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The five tribes of marketing - Evidencers, Biases, Purposes, Trads and Digitals - they all ended up ignoring old Sheriff Ritson’s yackings about a middle path and went back to their fighting ways.

Then the Great Pandemic changed everything and nothing.

When the virus first came to the East, Purposes had to get down off their mountain pretty damn quick. But they soon saw they now had to live up to their purpose. That was beyond most of ‘em and the few that could hid out in Patagonia.

Biases, down by the West river, they did their nudging to get folk to stay home, stay alert, go back to school, back to the shops, but no one took a blind bit of notice. So they ditched their load and slid off back to the easy water.

Digitals got spread so far and wide across the land, they lost any last pretence of leadership they ever pretended to have. Most of the soldiers went off to be mercenaries.

Evidencers, they grew and grew in strength. Smelling the scent of final victory, they amassed the biggest army of marketers ever seen on this land, until their ranks spanned the whole of the Northern field. Binets fixed and razor sharp, they marched on South.

There, holed up in the long grass, were the last of the Trads. The old gunslingers like Trott, Hoffman and Tannenbaum kept up their volleys of propaganda and no one dared edit their words, not even the thinkers.

But in the still of the night, the army of Evidencers kept on coming. They wanted their showdown.

Then one day a young Trad, creative soul, stood up.

“I have an idea.”


Out of nowhere appeared the leader of the tribe, name of Bill, like he always did.

“There was a time when all that mattered was the idea. Now every two-bit punk has one. Business ideas, product ideas, essences, purposes, promises, brand ideas, advertising ideas, content ideas, social ideas, platform ideas, tactics, executions and I don’t know what. These Evidencers, they keep it simple. Penetration, availability.” He sighed. “Loyalty is hanging by a thread. We cannot win.”

The young gun listened. “Then we must win them over.”

Something stirred in a few of the Trads, a forgotten memory structure.

He took his chance. “We should start with segmentation.”

“Like Kantar’s?” asked someone. “I saw a webinar. Follow the Rules, Precarious Worriers, Ostriches…?”

“No, that’s people” burst in a thinker, her mind already a whirr of maps. “We should segment by need. There’s a whole lot out there at the moment, emotion is sky high. We just need to pick the right need. Then we target, we position…”

“But we’re the Trads!” cried another. “Can’t change what we stand for.”

The thinker met the battle-weary stare. “We don’t change our brand, we raise it up.” She softened a touch. “Emotion meets emotion.”

Bill waited for it all to sink in. “Anyone got an insight?”

The young gun hesitated. “Thing is, Evidencers are all the same. They want evidence. But people, they all want to be different.”

A light went on in the thinker’s eyes. “Maybe that’s it.” She paused to sell the brief. “Talk to the crazy one in everyone.”

One of the old writers straight away picked up his pen. “Trad is Rad.”

“Unchanging man,” muttered Bill. And for the first time in a long, long time, he smiled.

As he drifted off back into the dark, they heard him humming the old song once more:

Badlands, you gotta live it every day / Let the broken hearts stand as the price you’ve gotta pay

Keep pushin’ ‘til it’s understood / And these badlands start treating us good

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