Friday, December 31, 2010

There is no finish line

This year is ending. A new one begins.

A new product ships. The drive to improve or replace it starts.

A new campaign hits the air, yet the next execution must be ready in just a few short months.

We spend a lot of time looking for the end when life is really a series of beginnings. A continuous stream of new opportunities.

There is no bottom of the ninth. No sudden death overtime. The game is never over.

You always get another at bat. Another chance to hit a home run.

Here's to more hits in 2011.

Happy New Year.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Thanks, but no thanks

Just because it's on the internet, doesn't mean it's interesting. I know. My wife and I are curating a photo blog that chronicles the daily changes on the Lake Michigan shoreline near our house.

I think about six people find this as fascinating as we do.

But because of that blog, I just received an email from the CityMedia Foundation asking me if I'd like to join other bloggers around the world and become the administrator of a local video site for my hometown. Part of the email reads...

"We created the [City].vi network, making videos of world cities instinctively accessible with this address model: "city name" followed by ".vi" for example:,,,, etc."

And of course the promise to me is that as the local site's administrator, I'd earn all of the revenue from advertising, sponsorships, links, etc. 
There's just one problem.

While I'm sure people all over the world will be surfing by to see video of Paris, Madrid,  Chicago and Los Angeles as well as other famous cities, who wants to see videos of Sheboygan?

As spectaculars as Brat Days are and as beautiful as the Harbor Center is becoming, it's not the tableau for fascinating viewing. And if nobody's watching, there won't be any advertisers. And without them, no revenue for me.

So thanks to the accident of geography, I'll pass. But if I ever move someplace interesting, I'll contact you.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

The dumbest Ad In The World

Back in January, I wrote about a billboard that featured President Obama and felt it was an effective (if unethical) use of the POTUS.

This spot using Obama's likeness is just as unethical yet it's anything but effective.

It's poorly written, poorly acted, poorly directed and on top of all that, it's premise is awfully thin.

I'm sure the pressures of the presidency can be a 'pain in the neck.' If that's all you got, however, you better execute it well. The folks from Salonpas didn't, which is ultimately why this effort fails.

But that doesn't even cover the biggest problem with this spot. It insinuates that the president uses and endorses the product. He hasn't endorsed it and there's no evidence that he uses them.

At least for Weatherproof the president was actually wearing the product in question. And for the record, it looked good pretty good on him.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Looking for new ideas? Relax.

They have names like Vacation in a Bottle, Mini Chill and Mary Jane's Soda and I never knew they existed  until last Sunday. But I should have.

As the energy drink category exploded and matured, a counter trend has been slowly developing, which is why I wasn't surprised to read that so called 'relaxation drinks' have generated $68 million in sales this year.

Laced with ingredients like melatonin, valerian, kava extract, they are touted to relieve such conditions as anxiety, stress and insomnia. Given that we're living in an age of anxiety and diminished expectations, the timing seems to be perfect.

Of course since these drinks are made with unregulated, natural supplements, none of claims have been proven by significant scientific studies. But whether they actually work or not is probably immaterial. Nobody really expects Red Bull to give them wings. So why should a relaxation drink actually help them relax?

Which is why I'll stick with a relaxation drink that's been proven over the course of a few centuries rather than a few years.


Monday, December 27, 2010

Twitter kills

According to the New York Times, Hollywood has discovered that quality matters.

Too bad it took until after they remade The A Team to figure that out.

It seems that Twitter, Facebook and SMS are capable of killing a movie's box office faster than putting Larry the Cable Guy on the marquee.

This phenomenon applies to more than just the entertainment industry. You can't hide bad products, bad service or bad people in an age where everyone's an expert and everyone has a platform to share their opinions with hundreds if not thousands of friends.

Only one thing matters in developing and launching new products now: EVERYTHING.

If it's not perfectly designed, if it's not flawlessly executed, if it's not expertly marketed, don't even bother.

It used to be said that nothing kills a bad product faster than great advertising. Now it's possible to be done in by tweets.