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Gonzo Marketing: Winning through Worst Practices Audio Cassette – Abridged, Audiobook

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Product details

  • Audio Cassette
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio; Abridged edition (2 July 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0743507851
  • ISBN-13: 978-0743507851
  • Product Dimensions: 18 x 11.6 x 2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 7,456,030 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


Sunday Times Book of the Week ... "...Lockes argument cannot be dismissed lightly..." (Sunday Times 30 December 2001)

"..the average Cre@teOnline reader will enjoy Gonzo Marketing.." (Cre@teOnline Magzine January 2002)

"..Gonzo Marketing is a breath of fresh air.." (Marketing, 24 January 2002)

"..entertaining style. It is certainly a great read.." (Marketing Business, February 2002

Book of the Week ... "...Lockes argument cannot be dismissed lightly..." (Sunday Times 30 December 2001)

"..the average Cre@teOnline reader will enjoy Gonzo Marketing.." (Cre@teOnline Magzine January 2002)

"..Gonzo Marketing is a breath of fresh air.." (Marketing, 24 January 2002)

"..entertaining style. It is certainly a great read.." (Marketing Business, February 2002 --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From the Inside Flap

"Ladies and Gentlemen, please return your tray tables to the fully upright and locked position, suspend your disbelief and put on you tinfoil pyramid hats. We are now entering lights, cue music] the Brand Dimension!"
from Gonzo Marketing

Gonzo Marketing is a knuckle–whitening ride to the place where social criticism, biting satire, and serious commerce meet and where the outdated ideals of mass marketing and broadcast media are being left in the dust. As master of ceremonies at the wake for traditional one–size–fits–all marketing, Chris Locke has assembled a unique guest list, from Geoffrey Chaucer to Hunter S. Thompson, to guide us through the revolution that is rocking business today, as people connect on the Web to form powerful micromarkets. These networked communities, based on candour, trust, passion, and a general disdain for anything that smacks of corporate smugness, reflect much deeper trends in our culture, which Locke illuminates with his characteristic wit.

Just as gonzo journalism rose in response to "objective" news standards that claimed to foster fairness but in practice discouraged writers from speaking their minds in their own voices, so too does gonzo marketing call fro a similar response to assumptions about consumer behaviour that no longer relate to how people actually live their lives.

Gonzo Marketing is not yet–another nostrum for hoodwinking the unwary. It′s about market advocacy. It describes how "the artist formerly known as advertising" must do a 180. It′s about transforming the marketing message from "we want your money" to "we share your interests". It′s about tapping into, listening to, and even forming alliances with emerging on–line markets, who probably know more about your company than you do. It′s a hip–hop cover of boring old best practices played backwards. The paradox is that companies that support and promote these communities can have everything they′ve always wanted: greater market share, customer loyalty, brand equity.

