advertising and other stuff. no, really.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

How far would you go for your brand?

Not any brand, but your brand. The one you use every day? One geek went as far as to have ink done on her left hand of favorite brand xanga. (Web 2.0 brand, careful—the ink will probably last longer than the company.) Wonder how much more of this you’ll see though. A generation who won’t mind using the brand that uses them—possibly getting paid to as well. Why not just shill the next gen of kids out to the highest bidder on eBay. Raise them right from the start using only certain brands. Laugh, but somewhere someone’s thinking about emailing Doritos for an exclusive sponsorship.

Maybe even Ikea for rights to the womb.

Diversity adversity.

See? Get a bunch of angry ad people together and shit actually gets done. Hopefully. The One Club–Adversity program has launched Adversi+y to help open up the industry to multicultural students who might not be aware of the fun that awaits them in this biz, as well as mentoring junior creatives. A bunch of major shops have people who will be sitting on this board to improve things. Well, they can start with one dude. Anyone in the country interested in hiring a young animator/AD with serious skillz, one who was at the diversity hearing months ago doubting a future for minorities after hearing the ad horror stories, email me and I’ll give you his contact info: makethelogobigger[AT]earthlinkDOTnet.

I mourn from a land down under.

Is that loved one about to go six feet down under? Why not summon ghosts with a catchy tune.

Or, if floating apparitions aren’t your thing, perhaps a unique Dove Service™ is more to your liking. (They also provide alternative choices for all types of animal lovers. Dog lover? Fear not—we’ll release a pack of chihuahuas. Maybe you were into reptiles. No problem there either. Who doesn’t love snakes at a funeral?)*

*Due to longer lead times in procurement, sloth lovers may want to call ahead.

United States of America certified.

Okay, you probably at one time or another need to comp up something ‘official’ looking for a shoot, right? Noticed in the Hydroxycut TV spot above an interesting spin on that problem. Certainly we can get some official organization to approve of it? What? You mean the FDA hasn’t yet? All we could get were The United States of America and some flag colors :08 seconds in? Hopefully our standing in the world hasn’t eroded to the point that our name can no longer endorse unregulated weightloss products. Or has it?

Customer service you freaks.

“Companies Need to Unify Multiple Channels of Engagement and Ensure Consistent Messaging and Content Delivery in a Challenged and Consolidating Market, Says CMO Council Study.”

Now that WSJ headline is a Thought Leader’s wet dream. A new study out shows that while some brands like Home Depot may do well putting out a consistent brand message, others are blowing it when it comes to providing good customer experiences.

“Ominously, consumers have stated that a single negative experience with a brand can alter the decision to do business with a company.”

Which echoes what I said previously in my ongoing customer service rant. Too many campaigns end at the viral.

It’s great TV makes me feel a certain way about a brand. It’s great the microsite let's me see other people talk about their experiences. Maybe an amazing rich media ad takes me to a special discount page. SEO made sure the appliance I was looking for popped up on the first Google results page. Sweet. Everything did what it was supposed to.

Problem is, whether you order directly online or go into a store, you’re not done.

Will a viral take care of the cashiers who don’t care? Will paid search help with the products that are out of stock? Will the shiny happy TV spot do anything about the self-serve scanner that can’t scan a simple can?

It ALL has to work together: Microsites. PR. Guerilla. Blogs. Search. In-store displays. Whatever it may be. All your keywords are belong to us because none of those things means much if I walk into the store and leave angry.

Brands now have so many media channels with which to get their message out, true. But how many times have you seen PR, advertising, the media agency and the SEO people all work against each other rather than towards the brand’s ultimate goal with this mindset: “Hey, customer had a bad experience? Not our problem.”

Wanna bet?

Monday, September 29, 2008

All your Red Alerts are belong to us.

Intriguing spot for EA's new Command & Conquer Red Alert 3 from Draftfcb SF. Of course, I have a soft spot for explosions, chicks with automatic weapons and offbeat celebrities delivering quirky dialog. Peter Stomare—oh, SNAP!


