Stephen Fry can enlighten you

May I suggest a podcast Not one that arrives with any regularity, is informed by any editorial calendar or makes any effort to blather on about the benefits of social media? No, I’m not talking about American Copywriter – but you should subscribe to that fantastic piece of work as well. Instead, Stephen Fry seems […]

Brand Power – no flashy copywriter needed

For the life of me, I couldn’t understand why a brand manager would buy these ads. An ordinary woman, with ordinary if well-presented clothes, obviously standing in front of a false aisle of consumer goods, blatantly promoting a particular product – sauces, detergent, food. The most direct comparison? Imagine the scripted pitch and rigid product […]

Brand differentiation in the battle zone

Some on the scene retail anthropology, at the Tim Hortons donut shop in Khandahar, Afghanistan. “… Of all the troops who crowd Tim’s counter or queue at the “walk thru” window outside, Barbarie’s personal favourites are the Royal Gurkhas, the diminutive but notoriously lethal Nepalese mercenaries who have fought for the British army for nearly […]

Famous Five to return, with mobiles

Childhood favourites the Famous Five will be returning to our lives, but in an animated series for the Disney Channel. And they seem to have gone poncey and high falutin’. “… The children, who wear iPods and use mobile phones, also discover subliminal messages in DVDs to brainwash children into buying Fudgie Fries sweets …” […]

Gene Shalit is the intellectual father of twitter

Blog posts are like grade school book reviews. They’re often thought up at the last minute, rely on familiar reference material, don’t explore untested subjects, and have as bare a thesis as possible. Tweets, continuing with the analogy, are capsule movie reviews. Reading through the language, form and conventions found in twitter messages, you can […]

Prog rock, Debbie Gibson, the Hoff and Caruso

Three snippets from music blogs – and all pointers to longer articles that are well worth the read. “… I have a deep love for a very specific and short period in musical history – I don’t even think it has a name. Let’s name it right now: it’s When the Prog Rockers Got Real […]

Caddyshack gambit causes big fire

Unfortunately, Danny Noonan did not win the Caddy Scholarship, but a Calgary man is in trouble after he tried to use a newfangled tool to get rid of some pesky gophers on his property. “…the Rodenator — which pumps propane and oxygen into a rodent hole and then ignites the mixture to create an underground […]

Apple’s principles of great design and content

No-one would ever accuse me of being a member of the Apple chorus. I like dials, whistles and options – even if they don’t perform as promised – so I tend towards WIntel products. But Apple knows how to drive design in support of its products. And how to keep its engineers from drowning users […]

Facebook app helps undermine brand and ripoff users

Which popular game is a stunning combination of multi-level marketing, addictive design and the worst of subscriber-based advertising on the ‘net? That would be Roll the Brim to Win, which boldly plays off the popular Roll up the Rim to Win from Canadian coffee and donut chain Tim Hortons. In the Tim Horton’s game, each […]

The Conversation is F*cked

You know, I’m beginning to think we’re due for a big shakeout – and untested social media tactics will be the first things to be thrown off the boat. The economic indicators are there. Credit crunch. Everyone running to the security of gold. Drops in same store sales. The convergence of climate change worries with […]

Old school book – blogging and marketing

While I’m on a publishing bent, I think I’ll resurrect something I first prepared in the fall of 2005: Incorporating Blogs into the Marketing Mix (.pdf) The examples are a little stale, but the rationale underlying this 10 page booklet still makes sense. “… Viewed single-mindedly, blogs are an entryway to an active conversation about […]

Economic contraction equals brand failure?

This will be a first. Faced with economic contraction and consumer apprehension, how will companies increasingly focused on service, brand differentiation, environmental qualities and aspirational marketing react? How will consumers react? Unlike the last two economic slowdowns, consumers are feeling the credit crunch in their pocket book. Will they change their spending habits? Will they […]

Secret Guide to Social Media in Large Organizations

Well, I’ve finished work on it. A handy little guide for exploring the world of social media and building support for social media in a large organization. I think the advice in this 23 page guide to secretly implementing social media in organizations could be equally useful for any government employee looking to try out […]

Bragg and Nash team up on New England

You get used to hearing Kirsty MacColl and Cara Tivey singing accompaniment to a pop classic, and then a bright new star comes and shakes it up. Kate Nash and Billy Bragg teamed up to perform their mutual hits, Foundation and New England, at the NME Music Awards a few days ago. A brilliant combination […]

Light at the end of the tunnel

You can just smell it in the air. What? Virtually anything, but mostly febreeze and scented candles. Why? Because the 53 centimetres of snow we got on the weekend have wiped out any trace of naturally occuring scent – decaying leaves, tepid water, roadkill … “Can Al Gore come clear my driveway?” – Facebook status […]

Mike Holmes shows some skin

Meet Mike Holmes. He’s a contractor with a heart, who arrives to repair the mistakes and shoddy workmanship of other contractors. He’s also the host of a very popular show on Home and Garden Television here in Canada. As you can see, Mike also had a clothing deal with Carhartt, the workwear company (I say […]

Need a new blog name?

Here you are. Random sentences from a compilation of Lester Bangs‘ writing. All perfectly acceptable, if not preferable, as blog names. Bog of complications A Reasonable Guide to Horrible Noise Rock Gommorah Phony Kodachrome Nature Study The Courage of My Lunacy A Display of Marginally Political Unity Questions and Postulations and Fantasies Sneaking the odd […]

Facebook study group equals cheating?

If university classmates join forces, through a Facebook group, to brainstorm solutions to questions posed by the professor, is that cheating? That seems to be the conclusion at Ryerson University in Toronto, where an engineering undergrad faces expulsion for setting up a Facebook group for his class mates in undergrad chemistry. The story outlined in […]

Do not mock focus group participants

Beef, tasty beef. Oh, and veal too. Did you know there’s a secret marketing organization dedicated to increasing your consumption of delectable prairie beast? Well, not that secret. It’s the Beef and Veal Culinary Center, based in Chicago. And here’s a funny anecdote about some focus group work they conducted: “… “This is a big […]

Being Will Ferrell

Apparently, $15 million in opening weekend box office may not be enough to build buzz for Will Ferrell’s new movie, Semi-Pro. Which is a pity, since it seems like he’s been working hard – including the back alleys – to promote it. Back alleys? Well, alternative newspapers. This funny tidbit from the San Antonio Current: […]

Sweet whisperings of food

Finally. A tenuous reason to link to Russell’s splendid blog, eggbaconchipsandbeans – where he provides reviews and photos of the tasty grub prepared by local snack shops across the UK. And the far less splendid, but somewhat entralling Grocery Eats. Deep fried White Castle Slider. That’s all I’ve got to say about that. Euan Ferguson, […]

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