Tuesday, February 05, 2008


Today's the day in many states here in the U.S. to vote in the presidential primary elections. Some states have held caucuses and others have had their primary, but this is what they call Super Tuesday where the majority of the states vote.

I am not going to tell you who to vote for. I'm not even going to tell you who I'm going to vote for. What I am going to stress is that you get out and VOTE. Make your voice heard.

If it is raining where you are, like it is here, do not worry, you will not melt. Get to your polling location, spend the time to cast a thoughtful ballot and go home tonight and watch the results. You may or may not be surprised, but you will have made a difference and you will have been heard.

If you are in New Orleans, however, vote and then enjoy Mardi Gras...the results will be there waiting when you get home.


Just a tiny tidbit for today. Thanks for stopping by.

Monday, February 04, 2008

Sunday, Sunday, Sunday...ads, ads, ads

It's been awhile (again!), but I always enjoy talking about the Superbowl ads the day after the big game. For those of us in New England, it was the best thing to talk about today. The rest of "the big game" shall stay forever unmentioned. But, the ads are always a safe bet to discuss.

I'm going to take a different approach to this year's critique. There is a company that a couple of years ago I was squinting at the screen trying to figure out what that new logo meant. It was a funny U-thinggie, I thought, but I wasn't sure. A few short years later and you'd be hard pressed to find anyone who follows sports who doesn't know what Under Armour is. They have shot up to the stratosphere in what seems like the blink of an eye. It seems as though wherever I look I see the Under Armour logo on someone, including all through my beloved, "Friday Night Lights".

As a marketer I'm in awe of the job they are doing to market this company. Last night I was in complete...well, awe....of their strategy. They took out an ad in the biggest arena of the year to announce their new footwear line. Wow! It was an expensive gamble, but that is their audience and Under Armour had their undivided attention. The ad was crisp, had lots of motion and brand spankin' new information for the fans of the brand. Win. Win. Win. Hey, Portland, are you paying attention? (note: Portland is where both Nike and adidas America are based).

From a marketing perspective that is the ad that made me say, "no way". It was a brand new tidbit of information, I hadn't seen the hype for the ad (although it could have been there and I missed it), and it was riviting. I wanted to see what they were about to tell me.

On the flip side. As a person looking for entertainment value and an overall pleasing ad, the Budweiser team hit it again. I agree with the USA Today ad meter. The dog and pony show was a winner. It pulled on some heart strings, had a classic song that everyone knows regardless of age and a fun ending. Well done.

The Bridgestone ads were fun, the Etrade baby was funny and the Coca Cola balloons hit a soft spot with me. My grandfather and I had a thing with Snoopy and the Charlie Brown balloon hit home with me. I'm sure that wasn't quite their intent, but it was heartwarming for me.

Doritos hit with their two consumer ads. Both the lady singer ad (brilliant last line - she's made it this far now it's up to you) and the giant mouse ad (too cute!).

I noticed that both during the bit of the pregame show I saw and the Superbowl itself that user generated content is still alive and prevelant. The guy that did the rap before the game has a MySpace cult following (can't think of his name right now....), MySpace itself placed itself squarely during the game with information about how to view all of the commercials there after the game. I mentioned Doritos and their ads. But, I also got the feel that the Etrade baby ads were based on a YouTube videos. All capturing the feel of user generated content.

This all shows us that user generated content is still what people want. More and more large companies are coming to this realization and doing something about it. Bravo.

The one bit that annoyed me was the over hype of the Sarah Conner Chronicles. Was that because Fox is putting everything they have behind this show or that they didn't have enough advertisers to fill up the show? I even felt that at the end of the 4th quarter that there could have been another round of commercials and their weren't. They showed a lot of the sidelines a few times. It would be interesting to know if, in this economy, that some companies simply felt that the price tag was too much even for the exposure. After all, Dove got more bang for their money with their YouTube video than they would have buying an ad during the Superbowl. I have to wonder how many other companies are trying the "non-traditional" media rather than the big ad buys.

Another thing - why were there not any political ads? Is that a no-no? I haven't followed the protocol of Superbowl ads to know.

One ad that I waited for was the new Dale Earnhardt, Jr ad for Amp. I thought it was supposed to debut during the game, but someone saw it Sunday afternoon on Speed. I missed it. The ad Amp did run during the game left a lot to be desired.

That's all from me about the ads. What did you think? What was your favorite and why?

Just some "super" tidbits for today. Thanks for stopping by.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Whole Foods Recycled Bags

I do some of my shopping at Whole Foods. As someone who doesn't eat meat, it's important to me to get the best veggies I can at all times. Whole Foods does a good job with veggies and isn't that far from my house. My first pick is always Wilson Farm, but that's a good half hour from my house so that isn't a weekly trip - too much time and gas wasted, in my mind. But, I do make it there about once a month. On the other weeks I go to Whole Foods.

