I didn’t really mean THAT KIND of community relations

Over at Boxtank, Geoff and Emily point out that opponents of the new Wal-Mart in Lincoln, Nebraska have some concerns about what those damn kids will get up to in the yard: “If you have never lived close to a large retail establishment, you cannot possibly imagine all the problems that would be coming your […]

Nick Robinson: improvement needed in political reporting

Nick Robinson, of the BBC delivering the Philip Geddes memorial lecture at Oxford University this past Friday: “Many politicians are angry that at election time viewers saw and heard more of me, Marr & Boulton than them. Let’s be clear why this came about – because audience research suggested viewers wanted “a trusted guide” – […]

Blogger junkets: does that make a blogger your pimp or your bitch?

So, the Netherlands Board of Tourism and Conventions is working with BlogAds to send 25 bloggers on a five star trip to Amsterdam. As Henry describes it, these bloggers will participate in a custom ad package tailored for their specific blog styles and voices, as well as contribute to interviews to be featured on a […]

Well the Bradys can Kiss Ma Grits!

Via Jefito, drunkatwork gives us the theme songs from The Brady Brides, Alice, Angie and Joanie Loves Chachi. Of course, virtually any theme song you could want can be found at Like the anodyne stylings of thirtysomething. Or classic ads, like this fantastic 1982 jingle for Tab cola.

Glory walls: See! I told you I knew the President!

John Dickerson continues his subconscious obsession with celebrity photos, this time with a discussion about the hierarchy of glory walls: “Certain photos are worth more than others. Take presidential photos, for example. The Valenti photo is at the top: a picture that places you at a world-historical event. Next in prestige: you and the president, […]

Numeracy and literacy: making accomodations in important documents

Do you even stop to think of the literacy skills among your target audience? What about the application of effective design to speed understanding? Maybe can apply some of the important work being conducted in the pediatric community to simplify consent forms. Frankly, parents have a heard time interpreting relative levels of risk. And the […]

Political bloggers: open-source or public domain speechwriters?

David Perlmutter thinks aloud about the interplay between political bloggers, the online exchange of ideas and information, and the carnivorous appetite for new speech fodder by politicians. “A purist like me would love to be able to say that the uncited lifting of material, no matter what the source, the destination, or the outcome, is […]

867-5309: Jenny’s gaming your Retail CRM Solution

Yet another retailer has started asking for my phone number, “so we can serve you better, sir!” I like shopping there, but not enough to let them track and target my purchasing habits. The very dutiful image of a dedicated shopper, I hand over my cell phone number – with the digits transposed at random. […]

NASCAR and Toyota: the Big Three better find their chequebook

It was inevitable: Toyota is busing beating the Big Three auto companies at home and abroad, and now they’ll be fielding a team in NASCAR’s Busch series and Nextel Cup series. If you listen carefully, you can hear the good ole boys yelping and muttering even as Ford and GM keep layering rebates, discounts and […]

Moving the conservative movement to the left, one John Hughes movie at a time.

As the Conservatives seem poised to assume power in Canada for the first time in 12 years, I stumbled across this comment from David Cameron, the leader of the Conservatives in United Kingdom, earlier this month. Either Cameron has a fondness for John Hughes movies, or his speechwriter is a smart alec Generation X type. […]

Politics is retail – and you may just take a puck in the mouth

Given a choice between a politician and a hockey player, most Canadians will make a move for the guy with less teeth. Politicians who try to weeze da juice of the national sport usually end up looking out of place and decidedly unathletic (unless they’re Ken Dryden). One candidate in the current national election found […]

FloHo and Barney Miller – peddling pills to the elderly

What, exactly, is wrong with Florence Henderson? “Our test markets didn’t respond as well to her as Hal Linden,” said a spokesperson for Cigna Health Care. Hal “Barney Miller” Linden has pushed out FloHo as the star in the ads for their Medicare prescription plan. But what do Cigna’s test markets have against Carol Brady? […]

Timothy Crouse, he ain’t.

Paul Wells points to the growing bandwagon trailing behind the Conservative party leader: “Greetings from the record-breaking third emergency media bus the Harper campaign has laid on, in response to higher-than-average interest in what the Calgary MP is up to this week. That’s right. The first bus is for electronic media. The second is for […]

Starbucks – one step closer to being a straight up multinational pimp

I was puzzled by the news that Starbucks had struck up a distribution deal with Lions Gate fims – as was Church of the Customer. The marketing strategy associated with the deal seems suitably low-key for the coffee chain, but I can’t help but think the growing number of ancillary products sold at Starbucks – […]

McDonalds – we will fight them in the alleys, we will beat them with sausages

McDonald’s defeated by a small town baker – in 2002. In case you missed it (and you didn’t if you read organic food blogs), the NYT essentially reprinted an article from Libération, recounting the opening of a new McDonald’s in Altamura, Italy in 2001 and its closure in 2002. For marketers, the message is that […]

