Monday, December 08, 2008

Sad News from the World of Television

Perhaps you recall a reader's comment from back in April (the issue of April 28, in fact):

Last time, Jay wrote about amateur hubris:
Ima W. Esome responded:
"I don't know where you come off saying that my public access show isn't as good as Mad TV! You've probably never even seen my brilliant impersonations of Beverly Garland or Alice Ghostley...."

I think someone's pulling my leg here. Still, you didn't make any good points, and there's no point in annoying the host.
-- Jay

Well, the sad news has just come over the wire, as it were, that that fabulous actress and screamer, Beverly Garland, has passed away. sic transit gloria mundi, sic indeed.


Thursday, November 20, 2008

A Delicious Irony?

Has anyone ever heard of a long-distance, East-West Relationship that succeeded?

Now they say that absence makes the heart grow fonder
And that tears are only rain to make love grow
Well my love for you could never grow no stronger
If I lived to be a hundred years old

Words never rang so true as when the late, great Roy Orbison crooned those heart-rending lines to all of us, lo these many years ago. Little did I know then, that one day I might live those words that once seemed just so much philosophy and wisdom, but now seem to be life itself.
I'm sure that you, my regular readers, clients, and friends, will be a tad surprised to find out that Pat has contacted me once again. Shocked is more descriptive of my initial reaction, you may be assured - shocked indeed.

Yes, absence does seem to make the heart grow fonder, or so I'm coming to believe, albeit somewhat reluctantly. What with my frequent trips across the country to participate in bi-athlons, pent-athlons, and extreme rock crawling, I've found that the offices here at Jay Standish, Inc. LLC, humble though they be, are a welcome haven when at last I return home.
Somewhat similar feelings seem to be starting around other areas, and regarding other people as well. I can but imagine your surprise as you read the words I am about to type, but imagine (if you can!) my own surprise at being able to type them: Pat may be back in my life.

I'm not quite sure how I feel about this yet, but we here at Jay Standish, Inc. LLC do nothing if not drop grudges as events make evident that they ought to be dropped - and events seem to be conspiring to indicate just that.
No, Pat's not been re-hired, not by a long-shot! In fact, Pat's relocated to the West Coast, pursuing a life-long dream to get into screen-writing and other creative endeavors. Rather than allowing our former relationship to recede along the banks of Lethe, the added distance seems to have, as the song-writer would have it, made the heart grow fonder. Whether anything will come of this, only time will tell, of course. Still, I'm hoping for some "pointers" or "guidelines" or other "advice" from my friends and readers. Can these long-distance relationships - crossing time zones! - ever really work?

As we head into the "holiday season" - with Thanksgiving hard upon us! - I'm sure many of our thoughts are turning to turkey (or tofurkey if one is so inclined), pumpkin pie, and football. Well, my thoughts are more likely to be turning back - recalling days reclining in front of the fire on a bearskin rug with a loved one. Perhaps my thoughts are turning to mush, but perhaps that's where they really have always belonged!?

At any rate, more marketing musings coming soon, and thanks for being there for me.

Last time, Jay wrote about returning home from China and granting a paladin's wish:
Holger Dansk responded:
"Allowing a commie un-civil servant to take your sword away makes me wonder how much you really know about paladins and such, Jay. I know I would never have suffered such indignity without at least threatening mayhem or worse..."

Ah, Holger, my friend, if only it were so simple. I fear that a rapier is no shield against the machine guns the airport guards began wielding for the Olympic period. Still, I admire your spirit, and match it fully with my own - Excelsior!

-- Jay

Monday, September 22, 2008

Home At Last!

And Jay Standish Inc. LLC becomes a veritable "Make A Wish" for a "Reader"

“At last!” I hear you cry, “At last Jay has returned and has issued another “newsletter” to help us better to serve our clients. Huzzah!” Well, perhaps I exaggerate a bit – perhaps a bit. At any rate, it is with no small amount of joy and gratitude that I type these words back here in these United States.

I don't want to make this newsletter any longer than necessary by reciting the story of how I came to be so long delayed – the full tale must await another issue. Suffice it to say that the “authorities” in Red China (yes indeed – they had this marketer seeing red!) did not look kindly on non-registered athletes arriving at their Olympic GamesTM, epée on hip. No, not kindly at all. Detaining me at the airport for days seemed to be nothing less than a pleasure to these “officials” who deemed me a threat to society – all the while ignoring the other travelers who were gleefully snapping photographs with their iPhones® and happily emailing them – and countless blog entries – back to civilization. Tell me (if you can!) which of us was more of a threat to the Chinese Way of Life (I believe the call is the Tao of Poo or something of that sort).

Needless to say, I eventually was allowed to return home, having missed not only the entire Olympic GamesTM, but also the entire Special Olympics® as well. Perturbed, but in no wise chastened (!), I was at last able to return to my office here at Jay Standish, Inc. LLC and attempt to pick up my communications threads and my life.

