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Christmas, mail order and Toughskins

Over at Flickr, the entire 1979 Sears Wish Book. Remember the days when the Sears Wish Book used to be delivered in the mail? The only link between you and the holiday to come? The entire range of gifts available to you, wrapped in plastic? And your mom always pointed out things like these cute […]

Hey! Did you know Canada’s having an election?

Here’s Jon Stewart’s take on it – and may I say, a better intro than anything I saw on Canadian network news last night.

Pricing your site viewers

Om Malik in Business 2.0: What are eyeballs worth? Technorati: Blog marketing

McKinsey’s building the argument for corporate investment in social networks

Should companies stop concentrating on outsourcing and downsizing, and instead invest more heavily in social networking software to increase the productivity of their most innovative and valuable workers? That’s what some McKinsey consultants seem to be arguing in “The next revolution in interactions,” from the new edition of the McKinsey Quarterly. The article differentiates between […]

TIVO Advertising Search: the killer app?

Stan Merkel Street Performer “This means I won’t miss another beer commercial with hot chicks in thongs – ever!” Christ. The news release from TIVO announcing their upcoming commercial search capability has more quotes from more people than a multi-level government funding announcement for a new children’s hospital in a rural area. I should know. […]

Christmas retail help gone bad

Top Ten Signs your Christmas retail help’s gone bad: 10. The coffee club’s losing $26 a day. 9. The latest shipment included 40 packs of smokes. 8. Those Santa end of aisle displays? He’s now touching himself – inappropriately. 7. Somehow, the store cat is pregnant. 6. The greeter, dressed as an elf, is saying […]

Pew: internet sales are up, across demographic groups

The latest findings from the Pew Internet & American Life Project confirm that rich young guys continue to dominate online sales, but that increasing numbers of internet users (with broadband) are selling online. Oh – and despite the hype – Craigslist is not the only online classifieds site. Results from Pew’s telephone survey indicated that: […]

Wal-Mart is a job sucking retail machine

This just in from a new NEBR paper on the economic effects of Wal-Mart on the retail sector: “In the retail sector, on average, Wal-Mart stores reduce employment by two to four percent. There is some evidence that payrolls per worker also decline, by about 3.5 percent, but this conclusion is less robust. Either way, […]

Working with Venus Envy

I found this 1.5″x2.6″ ad for an Ottawa “education-oriented sex shop” in the monthly listings for a a local indie theatre. Not only do I like the store name (there’s another in Halifax), but that rocketship logo has a rather blatant (and Freudian) sub-meaning. Not to mention that the rocketship seems to be escaping a […]

Conversations with Santa, pt. 1

Hi Santa.Here at the family table, the whole gang is telling me to eat my parsnips and triple bean salad, because tomorrow is Black Friday. I need to build up my energy, they say, for twelve hours of Christmas shopping. The cute guy with the gray hair on CNN says it’s the busiest shopping day […]

Dunkin Donuts, flackery and messaging

Is the old school “black with two creams” coffee making a comeback? Looking at the expansion plans for Dunkin’ Donuts in the Big Apple, New York magazine plays up the contrasts between Starbucks and its downmarket competitor. Along the way, author Stephen Rodrick hits some points about: Overeager Flackery “Imagine my surprise when I was […]

Arch Card – PR that can be measured

McDonald’s rolled out their Arch Card gift card in style today, launching a major PR and marketing push for a product that’s been in some restaurants for months. The impact of the card on the corporation’s bottom line is immediately measurable: The stock’s gone up 2.2%, to close at $33.71. That’s something you can email […]

Government public opinion research

Two tidbits from the Auditor General’s report on the use of public opinion research in Government of Canada management reporting: “… The cost of contracted public opinion research projects in 2003–04, including both quantitative and qualitative research (for example, focus groups), was $25.4 million; between $11 million and $15 million of this amount was spent […]

Retail work and Christmas cheer – can they coexist?

