Category: Marketing

Here’s something really heartwarming

If you think advertising is more crass than it used to be:

Fred and Barney selling cigarettes:

Mr cialis canada. Magoo selling beer:

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Old Cigarette Ads

Perhaps nothing illustrates old-school marketing like old cigarette commercials. James Lileks posits that irony as we know it today didn’t exist in the culture of this period. How else would the audience sit still for this kind of earnestness?  About cigarettes? Whatever the state of irony in those days, the public attitude about cigarettes was certainly different. People knew smoking was bad for you; why else would it be important for doctors to plug certain brands? Nevertheless, there wasn’t a Surgeon General’s report, or a warning printed on every pack, and there was a lot of opportunity to be in denial.

Let’s not forget – before the advent of relatively cheap, mass-produced cigarettes, lung cancer was practically unknown. I think people inside and outside of marketing kind of stare at this stuff in disbelief because it’s a relatively pure form of badness dressed up by some highly creative, talented minds. In a word, propaganda.

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That’s hot (TM)

Apparently, Paris Hilton trademarked “That’s hot.”

R-ight. I can understand being miffed over her likeness being placed on a greeting card (after all, she’s conducted her life with a priority on maintaining her privacy), but come on. I’ve looked into trademarking my business name, and I thought there were some hoops to jump through. So is she going to sue every 14-year-old girl that uses the phrase, or will a reasonable royalty scheme be developed? I thought the RIAA was bad…

Job Enlargement

As I typed the above title, I wondered what kind of search engine spam would come my way – we get so much e-mail about “enlargement” these days. But wow, let me get off that train of thought…

When I had a brief stint with an executive recruiter a few years ago, I noticed that many candidates were looking to change because they had grown skills since they went to work at their current job – and they couldn’t get promoted. Specifically, we recruited accounting professionals, and many who earned CPA status while working at a given firm seemed to have trouble being taken seriously as CPAs. After all, they were hired as bookkeepers, and sometimes junior ones at that. So they’d take their resume, go across town, or across country, and get hired by another firm. Read more

Inefficient markets, bullhorns, and buyer behavior

So I discover today that the bullhorn we borrowed for tomorrow’s bicycle tour (350+ riders expected) doesn’t work. What to do?

The plethora of possible bargains on the interwebs wasn’t really an option – even Saturday delivery UPS wouldn’t be on time, plus wow, that’s some expensive shipping. Some of my customers get upset about shipping costs, but the thing is, that part about actually moving stuff around is where local retail gets more efficient than the internet. Plus I couldn’t really buy the idea that the $29.95 model from “bullhorns-r-us” was guaranteed to do the trick. Read more

I don’t get it! Am I old?

“I guess I’m just not that narcissistic,” my 20-something associate said as we tucked into Mexican food and I tried to describe Twitter to him, and boy was I relieved.

You see, I have been mindful of my advancing age as the wonders of Web 2.0 have, one by one, been unveiled. Some of it’s useful (RSS and Google Maps), some of it – not (Twitter and MySpace). When I hear apparently intelligent people hype things and I can see no reason at all that anyone with half an oz. of brains would have any use for them, I begin to wonder if my sell-by date is past and my best days on earth are over. Am I becoming the creepy old guy at the rock concert? After all, I’m blogging, and sending my friends the South Carolina Beauty Queen meltdown link on YouTube, aren’t I? Read more

Agencies to clients: We’re Desperate!

I know this post is a bit old, but Spike at the Brains on Fire blog said this about ad agencies beating their brains out to pitch to clients – expensive stunts to try to win customers that in better times they wouldn’t even want.

I’m glad to hear of another marketing professional pointing out the obvious – it’s great to be “creative,” but it costs money, and you have to look to the ROI. If your business isn’t doing well, pouring more money down the drain isn’t going to help. I put creative in quote marks because better creativity would be doing some networking and research to find out where the next real opportunity is, not pulling into the same old parking lots in the clown car. Also, I think it fosters what I (and a lot of others) call the “Wal-Mart Shopper Mentality,” where the clients feel they should get everything they ask for. You can’t always make money doing that, and it’s not always even the best thing for them.

Anyway, what he said.

Bleeding-Edgers, Early Adopters and Normal People: the great divide(s)

So I’m riding down the road with a friend of mine. We’re scouting out places on the upcoming century ride*, and my trusty Garmin GPS whatzit is keeping up with our whereabouts, and guiding us to a point on the route I had previously marked so we could return and mark a road hazard.

She is expressing some – bumfuzzilment, I think would be the proper word – about this gadget, and how it works. It’s not that she doubts the value of the thing – we’re in the middle of nowhere, and using it to get to a destination in the shortest time, after all. And she has indicated she wants one in her next car. Perhaps the bumfuzzilment isn’t about the gadget. I suspect, based on our conversations about this and other things, that she considers my willingness to suction-cup this thing to my windshield to be one of my eccentricities, of which I suspect she has a short list. We won’t enumerate those eccentricities here – if she wants to she can get her own web page. Read more