Irreverent, penetrating, profoundly simple, and on–the–money, Gonzo Marketing is the raucous wake–up call that no one interested in any aspect of twenty–first century business – from the trading floor right up to the boardroom – can afford to ignore. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By S. Johnston on 22 Nov. 2001
Format: Hardcover
For any of you who work in the tortured online world, where plugging commerce into the web is your daily challenge and for whom the 'business as usual' conventional wisdom is beginning to grind you down, this book, along with Mr Locke's previous effort - The Cluetrain Manifesto - will salve your pain.
If, on the other hand, you still don't believe that life on the web is fundamentally different for real people then now is an extremely good time to have the sanity check that the Gonzo line of thinking provides. For those of you who have read this already, or any of Locke's previous writings, it may seem odd to see the words 'sanity', 'locke' and 'gonzo' in the same sentence, but that is exactly how I feel about it. This book touched a deeply frustrated nerve in me and has helped me hugely in ordering my thoughts.
If you read one business book in the next twelve months, this must be it. Hell, you may even enjoy it.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Donald Mitchell HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 16 July 2004
Format: Hardcover
Caution: This book contains many vulgar words that would probably earn its content an R rating if it were a motion picture.
Gonzo Marketing is an eclectic monologue with as little structure as you can imagine. Think of it as an eloquent rant in favor of authentic communication about what individuals truly care about in overcoming the blandness of corporate communications and broadcast advertising.
The essence of the book's key observations about communications are contained on pp. 125-126.
These are essentially that (1) market research is irrelevant to creating improved ideas (2) best practices in communications and marketing usually aren't very good (3) each person should turn their frustration with mass communications into actions to create change (4) engage in improved communications because you see the potential to do so (5) give yourself permission to speak candidly from the heart (6) use good story telling devices to communication (7) communicate on behalf of what people need, not what someone wants to sell them (8) let individuals speak for a company, rather than the company speak for itself and (9) let it all out to make your points vivid (emulating the methods of people like Hunter S. Thompson in their fiction).
The book's core proposal is almost totally contained in chapter 7 (which a few cross-references to small sections of earlier chapters). Companies should shift their attention to individual conversations among people who care about common issues and interests. Employees should be encouraged to speak on behalf of the company, as individuals. Companies should underwrite sites that are unconnected to the company's products and services, but do advance the public good. This should be done in a way that leaves independence of thought and expression intact.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Mr. Craig Myles on 8 April 2002
Format: Hardcover
Two of the four reviews on the back of this book suggest that its style is both 'provocative' and 'infuriating' (must have been words used in the press release), and having just finished it I'd agree. In fact I can honestly say that it's the only book I've ever actually shouted at. Much of the book is pretentious, patronising, irritatingly obscure, politically correct to the point of cliche or just plain wrong. But having said that there are a number of sections within the book that are none of these things, and that brilliantly illuminate the fundamental reasons why the relationship between the Internet and business (particularly Marketing) has unfolded in the way that it has, and which also present a convincing vision about how it's going to be (or should be) in the near future.
I've given it 4 stars, which is really 6 out of 5 for message, minus 2 for style...
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Format: Hardcover
This book is something of a manual for understanding and harnessing the immense power of the Internet when it comes to word of mouth. An encouraging take on past and modern marketing theory and a stimulating read for the marketing professional tired of hearing the usual blurb about number crunching from management level. Check it out, you'll be entertained. That is guaranteed!
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 37 reviews
42 of 45 people found the following review helpful
It never happened to me, and I don't think it'll work. 3 May 2002
By Hiroo Yamagata - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
I've been a fan of Chris Locke/RageBoy for quite a while. His attacks on Internet marketing gurus, those stupid know-it-alls on e-whatever, has been great, and had me rolling on the tatami (I'm in Japan).
This book sums up his criticism, and tries to come up with a remedy of his own, which he calls gonzo marketing. But, I'm very sad to say that his arguments doesn't hold water.
What he proposes is a very zen kind of thing; if you want to sell products on the Net, then you should not think of selling it (because if you think about it, people will sense that you are a sales person, and would despise you). Just be as you are. If you are active online without ever mentioning your product, then someone would notice that you work for such and such company, and people will come to you. Do not seek sales, and the sales would seek you out.
Based on this theory, he proposes that firms should allow employees to enjoy net surfing and engage in news group discussions on payed time. They won't be forced to make any sales or do any sales pitch. Just be sincere, and then, when people encounter some problems with a certain product, it might pop into their minds; "hey, that guy works for this company! Maybe he can help me!" And then you'll have a lead!
Now, this sounds nice (as an employee myself). Hey, I can waste time on the web all day and get paid! But if you have been active on the Net, you should step back and think. For example, I've been so-so active on the net, participating in Linux and other user groups and discussions. In Japan, I'm a pretty famous online presence. Now, has anyone contacted me about my professional business (I'm a consultant in the road and power sector)? Has anyone inquired me about the projects and services of my firm?
Not once.
Let's think the other way around. Has it ever occurred to me of asking my online friend Mr. W, who works at NTT (the Japanese telecom giant) to give me advice on the selection of my calling plans? Never.
If my experience is of any indication, I must conclude that the Locke/Rageboy's Gonzo Marketing proposition is false. It does not happen.
