Saving the world – one stitch at a time

Knitta Please. Renegade knitters, touching up the inner city one stitch at a time. Pictures on their MySpace page and Flickr. “…A tag crew of knitters, bombing the inner city with vibrant, stitched works of art, wrapped around everything from beer bottles on easy nights to public monuments and utility poles on more ambitious outings. […]

This creativity tool is whickety whack!

That’s my rendition of a Death Star, built out of a Ball of Whacks – the new creativity toy/tool developed by Roger von Oech.¬ Built from¬ of 30 magnetic blocks, its’ geodesic shape reminds me of the Montreal Biosphere or the Hostel in the Forest (photos). Roger sent me a complimentary Ball after I praised […]

Compact cars, sex, and $9.50 an hour

Successful advertising always attracts your attention: a successful product solves a¬ problem you may not have yet identified. Such is the magic of Zipcar‘s online advertising, which I have seen on several Toronto sites and blogs.

Feed problems: from the horse’s mouth

Hey folks. I apologize if you’ve been having a hard time accessing the feed or my server’s been suffering under a near constant comment spam attack, it seems. Regular programming should recommence shortly.

Some gift suggestions – a t-shirt

Two Threadless t-shirts for your consideration: a reprint of the prize charts you used to find on the back of 25c comic books, and a horrible, horrible joke at Colonel Sanders’ expense. Oh – did I mention they’re having their $10 sale?

How businesses and communities actually benefit from “conversations”

Hate to take a break from blowing smoke up our collective online asses, but the real “conversations” between businesses, consumers and communities are happening on the ground, in neighbourhoods where broadband, sparkling water and long-term financial planning are rarely considered. Companies experimenting with social media online are really just testing the theories and developing extensive […]

A New PSA: When Pigeons Attack

Say you’re a city in Great Britain. Say you have a rather disturbing pigeon problem, and you want to clean up the streets before assuming the mantle of European City of Culture 2008. You want to educate kids and community groups about the dangers of feeding “feral” pigeons. Personally, I would think this picture would […]

A Wikiwar over Xplane

Another Wikipedia tempest in a teapot. The entry for Xplane, the information design specialist, was identified for deletion. The wikidebate was quick – 8 days. As a final blow, the administrator deleting the entry made an Office Space joke and redirected the entry for Xplane to the entry for X-plane, the experimental plane from the […]

More on the U.N’s envoy to Sudan and his blogging

Revisting the firing of Jan Pronk, the former U.N. special envoy to the Sudan, who was fired in part for what he wrote on his blog: Jeremy Wagstaff has posted the transcript of his interview with Pronk. They discuss why Pronk blogged in the first place, and whether the blog was truly responsible for his […]

Hooker and Tail: Something Good to Eat on the Rideau Canal

Mmmmm. The promise of¬ winter and a sure-fire retail¬ success.¬ Right now, it’s only a¬ hut dropped onto blocks in¬ the recently drained Rideau Canal.¬ All we need is twenty straight days of sub-zero weather, not too much rain, a little snowplowing,¬ dozens of teenage cooks and servers – and this hut and others along […]

Second Life: how does it compare with Celebration, Florida?

You know, I don’t consider myself a stuffy traditionalist. I like the new new thing. I like¬ the sense of unease and excitement¬ that¬ accompanies¬ new technology. But I can’t help being skeptical about the hype surrounding¬ Second Life. Yes, it’s an innovative community that draws inhabitants from around the world.¬ After tasting the unique […]

Let’s be careful out there, folks.

I agree with Kevin – there should be no correlation between Black Friday, your Christmas wish list, and your being labelled an ass clown.