Concert postermania.

With the size of iTunes cover art being about 20 x 20 pixels now, there are very few outlets for large-scale band art. Check out some amazing concert posters from 10 different designers here on Smashing Magazine.

(Tip to Zeke.)

10% real stuff, 90% sugary crap.

10% may be generous. I swear I give up.


“Stars don’t fade away, they just go to Lifetime.”

Or work in Ikea branded content. Easy to Assemble just came out with its second episode called Actors Anonymous. (This was the series I mentioned Previously with Illeana Douglas.) After watching the first two episodes, it’s clear Ikea will get what it wants out of this in terms of exposure since episdoe one already has 250+K views. Great cameos and the writing is funny. But looking through my UK Office/Larry Sanders jaded eyes, the performances by some felt a little too overplayed. (Hey, sue me, that’s just not how I like my actors to role, in a more mocumentary tone like Jane Lynch’s bit in the first episode above.) Worth checking out for the cameos alone.


Oh, and we loved wrapping type around shit back then too.

Please, don’t let this happen to you. We were young. What did we know. We had Garamond Condensed, a ton of product specs—and a dream. Those who don’t learn from the typographic equivalent of a bad haircut are doomed to repeat the same mistakes.


“Why not use a device the size of a small car?”

Good question in this Microsoft Surface parody, but watch out, iPhones will get this big. You’ll see.

Take your pick of quotes.

Oh, yeah, first off, dumbass deserves a slap. Now, if you didn’t get enough quotable material from the debate Friday night, watch the rest of the story, and take your pick here:

“Racheal Epitatz.”

“Szele didn’t handle alcohol well.”

“She need to be in A.A.A.”

Well, now she need a bus and a lawyer.

Stewardesses, er, hostesses, um, flight attendants. What are they called now?

Because the new Southwest :30 features scary forehead conjoined lady, (and mostly because I couldn’t find it yet on their site or YouTube—FAIL), I found other less scary Southwest spots, back when flight attendants were proud to be hostesses in hotpants. For other ste... flight attendant fun, watch flight attendants sans nicotine, or fashionable attendants getting a little freaky. Or maybe these guys.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

McCain - 1, Obama - 0?

McCain came off as a maverick, not letting Barack have much of a word edgewise, let alone facing him, nor listening to moderator Jim Lehrer. He did come off as a little more approachable with a few quips early on though and seemed to be sure of himself throughout, if a bit repetitious hammering home some of the GOP talking points.

Barack was on the defensive too much and gave credit to McCain way too often. He’s still thinking about his answers, seemingly rephrasing questions because he disagrees with their premise. He needs to answer with a Yes or No, then explain away if he needs to. Obama also needs to come off far more presidential and take control of the next debate and take the attack to McCain.

Problem with mavericks is that they tend do what they want without consulting a lot of people. McCain is ready day one, I have no doubt, but the presidency is also is about seeking the advice of those who may know a little more than you.

Still, McCain acted like a leader. The accuracy of Individual points notwithstanding, he has now managed to frame the campaign and this first debate in the context of America’s safety and the war—period. Disagree with that if you want, but there are a lot of people in OH, TX, PA, VA, FL who believe that is the defining issue of this election. (Jetpacks notwithstanding.) Those people tonight saw a leader talk down to a junior senator and position him as inexperienced and not tough enough for the job.

Don’t underestimate five years in prison. McCain knows he can ‘survive’ a campaign, as does his camp. He doesn’t expect a landslide because it’s unrealistic. He just has to do enough to win. Obama seems focused on uniting everyone. Nice goal but also unrealistic. The debate may have failed to produce a classic soundbite like “You’re no Jack Kennedy,” but McCain will take a win, even if he had to eek one out. Mavericks don’t care that 49.99% of the population disagree with them—they only care about the other 51.01%.

Especially on election day.


Friday, September 26, 2008



What the...?