Funniest Political Blog Posting Yet

Sure, it’s a faux blog – no comments, no real conversation with the reader – but Scott Feschuk’s “blackberry blog” has one of the funniest “official” posts of the campaign: “January 15th – Day Forty-Eight: We Saw Nude-Type People Having “Relations” in a Car Last Night on a Main Street in Montreal. I’m Just Saying. […]

Buzzword Bingo – for speechwriters

This isn’t new for Canadians, but you “outlanders” might find the “Give ’em the Boot II Bingo” cards funny. They’re sets of bingo cards preloaded with political, economic and colloquial catchphrases, prepared by Canada’s New Democratic Party in anticipation of this week’s election debates. Many of the catchphrases are meant to mimic the speaking style/patterns/tics […]

Try to avoid becoming a metaphor for a crisis situation

As much as we all think our brand would benefit from becoming a catchphrase, I can’t think Albertson’s would be too pleased about this: “One significant concern is what Michael Leavitt, the secretary of health and human services, described in an interview as the “Albertson’s syndrome,” referring to the grocery-store chain. At the first sign […]

Counting crowds: if they’re chained together, do they count as one?

David Akin, of CTV, has some comments about gauging the attendance at Canadian political rallies. Elsewhere, a Hong Kong statistician makes an attempt to break down the various published crowd counts for a July 2004 human rights march. How about the crowd watching the Tournament of Roses parade? Of course, if you’re a freakin’ compulsive/obsessive […]

CBS News: hints on how to suffocate a story

Via David Jones (and Andy Lark), a pointer to 2005 Top Ten Tactics to Influence Negative News: The PR Playbook by Sharyl Attkisson. An excerpt: 2. The Mine and Pump Strategy Without giving up one scintilla of information, relentlessly “mine and pump” the news reporter for what he knows, so that you have tools to […]

Poorly aimed pitches: a New Year’s trend

It’s the new year, and I’ve heard of more basic pitch errors that I did all of last year. Three of my friends have received email pitches with the wrong name: either the wrong first or last name, never both in error. Today, I received this: ” [[First_Name,] I thought you might be interested in […]

Pierce Brosnan, movie trailers and my mis-spent youth

I don’t know whether to be flattered or dismayed that Pierce Brosnan’s new buddy/murderer flick features The Jam’s “Town Called Malice” (video) – especially in the trailer. I mean, does this mean my teenage years spent chasing down limited edition vinyl have now been validated, or should I feel that my teenage memories are being […]

VW: Americans like cup holders. Who knew?

An update on VW’s Moonraker project – a bunch of European car freaks at loose ends in California. Sort of like the teenybopper “S Club 7 in Hollywood“. Except that these twenty-three auto specialists are trying to help the German home office design a car that the average American might actually think about buying. From […]

Training Videos that stand the test of time

Bad rap. Dancing meat patties. A Wendy’s training video from the 80s, courtesy of the Found Footage Festival. “Now, working the Grill, Bill, it ain’t so tough, But first of all, you’ve got to check your stuff… We don’t want a broken patty, that’s our guarantee …”

Catalog marketers: despoilers of the earth

Good commentary on the impact of mass distribution catalogs over at Church of the Customer: “… And that’s where the soup boils. The marketers who bombard us with unwanted catalogs are convinced their “good ideas” are just what we want. But like gang members caught in a turf war, they show little concern for the […]

Guy Kawasaki, powerpoints and the 10/20/30 Rule

Guy Kawasaki, who has now launched a blog, has some good advice for anyone considering a powerpoint presentation: … I am trying to evangelize the 10/20/30 Rule of PowerPoint. It’s quite simple: a PowerPoint presentation should have ten slides, last no more than twenty minutes, and contain no font smaller than thirty points. While I’m […]

AAAA: advertising doesn’t prompt drinking. Will they refund their fees?

This just in: a study shows that “people aged 15 to 26 who saw more alcoholic beverage ads on average drank more than their peers in markets where there was little advertising.” In related news, the advertising industry denies that the sun will come up tomorrow: “Dick O’Brien, exec VP of the American Association of […]

At least our PR wannabes know how to dress

One British B2B newsletter publisher is really having trouble finding an entry-level reporter: “The warning bells started to ring when one candidate said at his interview: “Newsletters are one step up from spam, really.” Not exactly a great start. But there was more to come. “I want to be a PR, but I thought I […]

Social media as the cultural mosh pit of our century?

Great quotes on the impact of documentaries (and social media in general) on our cultural consciousness below. Katerina Cizek, writing in This Magazine, discusses the “documentary as democratic experiment, in which we can potentially all participate in the non-fiction genre, retelling and reinventing our own stories of the human condition.” “[Errol] Morris made the case […]

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