PHD & eatbigfish present the Marketing Academy Merlin Lecture: Overthrow on September 3rd


On September 3rd 2013, PHD in partnership with Adam Morgan of eatbigfish and the Marketing Academy are presenting the Marketing Academy’s Merlin Lecture, titled ‘Overthrow’.

Anyone interested in making a mark with their brand – and arguably in their career as a marketer – needs to challenge something. But being a challenger brand today is not as simple as the clichéd ‘little brand calling out the big brand’ or ‘turn every category rule on its head’ narrative and behaviour. Over the last decade a new generation of challengers is emerging. ‘Overthrow’ explores an evolved and contemporary model of what it means to be challenger today. In this Merlin Lecture, Adam Morgan of eatbigfish, the definitive challenger experts, and PHD Media, will share the ten most potent challenger approaches. What if we were to identify for each of them what, not whom, they were challenging, and how they were doing it? What if we interviewed ten shining examples, including Zappos, PaddyPower and Airbnb, to get an insight on what it really meant to live in that narrative? What if we could unpack the behavioural implications for each? A blend of lecture and participative workshop, it will offer a framework for re-thinking how your brand can compete, the kind of brand cultures that are flourishing and how you might sharpen your own leadership style. All in the short space of time that is characteristic of any challenger.

To get a feel for some of the content in advance, please click here.

We have up to 20 free tickets to give away to readers of this blog and our Twitter followers. Simply leave a comment on this post by August 12th, Monday, letting us know who you are, your email address and why you’d like to attend, and we will be in touch.



  1. Cathrin Lemoine

    Just because we’ve always done it that way doesn’t make it right.

    That’s true for our societies, management practices and lifestyles. Only if we challenge assumptions and question the questions, can we start reinventing – or dare I say it – inventing new approaches to age-old and sparkling new problems. To some, this comes naturally (o how I envy thee!); to others – and I’d count myself to them -, we can only step out of our own skin by consciously and actively cutting through the habits and mechanisms we’ve surrendered ourselves to in school and workplaces, to fit in and belong. Many of us have been rewarded for following without questioning. It’s hard to break the habit. More and more classrooms and workplaces are now claiming to look for Querdenkers (…mavericks or contrarians don’t quite cut it for this gem of a German word) but they often don’t see it through across all areas of their business / system.

    According to the test, I’m the ‘visionary’ type, but man! the test really did throw up a couple of tricky ones: Would I rather shake the world I live in or create a better future…ppppfffff. Are you happiest when on a mission to put something right, or do you prefer to create a vision for a new space to live in altogether? …gosh.

    Should we create environments in which we can be constructively discontented? In our workplaces, in our communities, in society as a whole? Those certainly are worthy topics to explore. Why would I like to attend? It’d be great to explore them with fellow explorers.

    Cathrin Lemoine

  2. I’m a strategy director at HyperNaked – an agency driven by a fierce determination to strip away old assumptions and operate outside of our comfort zones. I’ve long been a fan of eatbigfish and their challenger narratives. My little contribution to this topic is ‘Marketing Gangnam Style’ – – a piece I wrote on disruptive marketing (through the lens of Psy – the ultimate challenger!).

    Its a hot topic and I’m super keen to join (contact me at nicola_davies [at] hypernaked [dot] com).

  3. Anne A

    Because I am the first one to comment here. But seriously, because my challenger brand is a whole city. Transforming hundreds of thousands of people, hundreds of organisations, community groups, local influencers, local government, policy, media and the average onlooker around a shared goal… Creating an innovative, inclusive and low carbon economy. A vision and a tangible goal that actually means something real and that everyone really engages in. In a city that prides itself on being iconic and world class. And of course I’ve never done that before ;-). Anne

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