What tactic do you have lined up for daylight savings?

Hey! We all lose an hour of sleep Sunday morning thanks to daylight savings time (except Saskatchewan – don’t ask). Stuart Elliott’s covered the PR and marketing gimmicks now associated with the changeover. Old Navy’s pushing flip flops, Swatch is hawking watches, Olay is pushing anti-aging products, and we all know that Duracell REALLY cares […]

He’s no Rick ‘Wild Thing’ Vaughn, but …

Bubbles is throwing out the first pitch on opening day for the Toronto Blue Jays. A great promotional gimmick, but not necessarily a good omen for the team’s fortunes this year.

Feedback marketing – sugar and spice and sometimes, something not so nice

A prediction from Jupiter’s Gary Stein: feedback marketing is the wave of the future: Marketing deparments exist in data vacuums; they are constantly asked to make decisions about both products and communications with data that is out of date or gathered under artificial circumstances. The use of the Internet to open up that data feed […]

Just how hard is it to find a good podcast?

And I don’t mean the usual suspects cleanly edited by business-minded professionals: I mean the quirky and the amusing, the slightly odd and the informative. Something that stretches your normal listening habits. Being old enough to remember a time before the ‘net (the 80s), I’ve developed two strategies for finding new and interesting radio programming: […]

To Prince Charles, the media seems all thorns, no roses

Is Prince Charles less aware of his environment than Chauncey Gardiner? Mark Bolland, Prince Charles’ former deputy private secretary, seems to believe so, and has slammed Clarence House’s approach to media relations in the Guardian today: “One of the Prince of Wales’s problems – and it’s a problem that’s unique to him in the royal […]

“I Do A Podcast About Your Mom …”

is a great T-shirt from Len and Knorah, the folks at the Jawbone podcast. Buy it here. Not to toot my own horn, but there’s also a “I’m cooler than you. I listen to podcasts.” t-shirt.

Placements in contemporary music? Say it isn’t so!

BusinessWeek’s David Kiley is surprised that music acts – including rappers – would consider McDonald’s new campaign to integrate friendly commentary in their songs. Where has he been the last five (or fifty)years? “… Maven executives say they have received numerous songs for consideration. McDonald’s gets final approval of song lyrics. Yipes!!! What happened to […]

Dear weekly columnist …

Yet another subjective column on blogging, this time in last week’s Hill Times. I was irritated enough that I penned this letter to the editor, published yesterday. (The Hill Times is a weekly aimed at the politicians, lobbyists and public servants working around Parliament.) Re: “If blogging is the future of the 21st century journalism, […]

How to ruin retail choice – over-regulation

It seems the All-Party Small Shops Group, a group of British MPs, suspects that further measures are needed to ensure all Britons have fair and competitive access to supermarket goods across the land. Nothing like the scrutiny of an ombudsman and an MP’s group to keep the price of peas fair for all. Says their […]

Giving your event that extra little (all)spice

Sometimes, it’s the little touches that make an event magical. Like the 50 lb. three tier pork pie made for a West Yorkshire couple’s wedding. Of course, the groom is a member of the Greater Ripponden Pork Pie Appreciation Society.

Blogging as a component of a communications strategy

As more and more PR firms develop blogging “practices” and push blogging programs, I have to wonder: when we’re peddling the flavour of the month, are we taking into consideration the other entrees in the meal? Are we pushing adoption of a tool that, while cool to communicators, does not fit well with our client’s […]

Takeaway from the Auletta/Thaler smooch job

Ken Auletta has nary a negative word to say about Linda Kaplan Thaler in this week’s New Yorker. A takeaway paragraph: “In many ways, the advertising business in the early twenty-first century would be unrecognizable to the generation that once thrived on Madison Avenue. The traditional assumption, as Keith Reinhard says, was that advertisers chose […]

Mama’s got a Munchbox, she wears on her …

I don’t know which excerpt I like better from today’s NYT article on the snack bar in a Flatbush Sears: “The cuisine, a sort of West-Indian-American fusion, is fresh, delicious and reasonably priced. The staff is friendly, and the dťcor is best described as Midcentury Employee Break Room. Or that the place is called the […]

Building Buzz with the Oprah Nation

Turns out that Oprah can help a marketer move thousands of CPGs off the shelves, but may not be as useful in pushing poorly-regarded lumps of steel. Her promotion of the Pontiac G6 – including giving away 276 of them to her audience – helped build buzz for the product last September. But sales haven’t […]

I’m jonesing for the Factiva RSS feed

Finally! The jury-rigging of online media monitoring may be coming to a close! Factiva is beta testing RSS feeds! Sure – the feeds only provide industry-specific editor’s choices for now. And questions about authentication and redistribution will delay a simpler and more comprehensive version of Factiva RSS. But it’s a start!

Intro to the British Press

As the FCC seizes upon inadvertent swear words and the White House Press Gallery whinges about their lack of access, it’s refreshing to be reminded of the madhouse that can be the British press. The NYT’s London Bureau chief, Sarah Lyall, contributed an amusing commentary on the state of the British press to Slate last […]

Snowplows, outsourcing and Rev. Sloan

Doonesbury pulled together a funny strip on outsourcing this past weekend – refreshing for its lack of fear-mongoring or cynicism.

I’m Billy Bush, and I’m your candidate for POTUS!

Presidential cousin Billy Bush, candidate in 2008? It could happen. And Teddy Wayne has written his stump speech. It’s in McSweeney’s.

Pulling Ads: a defensible public relations strategy?