The formality of conferences

There’s a well-established format for conferences, well-tended by an industry of conference organizers, professional speakers, audio-visual suppliers, facility managers, catering companies and for-profit “think tanks” that make their money from organizing specialist conferences. Signs you’re at a traditional conference: thick binders of material to greet you at check-in dozens of facilitators, stewards, assistants more than¬ […]

Revisiting Mall Santas

Black Friday is barely a week away. Bill payments are being postponed, credit card limits are being extended, payday loans are being struck. Eternal optimists are saying “I just need to get to the airport an hour before the flight on Wednesday,” and families in Buffalo are actually making plans for Thanksgiving – despite the […]

Farmer Ted, twenty years later

Place the quote. Late at night, after a Republican victory party in Minnesota, or late at night, after a party at Jake’s house?¬ 2:37 a.m.: A young Republican counsels an elder comrade on protocol for hooking up on election night. “Give it up, dude,” he tells him, sipping from a can of Coors beer. “She’s […]

Truly ironic Christmas, Hannukah, or Kwanzaa gift

The gang over at Church Marketing Sucks¬ provide a distinctive approach to marketing and communications. I¬ like the line of tshirts they have available until December 4.

To mis-quote Billy Joel … I’m selling out!

Okay folks. Here’s that ad I was hinting about. For Canadian public relations practitioners/readers, it’s a service you’ve already heard about if not already using. For my international readers, you should take a look at the clickthrough – there’s an interesting approach to tying value-added services with time-wasting games. It’s right over there in the […]

Playing the straight man – surviving client meetings

That lull in the conversation. The new client’s just finished their brief: the facts as they know it have been laid in full on the table, and they are now looking to you for insight and direction. Your team has already read the brief. They’ve picked it apart, examined¬ each¬ fact, claim, assurance and outright […]

Canadian Advertising Villain #1

You know me. Red hair. I’ve been growing out my bob cut from a few years back. Always seem to be wearing tweedy clothes, waist cut blazers and skirts just cut below the knee. A couple of years ago, I broke onto national TV in ads for Westjet, the western Canadian discount airline. Since then, […]

Come take a swipe at this social media brouhaha

Next Monday, the¬ 20th of November, Ottawa’s¬ Third Monday Meetup will feature social media experts Darren Barefoot from Vancouver and Marc Snyder from Montreal in a debate about the state of social media in Canada: What’s hype? What’s reality? Are social media changing our world? Or, is this just another bubble that will soon pass? […]

Market opportunity for PR in Texas high school sports

The Houston Press talks about the increasing level of media attention – professional attention – being dedicated to high school sports in Texas and elsewhere in the States: “…The action in high school football can change in a split second. But it’s those long moments between plays that can be brutal. And for announcers, a […]

Knitting: the intersection of Emotional Intelligence and Retail Strategy

Knitting stores can feel very intense. Walls and shelves packed with wool, patterns and buttons. Magazine racks bursting with specialist magazines and pattern books. The staff can be quiet or loud, but are usually wearing something knitted. They have that focused but¬ happy air found among people who have found a job they love (most […]

How to make ProfNet pay off for ALL practitioners

A friend of mine (Greg Brooks) posted an interesting diatribe on the new restrictions put in place by ProfNet – one I thought some of my readers would find interesting. His advice for ProfNet: ” … Let go of some (not all, but some) of the CFO-like focus on lost *revenue* through co-ops or leeches. […]

An anthropologist’s look at artisinal branding

Grant McCracken casts an anthropologist’s eye on the contemporary fondness for hand-crafted and (seemingly) rough products, like artisinal bread. While I think his analysis is accurate and insightful, I love how he slipped a joke about Karl Marx into the text. ” … This is really an odd one for we are still a culture […]

Who didn’t like Sixteen Candles?

I’m not saying … but you might be able to relive the soundtrack from Sixteen Candles over at Looking at Them. Samantha: Donger’s here for five hours, and he’s got somebody. I live here my whole life, and I’m like a disease. Howard: Dong. Where is my automobile? Long Duk Dong: Oto-mo-biiile?