The fact is, I really don't want this sort of thing to happen. I want my online presense to be a private thing. And I don't want to deal with someone with some hidden (or explicit) corporate agenda on his/her mind. Even if you are NOT explicitly required to make any sales pitch, a sales lead IS desirable than not having one, and that motivates people to make subconscious distortions to make subtle sales pitches. He says that there can be an iron wall between the content and the sale department. We all know how well THAT works.
His logic is often screwy. He tries to fool the readers by mixing 2 claims: that the broadcast model is dead everywhere, and the broadcast model is dead on the Internet. He claims that there is no mass market on the Net, so in order to get the market share, they have to go for the numerous micromarkets through gonzo marketing. But when he talks about market shares, is he talking about market shares in general, or just the market shares on the Net? Maybe, it just means that firms should forget about net marketing altogether, and focus on TV. How important is the net market anyway?
His over reliance on mushy sentimental rethoric is often annoying. Also, he never shows us that the gonzo marketing model actually works. All he mentions is that he wrote funny clever zines which the readers loved (or some big shot praised). Did it really lead to any sales for the sponsor companies? He never tells. In one rare occasion, he notes that Harry Potter series have elicited over 10,000 reader reviews, and he says that the worth of these reviews (which represents a conversation within a micromarket) is apparent by the fact that Harry Potter part5 is already the #1 best seller. But... that's not entirely due to the reviews, is it? That's not any proof.
And Amazon encouraging reader reviews is vastly different from GM infiltrating an organic gardening site in the hopes that some one may mention something about cars (that's the gonzo proposition). A bookstore wanting people to talk about books is understandable. A GM sleeper lurking at an organic gardening site...that really creeps me out. And I don't think that's sincere or truthful. Maybe she IS really interested in organic gardening, but still, people would feel awkward talking about cars there. It won't be the same. And before you know it, you'll have to start suspecting everyone.
The book has its good moments. The Internet being a market in the old sense, a place for conversation and interaction, is nice and interesting (as it was in "Cluetrain".) But as a whole, I can't really see his ideas flying. It was great while he was ranting. But when he tried to compose it into some rational theory that makes sense, well... it doesn't make any sense. And trying to make sense sort of spoiled the irrational crazy energetic fun part that made it gonzo.
I'm giving the book 3 stars, because it is a good read on what's wrong with Internet marketing today. His proposals are, well, a good try, better than most other books that I've read, but falls way to short to actually work, IMHO.
20 of 23 people found the following review helpful
... 3 Feb. 2002
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
...He offers some interesting ideas, but unfortunately I doubt that any of his examples would result in positive ROI for any of the companies involved.
True to its title (a reference to the eccentric writing style of writer Hunter S. Thompson), "Gonzo Marketing" also wanders and leaves along the way to its business advice. Alas, the odd writing style (sometimes quite readable, sometimes not) failed to entertain or educate me, and it certainly did not convince me that the author's proposals were worthwhile.
The recurring central theme of Gonzo Marketing is that companies should try to connect with customers by having employees or agents participate in communities that include the company's customers. "Companies don't give a damn about advertising . . . . What they care about is connecting with potential customers by whatever means is most effective." (p. 186)
Locke suggests that a company like Ford and Dell empower its employees to participate (on company time) in online communitites which include potential customers. For example, Dell could encourage its employees who believe in home schooling, to participate in online communities about home-schooling, not writing sales pitches about Dell, but instead being visible as helpful community members who happen to identify themselves as Dell employees. Locke also suggests that Ford employees who like gardening could participate in related online communities, and perhaps other participants in the community will decide they like Ford and buy Ford trucks.
This is not a new idea. Local business owners have long been involved in their local communities, by sponsoring Little League teams, by encouraging staff to join the local bowling league as a team, by donating supplies to the local Habitat to Humanity project -- and quite simply, by being actual members in the local community who share the interests and goals of many other members of that local community. People like to do business with people they like.
Alas, Locke's examples all seem to fail, not because they are "wrong" but because they all appear to fail the ROI (return-on-investment) test required of all intelligent marketing. They also create huge risks of brand dilution and potential legal liability.
Another of Locke's ideas is to "tell a story" or create a fun, playful message that can be associated with your company or product. Thus, 'marketing' becomes more engaging, more interesting, and more accepted by consumers -- but alas, when marketing is so entertaining that it is accepted, it often is no longer marketing.
Oddly, the real message I drew from "Gonzo Marketing" is that companies can do interesting, different styles of marketing, as long as they focus on being "useful" or helpful to the audience they are addressing. It's not enough to be "relevant" or "entertaining" -- those are good, but good marketers must go further: be useful, be helpful -- be someone that your audience "knows, likes, and trusts." That last phrase is not from Gonzo Marketing -- it is one of my standard marketing mantras...
Gonzo Marketing is not a dreadful book; I read it through, and I enjoyed parts. But I think the book could have been much better if a capable editor had carved its 214 pages down to about 80.
13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
Sweep Away the Cobwebs & See What's Behind Them 19 Dec. 2001
By Jack Reed - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
I disagree with the recent review that thinks this subject only deserves an "article" instead of a book. The reviewer seems to think that because Locke does not provide a nice neat little well annotated map of the future of the Net as it relates to business and marketing that he hasn't done a service worthy of "book" status.
