I hate marketing but I like this man

Of all the black arts, marketing is the most insidious. Marketing can make monkeys of us all and as we grin with pleasure at our inane purchasers, the marketers and their clients sip fine brandies and snigger. I’m holding that thought – I come from fine Methodist stock and will not be appeased. But last night I was sorely tempted to buy Mr Rory Sutherland a pint of fine claret and be beguiled.


Central to the appeal is the man’s epicurean bravado. There is nothing about him that medical science would approve of

He appeared last night in a pair of scarlet strides that Lucifer would be proud of

Got it! @rorysutherland is a genius- can I have a pair of his trousers? @howtoacademy pic.twitter.com/xMTG9Jrwb5

— Pension Plowman(@henryhtapper) November 28, 2016

It is almost impossible to deny this man – he is the human equivalent of a West Highland Terrier


Could you deny this dog anything?

Placebos – the guilty truth

“Doctorshack our body’s unconscious procedures: we should encourage placebos” @rorysutherland #bullshit works pic.twitter.com/ouUcYAnn2Z

— Pension Plowman(@henryhtapper) November 28, 2016

I remember talking with my Dad (when he was still a practicing GP) about the value of his visiting. My Dad – in his final years in practice – did as many as 40 home visits a day. He spent five minutes here and ten there, mainly with geriatrics and he brought comfort to the villages of the Blackmore Vale in Dorset. What few drugs he prescribed were non-generic and he hated with a passion the sales guys with their bribes to use the branded product.

The value of visiting was in giving people the confidence in their bodies and minds and Dad would never give neurotics and hypochondriacs an inch. He prescribed them placebos and they got better. He knew that the best way to deal with neurotics was to take them off drugs.

Sutherland discussed this last night, I found myself grunting assent when he said we should have more placebos. I thought of my father who knew that “les maladies imaginaires” could only be cured of their dependencies by bread pills! Sutherland knows that human happiness can be cheaply maintained with a diet of thin air (properly packaged).

The Doctor knows best

My father was a humanist and a Methodist, at one moment he was a scientist and the next a homeopath, he was pragmatic enough to be both marketer and economist.

Do not get fooled, Rory Sutherland is a smart cookie who runs a big business and plays with our hearts. Like my Dad, he gets pleasure out of giving us pleasure but he sells a dangerous commodity, an alchemic process that can turn bullshit into an essential purchase.

I spent last night watching him deliver intuition on a trowel. I was furiously tweeting the pearls as they were strewn..

Rory 2.PNG

In the clear dawn of day, these lose the precision of Sutherland’s delivery, but you get the picture.

To get from Brixton from Lewisham with a tube map takes hours – it’s what an economist would do, to ask a local (and get a train) is what Rory would do.

Infact, Rory Sutherland was reclaiming the right for us to abandon our spreadsheets and live a little. I’m fine with that.

But I’m the son of a Methodist local preacher and the grandson of a Methodist Minister, don’t think because I like Rory Sutherland, I encourage the black arts of marketing – that way lies perdition and the horrors of the financial services industry!

About henry tapper

Founder of the Pension PlayPen,, partner of Stella, father of Olly . I am the Pension Plowman
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