Some hints on prompting favourable third party op/eds

More muttering about the conspiracy between industry lobbyists and expert sources, this time as a result of the debate in the U.S. about the acceptable levels of perchlorate in drinking water. The WSJ (article republished in Pitt. Post-Gazette) examined the conflict between the Environmental Protection Agency and users of perchlorate (including manufacturers and the Defense […]

Now that’s blunt feedback – slutty and cheap?

So you crave unvarnished customer feedback, do you? Need to validate your focus group results with on-the-street commentary? How about these comments from “Celeb Sniff & Scratch Test: Many Stars Are Peddling Scents. But Does Eye Candy Really Smell Like That?” in yesterday’s Washington Post? … “Is this Britney’s? It is, huh?” asked Ginny Gettemeier, […]

Is traditional public opinion polling dying a slow death?

Angus Reid talks to Canadian Business about federal politics, refusal rates and web-enabled interview panels. Oh, and how traditional market research organizations, so dependent upon phone interviews, are dinosaurs. One quote from the reporter: “In the Canadian polling business, what insiders call the “fuck-off rate” is climbing so high that public opinion surveys are losing […]

Abramoff, op/eds and the “invisible hand” of the free market

Both BusinessWeek and the NYT detail how Jack Abramoff paid certain think tank analysts to mention and praise his clients in their placed op/eds. The NYT ran their piece on Friday – and BusinessWeek on the 16th. Responses to the accusations were posted online at one think tank the very same day. While this issue […]

Local advertising – leveraging profile with references to national programs

Stay Organized is an Ottawa store that specializes in imposing order on cluttered lives. Their black and white ad ran in the Ottawa Citizen earlier this week. I’ve picked it out for the copywriting: it may seem like code to the average reader, but the copy “Unlike Paige, Vern, Teresa and Stephen, our best people […]

RIM’s litigation and media strategy

RIM, the makers of the Blackberry, are undoubtedly pursuing a multi-faceted strategy In their ongoing legal battle with US patent holding company NTP. The much smaller US company, however, seems to winning the parallel public relations war. Earlier this week RIM’s co-CEO, Jim Balsillie, launched a broadside against NTP – on the pages of the […]

National Retail Foundation: Sun to come up tomorrow!

Earth shattering news from the National Retail Federation: “Men Continue to Procrastinate on Holiday Shopping, According to NRF.” The tendency to delay holiday shopping reflects the wildly differing approaches to shopping taken by each of the sexes. A 2003 study, reported by the BBC, noted that: “Contrasting styles of bargain shopping demonstrate that for many […]

Garden State: How retail analysts look into their crystal ball

Wonder how retail analysts keep track of their companies? Other than quarterly financials, calls from the friendly IR department, the occasional visit to CEO and reading the weekly circulars? They try to visit retail locations as inconspicuously as possible. The Garden State Plaza in Paramus, N.J. is a favourite for NY- based analysts looking for […]

The Mannheim Steamroller School of Marketing

We’ve all heard Mannheim Steamroller at some point in the last 24 hours. Chip Davis, the music and business genius behind Steamroller, has sold 27 million Steamroller albums – many of them Christmas-themed. Davis moves product by making shrewd marketing decisions: ” … I asked Davis to explain the theory behind his marketing schemes, and […]

Brandweek’s opinions about marketing in 2005 … and blogs

Out yesterday, BrandWeek’s “Best and Worst Marketing Ideas of 2005.” “Hit: KFC’s 99-cent chicken Snacker sandwiches. Launched in March, they scored as the best sandwich launch in the chain’s history.” I have to think that any major restaurant chain could launch a 99-cent sandwich and see immediate take-up. KFC’s sales weren’t prompted by additional flavour […]

Will the XBox 360 speed the death of MOR radio?