There’s a shop in my building’s retail mall, they jumped on the Christmas bandwagon last week. Garlands, wreaths, Chicken Little advent calendars. You know – things that keep in the Christian spirit and encourage a lighter pocketbook. There were probably two triggers for the store reno: the seasonal promo package arrived from head office, and […]

Mel Brooks, Black Sheriffs and Canadian Business Magazine

“Where De Women At” – that’s the head on a sidebar about the paucity of female executives in Canada’s top 500 companies. Found it in a recent edition of Canadian Business magazine. Awfully close to a quote from the Mel Brooks classic Blazing Saddles, isn’t it? This one? “Where de white women at?” Yeah. That […]

Warren Kinsella, War Rooms and Goats

Warren Kinsella on political war rooms: “If you’ve got the right people and they’re prepared to give up sleep for a month, then that’s all you need. The food always sucks, tempers always get lost. You can’t leave. You’re not eating out because as soon as you leave something bad always happens. So they bring […]

VOIP, online scams and coffee

Just like the porn industry can be counted upon as early adopters of new e-commerce technology, so can fraudsters. This week the FTC busted a coffee display rack franchise scam. These guys were using VOIP phones to make it seem that they were operating out of New Mexico – not their real base, Costa Rica. […]

Direct marketing, consumer targeting and Jello Biafra

Trying to drive sales? Haymarket’s Marketing Direct just took a look at the techniques British agencies and mailhouses have been using to optimize their mail lists (sub. req.). One program that caught my eye was the new Lifetime Value Score from Expeian, which develops: “… detailed profiles of each prospect and customer from its unique […]

Someone switched to decaf at Pharma Exec

Looks like there’s some anger management issues over at Pharma Exec magazine. Either that, or the junior editor writing the headlines is working through his 30 day layoff notice. “Bustin’ a CAP” is just one headline. Sure, it’s about likely problems with Medicare Part B’s Competitive Acquisitions Program, but I have to wonder who’s channelling […]

Obviously, the Post doesn’t have many TGM4W ads

A Goldman Sachs analyst warns that Google Base could, in the future, pose a real challenge to newpaper’s classified listings – an important source of revenue for many papers. E&P’s brief on Peter Appert’s latest report has some startling numbers about “newspaper companies’ exposure to classified revenues as a percent of total company revenues: Journal […]

Entrepreneur: The man behind Senor Ding-Dong’s Doorbell Fiesta

Jack Shafer riffs with some of the younger Slate writers to single out signs that the baby boomer generation has finally lessen its death grip on the media: “The Simpsons should produce a heap of references in headlines, movies, music, and ads, predicts Chris Suellentrop. While cross-generational, the show’s most devoted adherents are post-boomers. Suellentrop […]

South Park and Tom Cruise: it can only go up from here

Tom Cruise may have brought on an old guard publicist to recover from his summer of madness, but the blowback goes on. Just look at what may be on tonight’s episode of South Park: “…According to a source who has read a draft of the script, it begins with Stan leaving a psychiatrist’s office only […]

Banner Ad on Yahoo? That’ll be 4,000,000 quarters.

Remember how cheap online advertising used to be? You could pay for those banner ads with a paypal account, or with change from the little dish on your dresser? Not any more. The prime real estate on major portals is so rare, placement costs on MSN, AOL and Yahoo are skyrocketing. This from the WSJ […]

Your leading edge graphics suck

Gardner Morse takes a look at “crap circles” in the November HBR: those colourful diagrams that attempt to lay out a project management philosophy, or some other example of consultant-speak, in a seemingly logical progression of arrows. And snow you in the process.

Kurt Busch: one step away from meeting Sgt. Stedenko

How do you undermine your personal brand equity? Say you’re the reigning Nextel Cup champion, have just managed to negotiate your way off one racing team, and will be driving the #2 Miller Lite Dodge in 2006. Oh, and that your move to Penske Racing was likely the reason Miller Lite extended their sponsorship agreement […]

Heavy Rock has its arm in a sling …

Bubblegum Machine has some witty commentary on the state of popular music. It’s even funnier if you understand the British retail references (I’ve tried to hyperlink them for your education). “The Hit Parade is ailing. It’s upper echelons feature records by lank-haired, lavender-scented Gilbert O’Sullivan impersonators and bought point-of-sale next to the Jordan’s Nut Crunch […]

The rubber chicken circuit – a proactive strategy?

