Miracle Max Presents 11 Things that Aren’t Quite Dead

By: Guest | July 5, 2012 | 

Today’s guest post is written by Margie Clayman.

Have you ever watched The Princess Bride?

If not, you really need to get on that. Go ahead. I’ll wait for you.

Just kidding.

Now for the rest of you, I’m sure you know and remember Miracle Max, the character played by Billy Crystal and a lot of make-up.

Max is the one who tells Andre the Giant and friends that Wesley (played by Cary Elwes) is only mostly dead. He further points out (and logically so) that if you are only mostly dead, you are partially alive.

This scene comes to mind often when I am navigating the online waters. It seems like everything these days is apt to be declared entirely, 100 percent dead. In fact, just yesterday someone on Twitter informed me that she saw someone proclaim brick and mortar universities dead.

Just don’t tell Harvard. Or Ohio State.

With that in mind, I thought I would pull in some Miracle Max expertise. I interviewed him about 11 things I’ve seen proclaimed dead so I could get his professional opinion.

Below is a summary of the items I asked him about, as well as his responses.

  1. Direct Mail: “Direct mail dead? Pht. When Victoria’s Secret stops sending out paper catalogs, I’ll declare direct mail fully dead.  I do love those catalogs. I get them for the well-written photo captions.” (Max’s wife Valerie was heard yelling “LIAR!” as we recorded this conversation).
  2. Advertising: “If advertising is dead, why are search engines using television commercials to promote themselves? Why is Google, which is as evil as Humperdink, using advertising to promote itself?  No no, advertising is not dead. People may not like it but I hate Humperdink and he’s doing fine.”
  3. Websites: “What, so people are going to use Google+ or a Facebook page instead of a website? No, no, no. You need a website like you need chocolate to make my medicine go down easier.”
  4. Public Relations: “You know why people hate PR? Because it can make people like Humperdink look good with the right spin. But I tell you something. PR isn’t even mostly dead. It’s just changing.”
  5. B2B or B2C Marketing: “Yeah, when I pumped air into the lungs of some of these people what came out was “P2P.” This is stupid. Obviously if you’re marketing you’re talking to other people, whether they’re in a business or whether they’re individuals. We’re not selling to robots yet. BO, BM, whatever marketing isn’t dead because people like the sound of P2P better. Makes my prostate flare up though, just thinking about it.”
  6. Marketing: “Marketing is dead? I have a poster on my house wall outside that says, “I’m Miracle Max. I perform miracles.” If I didn’t have that how would people know I’m not just an old man living with a witch? (Valerie is heard to yell, “I’m not a witch, I’m your wife!”) Marketing is not even remotely dead. That doesn’t even make sense.”
  7. Email: “Someone I brought back to life once started talking to me about email. He said something interesting. What do you need in order to sign in to most social media sites? Yeah, email is nowhere close to being dead.”
  8. The Internet: “I guess people are saying the Internet is dead because mobile is catching on. I like looking at other women but Valerie hasn’t died yet. You can like more than one thing, you know?” (Valerie is heard yelling, “Humperdink, Humperdink, Humperdink!)
  9. Podcasting: “You need to talk to Christopher Penn about this. Yeah, I know him. He helped calm me down when Humperdink first had me fired.  He knows a lot more about this podcasting than I, but he says it isn’t dead, I say it isn’t dead. It’s not dead.”
  10. The Laptop: “Let me ask you something. If the laptop is dead or dying, why did Apple just launch a bunch of new shiny laptops? Not even mostly dead. Next.”
  11. Agencies: “You know why people declare agencies dead? Because so many people paint pictures of agencies as being evil. Humperdink is evil. Some agencies are evil. Not all agencies are evil. Not all princes are evil. And having a few evil apples doesn’t make the whole barrel evil. Or dead.”

So there you have it. It seems all 11 things that have been declared dead aren’t really dead. Many of them aren’t even mostly dead, and this is coming from a real professional!

If you have anything you’d like Miracle Max to check on, let me know. He might even weigh in on the comments for you.

Margie Clayman is the Director of Client Development at Clayman Advertising, Inc., her family’s full-service marketing firm. Margie is the third generation of her family to work there! Margie blogs at www.margieclayman.comYou can follow her on Twitter @margieclayman

Margie has authored a book called The ABCs of Marketing Myths, which you can read about here.

  • Dang it, I love Miracle Max. And I’ve read posts recently that all of these things are dead, or dying. But Max can’t be wrong! I mean, anyone who loves an MLT must be right!
    Oh, and you forgot blogs. I’ve been told blogging is dead. And some are even declaring social media dead.
    Hmm. How about MySpace?

