Category Archives: Advertising & Branding

Quotes for the week ending 24 April, 2010

“But it’s when you become the punch line on The Colbert Report that you know you’ve made the big time.”

Bill Goodykoontz, columnist at the Arizona Republic, commenting on Stephen Colbert’s ripping of Arizona’s new immigration bill –that was signed by governor Jan Brewer into law on Friday.

“facebook seems to be down – mass suicides worldwide predicted – story at 11″

Tweet by mmelnick, (musician, vegetarian, animal lover, truth seeker) who also re-tweeted “Attention humans: Facebook isn’t “down”. It’s become self-aware & will soon launch nuclear weapons. I’m pressing the “Lik …”

“Trees are a renewable resource, and paper can be recycled, recovered and used to make paper again. … Make print a valuable part of your communications mix.”

The argument behind Print Grows Trees, a campaign by Print Graphics Association Mid Atlantic (PGAMA) a not-for-profit trade association

“…uncomfortably close to advocating sexting”

The creepy Kin video ad that Microsoft had to pull for obvious reasons

“I think smaller- and medium-sized agencies make the transition from traditional to social-enabled PR much easier than larger agencies.”

Jason Baer, in a Twintervirw with Bob Reed of PRSA, where he also talked about ‘the science and math of social media.’


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The power of the Ampersand

Amazing things happen when we mix two concepts in a beaker, shake it up & let the molecules of one mix with the other.

Now replace ‘concepts’ with ‘passion’, ‘motivation,’  ‘academic discipline’ or ‘technique’ and you see how attractive this becomes. Trouble is, old-style education tends to push people into specialization (for good reason) and jobs used to demand that employees get hired to do one thing and one thing alone (the factory job). Adding the ampersand to your studies or your career got you into trouble.

Today that mentality is shifting, and I really like how this challenge reflects that. It’s called The Power of AND. It’s promoted by a group holding the Sustainable Brands Conference. Topics at the conference include Design & behavior Change, Corporate Responsibility & Profits etc.

The conference is in June. From the best ideas submitted, one will be picked each week, and given a free virtual conference pass. If you have an idea that’s a combination of two radical concepts –um, techniques, disciplines, passions — go for it!

Need inspiration? Consider how these evolved:


Quotes for the week, ending 6 Feb, 2010

“People always clap for the wrong things.”

J.D  Salinger’s character, Holden Caulfield. Salinger died last week. He last appeared on this TIME magazine cover in Sept, 1961.

“Salinger never swallowed this capitalize-on-your-fame command that Simon Cowell and YouTube have turned into an American birthright.”

Author, and syndicated columnist, Mitch Albom, on Salinger’s attempt to not be famous.

“I might go to the bathroom during that ad,or make popcorn.”

Susan Estritch, commenting on the controversial ad at this year’s Super Bowl, about abortion and choice that will air among the predictable ones about job sites and Clysedales.

“The secular religion of global warming has all the elements of a religious faith: original sin (we are polluting the planet), ritual (separate your waste for recycling), redemption (renounce economic growth) and the sale of indulgences (carbon offsets).”

Michael Barone, on How Climate-Change Fanatics Corrupted Science

“It’s too early to tell if this round of Facebook changes will create a backlash, but at the time of this writing there were almost 3700 mostly negative comments on the company’s blog post detailing the new homepage design.”

PC World, on Facebook’s latest round of layout changes.


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Underdog in beverage industry, my cuppa tea

I’m sitting here with a cup of tea, and it gives me great satisfaction to link to this article on the company behind it.

Dilmah tea has been a long time favorite. Enjoy the story of the underdog  who excels in this commodity business with dedication to not just branding, but the details that make up the tea experience.

A  Sri Lankan Underdog Battles Global Tea Giants



Quotes for the week ending 16 Jan, 2010

“This isn’t actually an article form a newspaper. It is part of the ad…”

Copy from a fake piece of editorial that’s part of a creative ad buy for Aflac in The Wall Street Journal, linking to the microsite,

“They just had a name that was hard for Chinese to pronounce and harder to spell.”

Kaiser Kuo, a Beijing-based consultant and former head of digital strategy at Ogilvy & Mather in China, on Google’s decision to pull out of the country.

