Is David Letterman a genius?

For a dozen years or more, David Letterman coveted one job: the host of the Tonight Show slot at NBC. We all know who held that spot: Johnny Carson. David cooled his heels, kept his time slot and stretched the boundaries of what network censors would allow with his Late Show. (Andy Kaufman and Jerry […]

Chico Pee Tube?

It looks like a fun snow tubing park, with a webcam, but Chicopee Tube Park has one of those easy-to-misread URLs: I think that’s an episode of Chico and the Man that I missed.

Loyalty and Novelty: there’s a difference

I realize that Canadians are buffered from breaking U.S. trends in casual dining, but a 90 minute wait to get into a Cheesecake Factory? “…The average wait at a Cheesecake Factory restaurant is 1 1/2 hours, said Alethea Rowe, director of restaurant marketing for the Cheesecake Factory Inc. Once the doors open and the restaurant […]

Victor Gruen and the Mall

Didja hear? The traditional enclosed mall is in decline. Apparently, someone told The Economist, because they’ve run a long piece on the original enclosed mall, Southdale Mall in Minnesota. In Rise and Fall Of the Shopping Mall, we get the magazine’s well-written and comprehensive look at mall culture – especially as it developed under the […]

How to play well among scientists

I admit it. Scientists and communicators often don’t mix well. They certainly don’t share a love for numbers, or even for precision. After all, it is hard to communicate science to the public. James Watson, the co-discoverer of DNA, has provided his colleagues with something of a guidebook to making your way as a scientist.* […]

New Year’s Dance Tutorial

It’s two days until New Year’s, and I thought you might appreciate an instructional case in “putting the moves on.”

The Marginal Cost of Luxury

Well, not really luxury. More like the perks you used to expect when traveling by air. This is from a recent New York Times article about US Airways: “…Another employee wondered in October 2006: “Why can we not get better quality snack items for our coach customers? One customer recently compared the generic pretzel nubs […]

Email … with a ring tone and a beep

All I wanted for Christmas was a taste of 1982: an Apple IIe two Disk II external 5.5″ disk drives a rotary Bakelite phone an audio coupler for said phone Enjoy this clip from the BBC Micro program, explaining how to access email in 1982.

Is that a Chevy Citation I see?

Look at your kids (or your neighbour’s kids, or your brother). Are they planted on a sofa, playing a MMOG? Imagine what generations after generations of lethargic kids might look like. What effects would their health suffer? Participaction, the Canadian health promotion campaign aimed at kids, has the answer: Oh – and what’s the car […]

More of Imperial Nostalgia – and some anti-consumerism

Well, with the oldest-living Queen launching a YouTube channel* in time for her Christmas Message, I’m feeling more than a little flummoxed. This sure isn’t the tradition I remember from my childhood – which was more along the lines of “What do you mean, she’s on all FOUR channels!!!” Over at Crying All The Way […]

What’s your Christmas card look like, Mr. Creative?

A Google Maps guide to driving between Santa Claus, Indiana and Christmas, Florida. AKQA’s neon hamster wheel (which apparently isn’t sh*t) Frank Best’s greeting card for failed cold calls (you want to read this) IStudio’s Do Not Want ads. McKinney’s SnowGlobe Boy (staffer lived in an inflatable globe in the lobby) Dave mentioned the greeting […]

A marketer with a heart

What happens when you misdial 1-800 Santa Claus? You get 1-800 Santa Barbara – a website promoting attractions in Santa Barbara. California. Which, for one week in December, becomes Accidental Santa. John Dickson, the site owner, discovered this last year. Instead of hanging up on the kids calling for the fat guy, he spoke to […]

Corporate Management Rap

You may have seen this. The Singapore Media Authority commissioned – and participated in – a corporate rap. You have to admire their gumption and their verve: Singapore is making a play to be one of the top players worldwide in telecom and technology, and it’s obvious that senior management is willing to take a […]

It’s the eve of what?