Eruption on violin.
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Do not call the appendix-challenged.
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International Federation of Competitive Eating?
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He may be more graceful than she is.
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Protection for the gravity challenged.
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Jetpack sorta guy does the English Channel.
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Ebay auction of the decade. (So far.)
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Looking for Mr. Right on craigslist.
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Use your signals when elbowing someone.

Via scaryideas comes a series of fun Russian road safety clips. I’m pretty sure they said something in Russian at the end, but you get the gist of the spot, which appears to be: don’t leave the house or Natasha will drive her heel through your foot.

Who’s in your 5?

It’s back, like a rash. The top 5 songs currently stuck in your head, on your iPod, iTunes,, etc.

1) Busenfreund [Dzihan and Kamien Dub] - Tosca
2) Endure - Nonpoint
3) Hurt - Johnny Cash
4) A Girl Whom My Eyes Shine For But My Shoes Run From – Eugene McGuinness
5) Sing A Simple Song - Sly & The Family Stone

“Seems like a good way to piss the blogosphere off.”

That’s a comment on The Denver Egotist about a campaign for Corbis stock photography, which now turns out to be a self-promo effort from a local agency called General Projects run by Ben Pieratt. Don’t know why they would take the heat over it. More cred to them for having the initiative to go out and do something to get on a brand’s radar. (Similar to a few bloggers I know who decided to get in a van recently.) At the heart of both efforts is the need by smaller agencies to compete with larger ones in more non-traditional ways. How the hell else can a small shop hope to compete with a BDA for a major brand unless it does something a little different? It didn’t cost Corbis anything in this case and showed hustle on the part of the agency.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Because even activists need checking accounts?

I get the point of the spot, but I think it’s way off and does more to annoy than connect. All this says is true love overcomes all. Make no mistake HSBC, she’d burn down all your banks with her friends if given the chance. But hey, least you guys got to go out and film with ‘real loggers.’ Next up: PETA activist living with a commercial fisherman argue over his 401k.

Maybe the campaigns need “Truth Dollars.”

Pay people to turn in their neighbors. It could work. Why, forget paying down Fanny Mae, let’s go get some Obama supporters Commies!


(Image via.)

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Overheard internet.

Cool, honest or stupid—you decide.

oneya, you’re an idiot. McCain isn’t involved with TERRORISTS. But Obama is. If you’re not a total ret@rd, you’re either an anti-American living in this country (Democrat, Socialist, or Anarchist), or a terrorist symptathizer/supporter, or a terrorist yourself, seeking to spread lies so your candidate gets elected.”
– Bobo

“'Hmm..I Managed To Kill 3 Mins. Oh And Btw, That Was Retarded. In SO Many Ways.”
– Toosxyforu

“he dumbass the mitsubishi eclipse was a. designed in america, and b. built here so shut the fuck up cause you have no idea wht u are talking about, and c. most american cars are shit (srry but it is tru) ever drive a ford? i do i hate it ukno y? its a pos gas guzzling rust bucket so yea id rather have an eclipse – anUzi4U

“Maybe he beats them when he sings to them other times and thats why they are laying down...
– sensationpdx

“This lady is a gift to us from God. She is REAL, not slick or fake. She has probably made a big impact on McCain as well, softening his heart on certain matters. I loved when she said later in the interview that her faith was her foundation. How brave. You can see the love of Jesus shining in her and that is what is attracting people to her, even though they may not be aware of what that power is.
– Jill

“Take Rushes name out of the article and look at the facts you goobs. Heres another fine example of brilliance. "Rush "Puff the Magic Negro" Limbaugh is accusing anyone of stoking racism? I'm sorry. I was laughing so hard that I couldn't type..." Whats so funny about that song is all the words were pulled from a newspaper articles.. he just added a melody. How do some of you get dressed by your selves every morning..”
– Pepper

But wait, there’s more.

