Lafley on change management

Procter & Gamble’s Alan Lafley discusses managing organization-wide change in a CPG company with The McKinsey Quarterly. “Currently, 25 percent of new products and technologies come from outside the company, but Lafley wants to raise that to 50 percent, so that “half would come out of P&G labs and half would come through P&G labs, […]

Well, can’t we just pull it OFF the wire?

Ooops. Petro-Canada, a significant production and retail oil and gas concern, had to rush its quarterly release and earnings call after Canada Newswire mistakenly posted a draft of the company’s second quarter financial statement late Tuesday. I understand that providing a preliminary draft can help a newswire queue up a release, but I still won’t […]

Is THIS the spokesperson for Trek, a $500M company?

When you’re flipping through the Wall Street Journal, reading bland quotes about marketing plans, office expansions and corporate growth, is this the face you imagine staring out from behind the text? ” If not for Lance, we wouldn’t be expanding our factory and we wouldn’t have new offices with carpeting and windows and a gym […]

Stonehenge in the headlines

No – I’m not talking about Spinal Tap. Far from it. Tom Brake, the Transport Critic for the UK’s Lib Dem party pulled a funny one when discussing the latest plans around the monolithic monument. “Stonehenge bypass review must leave no stone unturned in bid for a solution- Brake” I think Nigel Tufnel had a […]

You mean people play Celine Dion without payola?

As a records promotion person, you know your career has gone to hell in a handbasket when you’re threatening radio station program directors over the playtimes for a Celine Dion song – one that is running concurrently in car ads. Just take a look at this example cited by Eliot Spitzer in the Sony payola […]

Ad agencies, snake oil and metrics

The August 8 issue of Fortune takes stock of today’s advertising environment, and comes out sounding like the Fast Company of 1998: the old guys are good, but aren’t quick to change. The new guys, with their metrics and new technology, will overtake them all! “Give it ten years, say the tech gurus, and everything […]

Kevin and Paco: Retail Smackdown!

Kevin Roberts has seen the future for Saatchi .. and it’s retail design? “Everyone you meet is talking about ‘doing retail,” Roberts writes in [a new chapter of his 2004 book] Diamonds in the Mine. “Some start with consumers,” he observes. “Very few are starting with shoppers.”(WWD) Sure. Except for Paco Underhill. Maybe you’ve heard […]

David Foster, Clowns and Mullets

I’ve always felt ambivalent about the adult contemporary stylings of David Foster and his stable of pop stars. I might have railed about his work with Celine Dion or – god forbid – his work on a Michael Bolton (wav) album, but my natural Canadian reticence has always held me back. Still, I can’t supress […]

The Vegematic, Garden Weasel and my BlackBerry

Late last night (or early this morning), I woke up to discover that I had sent several unintelligible emails from my BlackBerry – while asleep. In that spirit, I present “Vegematic” by Steve Goodman: Fell asleep last night with the T.V. on. Oh, what a dream I had. I dreamed I answered every single one […]

What the theatre employee really thinks

Today we hear from a different retail species: the frustrated movie theatre employee: “To the mothers who ask me if the crappy ass kid film you are seeing is good…you know it’s not. You’re just toying with me now. Spy Kids is not good. What do you want me to say? It has the beginnings […]

Why is R.W. Apple Jr. giving me menu tips?

What does it mean that I look forward to R.W. Apple’s food travelogues as much as I used to look forward to his political analysis? Have my reading habits gone from ribald commentaries about the man in Boys on the Bus to stories about Philly’s hoagies? I suspect The Two Fat Ladies had something to […]

Whole Foods and the Soup Nazi

I wonder: in New York, is it a positive brand attribute for Whole Foods to have food demo staff that are knowledgeable but irritable? “Whole Foods: We particularly like the one in Union Square … You can always count on the fish griller to be lining up plastic ramekins filled with swordfish or wild salmon. […]

A note from a freelance music journalist

From Sweet Blasphemy: “Memo To Music Magazines: Because you are all a bunch of cheapskates and don’t pay me enough money or in a timely fashion, I am reduced to temping. It is, in fact, fairly hilarious that I am sitting here in a blazer and black slacks in the headquarters of JP Morgan on […]

Glancing looks in the library: careers for the 40s

I don’t know about you, but the pamphlets I found in the career counselling office never had titles like: – Sandra Kendall of the 4-H: The Career Story of a Young Home Demonstration Agent – Loveliest Librarian – Space Secretary – The Girl on the Bookmobile – Tune in for Elizabeth: Career Story of a […]

