Shout out to all the twitter haters, y’all!

It’s not that I’m a twitter hater. It’s that my friends are. They’re a very bad influence on me. At least that what’s my mom says. She won’t let them come over. I don’t have anyone to play on the Amiga anymore. [tags] twitter, twitter hater [/tags]

Who’s delivering the laughs to Ikea?

Don’t you find the Scandinavian trainee managers at Ikea slightly offputting? Seriously, those guys (and gals) need a joy buzzer. A serious drunken bender. Or for Ikea to introduce a conveniently priced, attractively packaged and cleanly designed series of personal “massage” products. Actually, now that I think about it, their quiet and determined demeanour reminds […]

Music weasels, Three’s Company and confronting old men

Sometimes the music industry can be, you know, a real sack of snakes. Jeff Vrabel, via Jefito. Trilling, by Catherine Ross. “Trilling recombines footage from the early 80s sitcom “Three’s Company” into a sequence of travelling gestural loops. Trumpeter Taylor Haskins collaborated on the audio track, creating a unique improvisational response to each clip.” I […]

Warhol on interview techniques … and the advent of porn

Hey. Aren’t you tired of writing the same boring, careful, formulaic sets of questions of answers? Have to prepare for an upcoming news conference? Better grind through a set of dirty Qs & As to steel the execs. Building a new web site? Better whip out some ready FAQs to lead the blind and unwilling. […]

The Bad Kind of Government Media Innovation

British Home Secretary John Reid is defending the government’s plan to crack down on illegal immigrants, including those who have overstayed their visa. One innovation to be implemented is sending reminders by text message to people who fail to renew their visa – or choose to ignore its expiry. “… The measures outlined include plans […]

Curling politicians, Ninjas, and Account Planners

Political criticism via YouTube – “In the Navy” recut to criticize Peter Debnam and the New South Wales Liberal party. Unattributed, but apparently produced by the National Union of Workers. Not nearly as funny as “Peter Debnam’s Crazy Civil Service Sale,” produced by the Public Service Association. Here’s a political scandal that could be branded […]

Quotes taken out of context

What are we talking about? Blogs? I present quotes taken out of context: “How do you think your work differs from traditional journalism? We’re taking the tools of journalism and applying them to people whom you wouldn’t normally apply them to — people who aren’t famous, people who aren’t powerful, people just like you and […]

Bloggers are wimps

Hey folks. Know what I’ve noticed? Bloggers are most likely to post a critical word or a sarcastic riposte under two conditions: a big company with a global brand identity a person or company far, far away from your keyboard. Either way, a blogger minimizes his/her chance of confrontation. Sure, there are plenty of exceptions. […]

Company blows air, not snow, in social media reaction

Social media (and apparently poor customer service) bites local company in the ass. Back in November, I wrote a positive post about the lawn signage put up by a local snowblowing company, Tony’s Snowblowing. (Pimp my (Snowblower) Ride). Judging from the negative comments piling up on that post, and elsewhere, the company has bitten off […]

Dunkin Donuts vs. Starbucks – a cultural battlefield

Dunkin vs. Starbucks. Coffee vs. Latte. Lee Dungarees vs. Seven for all Mankind. PC vs. Mac. HHG2G vs. Bill and Ted. Carhartt vs. Patagonia. NexTel vs. WiFi. The Boston Phoenix rolls out a very rough sociological analysis to explain the fierce appeal of Dunkin’ Donuts in the NorthEast U.S., and supports it with insightful and […]

Wal-mart wants to target “brand aspirationals,” among others

Aspirational. There’s a word you usually don’t hear Wal-Mart throwing around when referring to its client base. Sure, they’ve made attempts lately to market more upscale clothing – but didn’t Wal-Mart boot to the road one of the marketing execs charged with chasing this demographic? Apparently, a year of intensive research has helped the company […]

A new viral video for KFC

Let’s get back to how KFC is handling the rats in their kitchen crisis. Unfortunately, the rats footage has already been mashed up, and I have to warn you, there’s a fairly disturbing picture of the Colonel getting his face gnawed off. The videos prepared by the KFC executives are an honest first start. Still, […]

RatFest! Co-locating brands doesn’t pay off for Yum! Brands

Looks like Yum Brands is tackling the latest health crisis in its portfolio a little more seriously. First there was the spinach scare at Taco Bell, now a scurry of rats at a KFC/Taco Bell in Manhattan. KFC has a direct link to information on the situation in New York on its main web page. […]

Gap’s brand extensions are in flames, baby!