Tabby croissant. Mmmm.
Barbie’s missiles are deadly.
Bored? Good. Now, go tap some songs. (Via Zeke.)
Only in America: Live Obama signage coverage.
Adcolor announces awards.
I thought we got rid of all the ravers.
Israeli Acme Rocket company. (Via.)
Yessongs album cover finally a reality?
The Stevester is back.
Financial fish.
Gee, don’t know why soccer hasn’t caught on here.
Anyone wanna hear their horoscope? On second thought.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Google Android—it’s just like an iPhone, only, not.

Google just released their version of the Zune of cell phones called Android. Finally. It’ll be attractive because it beats the cost of iGod’s more famous creation by $20, the monthly service charge by $5, and oh, btw, help you find stuff with a ‘pretty decent’ search engine on a keyboard that slides out. That’s all the speeds and feeds info tech stuff I scanned from the release though, or cared to, because even though people will buy in droves and stores will report ‘brisk’ sales, the one thing that matters most is:

It’s not an iPhone.

Yeah, I know it’s not an iPhone, but how do you compete against something you say you’re not when you openly acknowledge it? Wanna kill the iPhone? Make something so cool people forget about it, not, “Let’s make something that does pretty much what it does.” You can engineer all the function you want, but there’s something to be said for engineering cool.

First sign, when you come up with a name that tries too hard. Next thing to consider is the Get Smart factor. Maybe Android 2.0 will have shoe phone capabilities. (It also looks like more like a way for them to push their OS than for them selling a really cool phone—“Buy the OS and we’ll throw in a phone.”) Hey, maybe Google’s okay with taking a bite out of Apple with those who wanted an affordable iPhone knock-off and will instead settle* for clunky.

*Disclaimer for the iPhone haters of the world: I passed in favor of LG’s knockoff—for a $125 less than the Android. Why? Dumbass AT&T/Apple $30 monthly data fee on top of regular family text charges. See, cool DOES have a price.


Sinking your loved ones—one putt at a time.

Continuing with more funeral home goodness, I think I may have an answer to the golf tee puzzle. Although after watching this spot, looks like they spend more time sinking putts than bodies.

Just come out and say it.

I’d have more respect for both sides if they would just cut to the chase. They’re practically doing it now anyway with the latest “Obama is corrupt” spot from McCain. Obama from the South Side of Chicago?
McCain a POW and a fighter? Prove it this Friday night at the first debate. Just like a Tyson weigh-in, the two should just run across stage and go at it. It’s okay, the handlers can step in last sec to save face, both sides claiming ‘victory.’ (Maybe George Stephanopoulos can jump on stage and even grab onto someone’s feet like Jeff Van Gundy did with Zoe.)

Sure would beat watching angst-ridden college students ask candidates about world peace.

Tags: ,

Monday, September 22, 2008

In honor of advertising week...

...why not celebrate with what agencies do best: lies well sold. What better category to represent the week than spirits? Although the headline needs a little work to make it more realistic: “Might as well start drinking now—you’ll never get near her.” Or maybe “The more you drink, the better she looks.”

HAPPY ADVERTISING WEEK! Now, go buy an AE a card.


(Image via.)

Vaseline works on other guy parts too.

Easy. That’s what the spot said.

(Via, via Zeke.)

Yes, I have a question for Spike.

How the hell does Dane Cook keep getting roles? Got a better one? Ask Spike now.

What you really get.

Usually, I don’t mind a Red 40 or Blue 1 when it comes to artificial colors, but could they at least add enough to make it look like the pic?


Social media loser.

Yeah, that’s pretty much me. While going through some old emails, I noticed a ton of few sites I signed up for over the past year or two, but kind of let go in terms of visiting. Usually I signed up for this or that because someone sent me an invite or I’d discovered them via another site. Problem is, there’s no way to read them all. Maybe because I blog too much, but out of the 45 below, I literally use one regularly, Twitter. Any other losers out there signed up on too many sites?

Gawker Media
Second Life

Sunday, September 21, 2008

6 feet under par.

