Archive for November, 2005


Yes, I laughed out loud.

November 30, 2005

Wait for the punch line in this video.

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Who can you trust?

November 26, 2005

My wife and I met online. This recent story about dating sites that might be deceiving members with fake profiles and emails is a bit depressing. It is difficult enough to find someone online and now people have to worry that the cute profile they winked at last night might be simply a marketing trick.

Seeding a service such as this with fake ads is not the most creative marketing in the universe. If you have visited some of the more risque “dating” sites (and who hasn’t visited them?) and seen the pictures of “members” used in the on-site ads you know a bit of deception is going on. This is just part of the illusion that the world online is populated with the kind of person you could never meet offline. This type of marketing appeals to the insecurity and the vanity (if I DO meet this person, perhaps they WILL find me attractive) within us all.

I mentioned at the opening that my wife and I met online. It was as good an experience for me (and hopefully for her) as I can imagine. Of course, it was almost five years ago (five years in January, specifically) that we met. Even in that short time the dynamic of all of these sites has changed considerably — everything appears far more commercial and the people seem far more jaded. I recently took a detailed stroll through some of the sites I used back then. It felt as if I had gone from Disneyland to Disney World. Interestingly, however, some of the same profiles I remember from five years ago are still there. Same pictures (don’t these people age?) as well. They must have just forgotten to update the profile or perhaps long ago met the right person and forgot to take the profile down. Then again, the profile says they visited within the last week. Maybe this deceptive marketing has been going on longer than everyone thinks.


Did I forget your name again?

November 24, 2005



More Burger King goodness

November 22, 2005


You can find the actual video at

Click on the “Webcam Strip” box on the home page. It is “user” produced, not by the agency. Makes it all the more enjoyable.

Since the most popular search term that brings people to this little blog is “burger king”, I feel an ongoing obligation to share.

I need a King mask…

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Messages and truth

November 17, 2005

Sometimes I think that the world around me is trying to send secret signals, hidden messages from on high. If you ever saw the movie L.A. Story you might remember how the traffic sign gave Steve Martin messages. If only things were as clear to me.

Today I felt that something bad was in the air. Couldn’t put my finger on it, but had this strange sense of the time being out of joint. Perhaps I was just brooding.

I know that marketing can send subtle messages to people. That through the careful and proper placement of words and images and sound we can create a feeling inside the recipient. Just think about the commercials that make you cry or feel good (think about those damn marketing people at Coke and Pepsi).

I passed by an article the other day about some research that shows that people that name products prefer names that contain the same letters as their own name. I need to find that article again to determine if I was just imagining it.

All that leads me to a general issue with blogs. Blogs are not permanent. I can go back through the history of this blog and change anything I want. I can edit, I can add or subtract. I can put subtle messages in it. Strange to imagine how I can change my own history to reflect the needs and desires of my present in such a public fashion. In the past the best we could do was lie to ourselves, lie on our resume, have plastic surgery, pay off old friends and enemies (none of which I have done. OK, I have lied to myself). Now I can go back and change my own words and leave it to others to search through or stumble upon the clues I leave to my own existence, to my own state of mind, to my own life.

Have I actually done this to demonstrate this very point? Perhaps. How can you know? Diligent reading, I suppose.

The information age has made everything malleable in new and often disturbing ways.

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You should spend your nights like this

November 15, 2005

My current addiction.

We are nothing more than juvenile humor and endless references to our own culturally mutual past. My generation is do deeply steeped in shared pop culture that it is a wonder we are able to create anything new at all.


Trader Joe’s & Whole Foods

November 14, 2005

Trader Joe’s & Whole Foods

This is an appreciation of these two fine stores, from the perspective of both marketer and consumer.

I could buy 90% of all I need in the food/household supplies categories at these two stores. I would need to stop by the chain supermarket or Target for some things like batteries, medicine, cat litter, etc. I also get some nice organic produce delivered to the house every other week by Pioneer Organics.

Whole Foods appeals based on purity, excitement, goodness, wonder, fantasy, light, and air.

Trader Joe’s appeals based on value, variety, humor, practicality, and the feeling of the bazaar.

