Memo to Idiots: There Is No Such Thing as FREE Marketing.

“Good publicity is like free advertising…” These are the golden words of Jeff Haden, a renowned author who learned much of what he knows about management as he worked his way up the printing business from forklift driver to manager of a book plant. The said nugget comes from an article in BNET (the CBS Interactive Business Network) entitled: “PR Tips for Prima Donnas.”

Growing up, my dad warned me that there is no such thing as a free lunch.  And even if there were, he warned me that you get what you pay for.  And even if I didn’t, he warned me against ever being a freeloader.  So maybe I am biased.  Certainly there are lots of valuable free things in society…

• A lot of mobile apps are free (the crappy ones)

• In basketball you get free throws (after you are fouled)

• Some banks offer free checking (if you maintain a $10,000 balance)

• Health care may soon be free (if you are impoverished and sick)

• In pro sports, players become free agents (but cost hundreds of millions of dollars)

• In China there is free trade (though it is putting the U.S. into bankruptcy)

• Political prisoners in the Middle East are free (after being beaten and tortured)

• MP3s are free (if you illegally download them)

And some forms of marketing are free.  Free publicity.  Free advertising.  And of course social media is free. And if you believe any of this, you are free to refer to yourself as an idiot.

Jim Sweeney


Jim is a veteran of the agency industry and the founder of Sweeney. He is uncommonly passionate about the idea of creating and implementing insanely great marketing campaigns that achieve insanely great results. He pioneered the full-service, full-circle agency model and continues to forge new ideas in an ever-changing industry. And he is accessible to everyone about anything, seemingly all the time, serving as a mentor to all agency personnel and clients.