I’ve seen a lot of shit, but so far this beats all. After a recent trip to a funeral home, (one of my favorite things to do), I noticed on the counter right next to the prayer cards a bowl of ... wait for it ... promotional golf tees with the funeral home’s logo and url. So, we’re sorry about your loss—have a golf tee? I mean maybe I can see the association of putting something into the ground, (tee and casket?), but even that’s a stretch for my warped mind.

Or maybe they were out of refrigerator magnets?


Saturday, September 20, 2008

Friday, September 19, 2008

Back when men were men and women knew their place.


Dept. of Homeland Security introduces new Muppet color coding threat level system.

LET’S GET READY. WE ARE AT THREAT LEVEL ELMO PEOPLE. Be vigilant, otherwise the Muppets will have won. Add Meryl Chertoff, (wife of Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff), to the list of bored D.C. housewives. To help scare future generations prepare children for the inevitable terrorist lurking around every corner emergencies, they’ve created Let’s Get Ready! But what would Jim do knowing Kermit sold out to Big Brother?

(Image via.)


Of viral viralness.

STOP getting hung up on the idea that video is the only thing that can be ‘viral.’ Two examples here that border on guerilla, experiential, interactive, whatever. First, for Corbis, check out schtock stock on Denver Egotist, and for Oasis, great idea for spreading the word about their new release, instead of pulling a Metallica freakout.

I’m wearing a pair right now.

Riiiiiiiiiiight. If e-MANcipate! is a real movement to get men to wear pantyhose, I will... what? It is a real movement? Damn. (Shouldn’t they be called boxer or jockeyhose though?)

(Tip to the Natividad.)

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Vote now—or else.

Or else ... nothing.

(Tip to Angela.)

Obama takes on immigration—and Rush Limbaugh.

At least Obama’s focus is on an actual issue like immigration reform. Not sure though if mentioning Limbaugh in the latest spot is a bad move or a clever one. (It’s in Spanish with loose translation here.)

Seems clever in that he’s clearly going after someone with a very large audience. Is it an attempt to discredit Rush in the court of public opinion and erode some of his nearly 20 million weekly listeners? Maybe even sway some of the undecideds who won’t admit to listening to him?

Could be a worse move because it now gives credibility to all the talkshow hosts from both sides hiding behind the veil of “commentary and opinion.” What, us? We’re not the media. We’re just offering up our opinions. What effect could we possibly have? (THIS JUST IN: Drive-by media? Hannity and Colmes? MSNBC? Drudge? Blogs? NY Times? It’s all media.)

That’s fine if that’s all it was, but the guilty by association logic of Fox News does have an effect, at the very least, on their base. Say it loud enough, long enough and people believe it—and share it. Offering opinion or swaying public policy unfairly? You decide!

Something’s wrong though when you toss softballs to your candidates in interviews, then throw fastballs at the heads of opponents. Talkshow hosts should be nothing more than fans in the stands watching the game. If they occasionally run around drunk on the field, okay.

Problem is, somewhere along the line they started to believe they were actually part of the team and belonged on the field.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

“I think my penis has dissolved into a lake of beer.”

Forget Mad Men characters on twitter, somone finally did something more creative called Twenis. (Big Plaid find to Darryl.) Key words from updates are replaced with the word penis. Juvenile? Yes. Funny as hell? Oh, you know it, champ. Also works great on messy spills and self-indulgent poet musings too! Go from “Eating a banana dipped in strawberry yogurt. Heaven!” to “Eating a penis dipped in strawberry yogurt. Heaven!” Now, if they can just work in penis on all those updates about Top 10 SEO tips, Saturday nights on Twitter won’t suck so bad.


I’m not saying they should, but...

...with the way the last-minute rhetoric is flying fast and furious, wouldn’t surprise me to see both campaigns push the merch angle even further. Jetpacks shows some of the new stuff they came out with, but can Hope on a Rope be too far behind? Maybe McCain branded Hanoi Hilton His ’n Hers bathrobes and slippers? “The ‘surge’ is working” condoms? (Would a pro-life candidate even have condoms?)