Imagine, if you will, the amount of email correspondence awaiting my attention upon my return from Peking. Sadly (and many of you may have already anticipated this!) only a very small percentage of that volume was actual, useful correspondence. The vast preponderance was notifications, invitations, and updates from my "friends" in various "social" networks.
I have become convinced that SNA (Social Networking Abuse) is a major threat to the productivity of the American Economy. Think of the hours you have spent opening and deleting copies of the latest mass email (countless copies of which have been forwarded to you by countless contacts!) proclaiming the "Nearest Approach of Jupiter to Earth in Nearly a Month!" or "Missing Child Found Eating Own Foot to Survive in Densely-Wooded Valley" or "Russian Women Want to be Your Wives" or any of a number of such missives and pitches. Clearly something must be done or we'll find ourselves unable to sift the “wheat” from the virtual chaff.

Enough of this “belly-aching” for the nonce – we will (most likely!) revisit this topic in a future newsletter, attempting to draw some marketing inferences from the sad state of the current social networking landscape. “Heart-warming” sounds so much better than “belly-aching” and it was just such a gem that I found amidst all the other offers, updates, and come-ons in my “in-box” upon my return. Let me share it with you:

Many of you, my long-term subscribers and readers, will no doubt remember the tale of our first (and only so far!) Marketing Paladin; viz. that his goal in life is to front a punk band. You will further recall, I trust, that I had put “Joe” in touch with Morgan and Shannon of the (sadly) now-defunct Celtic Punk band, Left Sister Down. Little did I know then, that said introduction would lead to one of those School of Rock© moments until Morgan passed on to me the picture embedded below in an email.

Apparently, “Joe” was in the area when Left Sister Down's final “gig” (that's what they call these jobs – I'm not making this up!) was announced. He put “two” and “two" together and got “for your last gig, wouldn't you like a guest vocalist on a tune or so?” And, in fact, they did! “Joe” was ecstatic, nearly needless to say, and Left Sister Down made it a memorable night for all involved.

Media reports, sketchy though they were, indicate that “Joe” made a somewhat creditable performance on two “covers” - “I Want To Be Your Dog” by Ignaz Popp and the Stooges, and “I Want to Riot” by Rancid. One critic noted,

[“Joe”] seemed a bit ill-at-ease with the lyrics at first, but once the band found a groove to fit his, he sounded somewhat better. On the next tune - “I Wanna [sic!] Be Your Dog” - [“Joe”] really hit his stride, sounding angry, mournful, and canine all at once. In sum, not bad for an over-the-hill never-was, and it was nice of Left Sister Down to share their final spotlight with [“Joe”] - we might have witnessed the beginning of the Geezer Punk Revival there that night.”

As previously noted, the photograph above was supplied to me by Morgan, and depicts the members of Left Sister Down, along with sound-people, roadies, hangers-on, and (at the far right!) our friend “Joe” after the “gig” had ended and the “crowd” had dispersed.

We here at Jay Standish, Inc. LLC are proud to have been able to be a part of fulfilling the dreams of one of our colleagues – well done, “Joe,” well done indeed!


Jay Standish,

Jay Standish, Inc. LLC

Last time, Jay wrote about his produced but not sold reality series:
Henry Weed responded:
"That's one of the big problems with independently produced programs - you never know if there's really an outlet for what you're making...."

Thanks for your comments, Henry (may I call you Hank?), but it's not so much that there was no outlet, but rather that I was hood-winked out of the time needed to assure placement of this spectacular on the proper outlet by my former partner, Pat (who's been sacked!).

Excelsior anyway!
-- Jay

Thursday, August 07, 2008

A Double Apology Is Now Necessary!

Make that a "triple" apology now, as we seem inadvertently to have (once again!) disallowed commenting on this posting. It would appear we here at Jay Standish, Inc. LLC need an update to our quality controls or other process improvement in order to avoid such "blunders" and "mistakes" in the future!

Those of you who receive our newsletters may well have noticed the strange title of the latest issue. In fact, that was, in fact, the place-holder used in the "template" which Kim (from our IT group) had created for me. I was simply in too big a rush to return to my negotiations which are discussed below. The
double apology mentioned above is accounted for with this one, along with the one in the next paragraph.

First off, and from the very beginning, I wish to apologize for my long absence from the issuance of our regular (?) newsletters.

While we've never made any pretense of having a "hard" or "rigid" publishing schedule, we've tried to keep the ideas and thought provocation flowing more steadily than we have in recent weeks.

Not an excuse, but an explanation, is (perhaps!) in order.

As most of you are likely aware, the 2008 Olympics® are about to begin in Beijing (or Peking as it's more commonly known - the Istanbul of the Far East, as it were). As most of you are also likely aware, I was a participant in a "reality" show which had as its working title, "Who wants to be a Pent-Athlete?" Said show was clearly a natural for an Olympic® tie-in, and as such was it purveyed to varied "media" outlets.

In fact, until just this past week (or so!), I worked under the understanding that this "show" was to be broadcast by one of the ESPN affiliated networks - and this under a strict non-disclosure agreement; one which would not even allow me to tell my closest friends and / or confidantes of this scheduled "airing" until the first promotional announcement had aired.

Perhaps I should have realized long ago (perhaps? I think that "clearly" or "obviously" might be more appropriate here - read on!) that there was a problem - or a monkey wrench - in the works.

The ESPN family of networks had been shut out of Olympic® coverage yet again, but hankered (isn't that a delightful word?) after some related programming. While I was away participating in the reality program, my erstwhile partner, Pat (who has since been sacked!) was negotiating network carriage of this speculative production. Imagine my surprise in recent days when I discovered that Pat had produced an agreement for the program to air on ESPN 8 [affectionately known as "the Ocho" for some reason] - the which network doesn't actually exist! It seems to be a network name used only in accounts of fictional sporting events. Pat has once again nearly shattered my dreams (but I mustn't obsess).