Oh lord. Parma Ham and Pesto toasties. mmmmmmm! Russell’s widgety goodness (1, 2, 3, 4). I’m professionally partial to part three. Tobias Wong, interviewed by Rob Walker, (Wong) … Before, corporations commissioned work with parameters—they wanted specific things. It seems that they’re taking bigger chances now. That’s what I’m seeing. (Walker) Yeah, that’s true. I […]

Holiday parking, only for the pushy

Christmas Eve. Last minute shopping. Malls full of desperate shoppers. And it’s going to be parking hell. The Raleigh News & Observer describes some of the rude and desperate behaviour to be found at local mall parking lots, and provides some anthropological rough work on the types of drivers you’ll come across: THE STALKER: This […]

2 bums 1 cup – viral marketing at its best

This gem from the Boston Phoenix’s review of the catch phrases of the year: “…a colleague on the West Coast reports seeing a pair of homeless men holding a handmade sign: “2 bums 1 cup.” In viral-marketing terms, that’s a bull’s-eye: once you reach the indigent layer, you’re made.” Other phrases covered by James Parker […]

Miracle Whip ain’t no orphan

Melanie Villines was hired by Kraft to write an in-house history of innovation at the food giant. “The Greatest Thing Since Sliced Cheese” was the result – but it’s not available publicly. The Chicago Reader, however, offers us a few details to snack on. Like this nugget: “There were about 200 people who said they […]

Dance Terms for Dummies

No, those aren’t jazz hands. KQED and WNET are filming the San Francisco Ballet’s performance of the Nutcracker this week, and the SF Chronicle discusses how you translate a highly technical performance into language easily understood by a skilled television crew shooting the whole thing in hi definition. ““Snake arms,” Kraus said as the Arabian […]

Russell and Dan … and the Best Urban Places

There will be pretty pictures. There will be enigmatic pictures. There will be badly composed pictures. But the idea is fantastic. Two minds quite capable of making the leap between diverse subjects, disciplines and concepts have cooked up a competition to identify the World’s Best Urban Places and Spaces. In typical fashion, Russell Davies and […]

No iced mint chip frapps in the SuperDuty

The new Ford “Built Ford Tough” videos manage to rip off two separate concepts, but do it well: C.O.P.S the Bud ManLaws campaign There aren’t any crackheads trying to evade arrest, and there are no Burt Reynolds hairpieces. But still, it’s funny. The concept is that there are ten rules that Ford truck owners must […]

Style Council or the Jam?

Here’s an incredibly personal and limited comment, which will likely only be understood by a group of friends I hung out with in the mid-80s. Chuck Thompson, the author of Smile When You’re Lying: Confessions of a Rogue Travel Writer, was asked what music he would choose for a road mix to accompany specific chapters […]

Milk … it makes a planner good

Now, I know that team-building exercises can take on all sorts of shapes and sizes. They can be amusing, challenging, thought-provoking, or stultifyingly boring. And, at their worst, they can include the participation of clowns and mimes. But I am really, really curious what Graeme Douglas at Planning for fun was doing milking cows “…in […]

Feist on Perez Hilton and the long tail

Broken Social Scene and Feist are local, quirky, imaginative and “independent.” Of course you remember independent music? Long tail before it got a cool name? Perez Hilton is grasping, global, an aggregator but derivative and highly dependent on the craziness of others. (But still highly popular and influential) Chart Attack has an interview with Feist, […]

Some snippets about retail

As we approach Christmas, we can harken back to when towns had local or regional department stores, each decorated in a particular style for the holidays. As the comments on a photo retrospective at Labelscar note, the retail landscape has now been Macyated. As Canadians do more and more shopping at outlet malls in U.S. […]

Peter Buck and Howard the Duck

We’ve all had jobs that presented a perfect chance to indulge our all-consuming passions and were thrilling — at the time. But, in retrospect, that job could be the source of light-hearted derision. Like Peter Buck’s job at Wuxtry Records in Athens, Georgia. I know, I know. Very High Fidelity, very original hipster, very alt-rock […]

The Battle of Hong Kong

As I’ve mentioned, I spent four years of my childhood in Hong Kong. A good part of my weekends was spent exploring the hillside behind our apartment building. There were a great number of spooky ruins in the forest, including Pinewood Battery. I always knew it was a relic from the Second World War, one […]

How cool am I?