So, would you wash ... with hope? I think you would.

Conversation is nice, customer service is nicer-The Greeter.

(Part 2 in a series on customer service. Part 1 here.)

Yeah, you know them. You walk into a Walmart and they’re right up front as you come in. “Hello, how are you!” Maybe they smile, more often than not though, they kinda smile. Lowe’s* and Home Depot have them. Best Buy too. Before you neg me for hating the kindly folk assigned this duty, I do recognize the attempt to harken back to a time when the customer was king!

Problem is, I go into the store for one thing: to be left alone. I do not want to feel obligated to do anything, from buying to saying hello back. If I say hello to you first, then you can reply. (Maybe I’m still holding a grudge because you vaporized my local hardware store, the one where everyone knew my name?)

I probably wouldn’t mind as much if The Greeter actually looked like they wanted to be there. Smile much? As it is, they don’t want to be there anymore than I want to have to say hello. I understand the logic: Bring back a sense of customer service from the days of Ozzie and Harriet, where they helped you out to your car with your bags.

In larger stores like Home Depot or Walmart, greeting duty might be split up, one when you enter, one when you leave.

Problem is, the greeters in some chains might also be profiling certain shoppers upon leaving. Some get stopped while others do not. If my card went through at the register already, and your cashier saw that it did, then why are you stopping me? I didn’t suddenly sneak a 42” plasma in my bag.

The variation on The Greeter? The annoying greeter.

I find this sub-species at Hollywood Video and Best Buy. A smile just as you enter a store is one thing, but this group lets you get 10 feet into the store and says loudly across several people “How ya doing today!” Like, I‘m supposed to stop, turn and start a conversation up? I just might have to one time if only I wasn’t always in a hurry. Again, see above: Need to be left alone.

Conversely, I’ve been in line when said cashiers have to pull Annoying Greeter duty and yell out to everyone coming in. Excuse me. Over here. Focus. I’m paying for your time. Don’t be cheating on me with other customers.

What makes this worse is when you don’t find what you need, possibly after spending 20-30 minutes too, and you leave. Pissed. Guess who’s waiting at the front of the store to say “Have a nice day!”

Yeah, you know who.

(Coming in part 3: - The Helper)

*I know what you’re going to say: “Dude, just don’t shop there.” Fair enough, but dude, you don’t understand: I live where there is nowhere else to shop. Lowe’s corporate has me in their grip.

Close is relative.

Pretty sure this is as close as their audience will ever get.




Tuesday, September 16, 2008

The U.S. Government vs. Mad Ave.



Ken Wheaton mentioned after the last open diversity hearing that the industry needs to do something before the lawyers do. Too late. Looks like Cyrus Mehri is looking into legal means to possibly force changes in minority hiring practices for agencies. After speaking with Mr. Mehri, it was clear to me that the NFL model of promoting and hiring minority coaches and staff was something to be looked at. Will this turn into nothing more than a quota system? Who knows, but status quo apparently hasn’t cut it.

*With all due respect to Jetpacks and his great ad series, I threw together a Big Advertising homage. (Click to enlarge.) The general views expressed are not meant to be those of any of the fine upstanding gentlemen pictured from Big Tobacco, I just needed a photo. Besides, that group has probably already earned a first-round by in the Hell post-season with the whole lying about nicotine thing.

Robots takin it to the hole, er hub.

You can never have too many robot spots. Nobody’s jumping off a bridge or building anything in this Mitsubishi Eclipse spot, just jamming and having fun.


Mad Men’s Wearhouse.

Consistency works—I guarantee it. This Men’s Wearhouse spot takes a page from the graphic look of the Mad Men era and workplace fashion. They have a promotion where you donate an old suit for workers transitioning into the workforce which gets you a discount off a future purchase. A gently used suit that is, according to their website description. (So anyone working for Trump, forget it. You’ve probably gotten a few too many new ones torn in those pants.)

Monday, September 15, 2008

Who knew. The average age of an Element buyer is 44.7 years old.