Accordingly, I have been away these past many days working to find a distributor; thus far with no luck.

Normally, we would hope (and expect!) to be carried on the fine Bravo network, but they're already chock-a-block full with actual Olympic® coverage.

Still, Semper SperoTM is but one of our many "mottoes" and "catch-phrases" here at Jay Standish, Inc. LLC, and we try to live by each of them every day. (Yes, "I mustn't obsess" is another of them, if you must ask.) Accordingly, I shall now return to my efforts to place this fabulous program on a broadcast (or cable!) outlet, in order that the amazing trials and camaraderie inherent in all reality programming might be viewed by as many potential consumers as possible.

Should I be unsuccessful in gaining an outlet in time for the originally anticipated "tie-in" with the Olympics®, I hope to find a distributor for a "direct to DVD" (and Blu-ray!) edition.

Until then, I fear I must leave you with no special marketing insight other than this - never sign a contract without knowing whether the other party (or parties!) actually exist. The embarrassment, angst, and extra work you save may be your own!

Last time, Jay wrote about a Marketing Paladin:
S.M.F. responded:
"Jay, that guy might sound like just a cutup, but I've worked with him (I'm pretty sure I know who "Joe" actually is), and while he likes a good jest now and then, he's one of the hardest working men in the business. In fact, I'd be proud to have him recommend me to prospective employers..."

Well, S.M.F. (that really is the only "name" we got on this note), I'm glad to see you realize the importance of the opinions and recommendations of such as our first Marketing Paladin. Best of luck in your career, and do keep in touch.

-- Jay

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Marketing Paladins RoundTable

My apologies to King Arthur, and to
Charlemagne, too, for that matter!
As my long-time readers (and friends!) know well, we here at Jay Standish, Inc. LLC are nothing if not inveterate travelers. We try each year to manage a grand tour of these United States - and sometimes our friendly Provincial friends to the North (eh?) - meet-ing, greet-ing, and seminar-ing our way hither, thither, and yon.
On one of my recent gala-vants, I was able to sit down with some of the finest minds in marketing and advertising. Sadly, it was not an actual RoundTable as our title indicates, but rather a series of conversations in a series of venues (most of them at Red Roof Inns - many having both indoor pools and free in-room Wi-Fi!).

As my most recent missive may have made clear, I (along with most of my bi-athlete prep-school chums!) have long had a fondness for military strategy, history, and so forth - not that I'm the model of a modern major general, by any means! Nonetheless, among the tomes over which we would pore in those days (and nights!) were the recountings of the exploits of the knights of King Arthur's Round Table (there was surprisingly little mention of flour or other wheat-like products, but I digress) and those of the Paladins (though not the one from San Francisco, I fear!) of the court of Charlemagne.
Granted that these were distinct groups, operating in different regions and at different times, I was drawn to the camaraderie and bonhomie evidenced in both groups of men. Accordingly, when I find fellow professionals who seem to embody the absolute best of the marketing (and advertising!) field, I have come to dub them the Paladins of Marketing, or Marketing Paladins. I imagine them sitting around the RoundTable, discussing at length, and with great vim and vigor, the most important topics and disputations of the day.
Thus, when I have the chance to sit down with one of these modern day Marketing Paladins, I feel it's a chance I must take - and a record must be made.
This, then, is the first in an occasional sub-series of newsletters which will grant you, the reader, an insider's look at the workings of some of the finest minds I know. This first installment is the record of a conversation I had with one of my good friends, and one of the earliest supporters of our full-motion-video-equipped beverage vending machines (sadly, our business deal was never - quite - consummated).

"Joe" did ask that I disguise his identity, as there was some chance of his leaving his then-current employment in a simply peachy Southeastern metropolis and heading for dryer climes out West. I have endeavored to keep his identity somewhat hidden - not least by slightly editing (or even leaving out!) the answers to some of the more personally-identifying questions, and by employing that in-famous "blue" oval. Still, I believe that all and sundry of our readers will find "Joe's" thoughts both enlightening and refreshing. [In case you're wondering, "Joe" may (or may not!) be a pseudo-nym or "nom de guerre" for my actual interviewee - but I'll have to keep you wondering! Yoiks!]

Jay: What's the most important thing you've learned about advertising?
"Joe:" The ability to deal with change isn't good enough. You must have a passion to drive change.

Jay: Is there any food that helps you think more creatively?
"Joe:" To what food group does a cigar belong?

Jay: If you had to live on a desert island, what would you miss most?
"Joe:" How about some more details? Does the island have a golf course?

Jay: What got you into this business in the first place?
"Joe:" I was a pre-med refugee who stumbled into a marketing major. I really enjoyed my advertising classes (both of them!) and had a portfolio, comprised of the best of my college art courses. Looking back on it, it's a wonder why anyone hired me after they saw it.

Jay: Who was a big influence in your career?
"Joe:" I was fortunate to have several mentors during my career. They taught me media's technical skills, how to manage and inspire people, and how to have fun along the way.