A little late in the game, but here’s a guy who dressed up as a YouTube video for Halloween. And only rated himself 1.5 stars. via this recording.

Your stuff is killing my planet

I’m lookin’ at you. Enjoy your clamshell packaging and seasonal wrapping, fella. ‘Cause Annie Leonard makes it clear that our consumer culture is heading us straight down the path to resource exhaustion and trash triumph. The Story of Stuff is a 20 minute animation with on-screen narration by Leonard, explaining how weaknesses and manipulation at […]

Your music sucks in the cold … and the heat as well

It struck me, listening to the abysmal music available on the radio today, that a lot of artists are affected by seasonal affective disorder. Not their music – their availability on radio channels. Take AOR stalwarts John Denver or Anne Murray: you rarely hear their songs at the height of summer. Hall & Oates, on […]

Fleeting Thoughts

Who would have thought there would be gangs of moped riders? (Is it riders, or is it drivers? After all, mopeds involve a whole lot of coasting and a fair amount of blind faith in the machine) (via SF Weekly) What sort of employment career leads to life as a Tony Manero impersonator? “…a D.J. […]

Chicken Little, public relations consultant

For a long time, people told Chicken Little that he was too much of a downer, that he only saw the glass as half-full. He was always telling prospective clients that they had to get ready for the next big problem, that life was about to deal their shareholders a swift kick in the ‘nads. […]

Twitter starts channeling my past life experiences

Been there, done that. Got the VHS tape from the media relations team of me being there, doing that. Also called my parents after having been there, having been shown doing that. [tags] Hugh Macleod, twitter, media relations [/tags]

Jackass 2.5 – user generated content and direction?

I admit it. I have spent many hours watching Jackass outtakes with my son on YouTube. So I KNOW that there is a market for the JackassWorld video and social network site being created by MTV and Viacom. Included in the plans are blogs – but on what subject? Legal liability? Injury prevention? Physical rehabilitation? […]

TinyURL anomalies

Watching my Twitter stream roll by, I noted that seems to have found another market in the twits (is that the right noun?) who shorten hyperlinks for their twit friends. I then wondered, is TinyURL really randomized? Is there an option (or a buyout) to protect your brand name once it does pop up […]

Wild Thing – the hipster doofus version

Fresh out of the gate, the Twentieth Anniversary edition of Tone-Loc’s Wild Thing – but with added electronica and backing by Peaches. Oh – and dancers inspired by Olivia Newton-John and the Twenty Minute Workout. I can’t nail down my real feelings on this – I think I’m too close to the original song to […]

Get out of that habit, stick in the mud

You’ll never amount to anything if you don’t look under every rock, ask the follow-up question, get over your fear of embarrassment, try something new at your favourite diner, look at your old notes, speak to the stranger next to you, pick a book at random out of the library shelf, look up at the […]

Sausages, MLB and Senator Mitchell

Senator George Mitchell’s months-long investigation into the use of steroids, additives, clear and other enhancers is nearing an end, with reporters, bloggers and baseball fans eagerly expecting his report – and a long list of names. Personally, I think baseball mascots are going to be the un-named co-conspirators in all this. Just think about it. […]

Lego and economic development

Lego building blocks and economic history. Two of my favourite things. Yes. I know I need professional help, thanks. Glancing through Stanford magazine, I came across an article on the SEE Science Center, where you can find a reconstruction of a late nineteenth century millyard: the Amoskeag Millyard of Bedford, New Hampshire. The millyard itself […]

Poor entertainment choices in the early primary states?

Okay. I understand that, in Iowa and New Hampshire, the Presidential primaries are almost as important and somewhat as interesting as college sports. I also understand that the major Presidential contenders spend years visiting the states – over and over again. And I also understand that many of the political activities in the early primary […]

Viral versus issues advocacy – poll reveals winner

Granted, these results are only from three very small (but politically influential) states. Still, it’s notable that interested voters will seek out supplementary information on candidates (especially if it’s viral), but their participation in politically-oriented social networks is much less enthusiastic. Is this a reflection of the relative simplicity and entertainment value of viewing a […]

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