Insane Honesty in content marketing

Marketers are trained to put their best foot forward and ignore the downsides of their products. This is about doing the exact opposite: finding your weakest points and showcasing them for all to see.

If you like the idea, we did a post called Six Examples of Insane Honesty In Content Marketing, with quick stories from brands like Avis and Volkswagen and even a dirty, cramped budget hotel in Amsterdam.

And I did a talk on this at Inbound, the Hubspot event, that they recorded here:

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  1. Russ Pinney


    March 3rd, 2016

    Superbly argued.

  2. Brandon Philbrick

    Leighton Interactive

    November 15th, 2016

    An epic piece of content. Love your approach and style. And the “How to Swear in your Marketing” was the best fucking presentation of Inbound this year. Nuff respect!

  3. Neha Bhan

    November 25th, 2016

    One of the best stuff I’ve ever seen on CONTENT MARKETING till now. It’s always good to be loyal to our customers . Still there are some buss. which cheat their customers and benefit themselves . But this story proved that , even while showing our week-point to others , it’d become one of the strongest point…. loved your stuff n will try to implement in my buss to.

    1. Doug Kessler

      November 25th, 2016

      Thanks Bhan — hope you do!

  4. Chris Wade


    January 11th, 2017

    You guys are the best. I’ve been waiting to read content like this and I’ve finally found you. *goes in for the smooch*

    1. Doug Kessler

      January 22nd, 2017

      Thanks Chris! Smoochin’ right back at you.

  5. Rudy


    February 8th, 2017

    If only more people would understand this…
    Thanks for this content, will certainly send the link to this page to a few.

  6. Carlos Carvajal

    December 22nd, 2017

    A great example of insane honesty in marketing is for the movie ‘The Freak’:

    “This movie won’t just scare you, it will fuck you up for life.”

    1. Doug Kessler

      January 4th, 2018

      Nice one! Not sure I’m ready to watch it…

  7. olanrewaju okunola

    Trigital Hub

    September 29th, 2019

    Thanks for this… I could relate this to how i got to retain my best-paying client and super referer with honesty.

    This is the best sustainability strategy for business rather than joining the rat race of professionals.

  8. Anneke


    February 21st, 2020

    I am a copywriter and very interested in content marketing. There are many articles, but there are a few good ones. This information is useful and a good example. Thank you!

  9. Atanas Dzhingarov

    June 1st, 2020

    “We try harder” remains one of my favorite ad campaigns of all time.

    1. Doug Kessler

      June 4th, 2020

      Mine too. Ingenious way to turn a negative into a positive.

  10. Jesse

    November 23rd, 2020

    Hell yes.

    And in related news –

    This is directly related to the work of Chris Voss and Derek Gaunt from the Black Swan Group. And they learned it while practicing hostage negotiation.

    They call it the “Accusation Audit.”

    Label all the negatives first, without denying them, just as you’ve said in your presentation.

    The fear part of the brain calms down. And then people can listen.

    It also feels like total honesty in marketing is always going to be a competitive advantage.

    Because total honesty takes guts, and courage can be hard.

    Thank you for this most awesome presentation.

    1. Doug Kessler

      November 30th, 2020

      Thanks, Jesse. We’ve got some big Chris Voss fans here!

  11. Jason Marchant

    November 23rd, 2020

    THIS is why I want to work for you. Great stuff.

    I tried this argument at Sony about 10 years ago. It didn’t fly, and they kicked me out shortly afterwards. I knew I was right!

    1. Doug Kessler

      November 30th, 2020

      Thanks, Jason. I’m still shocked how rare this is in all marketing — but doubly so in B2B.

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