the leading thinkers about brands, marketing and consumer behaviour. He has been described variously as “one of the Advertising scene’s foremost contrarians” and “the Christopher Hitchens of advertising and marketing”. But mostly he just refuses to accept received wisdom and is determined to make us all think a bit harder to get better results.

Mark has been an account planner for most of his working life. He has held senior positions in some of the largest and most influential communications companies in the world – his last job was as chair of Ogilvy’s Global Planning Council, prior to which he was Planning Director at the revolutionary St. Luke’s Communications. He was Vice Chair of the The Account Planning Group and has judged a number of awards competitions in the UK and abroad for communications and marketing effectiveness and innovation and even collaboration between arts and business.

HerdHis written work has regularly won awards from his peers and is considered by many to be amongst the most influential being written today. His first book, Welcome to the Creative Age, was widely read and discussed and has been translated into several languages. Dominic Mills of Campaign Magazine called it, “the book that Naomi Klein should have written”.

His latest book, Herd: how to change mass behaviour by harnessing our true nature challenges our Western received wisdom about mass behaviour and develops an alternative model rooted in our ‘Herd’ nature and has already received strong endorsement from other leading practitioners and theorists both in the US and the UK. The story continues on Mark’s blog, a welcome recent addition to the conversation.

Mark is in much demand as conference speaker around the world – in recent years he has spoken in the UK, USA, Argentina, France, Estonia, Sweden, Denmark, Finland and Spain. He lives in North London and is currently preparing his next book and doing the odd bit of consulting for interesting companies and people.

Mark’s interview is a great way to draw the research project to a close for 2006. Early in 2007 I’ll publish the research report here as a free download. Many thanks to Mark and all my other interviewees for being so generous with their time and expertise.

Click the ‘AUDIO MP3’ icon below to hear the interview.

Table of contents for Research: Perceptions of Coaching in the UK Creative Industries

  1. Take Part in My Research – ‘Perceptions of Coaching in the UK Creative Industries’
  2. Research Project: Definition of ‘Coaching’ for this Project
  3. Research Project: Definition of ‘Creative Industries’
  4. Questionnaire for Managers in the UK Creative Industries
  5. Questionnaire for Employees in the UK Creative Industries
  6. Online questions for UK Creative Industry Staff
  7. Interview with Mick Rigby, Managing Director, Monkey Communications
  8. Research Project Featured on ‘Better Business Blogging’
  9. Interview with Ruth Kenley-Letts, Film Producer
  10. Interview with Chris Arnold, Executive Creative Director, BLAC
  11. Interview with Russell Davies, Advertising Planning Maestro
  12. Interview with Chris Hirst, Managing Director, Grey London
  13. Interview with David Roberts, Senior Project Manager, Creative Launchpad
  14. Interview with Neil Youngson, Technical Director, Cabinet UK Ltd
  15. Interview with Greg Orme, Chief Executive, Centre for Creative Business
  16. Interview with Chris Grant, Consultant, 14A Conversations
  17. Interview with Antonio Gould, Consultant, and Sara Harris, Screen Media Lab
  18. Interview with Richard Scott, Surface Architects
  19. Interview with Ben Demiri, Brand Manager, SIX Showroom
  20. Interview with Sian Prime, NESTA Creative Pioneer Programme
  21. Interview with Jill Fear, CPD Manager, The Institute of Practitioners in Advertising
  22. Interview with Terry Childs, Creative Director, Silver Chair
  23. Interview with Matt Taylor, Director, Fat Beehive
  24. Interview with Mark Earls, Advertising Contrarian
  25. Interview with David Amor, Creative Director, Relentless Software


  1. […] We were spoilt for choice when it came to the ’speakers’, who didn’t deliver lectures (putting the un- into unconference) but facilitated discussions around different themes. In the first round I went to Mark Earls‘ session about mass behaviour, based on his new book Herd (previewed here on Wishful Thinking last summer). The session started promisingly, with a group Mexican wave, and entered the realms of the faintly surreal during a discussion about Diana’s funeral when one of the group casually mentioned that he was responsible for organising the Royal funerals… My contribution was a story from my time in the trenches doing psychotherapy for the NHS, which has since appeared on Mark’s blog. […]

  2. […] Asta e o carte care eu cred ca v-ar interesa. Ma adresez celor care inca mai cred ca strategia de marketing nici nu se confunda, nici nu tine loc de advertising. Sau, dimpotriva, celor care cred si s-ar putea lasa convinsi ca nu e chiar asa. Cititi aici pe larg despre ceea ce-l mina pe Mark Earls in “lupta cu turmele”. Gasiti multe alte referiri pe Google. Mie mi-a placut si asta. Click foto pentru pagina din Amazon.co.uk. Tags: inspire, marketing Posted in despre altii, mk, comunicare, PR, pub. […]