Marketing Muckraking podcast with Rachael Kay Albers - what is brand culture doing to us?

What You Need To Know About the Cult of Online Marketing

This episode was originally published as an Instagram Live as part of FREE SCHOOL in May 2021. Read the full text transcript here.

This podcast episode began in FREE SCHOOL.

Listen to the full episode for more on what FREE SCHOOL was exactly and why it culminated in this essay and video.

I’ve thought a lot about whether I should include this in the Marketing Muckraking podcast...

This was while I was “burning it all down” and this recording is very fiery, to put it lightly.

But it’s also hilarious. And it’s also true. 

Which is why I decided to include it here.

Nothing has changed since I posted this last year, except that time has passed and many people have forgotten that all this ever happened or never knew about it to begin with.

In this recording, I talk a lot about “putting it on the Google record” and that the scary thing about the Internet isn’t fake news, but no news. And I stand by that.

When we’re talking about corporations with human faces in the age of the personal brand, one of the most troubling features is that people with self-professed 7, 8, 9+ figure companies want us to treat them the way we would a girl next door, instead of a corporation.

Many people believe that “women supporting women” don’t publicly say anything when a woman is harming millions of women.

But who exactly are we supporting when we believe this? Are we supporting the women who are harmed and gaslit into believing that they weren’t?

This recording doesn’t go after small businesses, but the folks at the top who are getting rich by making the rest of us believe we’re all just “one funnel away” from sitting at the table with them.

Rachel Hollis and Russell Brunson on the ClickFunnels stage

Just a few weeks ago, Rachel Hollis re-entered the speaking circuit — on Russell Brunson’s ClickFunnels stage. You’ll hear me address why he is so incredibly troubling and problematic in this video but let me boil it down to this.

Russell Brunson directly compares building a business to building a cult and he uses examples like Hitler to do it, rewriting history to position Hitler as a "movement builder."

He says this in page 2 of his book, Expert Secrets, which Amy Porterfield still has a live affiliate link to on her own podcast and blog, where she says, “no one knows how to build a movement better than super entrepreneur Russell Brunson.” Later in the show notes she says, “I loved this book so much and I know you will, too.”

This is how I learned about Russell Brunson in the first place. Because I trusted Amy Porterfield and her recommendations.

In a 2017 interview with Andrew Warner of Mixergy, recorded at the same time as Porterfield's, Warner says, “You are the Adolf Hitler of ClickFunnels,” and Brunson agrees, while laughing. 

Every person I cite in this recording has supported Brunson over the years and continues to support him — including and especially Jenna Kutcher and Rachel Hollis — and have never distanced themselves from him and his harmful approach to business as they did so performatively last year with Hollis when she made her statements disparaging her housekeeper. 

So, that is why I’m bringing this recording back.

It’s still true.

It’s still deeply troubling.

And it should not be lost to Instagram history and forgotten simply because time has passed. 

As I repeat again and again in this episode, put it on the record. 

Mentioned in this episode:

Marketing Muckraking Podcast with Rachael Kay Albers

About the Marketing Muckraking podcast

Welcome to Marketing Muckraking, the show that asks not simply what brand culture can do for us, but what it’s doing to us — with your host, creative director, brand strategist gone wild, and the court jester of online business, Rachael Kay Albers — making fun of business and making business fun.

This is the show for rebels, revolutionaries, and renegades who run businesses that burn the rulebook. If you’re sick of business podcasts with all the answers — I’ve got nothing but questions.

Where we swap B School for FREE SCHOOL, easy for honest, and goal digging for marketing in pursuit of meaning.

If you love the show and want to support more marketing muckraking, please subscribe, review, share with your enemies, and if you really want to make my day, you can go to and leave a little something on the nightstand. 

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