    • margieclayman

       @KenMueller Max actually went on a similar tirade about blogging being declared dead, but I told him that Gini had already written several excellent posts about why that idea is daft, and since she is more in tune with the 21st century, we both agreed we’d let Gini’s word be the last on that issue.
      So far as MySpace goes, Max gave me a pretty raunchy response about how he liked all of the scantily clad women porn he got on there and if it was dead he sure wasn’t. I really couldn’t publish most of it so I edited it out.

  • You forgot about SEO. It’s death is continually being foretold and predicted.
    Have fun storming the castle boys!

    • margieclayman

       @Sean McGinnis I actually didn’t forget about SEO, Sean. I asked Max for his opinions about that. What I got was a tirade that I couldn’t make sense of until I found out that Humperdink had been in SEO before ascending the throne. Max sort of steered away from his “1 bad apple” philosophy in that particular regard. Sorry…

      •  @margieclayman @Sean McGinnis Does anybody want a peanut? 

        • margieclayman

           @jasonkonopinski  @Sean McGinnis I do not think that word means what you think it means.

  • In the case of the podcasting fiasco, the person who declared the medium dead (I was at the BlogWorld session) was complaining that he couldn’t grow his audience in four years. Yeah – that was a problem with his CONTENT, not the medium. 🙂 

    • margieclayman

       @jasonkonopinski So … wait. If your content sucks you might not grow whatever it is you’re trying to grow? Well I DO declare.

      •  @margieclayman Heh. I won’t go into the details, but this particular individual on the panel has been podcasting for years – but reading fiction on air isn’t a podcast, it’s an audiobook. 🙂 

        • margieclayman

           @jasonkonopinski There is that…

  • Let’s get down to the heart of the matter though: declaring anything “dead” online is nothing more than link-bait. You write a provocative headline and you just *know* that you’ll see a huge spike in traffic and, if you’re lucky, a good amount of discussion caused by raised hackles on both sides.
    It’s in the bag of tricks of everyone who writes for digital consumption – and every blogger employs them occasionally. I know I have. 

    • margieclayman

       @jasonkonopinski I think I wrote about “is dead” in a post about phrases that could really head on off to retirement. I might some day write a post about how “is dead” is dead. But I think that might just tick people off 🙂 

  • Max’s wife is a witch, not sure if that disqualifies her opinion or not. 
    The thing about all this is that we keep seeing many of the “experts” paint themselves into corners they can’t get out of. Whatever they tout must be followed and feh on those who disagree.
    I have seen more than one reply to disagreements with comments that suggest the other person doesn’t understand or they wouldn’t suggest that the “expert” was wrong.
    Anyhoo, I wonder about the “reach” of some of these experts. Some of them may have hundreds or thousands of readers, but are they really speaking with people who listen. Do they have any real influence…

    • margieclayman

       @TheJackB Well, I ran some of these by my dad, who is not as involved in social media. He could not believe that people get away with writing things like “Marketing is dead.” For people not in this space, it seems like we’re making this up.
      For people in this space, I think there needs to be a step back to analyze why we let those kinds of posts go. Are we just tired? Is there too much vitriol when there is disagreement? I dunno, but in all seriousness it’s disturbing!

  • Just one word needed here: AWESOME!

    • margieclayman

       @Anthony_Rodriguez thanks! Glad you liked it 🙂 

  • MargieClayman

    @joelfortner thanks! 🙂

    • JoelFortner

      @MargieClayman Have fun stormin the castle!

  • MargieClayman

    @briansrice thanks Brian! How was your holiday?

    • briansrice

      @MargieClayman not too bad though the heat was “inconceivable”. Hope you enjoyed the 4th!

      • MargieClayman

        @briansrice hehe 🙂 Yes, I agree. It’s equally disgusting today, I think.

  • Excellent take, Margie! One of the best films…ever?

    • margieclayman

       @RebeccaTodd I’d go with that!

  • MargieClayman

    @pmcarthurmilne thanks for the share!

  • MargieClayman

    @JonFMoss thanks Jon!

    • JonFMoss

      @MargieClayman no problemo – good stuff!

  • You already know I love this! As I was reading it, I was thinking, “What about his wife and ‘LIAR!'” and then you brought her into it! Love, love, love!

    • margieclayman

       @ginidietrich thanks Gini-San 🙂 And thanks for letting me post here! 

  • MargieClayman

    @jocmbarnett thanks for the tweet!