Where can a Canadian politician turn to float an idea or launch a theme, all in front of an audience of high powered Central Canada types, plenty of Toronto media, and somewhat valuable coverage by the national Parliamentary channel? This week two opposition leaders, Steven Harper of the Conservatives and Jack Layton of the New […]

The National Post’s cunning online revenue model …

…put the lottery numbers behind the subscriber wall.

Hookers and blow, or teenage street team members?

Toronto’s NOW Magazine on the breakthrough by the Arctic Monkeys: “What makes the Monkeys’ feat even more impressive is that their quick rise to the top occurred without the conventional “hookers ‘n’ blow” promotional strategy or having hordes of street team members buy up mass quantities of their single from chart-reporting shops. The press, radio […]

Martha: geotargeting, or sheer desperation?

Has it really come to this? Martha, Martha, Martha. I know people have been murmuring about the ratings for your Apprentice, and it seems that your daytime show is struggling … But who in the MSLO complex thought this ad up? It’s on I Want Media, and its caught my eye more than once. That’s […]

Stock photos, MS, and Long Duk Dong.

The stock photos used to promote Microsoft’s latest launch, for Visual Studio Express, are doctored by Joey deVilla.

Yoga: not just for chicks in leopard print

Larry Dobrow doesn’t exactly throw away his preconceptions while reviewing Yoga Journal for MediaPost: “Hence yesterday I hobbled to the ol’ magazine rack and snagged a copy of Yoga Journal. I went in skeptical: While I’m down with the chicks-in-leopard-print-leotards thing, yoga has always struck me as a fancy-pants euphemism for stretching–in other words, an […]

Would you like a gold MontBlanc with that branded scrip?

While it’s still a swell, not a wave, opposition is building to the all-too-common lush resort visits sponsored by drug manufacturers eager to persuade/pressure prescribing physicians. Time weighs in this week.

Convention Advice from Gordon Gekko

MadAve Journal: Wall To Wall Street, 10 Inside Tips for @d:Tech. By Gordon Gekko “8.0 Act like you’re the only one in the room. Guess, what? In many ways you are. None of them mean anything, anyway. This is your movie. You’re the only one who counts. It’s called “one to one” marketing, right? Consider […]

Sick chicken or consumer education program: which should come first?

Yum Brands is drawing upon the experience of its brand partners in China to prepare a consumer education plan about avian flu, Ad Age tells us. Some industry reps believe consumers may be aware of the problems overseas, but that knowledge does not translate into perceptions at home. Richard Lobb, communications director of the National […]

I’ve got two tickets to paradise, Tom DeLay

Here’s how to ensure your talking head makes it to the studio on time: pick him up at home, on your tab. The tab for Tom DeLay’s visit to Fox News Sunday on October 2? $13,998.55 To fly from Texas to Washington – and back – overnight. The reward for DeLay? Getting probed pretty damn […]

“Office Space” Cross-Promotion at Retail

Newcastle Brown Ale is featuring the re-issued Office Space Special Edition With Flair – soundboard, movie clips and downloads – in an unfortunate Flash format. The cross-promotion will be supported by “Milton” office cubes set up in Ralph’s, Albertson’s and Save-on grocery stores – where you can pick up the DVD and rebates on your […]

On this corporate retreat, there will be NO hugging

I’d like to see this: The Second-Last Corporate Retreat: “… I know this is the third retreat you’ve been on since September. I know you’re tired of “thinking outside the box,” of “raising the bar.” Do you know why you’re tired? Because it didn’t work. Most of you haven’t been back at work long enough […]

Where marketing is 95% perspiration, 5% blood

Mind the great big goop of sweat … Foot Locker’s contracted to buy disc space on the No Sweat Wipe mops used by the Lakers at the Staples Center (and by many other NBA teams). Mark Cuban’s praised the mops in the past: “Cuban said he could probably get as much as $5,000 from a […]

Wal-Mart’s War Room – a must read

Wal-Mart’s brought in the big guns from Edelman (and seemingly every political campaign of the last ten years) to help it beat back increasingly influential activist campaigns, sponsored in large part by union forces. This signals a radical shift in the corporation’s tactics – and when you bring in Michael Deaver, you’re really trying to […]

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