This week I noticed that not only do their paper bags announce that they are recycled, but they give you tips on how to continue the use of the bag. On both large sides of the bag it proclaims, "Made of 100% Recycled Paper". On one of the small sides of the bag is the "Top 5 ways to keep this bag alive". What a great idea - here they are:

1. Wrap a gift with it
2. Fill with food or clothing and give to the needy
3. Fold and donate to a food pantry, used book store or thrift shop
4. Craft project! Hat, mast, puppet, paper airplane
5. Use as a trash can liner and stuff with recyclables

Talk about talking the talk! They are using all recycled materials for the bag and helping you to keep the recycling going. Not to mention, they are using all of their resources to get messaging across - things that are important to them like recycling and their core values (listed on the other small side of the bag). Someone was being a smart cookie when they thought to use all of the bag!

By the way, I do both number 2 and number 5 myself. And, I carry things to friend's or relative's houses in the handle bags. It's easier than juggling three or four things in my hands.

Remembe to recycle whenever you can. It's important. Now, thanks to Whole Foods, maybe you have a couple of new ideas of how to go about it.

Just a green tidbit for today. Thanks for stopping by.

Snow Day!

A snow day when you are an adult who can work from home isn't quite as fun as when you were a kid, but it still has its advantages. Hot cocoa on the couch, tv on in the background, blanket wrapped around you on the couch and a little time out for....shoveling! Ok, that last part isn't so fun, but it's all part of snow days. I'll take it! Now...time for that cocoa....

Just a snowy tidbit for today. Thanks for braving the snow and stopping by.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Slogan That Pulls You In

For a few days now I've been absently looking at an ad on Boston.com that catches my eye every time. It's made me read it and smile every time I do. That's a feat in and of itself. It's simple and true.

It's the "Life is Short Sale" by Jet Blue. So true, so true. Life is short, so why wouldn't you click to see what the sale is? So...I just did. It gets better, when you click it says, "Live. Love. Laugh. Fly. Get out there and play. Don't think twice..."

I like it. Why? Because it's simple. It's not complex or trying to be something it's not. They are gently reminding people that life is short and that you should live. If that means flying, well, hey, they have a sale. They also cover the whole, "well I'll think about it for another time" bit, too. "Don't think twice" just (dare I say it) do it.

Sale ends Friday and there are no destinations covered that I'm interested in, but I wanted to mention their campaign more than anything. I know they've had their share of mistakes, but just looking at this campaign alone, I think they tapped into something we all think about, we all "know" but don't act on enough. That's probably why it's been catching my eye so often - it's something we all know and even say "life is short" but don't act on much.

So, whatever your pleasure is, don't think twice...do it, because life is short. Be good to yourself when you can. Thanks, Jet Blue, for the reminder.

Just a little tidbit for today. Thanks for stopping by.


(photo: AP via boston.com)

Here is your "awwwwww" moment for the day. A baby polar bear being cared for at the Nuremburg zoo. There are several pictures at that link.

Think I could get one of those? Soooo cute!


Just a tiny, tiny tidbit for today. Thanks for stopping by.

Sunday, January 06, 2008

US Presidential Debates

Throughout the years I've followed politics more from the corner of my eye than straight on. To me, most candidates for anything are just people who love to hear themselves talk and blow a lot of hot air. There have been a few exceptions, of course, but as a general rule, well, there you have it in my little opinion.

Since I haven't been keeping up too much with the US presidential run until last week, I decided to sit down for the marathon debates last night. If you aren't in the US, both major parties had a debate on the same night in the same place. The Republican candidates debated for 90 minutes first and then the Democrat candidates came out and debated for the next 90 minutes. In the middle they all came to the stage for an interesting photo op. I'm sure photographers were in their glory capturing all the body language going on there.

I'm not going to get into my political views here, but I will say that there is one candidate that I absolutely hate with a passion, one candidate that I want to vote for hands down, but have issues with some decisions in that person's personal life (which might effect how that person could run the country) and others that I just wonder why they are even there.

However, the last question of the night was a pivotal one for me. I wish they'd had more like it for both parties. The last question to the Democrats was something like this, "You have participated in numerous debates with each other up to this point. What is something that you regret saying and wish you could take back?".