The Web 2.0 Bullshit Generator™—Reinvent Podcasting Tagclouds.

Doesn’t Remix long-tail blogospheres sound so mission statemently? It does, doesn’t it. Or maybe you prefer to Design AJAX-enabled ecologies? Well, now you can. Just add venture capital and click! You’ll be in Web 2.0 heaven in no time. But first, don’t forget, you’ll need a Web 2.0 domain. Can I suggest Web 2.0 Domain Name Generator? You know, I think I will.
(Via revmags.)

Comedy Central’s presidential platform contest–because you CAN do better America.

No really. After watching these. Upload now!

Sunday, September 14, 2008

What my campaign did this summer.

T-minus 51 days and counting and it looks like Hope on the ropes. I felt like doing a summer report card on some of the major areas of the campaign dysfunction. (Jetpacks decided to revisit his political side because the campaign was getting less and less about advertising. I actually think you can take something away from this mess though from an advertising POV.)


Strategy. You wouldn’t recommend a brand change it’s message, yet both candidates have done just that. It’s working for McCain as the new ‘candidate of change’ while Obama has gotten away from Hope slightly. The surge has worked for McCain more than it has for Obama.

McCain: B+
Obama: C+


Specific message.
Give the GOP credit. Predictable, yet effective. They are war heros—Dems are not. You will be made to feel less like a man because Sarah hunts bears with her teeth—and you don’t. Women, children and the feeble? Dems can’t protect you, but the GOP can.

Give Obama even less credit for not being more direct in this regard. If it’s possible, he draws a point out longer than I do. When O’Reilly asked him recently if the U.S. would consider a military option against Iran, he should’ve said yes. Done.

In that setting with an audience clearly against you, this may not win converts, but it wins points. Instead, he did what it always seems like he’s trying to do: Challenge the premise of a question by trying to reframe it. Which is fine, but answer first. Explain after if you don’t like the way it was asked.

And more cred to McCain for distancing himself from being Bush’s third term by saying as much, even though Obama has an opening there to attack McCain’s oh-so-similar policies.

McCain: A-
Obama: C


A different kind of politics?
Eh, nope. Looks like the hockey GILF has Obama’s jersey pulled over his head while both her and coach throw a few uppercuts. Questions about community service, senatorial experience, ads that quote sources that actually never were, um, sources, and the fear card.

Obama can’t argue the executive experience point because technically, he loses there. He can’t jump on a bookburning bandwagon either because there isn’t one—she never banned any. (She asked a librarian if she would have a problem banning books if requested to.) Still, that’s an important point glossed over by McCain’s side: Spin it all you want, but who thinks to even ask that question unless you have something in mind.

All he can do is go after her for lying about knowing what her people were up to in Troopergate. Obama also vowed a new kind of politics but chose Washington insider Biden.

Which also goes back to strategy. McCain gets extra credit here for turning his homework in on time: The choice of Palin took the focus off McCain and put Obama on the ropes in a defensive mode debating some of those issues above. Someone needs to remind him it’s McCain vs. Obama, not Palin vs. Obama. Likewise, Obama could get around mentioning her specifically and instead attack her views in the context of McCain being just more of the same Bush-type policiess.

(This class was taken pass/fail.)

McCain: Fail
Obama: Fail


Use of traditional and digital media.

TV. Both sides have been cautious on which shows they appear. At this point before the upcoming debates, both are playing prevent but the media is barking and won’t shut up. The media supporting both sides claim the other is getting treated with kid gloves. Yeah, I could see how they’d think that. For every polite Chris Wallace vid with McCain, there’s an Obama and Oprah. Then I’ll see your Gibson/Palin and raise you an O’Reilly/Obama.

The only true source to keep things fair and balanced was Tim Russert.

McCain: C
Obama: C


Radio. Quite simply, McCain rules here—without spending one dime because afternoon drive does his work for him. Radio doesn’t need an internet connection. It’s been on a long time, convincing a lot of people in key states that they’re not safe from terrorists. McCain benefits from this traditional form of social media. Each afternoon, host and listener gather from 12-8 pm—straight.