Not only do gaming consoles draw kids away from traditional forms of entertainment – like sitting in front of the Victorla listening to music – they also suck away the money their parents would normally spend on abysmal MOR music. “Some retailers say that hot videogame consoles and titles have had a negative impact on […]

A story of a horny geek, through pictograms

Today, the story of a lonely geek and his only chance at carnal satisfaction, as rendered through the Hospitality Symbol Signs System (APEC) pictograms designed by Mies Hora. Steven Heller discusses Hora’s latest work on navigation and wayfinding signs in a December 6 article posted at AIGA’s Voice. Technorati: Mies Hora design wayfinding geek signage […]

Subservient chicken as a representation of a hooker’s disgust with plagiarised ads

ihaveanidea and Taxi have teamed up to create “Share ads, Talk ads, Know ads.” The campaign pushes the idea that ads can weave their way into the collective unconscious, starting off with a spoof of subservient chicken (set with a hooker in a motel room) and an old lady being hectored over the phone for […]

How NOT to flack for a new candidate for Parliament

Paul Wells, a columnist for Maclean’s, reproduces the chain of emails between a new Maclean’s reporter and the flack for Michael Ignatieff, the former Harvard prof parachuted into a Toronto riding for our current federal election. The reporter simply wanted to follow the candidate around for a day or two, much like the insanely boring […]

5 Steps for Major Corporations Launching Blogs

MarketingSherpa: 5 Steps for Major Corporations Launching Blogs.

Audibile’s new campaign is mean to child literacy

I’d just like to throw a shout-out to Audble for their new promo campaign: Don’t Read. It’s a horrible idea, and I have to wonder whether the creatives who thought it up secretly feel some shame everytime they sit down, bedside, to read a book to their kids. It misappropriates the American Library Association’s long-standing […]

Word-of-mouth advertising takes one in the ‘nads

The Onion hits the nail on the head once again, this week skewering word of mouth marketing: I’d Love This Product Even If I Weren’t A Stealth Marketer Seriously, it’s an honor to subtly plug something I actually believe in for once. I’m so in love with this one-of-a-kind soda, I want to shout its […]

Blogging international trade negotiations

… or better titled “Why my paper sucks.” Well, almost every country in the world is participating in the Doha Round of World Trade Organization talks in Hong Kong this week. So why does the Guardian seem to be the only newspaper astute enough to have blogs from the participants? Technorati: WTO trade

Big pharma custom-orders medical journal articles?

Nice piece in the WSJ yesterday on the relationships between big pharma companies, researchers, medical writers and medical journals. Turns out scientists (and the big pharma companies that sponsor their research) sometimes turn to specialist medical writers to actually produce papers to be published in distinguished journals. That isn’t much of a surprise to us […]

Suburban lofts – you read it here second

On Sunday, the NYT Magazine featured “The Suburban Loft” in its Year in Ideas issue. It’s an appealing idea, with plenty of the design quirks and individual touches that can break the monotony of a suburban and exurban development. Which is why I blogged about it in May 2004. Karrie Jacobs wrote about the design […]

Oppo research – conducted by the media or political opponents?

The Liberal Party of Canada has launched a new series of ads featuring on-the-street interviews arguing “there are over 30 million reasons to vote Liberal …” The ads are more personal and seemingly unscripted than previous Liberal efforts. Which is why it hurts so much for the Ottawa Citizen – and the New Democratic Party […]

RSS feed problems?

For you folks reading my posts in a feed reader: are you getting the posts with formatting, images, etc? Or are there problems? We’ve just upgraded the MT software, and I’m doing a little housekeeping. Drop me a line at colin(at)

Conversations with Santa, part 2

Hi Santa.I had no idea your workshop was in a lawless wilderness. Our homeroom teacher read an article to us today, and the North Pole seems to work in a no-man’s land, subject to no government’s laws. While this sort of arrangement might work in the sort of world dreamed up by idyllic storytellers, what […]

Yahoo to offer MovableType for Small Business

Coming this week: Yahoo will include MovableType with Yahoo Small Business Web Hosting accounts. (The link will work once the announcement is made) A step up from crappy Blogger sites for small businesses (nothing like having paid ads for competitors on your blog/website), this is one of those incremental steps to getting blogging accepted by […]

Nielsen, outdoor advertising and OnStar

How do you measure the impact of advertising? Actual metrics that indicate take-up and consumer action, or that wonderful old catch-all “impressions”? Just as the rest of the world grapples with data-based results measurement, Nielsen is hyping up the results of its “Npod” test in the Chicago market. This amazing gadget will help advertisers measure […]

How much is that mullet in the window?

