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Adam Hanft
Adam Hanft is an ambi-practitioner. His focus is on the process by which currents, brands and events -- -- small and seismic -- lodge in, and provoke, the political and consumer cultures. As a journalist, he is a frequent commentator on Marketplace, a columnist for, and a contributing editor at He is also the co-author of the "Dictionary of the Future." As an entrepreneur, he is the founder and CEO of the branding and advertising company Hanft Unlimited, where his clients pay money to become necessary ideas.

Entries by Adam Hanft

Bad Advice From the Start - Hillary Clinton's Over-Packaged Video Is Lifestyle Branding at its Most Inauthentic

(20) Comments | Posted April 13, 2015 | 9:52 PM

Is it a commercial for a big, ugly bank trying to win over small businesses with entrepreneur porn?

Is it a cola transparently trying to capture a sense of new possibilities?

Is it a Big Pharma company reaching into the limbic system to restore its reputation, with emotionally...

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Beyond Iraq and Afghanistan: Fighting the Stereotype War

(0) Comments | Posted November 11, 2014 | 4:39 PM

"Alleged White House intruder is decorated Iraq combat vet" shrieked the military-friendly Fox News when the identity of the fence-jumper was revealed.

Every media outlet, from CNN to The New York Times to Reuters, conjoined "Iraqi vet" to Omar Jose Gonzalez, as...

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The Stunning Evolution of Millennials: They've Become the Ben Franklin Generation

(31) Comments | Posted November 7, 2014 | 11:38 AM

Wealthfront - an online financial services start-up targeted squarely and unashamedly at Millennial wallets - raised $64 million last month. That's on top of $35 million that venture firms plowed into the company earlier this year.

Every sweeping cliché about Millennials - that they are addicted...

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Joan Rivers: Say Anything -- Except 'Sorry'

(1) Comments | Posted September 11, 2014 | 1:51 PM

In this world of the easy out, there are few apologies that are profoundly genuine. Most are as gloriously fake as, well, Joan Rivers after another Botoxifcation.

Too soon? Joan wouldn't have thought so, which is why -- among so much else that has been written since her death last...

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Will Connected Devices Disconnect the Family?

(0) Comments | Posted September 3, 2014 | 7:04 PM

This was just released as a chapter in an ebook "Monetizing the Internet of Things."

Tolstoy famously said, "All happy families are alike, each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way."

Why am I beginning a piece about the Internet of Things with a...

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David Plouffe Gets Hired By Uber; Is It the Rand Paulization of Barack Obama's Campaign Brain?

(2) Comments | Posted August 27, 2014 | 11:11 AM

You can wax rhapsodic about the power of disruptive models and the sharing economy all you want, but sometimes the gatekeepers of the status quo, their Praetorian Guards, aren't seduced by rhetoric and inevitability. Sometimes they need to be fought with muscle, strategy, marketing and David...

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Finally Someone Is Sending Car Salesmen to the Junkyard: An Interview with Ale Resnik, Co-Founder of Beepi.

(2) Comments | Posted May 23, 2014 | 9:13 PM

Buying and selling a car is the root canal of transactions. Every step is fraught with ugh, whether it's the painful, ritualistic negotiation, or the fear that the joke about spit and duct tape applies to the pig-in-a-poke you just plunked down thousands for. To the rescue rides Beepi, a...

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What I Learned About Culture, Mission, Movements, and the Pure Power of Sometimes From Working on PonoMusic's Launch

(0) Comments | Posted April 17, 2014 | 3:25 PM

I am part of the team that, a month ago, launched what many thought was -- in the true Cervantean sense -- a quixotic effort to raise $800,000 for PonoMusic on Kickstarter.

PonoMusic, born out of the restless and feverish imagination of Neil Young, is an effort to...

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7 New Year's Resolutions for Brands

(0) Comments | Posted January 1, 2014 | 2:30 PM

Like cats, brands clearly think of themselves as people; fully anthropomorphized, they describe themselves as "we," they speak to us as intimate friends, and when necessary they apologize (often profusely and insincerely, like the real people in our lives.)

So it seemed only natural that at this time of the...