“I don’t think it’s wrong to take chances …Sometimes they work.”

Jeff Gaspin, of NBC, on the network’s decision to move Jay Leno back to his original slot –11.35 pm

a “pact with the devil”

The reason, according to televangelist Pat Robertson, why he thinks Haiti is cursed.

“Our alleged “pact with the devil” helped your country a lot.”

Haitian ambassador’s response, to Robertson

“This is citizen journalism at its best, bringing the news of nature’s worst to a global audience.”

John Savageau, on CNNs use of citizen journalism in Haiti



Summing up 2009: 4Cs of Communication

It’s been a totally unpredictable year for me, as I am sure it was for you.

While I wanted to say Thank You to my readers, friends and family, former colleagues at ASU, I also wanted to share with all of you the core of what I believe in when it comes to the intersection of traditional and new media.

I call it the Four Cs. I realize there may be five, or seven. But think of these as four lenses through which you could clarify what’s happening to marketing, PR, media and advertising. It was a result of a mixed year.

  • It was an exciting year. I had a front seat in seeing communication change at a once top-down, yet collaborative environment such as Arizona State University (population 68,000 +) as faculty, staff and naysayers shifted gears to experiment with and then embrace social media.
  • It was a tough year. I travelled to Sri Lanka for a final goodbye to my dear sister, and experienced how the real power of community works minus Facebook and Tweetdeck.
  • It was a landmark year, when took the bold –some say much belated– step of hanging out my own shingle with Public Radius.
  • It was a  year of experimentation. I’ve recorded conversations with people in coffee shops, interviewed others via Skype, done a series of ‘Twinterviews,’ and even conducted a video conference for the State Department. While at ASU, I got into podcasting (covered topics such as the outbreak of swine flu), helped organizations and individuals start blogging for a variety of reasons –from job seeking to external communications.

So as we close out on 2009, I plan to condense the four things that I have learned. The starting Monday, I will cover them:

Collaboration. Crowd-sourcing. Content Curation. Community.

I hope they are valuable. Enjoy!



Quotes for the week ending 12 Dec, 09

“However Mr. Jobs, now that you got into this mess …You are the only person who can get our APPS ‘everywhere.’ despite the fact that their MAPS have blanketed the country.

Commenter named Gary of Chicago, on the Advertising Age story on how Verizon Wireless created buzz for the Droid phone –a distinct shift in the way a carrier is advancing the popularity of a handset.

“And, the warning? Don’t read too many blog posts like this.”

43 Folders, on NaNoWriMo

“Living Stories,”

Google’s experimental project to save newspapers, featuring content from New York Times and the Washington Post

“Our role is actually stronger than ever, because we are more than  just a magazine … to promote travel around the state.”

Robert Stieve, editor of Arizona Highways magazine

“When you’re using search engines, you’ve got to be diligent. You can’t trust that just because it’s Number 2 or Number 1, it really is…”

Jim Stickey, on how fake web sites trick search engines which become ‘unwitting accomplices’ of Google, Yahoo and Microsoft.

“Industry Listening Program”

One of the four recommendations by Rohit Bhargava, who advises companies on easing into listening via social media by keeping an eye on keywords rather than brand mentions


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Quotes for the week ending 5 Dec, 2009

“The general consensus about my hair, among our team and the client, was that it was distinctive and instantly recognizable — a characteristic we ad people long for in our campaigns, but it sounds funny when we’re talking about my hair.”

Andy Azula, the guy in the U.P.S. whiteboard commercials, in a Q & A with Stuart Elliot. He has a Wikipedia entry!

“Once you start restricting access on the websites, if you have content that can broadly be found somewhere else, then you really restrict the number of people coming to websites.”

Emily Bell, Guardian’s director of digital content, on a regional British newspaper publisher charging for online news content.

“She’s more caustic than a manure lagoon.”

Paul Shapiro, senior director of the US Humane Society Factory Farming Project, on Kerry Trueman, a contestant for the Huffington Post contest for citizen journalists. One person will be chosen to report from the Copenhagen climate change summit next week.

