Splash of reality for the new year

I’m always a sucker for the synthesis of Malcolm Gladwell. This week, he reviews Jared Diamond’s “Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed” for The New Yorker. An excerpt: “… But look, Diamond says, at Easter Island. Once, it was home to a thriving culture that produced the enormous stone statues that continue to […]

Checking the Date on a Carton o’ Caution

Ian Carey’s written a funny list of alternatives to “opening a can o’ whupass” for McSweeney’s.

Customer service – it’s the little touches

Shopping at the Polo Outlet the other day, I noticed one of the little design decisions that help distinguish a high-end, high value store from the local haberdashery (or the local Bay): each changeroom had a little wall-mounted bin to hold those irritating dozens of dressmaker’s pins that come with every man’s shirt. While I’m […]

At what point does your client become a liability?

Did you know it’s summer in Australia? I’m awfully aware of that fact, staring out my window at 8 inches of snow and a balmy -9 degrees celcius. icon Communications is the AOR for Sharman Networks, the owner of Kazaa. As you probably know, Sharman is being chased through the Australian court system, and icon […]

Light blogging

Over the Christmas season, obviously, I will be blogging less. Please be patient, and I value your readership. Happy Holidays!

How to be …

Power. Money. Influence over the selection of Sun girls. A role in a Spice Girls movie. Do you want it all? Do you want to be … Max Clifford? (Guardian, r.r.) Of course, being an effective public relations practitioner requires expertise in a number of areas, like direct marketing. Here’s some advice from Lester Wunderman.

Ipod – the best and worst present for Christmas?

How can you take a loved family member from soaring excitement to soul-crushing pain and agony – in the space of ten minutes – on Christmas morning? Quite easily, actually. The first step is to give them an Ipod. The second step is to preload the Ipod with the worst playlist imaginable. Try using these […]

12 days of Christmas – branded to bejezzus

Fluxblog has featured Jerry Nutter’s “The Twelve Days Of Christmas” – where Nutter substitutes vintage radio ads instead of the rote list of hens, maids … Well worth a listen, especially for such Christmas favourites like “a three year supply of Libby’s frozen fruits and vegetables!”

Dear cellphone user …

Along the same thread as last week’s post on mobile habits, a fantastic idea from Draplindustries Design: The Society for Handheld Hushing, with dl’able custom hushing cards for loud mobile users.

Putting words into politician’s mouths

Bit of a tempest in a teapot during the Tuesday sitting of Canada’s Senate. One enterprising Tory Senator noticed that some of his Liberal colleagues had read speeches in to the Senate support of legislation that were nearly identical to speeches previously read in the House of Commons – a transgression of Senate rules. A […]

Barry, baseball and the juice

The NYTimes has spoken to several baseball and marketing experts about how Barry Bonds might deal with ‘roid ‘rage building around him.

Mickey, Donald, Goofy, Ovitz and Percodan

Woody Allen’s penned a funny and surreal account of Mickey Mouse’s appearance as a surprise witness at the Eisner/Ovitz trial. C: Did you ever tell Mr. Eisner of your apprehensions over his plan to hire Mr. Ovitz? W: Minnie and I discussed it. We knew they’d clash. C: Did you bring it up with anyone […]

Blog comment spam – not really from Calacanis

Propagating a campaign through word of mouth sometimes involves building volume by having many, many sources repeat basic and elementary facts – but comment spam? “Help stop evil (url snip) word of mouth marketers like (url snip) by supporting the (url snip) Blog Publishers Association founded by legendary blogger (url snip) Jason Calacanis.” Interesting […]

Podcasting your customer service beef

Jackie Huba has a great idea: amplifying the volume on your unresolved customer service complaint through podcasting.

How not to mine email addys

In January, an Ottawa man received an unsolicited marketing email from the Ottawa Renegades, the local CFL team. He asked how his addy had made it onto their list: turns out they scraped it from his work site. The man, Michael Geist, asked the team not to email again without permission. We all know where […]

Mis-spent teenage years or missed business opportunity?

I don’t know what I find more disturbing: that some teenage students at the IMG Academies in Bradenton, Florida enrol in an on-campus media training and communication program, or that I didn’t think of it first. IMG Academies specializes in providing intensive sports training to students and young athletes. Nick Bollettieri teaches there. Naturally, moving […]

Your mobile and you: PR and chatting outloud

You can pretty much identify a person’s PR specialty by their mobile phone habits: Investor Relations: very short, abrupt conversations, finished off with “I’ll call you on a land line.” Trade Communications: very long conversations about concrete plant specs and the next client meeting in Waukesha. Marketing Communications: call starts with a discussion about a […]

Playboy cross promotion?

The folks at Playboy are considering hi-tech consumer vehicles for cross-promoting their brand. My question: What exactly would a Playboy ringtone sound like? This?

CIBC, scrap metal and funny money

Well, it ought to be an interesting quarterly earnings call for the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce next Thursday. First, a scrap dealer reveals that CIBC branches across Canada have been faxing reams of sensitive RSP and loan documents to his office in West Virginia, then this happens this past Monday: A CIBC cash machine […]

CMOs and “surrogate metrics”

A joint study on the growing role of chief marketing officers, conducted by Booz Allen Hamilton and the Association of National Advertisers, doesn’t exactly break new ground. It is, however, a good summary piece, and has a really catchy title:”Making the Perfect Marketer.” I was intrigued by their use of the term “surrogate metrics” to […]

Death of the slide projector

Apparently, Kodak has stopped making the Carousel slide projector. (WPost via Alyson Hurt) Strangely enough, this now lends a certain social cachet to the formerly ostracized members of the high school Audio Visual Club: “Oh yeah, the Kodak Carousel 4200! You may not remember this, but that slide tray had to be positioned JUUUST right, […]

PsyOps, public affairs and war

Have you read the LA Times reporting on the coordination between psychological operations and public affairs on the ground in Iraq? You should. It dances around a very important question: at what point should a fighting force stop being transparent and attempt to deceive its enemy through obfuscation, implication or outright fabrication? I’ll leave the […]

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