Jay: What was "your finest moment," the thing of which you're most proud?
"Joe:" I'm proudest when someone I taught along the way has become successful in their ad career.

Jay: Do you have a method for coming up with ideas and solutions for clients?
"Joe:" Get to know a client's business, then, get to know their customer. Not just who they are, but how they live, act and think. I want to understand all of the rational and emotional factors in their purchase decision process.

Jay: What talent do you wish you had?
"Joe:" To write music and carry a tune. Not a perfect note, just one good enough so I could be the lead singer in a punk band. [note: At this point, I was pleased to introduce "Joe" to my associates, Morgan and Shannon, who were two of the members of the (sadly) now-defunct Celtic-Punk band, Left Sister Down. It seems nothing ever came of that meeting.]

Jay: What makes a great brand?
"Joe:" The ability to listen to their customers, then adjust to those customer needs. The great brands will continue to have relevance and give value to their customers.

Jay: What was your most embarrassing moment in this business?
"Joe:" Back in the polyester days, I had a pair of pants literally fall apart at the seams in the office. I learned a real life lesson on the value of quality that day.

Jay: What are your plans after advertising?
"Joe:" Lots of travel. With golf clubs.

Jay: What's your favorite sports team?
"Joe:" Anything [hometown]...[NBA Team], [NHL Team], [MLB Team] and yes...even the [NFL Team].

Jay: What frustrates you the most?
"Joe:" Negativism. I want to beat bloody hell out of people who aren't positive. @ssholes. [sic]

Jay: Do you have any pets?
"Joe:" No pets. I have a tough enough time making sure that [my boss] goes on the papers.

Jay: What was growing up like for you?
"Joe:" I grew up with [Y] brothers, [X] sisters and a whole gang of kids on a playground in a small [Midwestern] town. Every day was a blast!

So there you have it. The first full download of a wide-ranging and stimulating conversation with one of my Marketing Paladins sitting with me at the RoundTable.

Last time, Jay wrote about combining skill sets in unorthodox fashion:
Holger Hesten responded:
"Jay, I felt I was really a part of your chess boxing match as I read your newsletter. I still don't see how it helps me as a marketer, though. Of course, there are plenty of times I'd love to grab a client and punch him silly...."

Hold on there, Holger! There was no call to arms meant to be included in my last missive! Rather, it serves (or should!) as a reminder that we often have skills which are apparent only in our avocations which can be of great use in our true vocations (or callings!). That's how it should help you as a marketer. Should you desire further guidance, we here at Jay Standish, Inc. LLC stand ready to help.


-- Jay

Thursday, June 26, 2008

I Hope You'll Indulge Me

I believe you'll enjoy this excursion into the past, leading to the future of marketing!
I've been reading quite a few marketing and advertising articles recently which use boxing as a metaphor for our work. One such exhorts us to take the advice of (the mythical!) Rocky Balboa's (also mythical!) trainer – played by the delightfully loopy Burgess Meredith, whom I loved as the Penguin on the Batman television program, but I digress – when the told Rocky to learn to “eat lightning and crap thunder,” if you'll pardon the imagery.

Another posited the wisdom of Angelo Dundee, who adapted his training to the style of his charge, Muhammed Ali (perhaps you remember him as Cassius Clay?), saying “when you get a short guy, make him shorter. When you get a tall guy, make him taller.” Words to live by, I believe, unless your name is Procrustes, and you're a bed salesman – but again I digress.

Although a life-long athlete myself, I've only once been even tangentially involved in boxing, or the “sweet science” as it is sometimes named (that's pugilism to us here at Jay Standish, Inc. LLC!).

I hope you'll all indulge me as I fade once more back to my prep school days. My bi-athlon team held practices out in the woods behind the athletic building, where stray shots and scattered casings were less likely to cause any trouble for our athletic brethren (and our sistern, as St. George's had gone "co-ed" some time before). Our return path to “the showers” took us past the gymnasium where the boxers plied their trade, and just short of the meeting room of the chess team.

Oddly (at least it seemed so to us at the time), both of these groups looked down on the various prowesses of those of us on the bi-athlon team. The boxers looked at us as wimps and “poseurs” (although I don't think a single one of them could have pronounced that word properly, let alone spelled it!), while the chess team thought of us as “jocks” or worse (whatever that might have been).

One of my team-mates, Al Bester (you may have heard of his Canadian cousin, Myriam Bédard who actually won Olympic bi-athlon medals!), came up with a spectacular thought – viz. we would challenge the combined chess and boxing teams to a chess-boxing match. Naturally, chess-boxing is a relatively unknown sport, as it has only been mounted the one time (to our knowledge!), and the expected winners are none too eager to repeat the drubbing they took at our hands (and minds!). But I'm getting ahead of myself.

As I was recounting, Al Bester conceived of the chess-boxing match, and even created the rules. This was much like the Wizard ChessTM many of you are likely to have seen in the fairly popular line of films about a wizard named Harry Potter®. The main differences were that rather than using magic to move large pieces around, students stood on the “board” and punched one another silly to gain access to the desired square, and that we split the boxing team between the chess team and ourselves (we being the bi-athlon team, just trying to keep things clear!) to be the pieces for the two sides.