Is there an appropriate time to pull your company’s ads from a publication? How about an entire range of publications? Marks & Sparks has pulled all of its advertising from the UK’s Associated Newspapers stable – a relationship worth £2.9m last year – after an apparently inaccurate article in the Mail on Sunday. While the […]

Baseball, steroids and identity

You could do worse than watch some of the testimony on baseball and steroids taking place in Washington. As we PR folks prepare our clients for public speaking opportunities, we often suggest they “just be themselves.” Relax! You’re presenting your point of view! You’re an expert in the field! You’ve got this nailed! And then […]

Goin’ Back to the U.S.S.R – with Mr. X

After 101 years, George Kennan has shuffled off this mortal coil. His “Long Telegram” and subsequent “Mr. X” article in Foreign Affairs helped define forty years of East-West relations, and were staples in my international relations courses. The NYT has a lengthy biography of the man. (r.r.) And here’s a quote from his Long Telegram […]

Cut it, paste it, decorate it with calligraphy

Jessica Helfand’s got a good riff on scrapbooking over at Design Observer. What’s scrapbooking, you ask? Imagine your clippings book, but with a lot more pictures of small children and muffin recipes – and maybe some fabric and ribbon. And a hint of patchouli.

It must be important, it ends in “-gate”

Political leanings aside, this is funny – and well designed. mocks the Conservative Party for their reluctance to address potentially divisive social issues during their policy convention this week. There’s even a cut-out “Mr. Muzzle.” It’s the product of the Young Liberals of Canada, of course. Thanks to David Akin for the pointer.

Put some lipstick on this RFP and ship it!

Some have pined in past months for the former influence and glory of a catalyst publication like Fast Company. Ten years ago, their pimping of ideas like change agents and brand you helped inspire and invigorate a generation of entrepreneurs and professionals. Today, FC’s ad pages are way, way down. But the ideas and the […]

Measure twice, cut once, and always record everything

Lifted from Paul Kedrosky: “The two most important tools an architect has are the eraser in the drawing room and the sledge hammer on the construction site.” – Frank Lloyd Wright Whereas a public relations screw-up will live on forever in Factiva.

Scratch n’Sniff Marketing

You should really take a look at Millward Brown’s international research into the sensory impressions imparted by brands. Are you speaking to ALL the senses of your consumer or client? Has your marketing team even considered the sense of smell, sound or touch in its planning process? Come on – it’s not a joke. This […]

In Canada we donít have brands – really?

A provocative little quote from Paul Lavoie, Chairman/CCO of Taxi Advertising & Design: “In Canada we donít have brands. We donít have consumer brands. We have business brands. We have Bombardier, Nortel, BlackBerry. We have branch offices, but not brands.” (from an interview with ihaveanidea) What about Roots? Louis Garneau? President’s Choice products? Rocky Mountain […]

The blogs always get the second-hand messaging

When planning your communications activities, “don’t treat blogs like stepchildren” – that’s the best takeaway from a primer to blogging and wikis for catalogers in Direct magazine.

Building buzz … $100 at a time

What sort of bonehead emails this to Phil Gomes: “We just finished writing a [software] utility. I was wondering how much you would charge to slashdot us?” Unbelievable.


Welcome to another government communicator who is carefully treading into the blogging world – Washington Flack.

Public Relations, Pole Dancers and IT Geeks?

I wonder why Cijaye Creative – a Vancouver virtual agency – doesn’t have this clipping in their nascent media room? Maybe because it’s a note from the editor of Communications & Networking wondering why in the world a PR hack would believe his publication is interested in the cross-country tour of a non-denominational minister and […]

I’ve got receipts for everything!

Heh. One of my clients – a copyright lawyer – just referred to the new iPod as a “weapon of mass infringement.”

And how have YOU alienated your client?

Maconomy, a management consultancy, surveyed directors at 75 creative service agencies across the UK to arrive at a list of their top ten critical business errors. – Working in Creative Silos – Dismissing the Cost of Pitching – Alienating Procurement – Over-servicing Overload – Keeping Costs Hidden – Techno-phobia – Bypassing Evaluation – You Schmooze, […]

From their kitchen to your earphones

May I suggest a podcast? Delta Park Project. “May contain comedy but no nudity; not suitable for ponies or those with XXX requirements. Pop Culture, Funny Songs, Police Blotter, Teen Drama, Reality TV”

How to choke your audience to death

Walking into my building today, I noticed that a common area in the lobby had been set up for an early morning presentation. We all know there are many tricks to making sure your audience remains alert and engaged during a such a presentation. The most effective? Free danishes, muffins and coffee. Nothing like free […]

Baseball, beer and booty

This week marks the return of baseball to small town parks across the Southern U.S. While most of us will concentrate on the big leaguers, it’s the minor leagues that offer the value-laden consumer experience: cheap hot dogs, beer, t-shirt cannons and 7th inning concerts by REO Speedwagon. Oh, and questionable editorial decisions by SIDs, […]

Kresge’s, Strings, and Soap

Creating a positive and profitable shopping environment is all about effective design. Paco Underhill makes a fair piece of cake as a result of his ethnographic studies – telling stunned suits about the inhibiting effect of the butt-brush by the tie rack and the like. And design is more than aisle location and cabinet facing. […]

Shell, scenario planning and social networks

Shell uses an extensive planning process to develop scenarios that question common assumptions about the influence of economic, political and social networks. The attendees at Davos this past January were treated to a preview of the new Shell Global Scenarios to 2025. The new scenarios (.ppt) identify three competing forces (slide 8): state-centric world, based […]

Superhero – Office Space mashup

I LOVE THIS! Office Space, as played by the Justice League.

60 sq. feet of children’s toys and Budweiser mirrors

I may be weird, but I like to read about retail development and promotion. And I’ve always wondered about the economics behind mall kiosks – how can one sell high-end jewellry, and the next cheap imported toys? Well, Retail Traffic discusses the latest development trends in kiosks this month. But wait! there’s more! A few […]

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