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Corporate America Surrenders to Russia's Anti-Gay Legislation

(14) Comments | Posted December 23, 2013 | 6:34 PM

Years of Gaywashing Revealed; Pursuing Marketing Advantages, Not Moral Principles

Russia's harsh, antediluvian, anti-gay legislation -- which the Washington Post reports "has made gay athletes and spectators fearful of discrimination, and even arrest, at the Olympics" -- hasn't provoked a whisper of outrage among American corporations. And that...

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My Obamacare Anxiety: America's Largest Digital Start-Up Probably Lacks the Right Digital Talent

(17) Comments | Posted September 30, 2013 | 8:15 PM

"If a team can't be fed with two pizzas, it's too big." -- Jeff Bezos

The Bezos two-pizza rule, and its insistence that only small, intense, swiftly-moving teams can be effective, has become a start-up item of faith. I hope its religion has shaped the process by which...

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Message to BlackBerry's New Owner: Embrace Your Reality and That's Email

(1) Comments | Posted September 24, 2013 | 8:18 PM

Disclaimer: I've gone on record as being a CrackBerry addict, going back to a column I wrote for Inc. in 2005 titled "A Message to My BlackBerry." Therein I confessed:

When someone turns away to locate some papers or to address someone else, I take you in my...

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More Than the Republicans Didn't Participate in the Anniversary of the March on Washington -- Where Was Corporate America?

(19) Comments | Posted August 30, 2013 | 5:04 PM

A lot is being made about the absence of the Republicans from the anniversary celebration of the March on Washington.

But what surprised me far more was the dramatic absence of any meaningful corporate acknowledgement or celebration of the historic nature of the event. I tweeted on...

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Jeff Bezos, Elon Musk, and the New Heroic American Capitalism

(7) Comments | Posted August 13, 2013 | 9:17 PM

Last Monday, Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon, spent $250 million of his many billions to buy The Washington Post. Yesterday, in a strangely synchronous bookend, Elon Musk, one of the founders of PayPal, published his vision for the future of mass transportation -- the instantly famous

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Next Time We Hear Chatter, Let's Shut Down New York City

(74) Comments | Posted August 6, 2013 | 7:59 PM

The decision to close as many as two dozen American embassies and consulates, based on intelligence reports about an upcoming al Qaeda attack (or attacks), is nothing less than a public relations and recruiting bonanza for them.

Yes, I understand the caution of a post-Benghazi world. But is the best...

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Impulses Gone Wild: The Weiner Brand Is Bad for New York

(5) Comments | Posted July 26, 2013 | 3:22 PM

I can't add anything new or interesting to the moral debate about Anthony Weiner's situation; every inch of this absurdist drama -- and indeed, it is a subject inseparable from the double entendre -- from the fraught intersection of personal behavior and public responsibility, to speculation about the motivations and...

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Protest Theatrics: Imagine If Jay Z and Beyonce Used Their Economic Power to Fight for Justice, Not Just Tweet About It

(15) Comments | Posted July 22, 2013 | 7:59 PM

This past weekend, Jay Z -- who, along with Justin Timberlake, dedicated a song to Trayvon Martin at Yankee Stadium -- and Beyonce showed up in New York City at a rally that protested the "Stand Your Ground" laws. Similar protests and rallies in 100 cities...

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Microsoft's Massive Reorganization -- All Structure, No Culture

(5) Comments | Posted July 18, 2013 | 9:07 PM

Imagine you're the parents of three smart kids who just don't get along. They never cooperate, no matter how many lectures you give them. They're constantly at each other's throats, and you inadvertently encourage it by rewarding selfish behaviors as opposed to what benefits the family.

It's not an easy...

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"I Quit!": What CEOS, Including Andrew Mason, Can Learn From Pope Benedict's Decision

(0) Comments | Posted March 14, 2013 | 7:41 PM

The Vatican vacancy, which was filled yesterday, was created because Pope Benedict broke with the tradition of centuries and said, simply, "I can't do this job any more." While his surrender of power was based on physical limitations, its implicit message to other CEOs, who cannot perform their jobs for...

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Two Newborns Reveal Our Ancient Power of Judgment

(1) Comments | Posted March 5, 2013 | 5:27 PM

Two stories stunned our weekend reading and generated acres of press attention. Although they were completely unrelated thematically, to me they are completely related conceptually.
Because they have a lot to say about the way we make judgments, take risks in real time, and approach decision-making under stress.

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