Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Why Advertisers Still Don't Get It

It's time to remember that advertising needs brands more than the brands need advertising. A good product creates its own relationships

So says Marc Gobe, Chairman and CEO of Desgrippes Gobé New York, a brand design firm. He is the author of Emotional Branding and has just published his latest book, Brandjam. Barkley invited Mr. Gobe to speak a few years ago at the Creativity Symposium the agency holds each year. I still have my notes from his talk. A very sharp man.

Here's the Business Week article written by Mr. Gobe.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Happy Valentines Day

Artists: (clockwise starting top left) Grace, Dan, Hannah and Mary. Maggie supervised.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Another Think Coming

My previous post reminded me of this video which came out in November of 2004 by Robin Sloan and Matt Thompson.

As Bob said "The times they are a-changin'".

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Web 2.0 My Gosh

What I love about working in the field of advertising and marketing is that I often come across some very cool information. Cool to me at least. Often the information is in the form of presentations. Some I find while doing my own research. Others come to me from friends or colleagues. Today my sister sent me this one.

I live approximately 123 miles from K-State. My sister lives approximately 629 miles away. She found this video before I did. That got me thinking - a dangerous pastime... I know.

When I was a kid I made one of those can and string contraptions to talk to my neighbor Charlie from my bedroom window to his bedroom window in the house next door. It worked, but barely. To get it to work the best you had to pull the cans and string tight. If it was loose it wouldn't work. We had to be directly connected to each other to talk. To exchange information. To say things like "pretty cool, huh?" and "definitely awesome!". We were kids of the seventies and having your own can and string phone was pretty dang cool. It was right up there with Stretch Armstrong; red, white and blue wristbands and hand pumped, water propelled space rockets.

The can and string phone allowed us to make a direct connection. I'm sure we were limited by how far away we could get before it wouldn't work, but we never tested it out. Distance didn't hinder our communications. Finding enough string and two old cans was all we needed. We wanted to find a way to communicate and we did the best with what we had available to us.

Flash forward to 1991 and me sitting in my dorm room at Syracuse University. I had a 2,400 baud Cardinal modem and subscription to this new service from a company called Prodigy. I can recall waiting for my brother Brian to call me back to let me know that he got my message via the Prodigy service that we both had. He could call me back faster than a reply message could travel through cyberspace. When I got him on the line he'd say something like "pretty cool, huh?" and I'd reply "definitely awesome!"

Flash forward again to this week when my sister sent me an email with a link to this presentation. She could connect with me just as fast, if not faster via an email message than she could via a quick phone call. A few keystrokes, control- v to paste the link and hit "send". That's it. What she was really doing was wanting to communicate with me. She found a way she felt was the best and made a connection.

And so in some round about way, thinking about tin cans and string, my 2,400 baud modem and watching this presentation got me thinking about distance as a factor in accessing information. It's not a factor any more. Actually, check that, maybe distance is a factor, but not in terms of feet, yards or miles. Distance in terms of number of connections from the original source is a factor. But not much. Information travels so quickly that we all can get the exact same information in a matter of milliseconds. That is, as long as someone decides that they have some information they want others to know about.

Pretty cool, huh? Definitely awesome.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

A Great Presentation

Hans Rosling, Professor of International Health, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden presented this talk last year at the TED Conference in Monterrey, CA. I was not familiar with Hans Rosling prior to watching this video, but I can tell you that his presentation is one I will remember.

From time to time I have had opportunities to listen to some very talented presenters and though I was not in attendance for the original presentation I would add watching this video of Hans Rosling to that list.

He combines statistics and graphics in a way that tells a story unlike most presentations you have ever seen. He is fully engaged, excited and ready to tell a story to make a point. Several points actually. I will not reveal the topic, but will bet that you will find it fascinating nonetheless. Pay attention to his presentation style. He takes what some might call a dry topic and gives it depth and interest with bits of humor throughout to keep the audience engaged and eager to learn what he will say next.


Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Walmart Goof

I heard that Wal-Mart launched their new video site so I checked it out. This is what I saw:

Apparently the site does not work if you are using Firefox as your browser. Oops, I guess they forgot to think of that.

Sunday, February 04, 2007


I was hoping to post about the Bears winning. Didn't happen. Congrats to the Colts. Now I've got to go put away the cheese dip.

Go Bears!!!


Thursday, February 01, 2007

Lottery Laughs

I bought a Powerball lottery ticket. I don't do it often, but I thought "what the hey" and got one while I was at the grocery store yesterday.