  • I would like to print this up by the thousands (think Phone Book size) and smack a certain individual over the head with this.  Last week one of my friends and sometime-client declared, on his Facebook Page, that “In 5 years there will ONLY be Social Media and I’m not going to miss out.  Forget other forms of advertising… Social Media’s where it’s at!”  He didn’t think this up… he is being advised by a young 20-something who runs a start up, Beta-Social Media Mgt company… this same smart whippersnapper once declared to me at a talk I gave at his University that “you should only hire 20-somethings to manage your Social Media Community because ‘we grew up on it.’Sighh….. I know, you’ve all seen this before.  But your post gives me faith that there is still some marketing sanity out there. 

    • margieclayman

       @AmyMccTobin That’s pretty scary. I’m not sure Miracle Max is the one to get through to those folks though. I mean…he’s old. And fictional…:) 
      So glad you liked the post! 

  • KRLRose

    Marketing is most definitely dead.
    Stop Marketing Start Loving. 
    Metaphor is dead. 
    Long Live Metaphor.
    This list is so dead.
    I knew Margie when she had like two followers. 🙂 
    I am an early adopter. 

    • margieclayman

       @KRLRose hah! True that! I was an early Kenny adopter too 🙂 

  • AlaskaChickBlog

    Shew. That is a relief! Lord, I was wondering if maybe I was dead and forgot to realize it.
    You always make me laugh~ If only I had teachers when I was so young and malleable like you…maybe I would understand more of today’s dramas. ~Your Alaska Pal

    • margieclayman

       @AlaskaChickBlog Oh, I’m not malleable. I’m stiff as a board. Believe you me! Thanks for popping by! 

  • MargieClayman

    @ginidietrich aw. thanks 🙂

  • AlaskaChickBlog

    @ginidietrich @spinsucks @margieclayman EVERYTHING Margie writes is Awesome! I even got to comment!

    • ginidietrich

      @AlaskaChickBlog Woo hoooooo!!

  • valtheegal

    @ginidietrich @spinsucks @margieclayman Thanks! Really enjoyed this great marketing post! 🙂

  • FellersFoodServ

    @ReneSiegel great article, thanks! And I just watched the Princess Bride yesterday. 🙂

  • Darryl1gkfzyd
  • This is the kind of post for people that believe everything they read on the many redundant social media blogs. The world goes on as usual for the rest of us…

    • margieclayman

       @danperezfilms So delighted you opted to stoop down and leave your cheer here anyway, Dan. God bless you and your charitable heart. 

  • Margie, thank for this. To add to your list, I can recall when it was being said that paper was dead now that we had computers! That has not quite worked out yet either has it?

  • MargieClayman

    @jmicoaching thank you! 🙂

    • jmicoaching

      @MargieClayman. its a pleasure as I took real joy in it

  • MargieClayman

    @lumenstrategies thanks!

  • Somebody thought I was dead in my office one time, but it was only because I hadn’t moved in several hours and only smelled dead; I made a quick recovery at lunch time however………
    Good post Margie, I concur there is still life left in those of whom you speak. 

    •  @bdorman264 did you move faster in the afternoon, or was that a step too far?

  • Venutisfylk
  • MargieClayman

    @pointa_pointb thanks lady 🙂

  • MargieClayman

    @shonali thanks lady! Happy Friday!

    • shonali

      @margieclayman But of course. And the same to you!

  • 40deuce

    @shonali @margieclayman @ginidietrich I’m only clicking this link because I love The Princess Bride

    • MargieClayman

      thanks for the disclaimer 🙂 Do you want me to go back to being unemployed…in GREENLAND? @40deuce @shonali @ginidietrich

      • 40deuce

        @MargieClayman @shonali @ginidietrich As you wish… 😉

        • MargieClayman

          Oh my sweet @40deuce, what have I done? *throws self down hill* @shonali @ginidietrich

      • shonali

        @margieclayman @40deuce @ginidietrich HAHAHAHAH!!!!

  • This was kind of like mythbusters, which you already know is my favorite TV show on the claycomm network. My favorite might have been the brick and mortar universities lol, I hadn’t heard that one yet! Oh btw – U of M is beating you this year 😉 Someone also told me superheroes are dead but I’m still kicking! Good talk

  • MargieClayman

    @kntoepfer thanks Kristin!

    • kntoepfer

      @margieclayman You’re welcome–have a super week!

      • MargieClayman

        @kntoepfer you too!

  • MargieClayman

    @suddenlyjamie thanks Jamie. I coulda sworn you commented that day. I could be nuts, however.

    • suddenlyjamie

      @margieclayman Well, wouldn’t that be embarrassing! I don’t think I did, but I do love anything w/the Princess Bride in it. 😉

      • MargieClayman

        @suddenlyjamie Love it again…for the first time…:)