The chess-ters and their coach, Mr. Rybak, thought themselves possessed of a great advantage, conceiving themselves to be masters of the tessellated square, while Mr. Giordano, the boxing coach, looked on the match as a spectacular opportunity to find out which of his pugilists were “sand-baggin” as he called it. We looked at it as our chance to put all of them in their respective places.

Being skilled marksmen and skiers, we bi-athletes were naturally also interested in matters military, so the study of strategy and tactics (especially Greek!) was a bit of a hobby for many of us. We expected that these studies would translate themselves quite well into the world of chess-boxing – nor were we to be disappointed!

The day of the match arrived, cool and clear, with a hint of juniper and lilac on the breeze. As we set our “pieces” in place, a bit of a tussle broke out among the chess-ters' boxers, as they argued about who would be king and who the queen. We had no such troubles with our “men,” having chosen wisely with just this potentiality in mind. Our own bi-athlon coach, Mr. Gunderson, wished us well, and repaired to the stands to watch the expected carnage. It was only the briefest of intervals, a few moves on each side, before the fists were flying, and we had quickly relieved the chess-ters of the majority of their pawns.

In short order, our king's bishop and queen's knight were threatening the opposing king – who escaped by means of a queen-side castling manoeuvre (precisely the move for which we had hoped!). In a trice, our king's knight had crashed over the last pawns and cold-cocked the opposing king. Victory was ours, and none had ever tasted sweeter.

“Well and good, but so what?” I hear you cry, and I can but agree. It was well done and a good lesson to us all; but what can we take from this to apply to our marketing lives?

Simply this – while our marketing opponents (c.f. our competitors and their products) may have mastery of particular fields or skills which seem to give them the advantage over us with the customer, there will always be a combination of skills which we can bring to bear which said competitors not only cannot match, but perforce cannot withstand.

The sight of the opposing “king” lying on his back, bloody-nosed and glassy-eyed should be an inspiration to all and sundry. I know that it is to those of us here at Jay Standish, Inc. LLC, and we stand ready and able to help each of our friends and clients discover and develop those "combinations" which will lead to your very own marketing triumphs!

Last time, Jay wrote about "offensive" marketing:
Marian Kirby responded:
"Jay, I think you hit the nail right on the head with your column about bad taste. I can't tell you how often I'm embarrassed to watch TV with my son - all because of commercials for various hygiene and health products. "Mom, what's feminine itching?" or "Mom, what's erectile dysfunction?" I don't know what they're teaching nowadays, but he sure isn't learning this stuff at the junior college...."

Marian -
Thanks for the kind words. Perhaps it's time for your "tyke" to be out on his own? I believe I learned most of these things on the street corner, and look where it's gotten me!


-- Jay

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Pushing Past Propriety

Some marketers go far beyond the bounds of good taste - does it matter?
In this day and age of boundary pushing (if, indeed, any boundaries any longer exist to be pushed or crossed!), it is not terribly unusual to find "viral" advertising efforts being released into the wild as it were, with little (if any!) regard for the effects they might have on the health and image of the brand being "touted" or otherwise portrayed.

Is this wise? Is this prudent?

We here at Jay Standish, Inc. LLC have undertaken a weeks-long foray into the heart of darkness to investigate - and to answer! - those very queries.

For the purposes of this newsletter, we shall limit ourselves to a single instance of this phenomenon.

Perhaps you've heard of Belgium? It's a smallish country located in Europe in the general vicinity of France (and Germany!). Despite its somewhat nondescript nature and near-anonymity, Belgium is the source of much of the world's finest beers and chocolates (I can vouch for the former from personal experience, and Francis in our comestibles practice assures me that the latter is no less true!).

¡¡Good Taste Threshold Warning!!
potentially-distressing details below

In addition to these two products (and perhaps in part due to the former!), this nation has created a new promotional opportunity - a cross between a urinal and a videogame. By directing one's "stream" onto strategically-placed sensor pads, one is able to interact with a game on a screen placed directly above the urinal-proper.

This cleverly named Place to PeeTM is the brain-child (so to speak!) of a pair of Belgians (an electrical engineer and a software developer) who apparently thought that time spent at the wall was wasted when one could be playing video games at the same time. (Apparently they are still working out how to make it more "gender neutral" as the design is quite misogynistic to-date.)

"But what," you no doubt ask, "has this to do with marketers pushing the boundaries of taste?" Ah, let me explicate and so forth.

This Place to PeeTM is meant as a promotional attraction to be set up at, for example, a product demonstration for a new vehicle. Suppose one were launching a new, high-performance vehicle, and suppose part of that launch activity to be a demonstration of that vehicle's capabilities at a some-what remote location. Part of the accoutrements of this demonstration would (no doubt!) be tasty beverages - likely of the non-alcoholic persuasion, given the whole drinking and driving thing. Still, even Pepsi® products or Iced Tea tend not to stay locked up forever (if you'll pardon the imagery), and having an entertaining way to relieve one's customers might be seen as a value-added proposition.

The question remains, however - how will this affect the brand perception? will there be a positive (or negative!) rub-off from the recreational micturating?

Our research indicates that the amount, and direction, of brand association varies with both age and sex. Young men tend to see this as "cool" and "hip" and "with it," while older women tend to see it as "vulgar" or "disgusting." Those between these two poles tend to have reactions between the poles as well.