When you visit WF you enter a world of sunlight, green fields, and endless optimism. The experience they provide is different from almost any other grocery store. The ceilings stretch upwards and the aisles beckon. The corners are clean and the air smells fresh. Compare any one of these to your standard grocery store, or even your local “high end” grocery store, and you see the difference. It always comes back to the light for me. Being in a WF is like being outside. Everything glows. The pleasure comes in the abundance, the tastes, the purity, and the sense of a better world. This is shopping for the soul.

The experience is almost the exact opposite at TJs. The stores are small, narrow, and cramped with food and people. The ceilings are low and the air is compressed around me. It is a scramble to find all the goodies and then get in line. But the joy is in the hunt, the bargains, and the feeling of being in another country altogether. This is shopping for the mind.

I spend too much money at both of these stores, but can’t really get enough.

Visit one or both today. Enjoy the theater of it all.

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Top 5

November 9, 2005

Top 5 Types of Interesting People:

5. Crispin Porter + Bogusky People
4. Cingular Customer Service People
3. Starbucks Baristas w/o Names
2. Celebrity Chefs
1. People that read my blog

Some follow-ups:
Cingular and I have come to a better place. Amazingly enough, it was the work of one dedicated account rep that took care of it all. Of course, since I was threatening to go to the person that did the purchasing for one of the largest accounts and complain I am not that surprised.

“12 Songs” (Neil Diamond)
12 Songs is very good. Not cheerful, but very good.

I did manage to lose some of that weight. I did not cut back on the drinking. Or the eating. Perhaps it is all in my head.

I love my new tattoo. Wish I could show it off.

Burger King playing football is not working for me. But, still love those smart folks at CP+B.

Variety is the spice of life.

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Admissions of mortality

November 7, 2005

This blog is ostensibly about marketing, branding, technology, and my various (liberal) views on a variety of topics. It is a forum for me to speak my mind, but I usually put some significant filters between what goes on in my head/life and what appears here.

The reasons for that are the obvious — filters make sense for most everything — and the less than obvious. Some of it relates to my employer and ensuring that I don’t say anything that is in violation of my explicit and implicit agreements with them. Frankly, I like my employer as a company (if not always as an employer) and wish them only success. Some of it relates to other people in my life and my desire to respect their privacy and anonymity. Some of it is just plain common sense.

However, maintaining a sufficient distance between the things that drive me and consume me day to day and the things I write here can sometimes be a real struggle. Like the thin screen that separates one dimension from the next in the best (and worst) science fiction, it can be easy to cross over. Sometimes things just seep through.

That is a long-winded way of saying that I am frustrated with many things and that frustration is likely to show through here. I shall do all I can to smile and say nice things, but no promises.

Marketing is not an easy profession. I could go on here about how everything thinks they know how to do marketing. Easy for the surgeon to tell me how to do a demand generation campaign, but heaven forbid I should tell him how to close a particular incision. Outside of other marketers, marketing gets very little respect. It is not something that the average non-marketing professional sees as requiring any real training, skills, or experience. Marketing is just common sense and logic, as I have been told on a number of occasions.

Managing is not easy either. After 10+ years as a professional manager I still find myself in situations that are absolutely “no-win” more often than I would like. Managing is not logical and in many ways robs us of a certain degree of humanity and dignity. There is no satisfaction in doing it wrong, and little reward in doing it right. Like most necessary evils, however, better I do it than someone worse than me.

Marketing and managing are getting me down. Running uphill again and again in both arenas has left me feeling the years on my back and seeing a merciless fog of failure ahead. Marketing and managing are things I have always thought I was good at doing. Lately I question that assumption regularly.

This is an aimless and ultimately self-pitying blog entry.

Perhaps next time I will write something more sunny and scandalous.

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Rick Rubin, the future is in your hands

November 2, 2005

Rick gave us a new look at Johnny:

“American Recordings” (Johnny Cash)

“American III: Solitary Man” (Johnny Cash)

“American IV: The Man Comes Around” (Johnny Cash)

Will he return Neil to his glory?

“12 Songs” (Neil Diamond)

Music snobs will find the comment button below.

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