Compare that to Obama’s audience who will be on MyTwitterSpaceBook all at once, maybe interacting with other users but not hearing a clear, strong message beyond ‘Bush sucks!’

In both cases though, it’s still both sides preaching to respective choirs.

McCain: A+
Obama: D


Internets. Obama has used as many channels online to appeal to both new and undecided voters while McCain’s approach has been to use the same tools to cement his base. Damn if both aren’t quick to update right after a national disaster. The RNC even tied their convention in with a telethon to aid Katrina and Gustav victims, and now, McCain and Obama take on Ike. Score!

McCain: B+
Obama: A

Maybe they were trying to say he ‘waffles’ on the issues?

How low is this gonna go. And there’s still plenty of time to go lower.


Friday, September 12, 2008

Kids these days.

I miss Bryce and L.A. C’mon, they brought you this far.


But wait, there’s more.

Guess GoDaddy Stadium ain’t looking like such a bad idea.
Too many cooks spoiling the advertising.
This cat tastes delish!
He got name.
Uh, it’s Hawaii. Do you really need to spend $12 million to tell people “It’s nice here, come visit?”
If you're gonna go after Obama and his church, then....
The internet is running out of room.
Stop talking about emotion in advertising—put some in.
Barack the creative director.
Bloggers matter debate surfaces again.

Executive experience.

He didn’t have a lot of it either, but I would’ve voted for the man


Conversation is nice, customer service is nicer.

(After a recent great experience with the staff at my nearest Lowe’s, I got to thinking about customer service, in effect, a brand’s weakest link. This is the first in a series.)

Lost in all the Thought Leader™ conversation hoopla is customer service. Forget for a sec ‘conversations’ brands try to have with customers on corporate blogs, the ordering process online, or even the thrill of calling tech support. I’m talking about walking into a store ready to buy and instead leaving ready to kill, all because the cashier didn’t give a damn.

Apart from the actual product, the contact you have with cashiers, managers and other staff is the single most important thing that can influence brand perception by customers. If you don’t think so, recall how many times you’ve bought something, but due to lousy customer service vowed to never to go into that store again.

Too many.

It’s great that so many brands are involved in—wait for it—‘social media’ like Twitter, but their presence there for the most part has been mostly about damage control. Actively crowdsourcing feedback or ideas that might lead to a better customer experience would be a better use.

One notable exception is Zappos, where not only is CEO Tony Hsieh on it, but the entire brand is encouraged to be on it. Customer service isn’t an afterthought with them, hence the “Powered by customer service” tagline. While the focus of this post is about actual retail stores, (which Zappos does have), and not virtual ones, the important thing there is that they thought about customer service right from the start.

Looking at all the hassles you have to go through when shopping, is it any reason you’d rather order stuff online? Because I can, I put together a flowchart breaking down the general sequence of that hell we all face. It outlines the events that occur anytime you leave the house to go buy something. Along the way, notice how many chances there are for things to go wrong when it comes to customer service. And this is before you even get to use whatever it is you bought. (Click chart to enlarge.)

Maybe high prices or poor store layout were to blame, but it’s almost always the human element that’s the problem. How many stores do you dread going into because “They’re all a bunch of f***ing idiots in there?”

Once again, too many.

Thing is, you can’t really single out one brand or chain because it’s a challenge they all face. Can’t really say that it’s just a matter of wages either, that if people made more, they’d somehow care more. I’ve seen people making minimum who hustle, so I’m not ready to buy into that theory 100% just yet.

Nor is it about things like the self-service checkout system a store uses or it’s return policies, important as those things are. This is about people interacting with customers. Forget the in-house ‘Manager University’ so many brands have, there are a few things that need fixing on the floor. There are some things which may apply to a single chain, or all may apply. Depends on where you shop.

(Next up in part 2: The Greeter!) (Image via.)