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Luck of the Drawer: A Chat With 'Marketoonist' Tom Fishburne

Zach Brooke

Fifteen years after hitting send on an e-mail doodle lampooning General Mills office life, Marketoonist Tom Fishburne skewers the marketing world from atop his perch as marketing’s comic prince

Tom Fishburne’s hands are in demand. As the creator of Marketoons, Fishburne’s work is a visual shorthand for the many foibles encountered in marketing and across the business world. Creative frustration, ill-fated marketing strategy and existential despair over the meaning of it all combine to provide fertile source material for Fishburne’s strips.

A gentle but incisive man, the head-banging logic displayed in many of his sketches reflects the frustrating experiences common to executing marketing strategies. Yet, Fishburne’s own professional life is one of unbridled success. It’s taken him from offices in the Czech Republic to the halls of Harvard University to the prestigious brand management war rooms of General Mills and Nestlé to the San Francisco Bay Area, where he runs a boutique agency alongside his wife, cranking out client commissions and corporate caricatures. A career-spanning retrospective of his funniest and most prescient panels was recently released under the title Your Ad Ignored Here

Marketing News caught up with Fishburne to talk about the lessons he’s learned over the course of a decade and a half of drawing.

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Zach Brooke

Zach Brooke is a former AMA staff writer turned freelance journalist. His work has been featured in Chicago magazine, Milwaukee Magazine, A.V. Club and VICE, among others. Follow him on Twitter @Zach_Brooke.