That guy above is Adam22—BMX figure, founder and owner of streetwear brand OnSomeS***  (censoring added by me), rap aficionado, vlogger, and founder of No Jumper, his podcast where he interviews DJs, Instagram models, rappers, BMX bikers, porn stars, and friends.

My education is in design, but lately I’ve been realizing that (at least in my experience) designers just make ideas look good. I’m drawn to marketing because marketers come up with those ideas, usually to sell stuff.

But marketing is changing. I’m 26 and I reflect how my generation feels—I don’t care about brands. I’m repulsed by companies paying their way into my newsfeeds to shove products into my face. They try to be funny or cute or trendy, but at the end of the day they’re just trying to sell their thing. And it feels disingenuous and manipulative and fake.

A lot of companies have realized this too, so they reach out to people to push their products. This is nothing new, but when it comes in the form of actual ad copy just coming from a person, instead of the person making me like the brand the brand makes me dislike the person. Very rarely have I seen social media advertising that feels organic.

I like Adam22. I respect his hustle and I like the content he puts out. I listen to No Jumper and follow him on everything. He has created a brand and made himself synonymous with it, turning people’s like of him into brand loyalty and income. He has taken his passions and turned them into monetizeable products. When I scroll through his feeds I see a person who’s passionate about activities and brands, not a brand that’s passionate about increasing sales.

I’m still processing through it, but I feel like somehow that’s the future of successful social media marketing. At my job there are people who pump out words and pictures all day long to fill up newsfeeds with content that has the end goal of spreading our message and selling our products. It’s not really personal, and I don’t think it’s that effective. It works for now, because we market to parents, but in 15 years my generation will be the parents and then it won’t work anymore. And the smartest companies will realize that and hop on the new bandwagon now, before it’s crowded and poorly done and overdone and ultimately less effective.

There’s no answer that I have here, just thoughts. The most effective marketing needs to be either so subtle it’s almost subliminal, or so obnoxious that it can’t be ignored (see guerilla marketing, which I love)—either sliding under the tidal wave assaulting consumers every day, or C4ing through it.