How information flows at a conference

                  [tags] conference, web 2.0, live blogging, unconference [/tags]

Selling out to the man – the possibility of advertising

Hey folks. There’s an idea floating around in Canadian public relations circles to try a specific advertising campaign, and I’ve given it some thought. Don’t be surprised to see an ad or two appear in the next little while, but I hope the advertiser is targeted enough not to upset your regularly scheduled reading pleasure. […]

How a newsroom really works

An inside look at how a newsroom really works, as expressed in a logic/decision tree. Includes the following decision points: Read Romenesko Insert the day’s bias Plan dinner Read own story in the paper Surf YouTube Link from Roy Greenslade, via Charles Arthur.

I hope Vanessa Paradis knows about this

“…’Do you mind working with dwarves, do you mind working with chocolate, do you mind working with Johnny Depp?’… ¬ (More on that in Macleans – fifth para.)

Regimented creativity

How to be interesting. How to be creative. How to avoid a rut. How to break out of the mould. How to find inspiration around you. How to make a regimen out of identifying and valuing novelty. Russell Davies has some advice for you. My wife has always accused me of “going ’round the houses” […]

How country stars really react to losing a music award

You’ve probably heard: Faith Hill seemed to have a diva moment when she lost the best female vocalist award at the Country Music Awards to American Idol’s Carrie Underwood. That’s not the sort of reaction we’ve come to expect from Faith – or any¬ country star to think of it. Here’s some more likely reactions […]

Internet = fertilizer = new media

From an interview with Steve Murphy, the anchor of Atlantic Canada’s popular supper-hour newscast:¬ “… “The idea of sitting in fear of new media‚ÄĒyou’re wasting your time,” he says. “The new media are the new media and no medium has ever replaced another one, it’s only supplemented it. ‘Music videos will kill radio’‚ÄĒit didn’t happen. […]

Vote the incumbent with the wittiest copywriter

David Miller’s running for re-election in Toronto. These are some of his ads. This is not an endorsement.

Get Out The Vote – some bad ideas

Recognizing that today is election day in the United States, and that November 13 is municipal election day in Ontario, I hereby present a list of poor Get Out The Vote ideas: Door knocking by the Blue Man Group Telephone outreach by Tom Carvel and Harvey Fierstein Street Teams – composed entirely of mimes Voting […]

It sucked to graduate in 1993

Confirmation of my long-held suspicions: graduating in a recession can¬ flatten your earnings curve and hamper your career. These are the findings of a¬ study of Canadian data: “… There are three central findings in this study. First, luck matters, because graduating in a recession leads to large initial earnings losses. These losses, which amount […]

Odds and Sods, as the snow falls again

Keeping with my “Barrhaven is the centre of the universe” theme: I knew Indian retail was micro, but not this micro: “… At the moment 97% of retail sales are made in more than 15m tiny mom-and-pop stores, mostly of less than 500 square feet (46 square metres). …” (Economist) From the LATimes: “six steps […]

Cappucino urbanism: battling out neighbourhood identity

In the oh-so-eager-to-be-hip neighbourhood of Westboro, there’s a skirmish for the community’s identity being played out over retail development: do you side with Starbucks, the aggressive imperialist; Bridgehead, the local free trader; or Tim Horton’s, the traditional and, in comparison, down market, coffee pusher that wants to open an outlet in the neighbourhood? Meanwhile, in […]

Anonymous blogging from the Economist

Now appearing in your feed reader: free exchange, the blog from the Economist. The pleas for author-attributed posts have begun already. While I acknowledge that personal responsibility underpins the perception of authority and trust in an online conversation, I hope that the Economist avoids the cult of personality and maintains a homogeneous online identity.

P.S.A: Dope’s for poseurs and Ted Leo fans

According to the Office of National Drug Control policy, not only will a fondness for B.C. bud make you drive reeeallll slow and prompt prolonged staring at clouds – you’ll also end up mimicking your new doper friends. Lord knows, that could lead to unnatural acts – like pretending to enjoy indie rock. Check out […]

A consultant’s point of view on government communications, 2.0 style

An outsider’s point of view on the reluctance by most governments to embrace social media and new digital methods of citizen participation. From Anthony Williams, Is government ready for the Web 2.0 era?: “…Lets face it; democracy is hard. The act of making policy is inevitably easier when conducted away from the critical eye of […]

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