Just because you recognize that something is wrong doesn't mean you know precisely what right is. We all know that the torrent of spam that we are daily assailed with is the wrong way to market on the Web (how many of you have really bought anything that was so advertised). But while Gonzo Marketing does not spell out the precise ABCs of what is developing in this New World, he does a very exemplary job of talking about it's roots and realities. I think perhaps the most important single word that is used in both Gonzo Marketing (and The Cluetrain Manifesto) is "voice". The Net and it's derivitive, the Web, are forums for the individual voice to speak quietly but to a huge audience. It is this voice, this individual human communication that matters, because while we'll all trash a spam email within milliseconds, most of us will responed to a truly individual message from another human being. This takes the market back to what is originally was before it was usurped by corporations to mean masses of blank faces, and present it as the simple aggregation of people who wish to have discourse about their daily needs and perhaps exchange a few items for a few other items. Never mind that we're not really a bartering economy anymore, the character of that ancient market place is still deeply embedded in our psyches and most of us feel comfortable on that more personal basis. Locke even points out that Amazon is participating in his view of the current Net market by the very fact that it lets it's buyers review the books they purchase and thereby pass on to others a personal account of the value of the product.
So I say that you should buy the book if you are prepared to think for yourselves and project what Locke says onto whatever micro world you live and make money in. There simply are no books that can tell you extactly how to do it, although many claim to, but this book reminds you of lots of truths that you may have let slip into the sub-conscious realm, and once you have brought them back into view it is quite possible that you can apply Gonzo principles to whatever it is that you do with your life.
19 of 23 people found the following review helpful
I laughed, I cried, it became a part of me.... 7 Nov. 2001
By Keith Pelczarski - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
...It was better than CATS - I'm going to read it again and again.
Are you tired of trying to figure out who moved your cheese? If so, maybe you might want to hearken to the siren call of Gonzo Marketing. Like a latter-day Copernicus, Christopher Locke once again asserts that individuals, not corporations, are the center of the commercial solar system. This heterodoxy might seem counterintuitive, especially to those brainwashed by years under corporate auspices, but I think he's on to something when he writes:
"The embodied-corporation metaphor allows corporations to mimic human beings. To act as if. But the corporation has no heart. The cries will go up at this one, I know. But the reaction is based on another misplaced metaphor. Forget how much your business gave to charity or how it's planting trees or teaching ghetto kids to use computers (so you can hire them later at minimum wage). I mean, the corporation lacks the physical organ we call the heart. That thing in your chest that goes thump-thump. Here, I'll make it easier for you: the corporation has no sex. Those who protest even this obvious truth need to be reminded: it can only screw you *metaphorically*. But this is serious. This is important. Embodiment is a very big deal. Bodies don't come into being through mergers and acquisitions. They are born of woman, as King James put it. Bodies don't file for protection under Chapter 11. They die."
"No corporation has ever fallen in love. Reflect on that a moment. Roll it around on your tongue, in the back of your mind. Does it seem like a non sequitur, irrelevant? It's not."
This type of thing makes some folks uncomfortable. They seem to think that there's no point to reading Locke's ramblings, since he doesn't use the now-ubiquitous bulleted PowerPoint presentation, hermetically sealed and sanitized for your protection. What's more, he makes offhand references to movies, literature, and rock 'n' roll, for crying out loud! The critics howl, "How could his thinking possibly be valuable without clear action items? I don't have time for this kind of rubbish. Time is money, and the business of business is business. Just tell me what I need to do so I can go back to kissing up to my boss, terrorizing my subordinates, and giving our customers a good rogering."
Well, sometimes connecting the dots is more than half the fun, and Gonzo Marketing is some of the dottiest prose you've ever read. It's enticing to think of business as an easy, formulaic proposition, but the reality is that it's anything but. Locke doesn't have a pat little recipe for selling soap, but he does have a lot of interesting ideas. As an added bonus, he's brutally honest and awfully entertaining. Other business book authors might take note - business books don't have to be boring.*
Personally, I agree with Locke's thoughts about the importance of voice, the power of conversation, and the pending re-emergence of micromarkets. Don't take my word for it, though -- buy the book, read it, and decide for yourself. You might not agree with all of Locke's crazy notions, but you just might find yourself rethinking some things that you always took for granted. Of course, if that makes you uncomfortable, you can just flip on the tube and let "important messages from our sponsors" wash all of his heretical thinking from your mind.
"This limited-time TV offer won't last long. Don't delay - order now!"**
* A prime example, one of the endnotes for the third chapter cites: 'Christopher Locke, "Take My Word for It," Journal of the Wild-Assed Guess, September, 1995.' If only every business author had the guts to admit when they were just pulling things out of their backside, the world would be a much better place.
** A total lie... see, I don't know about you, but I feel better already.
18 of 22 people found the following review helpful
Finally Marketing has Hope! 31 Oct. 2001
By Eric J Norlin - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Marketing -- especially online marketing -- is a wasteland of failed strategies, bogus gurus and overused hype. This book is, at long last, a marketing book that moves past such (...).
Gonzo Marketing -- at its heart -- dares to put business in the bigger context of life. In light of 9/11, this may be one of the few business books to come out this year that can stand in the face of the radical recontextualization of business.
Smarmy background music and hushed, reverential speech wasn't all that effective before -- but now it seems downright offensive. Yet, here we are --- just weeks out from the worst disaster in American History and Global 1000 corporations are resorting to just that kind of marketing. Why? Because they cannot even conceive of an alternative.
Gonzo Marketing provides that alternative.
Don't be fooled by those marketing types that spew nothing but derision for this book -- they do so because their interests are threatened. Walk into this with an open mind, and emerge with an entirely new way of doing marketing -- and indeed -- business.
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