So, returning to our hypothetical product demonstration, the appropriateness of this kind of value-add seems to be based mainly on the target audience of the marketer's product. Were this a family vehicle (e.g. a mini-van or other station-wagon-esque vehicle) with a significant appeal to families and women, the risk would seem far too high, while in the case of a lower-priced, two-seat sporty car aimed at young men, there might be no problem at all.

This all stands (no pun intended!) in stark contrast to a smoothly rendered full-motion video (with stereophonic sound-track accompaniment!) playing on a CoollMisstTM equipped beverage dispenser. Without being too self-serving (at any rate, attempting to avoid such appearance!), we also would like to pass on the fact that our research indicates that all ages, sexes, and ethnicities are equally receptive to such a machine and such an exposure.

As with all marketing quandaries and conundra, the wise seller will consult a professional before beginning any program. We await your comments (and enquiries!).

Last time, Jay wrote about the wisdom of playing tricks on one's customers:
George Parker responded:
"Not only are you one of the dumbest @$$#013$ I've ever seen, if a company played a trick on me I'd either congratulate them or tell them to go f..."

George, you seem to have a little trouble expressing yourself in the Queen's own English. Calm down, take a few deep breaths, and try again when your vocabulary returns.

-- Jay

Monday, May 05, 2008

Once again - a persipcacious prognostication!

As noted in a previous post here on my "blog" (viz: here), Messrs. Ballmer et al. have been shown the door by that feisty Yahoo! board of directors.

Had Steve been able to demonstrate his "monkey dance" chops (as it were!) on this season's "Dancing With the Stars" on ABC, there might have been a chance for Micro$oft to purchase Yahoo! - as it is, he's likely doomed to watch his company dwindle and fade on his watch.

Yahoo! in the mean-time, seems poised to join forces with one or another of the various "internet" colossi (perhaps AOL? perhaps Murdoch? perhaps yet another?) and become a stronger competitor for those irksome fellows at Google (I'm still smarting over that Mars prank, but I'm sure I'll get over it soon enough).

Recommended reading for Mr. Ballmer - the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire: fascinating!


Monday, April 28, 2008

Pranks, Gags, and Other Such Tom-Foolery

Is it ever "O.K." to fool one's customers?

Well, well, well. It appears that the lads at Google® have colored me Tom. Their April Fool's Day announcement of an expedition to Mars caught me and took me in, both hook, line, and sinker (as it were!). Perhaps you saw my entry on my "blog" on the internet regarding my expected departure for the "red" planet . (Please note that I have left that entry there as a testament to our open-book policy here at Jay Standish, Inc. LLC.) The only defense I can offer is that I came across it on April 3rd, and was (justifiably!) no longer in "that's an April Fool's Gag" mode. Ah well.
Still, one wonders (or at least one ought to wonder) about the long term (or shorter!) effects that such pranks, gags, and tom-foolery may have on the brand under whose rubric they are perpetrated. (viz - might I now use Yahoo!® whenever I google something on the internet, being reminded of my folly each time I see that multi-hued Google® logo?)

Pranks and Gags have been the topic of conversation here at Jay Standish, Inc. LLC over the last fortnight or so, largely due to my having been taken-in by the “Virgle” announcement, and my associates' glee at seeing one usually so perspicacious falling victim to what ought, in their view, to have been a fairly obvious prank. Sam opined that, as humor is often based on an unexpected outcome to a seemingly simple narrative, corporate pranks and gags might well be considered simply having a joke with one's customers.

While I see the appeal of that line of logic, I couldn't help thinking of some of my favorite old comedy films – viz. The Three Stooges, and their hilarious blend of slapstick and political pastiche. In many of these, a seemingly innocent action ends up with someone's nose in a large pair of scissors, or a hot iron to the nether regions, or a saw “accidentally” shaving a reverse MohawkTM into someone's head, or ... well, I'm sure you get the picture. I believe, however, that it was the staff's general reaction to an accidental meeting with a banana peel on the lunch-room floor that brought Sam to my line of thinking. To wit: “Pranking your customer is generally not a good idea.”

Consider this “thought experiment” (or Gedankenexperiment, as Hans Christian Ørsted might have said) in this regard. Your consumer durable goods firm has completed a contract to subsidize the mortgage payments of consumers who agree to buy a certain number of your appliances over a five-year period. In the first of these appliances (perhaps a new top-loading washing machine!), there is one of those great spring-loaded snakes that used to come in boxes so that when you open them it jumps out at you. This is all meant in good fun, as is only clear based on the coupon for 20% off the purchase of a package of a co-promoted laundry detergent attached to the hind-end of the snake.

Your new customer opens the washing machine (perhaps with a double arm-load of dirty clothes - or unmentionables!) only to have a huge snake leap out, trailing a 20%-off coupon for laundry detergent. There is little in the literature to suggest that you will now have made a customer for life – in fact, your legal department may find itself defending the no-cancellation clause of the mortgage subsidy contract!

No, my friends and readers, it seems clear that one ought never to fool one's customers, let alone Mother Nature!

In a belated nod to "Earth" Day, we ask you to enjoy another helping of Classic Jay, this time from April 20, 2007 -

Mother Nature Taking Over?
Is your marketing aligned with the seismic shift in consumer attitudes?