Brilliant question! It was a time for these folks to show their human side. A time for them to admit, yes I do make mistakes (because every single person does) AND to show how they handle that mistake. In other words how they presented it to the public. After all, any person who steps into the White House will, inevitably, make some mistake - big or small. They will have to address the mistake at some point and how they do that will sway public opinion and confidence. Oh yea, I couldn't wait to hear their answers.

Clinton was first up and completely disappointed. She didn't answer the question at all! She used the time to get more messaging out about her positions and then ended with that she'd let her opponents discuss her mistakes. Excuse me? That's how you'd handle a mistake in the White House? Complete dud of an answer.

Richardson was next. He was open, honest and had a great response. He'd answered a question about a Supreme Court Justice and, when he researched the person more in-depth later realized that the person was for segregation. He felt terribly about that and wished that he'd thought about his answer more carefully. Mistake? Yes! Huge. Spoke before he had all the facts, but did the research later (ok, an aide probably did) and now admits that he should have had more facts first. Good deal. Honest. I appreciated that.

Obama did a complete cop out like Clinton. Took the same route and even, for the first time in the night, agreed with Clinton to say that he'd let his opponents decide that. Again, complete dud of an answer. Where is the human side?

Edwards was lead into his regret, but I think he was going to say it anyway. He took an 'easy' way out, but nonetheless didn't try to turn it around to talk more about his views. He regretted a comment about Clinton's wardrobe earlier in the campaign and complimented her on her choice last night. Short and to the point - made a mistake and tried to right it (although a little obviously). Again, a human side to the politician.

We all know the candidates are flesh and blood human beings. We all know people make mistakes, but it how they handle those mistakes that matters. I would have liked to see more of that last night. I do think that the Democrats did a better job at showing humanity than the Republicans who were just out to stab each other at any chance they could get. I wished they'd asked them a humanizing question at the end, too.

Yes, the issues are paramount and I want to hear how the candidates feel about all of them. But, I also want a president this time around that I can have at least some confidence in as a person. Part of that confidence is understanding a little bit about them as a person, too. Is it so much to ask to see a human side to these folks, too?

Just a tiny political tidbit this morning. Thanks for stopping by.

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Two Smart Cookies Together

When I first started to blog I was pushed into it a little by Shel Israel (he was right, but the way, but don't tell him that...shhhh) to get going and helped along the way by my friend in Australia Lee Hopkins. I've learned bunches from both and am excited to see they had a collaboration of sorts this week.

Shel did an email interview with Lee and posted it yesterday. I'm a day behind, but it is interesting reading. Great questions and thoughtful answers. Anyone interested in social media, especially in Australian business, can learn a lot from it. I did. Check it out.

Bravo guys!

Just a quick tidbit on a frigid New England night. Thanks for stopping by.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Phrases to Kick to the Curb

I was listening to the radio while driving back to work today -- seriously, one day off in the middle of the week is a tease - nice, but a total tease! But, I digress...let's start again...

I was listening to WZLX this morning where the morning crew was in the middle of talking about words that should stop being used because they are basically "over done". Some they came up with are:
"don't even go there"
"at the end of the day"
"all said" (the guy who called in with this one rightfully said that this doesn't even make sense)
"sweet" (when not used in reference to candy or cookies)

I can see that. Reminded me of a piece by Sarah McAdams that I read on Ragan.com recently about the 12 top mistakes in corporate writing. Yes, I've made a few - you have to, don't think you haven't. It was an eye opening list.

At the end of the article she has a list of annoying jargon and overused phrases which had me nodding my head. We all hear them....might even say them ourselves, but when they are there in black and white it makes it seem a little more..well, silly. Here are a few of my favorites (comments are mine):
"Take this offline" (um, we are all sitting in a conference room, we aren't 'online')
"Circle back" (what happened to old fashioned, we'll get back to this in a minute, or an hour, or never)
"Circle the Wagons" (little too old fashioned, maybe? We aren't on the Little House on the Praire)
"Out of pocket" (makes me think of James Bond...007 is out of pocket catching the bad guys)
"Table that"
"Loop you in"
"Net-net" (must admit, I'd never heard this before)
"In the weeds"

And that's just the short list. It was interesting to read and know that other people think these are overused and, maybe even inappropriately used.

For marketing and PR folks it should make you think that these are phrases not to use in the new year. They are over used, over done, whatever you'd like to call them, but people don't want to hear them any more. That means that the people you want to get your message out to or people you want to create a community with certainly don't want to hear these phrases. Let's get fresh ones - ones that make sense - ones that don't include wagons, please.

We are creative people. We can come up with a whole new list that will be over used by December, 2008, right? Think about it. Let me know what you come up with.

And, while we are at it, what is your favorite overused phrase? Do tell.

Just a rambling tidbit for today. Thanks for stopping by.