“Most painful for us is not the minaret ban, but the symbol sent by this vote.”

Farhad Afshar, of the Coordination of Islamic Organizations in Switzerland, com

And speaking of symbols…

“It’s that image that has been shattered, sort of like the back window of his SUV, but maybe I’m pushing another metaphor too hard.”

Bill Saporito, on Tiger Woods’ apology

“I realize there are some who don’t share my view on that. But for me, the virtue of privacy is one that must be protected in matters that are intimate and within one’s own family. Personal sins should not require press releases and problems within a family shouldn’t have to mean public confessions.”

Tiger, having dealt with his ‘transgressions’ in a 6-paragraph apology, on his web site.


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Quotes for the week ending 21 Nov 2009

“She is not a girl, and she is not a pinup.”

Susan Estrich, Columnist, on Sarah Palin, saying she hates defending her, but is annoyed at Newsweek for featuring her on the cover in running shorts.

“I am applauding Bebo …I don’t understand the  logic for the others not following suit.”

Jim Gamble, of Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre (Ceop), saying social networking sites need a help button for children to report predators  bullying.and bullies

“we should not make the perfect the enemy of the good,”

Barack Obama, conceding that the Copenhagen summit would not come up with a binding agreement on global warming.

“A portable device with an appropriate wifi connection, and a very powerful browser.”

Google CEO, Eric Schmidt’s definition of a Netbook, in a broad discussion of the future of the internet.

“Huh? If you’re already a Fortune 100 company, ‘brand awareness’ is probably not your biggest problem.”

Fast Company, commenting on a study by Weber Shandwick, that says only about 3/4 of Fortune 100 companies have Twitter accounts, few follow best practices, and most are chasing after brand awareness.

“Would I be cynical if I said I believed Apple was secretly fueling the hype by leaking bits and pieces of information to raise expectations? Does it matter?”

Linda Vandevrede, at ValleyPRBlog, on the role of PR in hype, or whether it evolves in some ‘organic’ way.


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Hopenhagen: inspiring creative, but no offline visibility?

I’ve seen a lot cause marketing campaigns, so perhaps my expectations are high for this one, particularly.

The presentation by Ogilvy Earth (yes they did set up a group with this name for sustainability-related clients) is eye opening,.

It hinges on the word ‘Hopenhagen‘ which initially struck me as yet another clever pun. But it’s been well thought out, to focus on this city less as a destination for activists and tree huggers, and more as a symbol, a buzz word, a starting point for conversations, individual and collective actions…

Two things going for it:

  • An impressive media-backing. Speaking of media, those donating TV, print, radio, online and ‘out-of-home’ media include The Economist, EuroNews, The Financial Times, GOOD Magazine, Google, Harvard Business Review, International Herald Tribune, Reader’s Digest, National Geographic, Newsweek, Scientific American, Business India, Time Warner Cable, and a host of others. JFK and Los Angeles International airports, the Thomson Reuters building in Times Square, and even The Wall Street Journal, typically not supportive of such global warming attention, is also in this group.
  • The campaign is bristling with social media elements –with the usual suspects – Twitter, Facebook, a YouTube channel. There’s an interesting ‘passport’ to be obtained. I like how someone has setup a simple way to use the campaign as a Twitter background, at  The flash mob, that was also part of the campaign, and turned intio a video,  ‘sunbathing’ is very funny, though it’s not gone quite viral. Watch this:

But while all this is impressive and works well in the digital world, I was hoping to see more real world events, local visibility, community calls to action. Passports and online petitions can go so far.

The city of Copenhagen itself has adopted the campaign. Why stop with that?

  • Why shouldn’t citizens of other cities adopt the idea as well? Or claim ‘sister city’ status with Hopenhagen?
  • Where are the meet ups, the walks, the school programs, the spontaneous –copycat flash-mobs events, even– the engagement of utility companies, art venues, universities, churches and temples etc?

We get so focused on digital media, with its global reach, we often forget to communicate, through local channels, and our human networks. If people can change their Twitter background, they will be ready to change some aspects of their analog life as well, if only for a few weeks.

It’s not too late. If only Ogilvy Earth could get slightly more down to earth …


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