Who would have thought Home Depot® would be leading the way? Who indeed? Still, it comes as no surprise that there would be a savvy marketer ready to capitalize on the current greening of the world, does it?
Regular readers of this newsletter know that we here at Jay Standish, Inc. LLC are nothing if not savvy, and with our commitment to various "out-of-doors" activities (including bi-athlon and rock racing!) we are also committed to maintaining an environment around us.
Lest the reader think this is nothing but pre-Earth Day pandering to the masses of environmental lobbyists, crack-pots, and ne'er do wells. We here at Jay Standish, Inc. LLC have put our collective money where my mouth is - so to speak! - and are working on making the space flights mentioned in last week's newsletter something more than a marketing boon-doggle. Indeed, Lee (from our R&D group) is hard at work (as are we all!) calculating the relative costs and benefits of carrying toxic and other forms of difficult-to-dispose-of wastes on these space flights - with the proposition being that said waste be dumped, not on the Earth, but rather tossed into decaying orbits around the Moon or (perhaps too ambitiously) the Sun itself.
Imagine, if you will, a next-generation Space Shuttle - in full NASA regalia - bedecked NASCAR-like with logos of sponsoring entities (perhaps your product? your clients' product?) along with a payload, also logo-bedecked, of dangerous waste products, bound for extra-Terrestrial disposal. Who might be interested in such a scheme? How about Waste Management®? How about the InSinkErator® folks? How about just about anyone wishing to make a statement that we know better than to mess up our own house? As they say, animals don't defecate where they habitate (a catchy rendition or that sentiment, don't you think?) - neither should people.
What marketer wants to be known as one who poisons his (or her!) own customers? We here at Jay Standish, Inc. LLC believe the answer is clear and unambiguous: nobody we know!
Once Lee's work (along with the fabulous Jay Standish, Inc. LLC R&D staff) is done, we will be shopping around the first potential sponsorships of this concept. We're still working on names for this service, and we'd appreciate feed-back from our readers on these possibilities, as well as any suggestions you might care to make. Imagine seeing your own neo-logism boldly pasted on a proud (American!) spacecraft as it quivers with excitement on the launch pad in Florida, waiting for the thrust to send it hurtling into space - perhaps into Trans-Lunar Injection!
At any rate, our first list of rough possibilities await your comments:

  • Star Trash
  • Garbage to the Stars
  • Wasted Space
  • Take Out The Trash - Way Out!
  • Ad Astra Per Trashpera

Last time, Jay wrote about amateur hubris:
Ima W. Esome responded:
"I don't know where you come off saying that my public access show isn't as good as Mad TV! You've probably never even seen my brilliant impersonations of Beverly Garland or Alice Ghostley...."

I think someone's pulling my leg here. Still, you didn't make any good points, and there's no point in annoying the host.
-- Jay

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Jay's going to Mars!

Yes, friends, I've begun the arduous, yet no-doubt spectacularly rewarding trek toward becoming one of the first (as far as we know) Martians!
Perhaps you saw that Virgin and Google have teamed up for a project called Virgle which will send a "Noah's Ark" to Mars, hoping to create the first Open Source Planet.
When yours truly noticed the announcement, and the "on-line" application / quiz there was no time wasted. Streaking through the questionnaire as though my life depended upon it, I was gratified - nay, exultant - to find that not only was I perfect for the trip, they want me to submit a 30 second video via "You-Tube" which will explain to them precisely why I am totally indispensable to this effort.
I've got Sam in our production department working with me on the video, but I thought I'd ask you, my loyal readers (and confidantes!), to help out with your suggestions as well.
Accordingly, please leave your suggestions as comments relating to this "blog" post and we here at Jay Standish, Inc. LLC will read each and every one of them, appropriating the best thoughts and suggestions to our use, and thanking you most profusely as we make our way to Mars!

Should you wish to join me on this historic voyage, here is a "link" to the application

I hope to see many of you at the launch pad -
Excelsior Indeed!

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Why Bother with Professionals?

If you're really asking that question,
you're likely wasting your brand's equity!

When I was in prep school, my friends and I had a "comedy" program on the school's TV system. It consisted, in large part, of recyclings of comedic "skits," routines, and other presentations we had encountered elsewhere, with the occasional (quite clever, as I recall) skewering of Mr. Faversham, the headmaster, or Mr. Tsoulakis, our beloved Physical Educator.

At the time, we considered that our program was as good as the commercial product being presented on the many broadcast and "cable" outlets then available, and that it was as worthy of wide exposure as any of them. Of course, we were wrong (apart from selected seasons of "SNL" and the entire run of the extremely un-funny and depressing - yet somehow critically acclaimed - "30 something").

I discovered that the professionals were better at their professions than we were: amateurs, pretenders, poseurs: audience members. Pace "You-Tube" and "Quarter-Life," that is still the case today; yet we find brand owners - marketing professionals - blathering after this fashion:
"We don't own the brand the way we used to; consumers own it. It's not about claims any more. Consumers don't want to be preached to. It's about a dialogue and discovery, giving people the chance to comment," says a director of communications for Ford of Canada who shall remain nameless.
Well, perhaps our brethren North of the Border have found a new reality ... or more likely they're practicing un-marketing through denial. Much as the "school" of literary analysis which says the author has no say in the meaning of his (or her!) work, this fellow is saying the brand has no right to decide just for what it will stand. One might as well give up and sell products in pure white packages with plain black typed labels and no logos. Then the consumer really would own the brand, eh? (That's a bit of Canadian humour!)

