Wednesday, December 30, 2009


Some people say that you can learn a lot about someone by how they respond to adversity. Adversity doesn't build character but it reveals it.

However, I think you can learn even more about ones' character by how they handle power.

Maybe that should be the scope we use.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas

I want to thank everyone for reading my blog and participating in the conversation. I wish all of you a very Merry Christmas and a very wonderful and prosperous new year.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Follow Up

I just came across this article on Adweek that's a follow up to my last post- "How much sex can your brand sell?"

Editors Note: I am following up my follow up with and edit here, because it just further proves my point.

Kraft recently debuted a billboard for it's Shake n' Bake brand with copy that read: You look smashing... but your chicken breasts could use a lift.

Again, I'm not offended and I think it's funny. But my point is that if your Kraft why even go there?

Enjoy. Again.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

How much sex can your brand sell?

Sexual references have been made in advertising for a long time. You could even argue it's a common practice, but until recently, the references were relatively tame. However, that seems to be changing for some- and not Trojan condoms, Viagra or even Victoria Secret- but brands with no business in the bedroom at all.

Beer marketers have long hinted at sexuality to sell its brews. However, Bud Light has turned up the innuendo to a level that leaves a bad taste in the viewers' mouth. In two of their "Tailgate Approved" ads Jimmy Football asks if you "ever have trouble putting on a condiment" and tells you that your tailgate needs more "tail."

Not to be outdone, Burger King dismissed all subtlety with this ad for it's BK Super Seven Incher. But they weren't done. They followed up their popular "Subservient Chicken" website with a U.K. version called "Subservient Shower Girl." The website lets users watch a bikini wearing 20 something sing in the shower every morning at 9:30am. Users can requests songs and pick the bikini's she will wear.

Then there is PepsiCo's Amp Energy drink brand. It recently unveiled it's new downloadable Iphone application called "Amp Up Before You Score." It's a guide that gives you tips on how to hook up with 24 different stereotypes of women. Punk rocker chick? Got it. Sorority girl? Check. Married women? You bet. To top it off you can share your experiences on your "brag list" with your friends on Facebook and Twitter.

It's should be obvious that these brand messages in bad taste. However, there may be some justice served when "bad" and "taste" is what we will associate with Bud Light, Burger King, and Amp Energy.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

I'm Still Waiting

A couple weeks ago, I wrote about the Kodak Zi8 naming contest. Here's a short video about Kodak and the contest.

The contest was a great example of the right way to use social media. Engage the consumer, don't just talk directly at them.

And yes, I'm still waiting to hear that my name won.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

I'm Speechless

On Monday, I returned home from Christmas shopping and grabbed the mail out of my mailbox. I quickly glanced through it but didn't see anything interesting. As I'm throwing out the junk, my eye catches a direct mail piece from Old Country Buffet.

What did I see? It wasn't a picture of delicious food or a coupon offering a deal that was just too good to pass up. It was their slogan: "Whadja Get?"

I couldn't believe my eyes. They actually printed that. It's on everything. Don't believe me? I understand we are living in an age of constant "lol's" and "omg's!" but there is a line and the "OCB" crossed it.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Hold On, Let Me Check

If you have ever purchased a car from a dealer then you have almost certainly heard this phrase before: "Hold on, I'll have to check on that."

It's said so often that customers expect it. The salesperson goes in back to "check with the boss" while you wait.

In theory it may be "negotiating" but in practice it becomes gamesmanship with the customer. Obviously not an enjoyable experience.

Then why is this ill-fated tactic practiced so widely?

Simple: a lack of innovation and marketing perspective. No surprise from an industry that shares a single brain. Why do you think that salesperson is always checking with their supervisor?

Hire leaders who can learn to make decisions for themselves? No thanks. We follow a formula. Here group think goes by a different name: best practices.

People have tried to fight this. Saturn once build a reliable, inexpensive small car then combined it with no-haggle pricing. It was a great position that was a huge hit for car buyers. Car buying became more than just a necessary evil.

Unfortunately, the visionary leaders were replaced by experienced group thinkers and the Saturn brand lost focus then faded into the herd.

Chances are that you have anticipated a negative experience but still made a purchase because you had to. These companies are taking big risks. If people keep buying, they will assume nothing is wrong.

Until an innovation is made; creating a product or service that people don't just need, but one they love.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Personal "Branding" Rules

With so many digital alter egos occupying the social networking universe, the subject of personal branding has become a hot topic. I've discussed this topic on here in passing a couple times but never at length.

Frankly, I am a skeptic to the idea. You cannot have a real relationship with a Facebook profile. There must be a connection deeper than just a friend request or a follow (you know, like a real live friend, colleague or classmate) to have a real relationship.

However, I do believe the way we behave online will have consequences both on and offline. Here is a nice article about the general rules for behaving in online social circles.