With the closure of the Forth & Towne outlets, Gap Inc. continues to swing in the violent and fickle winds of fashion. The only house brand that seems able to hold its own is Banana Republic. Every other brand in the stable saw marginal increases as measured by in-store sales – but only because of […]

WTF? CanWest and the New Republic?

Leading into an American election year, I’m just wondering if there are any plans afoot – now that CanWest has bought total control of longstanding progressive magazine The New Republic. “… [CanWest executives] Foer and MacNeil cited an element of “passion” in [CanWest owner] Asper’s decision to purchase the magazine, though MacNeil said he also […]

Borat just keeps punishing Central Asia

We all know Kazakhstan felt unjustly characterized by Sacha Baron Cohen’s blazingly popular and remarkably offensive Borat character. This week, the Kazakhstani Ambassador to the United States and Canada began a speaking tour of universities in the U.S. The first stop was Yale, where his sometimes leaden speech and light promotional video appear to have […]

19 signs your focus group is going south

Here’s the top 19 signs your focus group is quickly collapsing into abject failure and will be completely unusable for consumer research, message testing, product verification or concept formulation: From an arriving participant: “Hey! I used to be a 1-900 operator for this place!” The clients hold up the session waiting for the muffin plate […]

Talking Science and winning badges

That’s the “talking science” badge from the Order of Science Scouts of Exemplary Repute and Above Average Physique. I also seem to qualify for the “dodger of monkey shit” badge (although not in the literal sense I am sure was intended – more of a metaphorical experience endured in the workplace) and the “experienced with […]

Sorry about the interruption

Sorry folks, my hosting company went down for about 20 hours today. Everything should be fine now. Not that you guys and gals on the feed even noticed.

TJ Maxx – oh, THAT security breach

Jet Blue is trying its hardest to correct the damage done to its reputation. Let’s take a quick look at how TJ Maxx and its Canadian subsidiary, Winners, are pointing to information online after a stunning loss of customer data. One text line. That’s it. Not even a starburst to attract the reader’s attention. The […]

Media Relations – Footie edition

The Chairman of the Hearts footie team in Edinburgh apparently has a habit of calling the local sports media “monkeys” – going as far have his PR staff give them bananas and nuts before a match last week. When the stadium sound system played The Monkees, the media in the press box heard a bit […]

Some more love for the political hacks

Where the hell are all the new political protest songs? So asks Duncan Campell at commentisfree. (Billy Bragg’s got one!) Brief profile of Laura Bush’s press secretary, Susan Dryden Whitson. Interesting fact about her life? She was American Idol winner Taylor Hick’s Grade 9 english teacher. (she’s had her rough patches – and I’m not […]

Captain Haddock has an opinion about widgets

[tags] Captain Haddock, widgets, web 2.0, web 3.0, Tintin [/tags]

PR picks its’ fights – a lot of them

Have you noticed that public relations and marketing specialists tend to let criticism run off their backs like water off a duck? One psychologist, Karl Weick, has an explanation: “…Generalists, people with moderately strong attachments to many ideas, should be hard to interrupt, and once interrupted, should have weaker, shorter negative negative reactions since they […]

Press secretaries who leak – and officials who don’t

Barack Obama’s current Senate press secretary is moving on to the Presidential campaign, and he emailed reporters about his replacement: “Ben is a Virgo who enjoys talking on phone with reporters and leaking like a sieve.” (Politico) As opposed to the normal approach taken by government officials in Washington, as cited in the “Scooter” Libby […]

Customer service – remember its roots

Well, doesn’t that just chap your [possibly inappropriate body part highlighted here]. I found an impossibly beat up and ancient version of an antique Victorian book of knowledge called “Enquire Within Upon Everything.” Great find. The sort of thing you can hide and use for obscure blog posts for months to come …. unless Project […]

A portrait of the author as a not-so-young boy

This is what I look like, folks. Taken by Joe Thornley at the Third Monday event held last night. [tags] Colin McKay, 40 lbs heavier than high school [/tags]

Blistering Barnacles of Graphic Illustration Goodness!

