Monday, September 17, 2012

USAT | Banikarim said defending 'inspired memo'

"I hope you agree that when someone does that kind of inspired memo, we should share it."

-- Chief Marketing Officer Maryam Banikarim, in what blogger Jim Romenesko says was an e-mail he received from Gannett's chief marketing officer, defending a controversial, off-color note that riffed on Martin Luther King's famous "I have a dream speech." Romenesko posted her comment to his Facebook page on Friday.


  1. Those comments from people (and not ex-marketing people) are so telling.

    Banikarim made Gannett the laughing stock of the media industry and yet she defends it.

    She is "too close" to this branding to fully realize how damaging her memo was to the larger conversation.


  2. Inspired memo? Frankly, the only thing Banikarim inspired is language and acts that will likely end up with Gannett as a named defendant in hostile work environment lawsuit down the road, the judgments of which will likely be enhanced because Gannett failed to publicly retract what Banikarim wrongly, condoned.

  3. How long will it be before sales guru’s are “inspired” to create new sales programs (sample memo below) using Banikarim’s inappropriate cool balls memo as their guide? Matore staying silent about such an offensive memo is not in the best interests of the company she leads, nor does it speak well of her as a female executive, someone who should be more than familiar with who’s harmed most in cultures that Banikarim obviously condones. It’s appalling at best.

    To: Ad Sales Team
    FROM: Mary I. Am

    I have a dream . . . that one day all advertisers will join hands and declare their undying love for our newfound BALLS sales plan: BUILD ADVERTISING LIKE LOU SELLS!

    Actually, and perhaps with an air of creepiness, I DID have a dream about this very topic. I dreamt that advertisers all over our market were talking about our sales team’s newfound BALLS. It was creating quite a stir; which, if we do our job right, shouldn’t be far from the truth.

    We should think of closing sales like we think about sex: sex is great. And contrary to what our CMO shared at USAT recently, we do need to have it ALL the time to meet our sales goals – which is why Lou closes sales daily to always meet hers. Well . . . maybe that’s the wrong analogy here, but you get the point.

    So, step outside, no, let me rephrase that, get outside your cubicles and sport our newfound BALLS, our boldest sales effort yet; our chance to engage advertisers on a level that we currently are not doing, well, other than Lou.

    Things are moving fast now, our mojo is back . . . and we have the BALLS to prove it.

  4. And meanwhile revenue continues to be in the toilet.


Jim says: "Proceed with caution; this is a free-for-all comment zone. I try to correct or clarify incorrect information. But I can't catch everything. Please keep your posts focused on Gannett and media-related subjects. Note that I occasionally review comments in advance, to reject inappropriate ones. And I ignore hostile posters, and recommend you do, too."

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