The link between mullets, retail design and Germany’s World Cup 2006? To begin, the lede to an article on retail design in a recent issue of Retail Week (sub. req.): “A brief trip to Germany last week showed that the country remains the spiritual home of the mullet – a little piece of the late […]

Tar-zhay, SMS and fresh pork loins

Looks like retail applications for SMS are winning converts in North America. SuperTarget has begun offering coupons, recipes and tips to customers that sign up to their new SMS service. All you have to do is send a text message to a Target number or sign up online. Time for North America to catch up […]

Mobile phones, consumerism and Frank Navatsky

Walter Kirn seems far too young (43) to be truly anti-technology. Instead, I have to believe he has jumped upon the promise of mobile phone technology to make a point about the apparent disconnect between human desires and online shopping applications. Kirn offers the example of a mobile phone, powered by pricing engines, product comparison […]

Brand Sluts, Ford and Kevin Federline

Forget K. Fed. “Wiggers” has long been a term thrown around by trend experts to describe Vanilla ice, Marky Mark, and other “D” celebrities far more talented than Mr. Spears. Marian Salzman, a global exec at JWT, is largely given credit for popularizing the term “wiggers.” The new term fashionable in the JWT’s offices is […]

Tyson Foods – now approved by your personal diety

Ad Age Daily reports that Tyson Foods now has downloadable prayer book for their customers’ reference at mealtimes. Explained as a logical extension of Tyson’s faith-based approach in the workplace (the company has 128 part-time chaplains in 78 plants across the U.S.), it isn’t currently being considered for rollout as part of a marketing campaign. […]

The Yellow Pages – in a knockdown match for accuracy

The YellowPages from BellSouth are squaring off in a battle to reinforce the value of their gianormous print directories (and their online services) in the face of competition from other online services. Supported by print, online, outdoor and TV advertising, the campaign is trying to drive home the point that Yellow Pages directories are still […]

Leveraging Blogs

I’m speaking at the “Leveraging Blogs for Corporate Communications” conference in Toronto today. Want to seek my handout? –> Incorporating Blogs into the Marketing Mix. A .zip archive of my PowerPoint presentation is here. I’ve also provided another paper, “The Complexities of Blogging in a Dynamic Policy Environment”, which was originally prepared for Global PR […]

Blogs, malls and holiday co-op advertising

Anyone know of a mall property that’s using blogs to support its holiday co-op advertising? It seems like such a simple concept to me: inexpensive and easy-to-use software, local or enterprise installation, single or multiple authors, and easily customizable templates. It would be a low-cost solution for independent malls, regional concerns and national REITs. And […]

Perhaps the biggest downer on Christmas morning

Nothing like running down to the tree, grabbing a 6″ by 6″ box and giving it a little shake. Feels hefty. Could be interesting. You eagerly sit down to rip open your first present – and discover a box of … giftscriptions … ? New, from Time, Inc. A gift certificate for a free magazine […]

Christmas Creep and Gift Card Budget Distortions

This week at Wharton: a bunch of marketing profs discussing the ever-extending Christmas retailing season. Too bad they don’t have any facts to back up their assertions – which is what you can find in American Demographic’s “Inside the Christmas Shopping Mind.” One observation: sales of general merchandise are slowly declining. This is the result […]

Pharma Sales – she scrips, and she just may strip too

HEY! HO! HEY HO! LET’S GO! The new big thing in pharma sales? Hot cheerleaders. I swear to god, I don’t make this stuff up. “As an ambitious college student, Cassie Napier had all the right moves – flips, tumbles, an ever-flashing America’s sweetheart smile – to prepare for her job after graduation. She became […]

Product placements in video games

Apparently, gamers can turn on a company for cramming their latest release full of product placements and ads. Still, those placements can generate quite a bit of coin for the programmers involved. “For example, in “L.A. Rush,” the driving game released last month for PlayStation 2, Xbox, and PC, Midway signed on 40 partners, “although, […]

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