Well, we all missed it – the Tintin exhibition at le Centre Pompidou. Even the online site is very sparse, but Dan Hill over at City of Sound has provided a precis and some high quality photos. To the left is a timeline showing which characters make an appearance in which book, presented chronologically. In […]

Darwinian pick-up lines and a coke addict wants to dress you

Darwinian Pick-Up Lines, now available on tshirts and buttons! Also, Top Ten Darwinian Pick-Up Lines. (Memoirs of a Skepchik) Lily Allen, Madonna and Kate Moss all try their hand at designing clothing for High Street retail. “The PR worth of the sort of coverage they get … is astronomical. Retailers all err on the side […]

Saatchi Italia trips over the whole 2.0 thing

Did you know 2007 was the year of the attention economy? Saatchi & Saatchi seems to have decided that – its in their sig line. Our Italian colleagues have felt the magic touch of Saatchi’s attention – their Italian team reached out to marcomm writers to promote the launch of a client site. The release […]

Mercedes-Benz drinks the SL koolaid

Here’s something guaranteed to drive some online gamers mad: “Second Life – or SL – is the Internet’s most popular and dynamic online environment.” (M-B news release) On February 20, Mercedes Benz will be launching its Second Life island (pics at _notizen aus der provinz) with a free concert and an in-world extension of its […]

Starbuck – without the extra s – puts you in the mood

May I point you to a fantastic song review? Jason Hare takes apart “Moonlight Feels Alright” by Starbuck. Several hundred words of goodness and incisive insight, but here are some highlights: “… Please, readers, get out your shag carpet, your lava lamp, your doorway beads, your incense, and your favorite bong. You know the one: […]

The taxman really doesn’t want you to bend over backwards

It’s tax season, folks. And that means the taxman is re-running some ads to remind you of the many easy ways to pay your fair share for the just and democratic society we all enjoy. Like this one. (The tag’s “Don’t get all bent out of shape.”) It isn’t that bad – except that the […]

I tell ya, we government communicators got it tough. How tough? …

It’s tough to be a communicator in the employ of the government nowadays. Accelerating news cycles. Dwindling public interest in economic issues. Continuing distrust of the government. On top of that, Ira Basen continues his quest to prove the public relations industry is the spawn of the devil. In a well-researched series for CBC Radio, […]

Bloggers are an incredibly advanced weapons system

Comments by A.J.P. Taylor, the popular English historian, on his writing style ring particularly true for bloggers: “The difficulties I have encountered in writing history have been practical and technical. The greatest difficulty is time. You have to read a great deal, chase evidence all over the place, and make copious notes many of which […]

Paul Wells speaks the truth. But Macleans’ redesign may suck

Is your desire for knowledge about social media is only outweighed by a driving quest for political analysis? Is there no sweeter nectar to you than gossip about Parliament Hill? Then do we have an event for you! Paul Wells Live! One Night Only! The next Third Monday, right here in the capital city! Sign […]

Bananas, the 90 second news cycle, and portfolio pitches

Mike tells us the news cycle is now 90 seconds long. “There is no time to waste! Waste is folly. Waiting is pain. I have pain.” W+K London gets a doozy of a follow-up message from a job-seeker. “I think cucumbers are very sensual, don’t you?” A previous W+K job-seeker seems to channel Eric Stratton […]

Seat up, or seat down? Tout, or no tout?

Communication failure among sexes sharing bathroom facilities. A game theory analysis whether to leave the toilet seat up or not: “…[Previous] papers agree that the social norm of leaving the toilet seat down is inefficient in the sense that it does not minimize the total cost of toilet seat operations per household. However, both papers […]

A blogger questions his own self-worth …

Stuart Smalley V/O: I deserve good things. I am entitled to my share of happiness. I refuse to beat myself up. I am an attractive person. I am fun to be with. Announcer: “Daily Affirmation with Stuart Smalley”. Stuart Smalley is a caring nurturer, a member of several 12-step programs, but not a licensed therapist. […]

Account planners can be your friend, PR

Lately, I’ve been on an account planning kick. There’s a lot public relations counsellors can learn from account planners – especially if you work in-house and have to balance satisfying the client but also speaking truth to authority. Even more importantly, every one of the planning blogs and resources I’ve stumbled upon over the past […]

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