I missed the live drawing on TV last night. I know they do it in the evening sometime and on ABC, CBS, FOX or NBC, but I have never paid that close attention. I figured I could check to see if I had a winning ticket by going online to check my numbers. And that's what I did today. Turns out I got the Powerball and one other number. Four bucks coming my way. Not bad for a two dollar investment.

While I was on www.powerball.com checking out my winning numbers I came across this link to the FAQ section explaining how they calculate the odds of winning. Always curious to learn more I clicked the link and got a whole lot more than an education on odds of winning various prize amounts.

You might expect www.powerball.com to have a FAQ section. Most heavily trafficked sites have a similar section. But what you likely would not expect find on www.powerball.com is a statement in the FAQ section like this:

It takes two weeks to collect the cash from the stores around the nation. If you go to the lottery to claim your prize after that two weeks, then you can generally have the jackpot money (all cash or the first of the annual payments) hit your bank account the next day - maybe the following day if you come to the lottery office very late in the day. That said, you will have no trouble getting a little credit if you wish to buy something big before the two weeks time. Just mention my name - and that you are the Powerball winner.
This sarcastic wit continues throughout the FAQ section, but to really get the full dose you need to read the Real Letters. Here's a sample:
FROM STEWART N: What do you think about the number 19?

I like it. An odd mix of the smallest number and the largest - together in one package. It speaks to the extremes of the Universe and yet shows how they can be inexorably tied.

It is also unique in that both numbers are formed by a single constant line (using standard type). One line straight; the other curving before coming down to the base line - not so distant cousins - and neither one having a family relation with any other number. The "4" has mutliple stops and abrupt changes in directions with its multiple line formation and the "2", "3", "5", and "7" have their sudden starts and stops.

Although a mere number, as humans, we can't but help to tie it to other numbers by which we judge ourselves. As an age number it is greatly important; the first step from being a "teenager" to becoming a "young adult". In fact, the shapes of the numbers suggest a relationship between youth and age - the straight erect youth next to the bent and wizened old-timer standing together - as if sharing the secrets of life (though "1" will certainly not listen).

I would have to put "19" up there as a major number; a number among numbers. Yes, I definitely like "19".
And then there's this one:
FROM CAROLINA B: Hi, I understand that if you win, and you've bought a powerplay, then your winnings will be multiplied by the powerplay number. BUT, this is what I do not understand. Suppose that I buy a powerplay of 5, but the powerplay number for the week is only 2. Would I still get up to 2 x my normal winnings OR would my powerplay number have to match the powerplay number exactly to win the multiples. Please respond like you're talking to a little child, because in this instance, I need for you to place the info on the lower shelf so I will understand. Many thanks for your time.

Ok, here goes.

Imagine that you are walking through the woods on a nice bright sunny day. The birds are singing and you are chasing a flutterby (that’s really what they used to be called and I like it better than the new name – butterfly) and, all of sudden, you find yourself standing in front a dark cave.

The cave is as dark as your scary closet was when you were a child and you can see nothing at all – even though you squint really hard. You move a litle closer until you can feel the cool air coming the cave and you are suddenly filled with fear. You think that there is a dragon in the cave. Your fear takes over and you run home, as fast as you can, looking behind you every few steps to see if there is a dragon getting closer.

For years, you think about the dragon in the cave. Finally, as you get older and a little braver, you get up enough courage to go into the cave, and you find . . .


There is no dragon. Nothing. It was just an idea that you had somehow. No one else believed there was a dragon. No one else told you there was a dragon. You just thought it up and that thing you just thought up kept you from going into the forest. Sometimes, people think of things that stop them from going somewhere or even from understanding someting. They invent a brick wall that they cannot get by. To move forward or to understand, they must first forget what they "know".

Just like you worrying about picking the correct PowerPlay number. There is no dragon, there is no PowerPlay number that you need to pick. There is nothing to worry about.

You only buy the option and then your ticket says something like “PowerPlay Option: YES”. Just before the Powerball drawing, we draw the multiplier number. There is an equal chance to draw 2X, 3X, 4X, or 5X (and sometimes a 10X). You don’t have to match the PowerPlay number at all. You just multiply your prizes by whatever number we draw.

And everyone lived happily ever after.

I love it. If you ask a silly question, sometimes you deserve a silly answer. It certainly makes you feel better about losing a two dollar investment on a silly lottery ticket.