7-11: not just a hangout for K-Fed and dealers anymore

7-11 is moving back into the Manhattan market, and New York magazine “spoke with CEO James Keyes and his PR director-chaperone, Margaret Chabris” about the chain’s strategy. Imagine the setting: You’re a multinational convenience chain, establishing a beachhead in a market dominated by local bodegas and immigrant-owned groceries. You’re trying to have a light-hearted, but […]

Paparazzi + pop psychology = social commentary

Elsewhere in New York magazine, they’ve jumped on the “celebrities live in a bubble” storyline. I can just imagine the editorial meeting: “We need to play in the Tom and Katie game, but don’t want to seem too opportunistic. Let’s whip up something about how papparazzi drive Lindsay, Bennifer and Aniston nuts as well, okay? […]

I know the party planner said there’d be a little entertainment, but …

“Some people are just into lavish dwarf entertainment,” says the 4-foot-2 Danny Black, a part-owner in, an outfit that rents dwarfs for parties starting at $149 an hour. Mr. Black says he spent part of [a March 2003] weekend on the yacht and worked as a waiter on the Friday night at a high-end […]

Pottermania: “Cornelius Fudge is an Ass”

… is a song on the second album by Harry and the Potters. “The Wrath of Hermione” is one of their unreleased tracks – and they were all recorded at home, in the basement or the shed. Definitely not part of the larger J.K. Rowling marketing plan. Still, the band is playing 28-odd performances over […]

Slate and podcasts: someone give them a quarter …

… to buy a clue: “Slate will offer regular weekday podcasts of one or more of our articles read aloud (mostly by me, Slate’s resident radio guy). Think of this as books on tape—only without the books and without the tape.” Uh, guys? That sure is a short book on tape. Why not use the […]

James Brown: Bridging Messages 101

“Bridging” is an interview technique intended to help you steer the direction of a conversation towards your key messages – and away from more difficult threads of the conversation. While bridging isn’t recommended for the spokesperson with poor debating skills or an absolutely indefensible position (for instance, “but let’s talk about the positive effect of […]

So close to Jesus, he blogged my bar mitzvah

I may be going to Hell for this, but Betty Bowers has a funny flash animation with rolling smart cracks, including: “So close to Jesus, He uses my birthday when He plays Lotto.”

What’s with the Economist, anyway?

Are you one of the Economist magazine’s million subscribers? Or the thousands of online-only subscribers? Ever wondered why the Economist doesn’t have bylines? Why every one of its articles seems to have an opinion? Are you weird like me, and think the Economist can even be witty? IT Conversations has an informative discussion with Tom […]

The great donut showdown

As you may have heard, maple donut and coffee powerhouse Tim Hortons is being slowly rolled out in the United States by its corporate parent, Wendy’s. And the chain will conquer all challengers. Like most Canadians, you will sit thirty cars deep in a drive-thru line-up at 7:46 in the morning to pick up a […]

Why the common woman may not be ready for citizen media

The Greensboro News & Record is experimenting with an audience participation model, based around reader-submitted stories, pictures and comments. But some of their audience may not be ready to embrace the future. Just a snippet from a July 4 piece in the NYT: One, T.W. Caudle, who wrote about his grandson’s grand slam home run […]

Steve Jobs and a murder in Brooklyn

Sometimes, the values of a company shine through in a moment of anguish. Christopher Rose, a fifteen year-old, was killed during a fight over an iPod last week. In a remarkable display of empathy, Steve Jobs called and spoke to the boy’s father: “Calling him by his first name, Mr. Jobs asked how Mr. Rose […]

PR pays what? says the TV producer

If you follow this thread over at TV Spy, you can watch a TV producer realize that public relations staff are better paid – and have a better quality of life! Ah. Schadenfreude.

McDonalds Made me Phat, Baby!

McDonalds, in an effort to carve out more of a brand identity and boost employee retention numbers, is considering commissioning uniforms from contemporary designers like “Russell Simmons’ Phat Farm; P. Diddy’s Sean John; American Apparel; American Eagle Outfitters; Abercrombie & Fitch; Fubu; Rocawear; Tommy Hilfiger and others.” (Ad Age) I had a friend in Grade […]

Balloons theme by