If the recent writers' strike (the results of which we are still suffering) taught us anything, it ought certainly to have driven home that little point - professionals are better at their professions than are amateurs. I'll admit it's not really a catchy phrase, but we here at Jay Standish, Inc. LLC are working on a condensed, power-packed version (which we will release under a Creative Commons® license) which (it is to be dearly hoped!) will become the marketing mantra for upcoming generations of marketers.

Perhaps this whole thing is simply a reflection of a vastly under- rested American populace - including marketers! It may be a form of sleep-marketing where not only is the marketer asleep at the wheel (and let's hope those Canadian folks aren't Ice Truck Drivers from that fabulously exciting program!), but they are working to help the consumer get more rest. This by sponsoring the actual broadcast of "user generated content" to the general populace, content which is designed (unintentionally, no doubt!) to push the unwary viewer straight into the arms of Morpheus, as it were.

Perhaps ... but likely not. I fear this is but one more sign that the barbarians are at the gate, threatening us with bread and circuses, and calling us to eat the lotus with them in the land of the giants. But I seem to be mixing my metaphors - I think I'm just a bit tired.

Last time, Jay wrote about flavored magazine ads and scented delivery systems:
Thurman Haney responded:
"While I always thought Pebbles was cute - and she was really hot in that later spin-off - I was always concerned that Bambam never got any juice. It just bothered me, and my parents could never explain ...."

Oh dear, Thurman, I fear you're having what we in the psych biz call a "fugue" episode - where you can't tell reality from fiction, and animation from live action. I think a nice dose of Welch's Concord Grape Juice® - with all those lovely anti- oxidants - perhaps laced with a tad of lithium might be in order.

-- Jay

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Now for a Tasty Treat!

Magazines are barking up a dead tree -
but it's almost the right tree!

"Marketers Salivate Over Lickable Ads," and "Magazines Try Out Tasty Strategy" the headlines virtually screamed. And over what? simply the next step up from scent strips and scented ink and such: lickable taste strips pasted on the page.

In this case, the furore is over an ad for the Welch's Grape folks (ah, and how many of us still recall that precious cave-moppet, Pebbles Flintstone, asking for her "woo woo gay goo" each week?) granting the brave reader a chance to lick a strip which purportedly tastes like the legendary beverage itself. Quite an interesting proposition.

As scientific research has established, 87.4% of our experience of taste is actually accomplished through the sense of smell (olfactory, my dear Watson!). This means that the grape growers might have been better off providing consumers with a less potentially-unsanitary experience (what if it's already been licked? and by whom? what if Pat had ... no, I mustn't obsess ....) by providing scent-strips, or even Scratch 'n' Sniff® panels in the ads. Still, that's nothing new, and a goodly part of this campaign is its novelty - if only for the PR value.

Back, for a moment, to the scientific research. Recent studies tend to confirm the idea that most people hold their reading matter somewhat farther away than the tip of their noses (or, for that matter, their tongues!), rendering what was to have been a multi-sensory experience into a sequence of senses instead.

How, then, to rectify this situation; how, then, indeed? We here at Jay Standish, Inc. LLC are nothing if not line-extension fiends: thus, a new "riff" or "variation" on our CoollMisstTM technology - Scentliminal Odor-amaSM!

"Brilliant!" I hear you gasp, and brilliant it is. Imagine, if you will, a full-motion video capable beverage vending machine. As the consumer ponders which of the speed-chilled beverages to purchase, he (or she!) is treated to a brief video "vignette" showing a young child asking a young mother (perhaps portrayed by the delicious Parker Posey) for a drink. "Mom," as she is here known, opens the Kenmore® refrigerator and pulls out a bottle of Welch's Concord Grape Juice. As she opens the lid (or cap), the Scentliminal Odor-amaSM scent organ pumps out a puff of Concord Grape vapeur-de-juice, causing the consumers mouth to water (reflexively!) and to pull the Welch's Grape Soda lever (or push the button, of course, depending on the specific model). Brilliant isn't the half of it.

This, likely, puts one in mind of the constant harping of chef Emeril Lagasse (it's sad, really, how the man has let himself go these days, don't you think?) in regard to the sad state of our cable television infrastructure: "we can put a man on the moon, but we can't get smell-o-vision in our homes," he gripes - or words to that effect. In fact, he is correct. This is yet another area where our place-based video offerings have far outflanked the traditional television systems - including the nascent TV over IP (or internet-based television). By having control over our screens, we can offer an ideal experience, each and every time. Not even the new HD (or High-quality Depiction) televisions can offer more than two senses at a time (viz - sight and sound).

On a somewhat-unrelated note, you may have noticed that the brand of refrigerator was mentioned in the Parker Posey vignette description above. As many of you no doubt know, Sears (along with her sibling brand K-Mart!) is locked in a struggle with the economy, the likes of which hasn't been seen for more than two decades. What with the constant news of the housing problems and the mortgage woes besmirching the names of all and sundry marketers and financial entities, it seemed only appropriate to pull out a snippet from an earlier newsletter. Consider this a bit of "Classic Jay" if you will. Keep in mind that this comes from our newsletter of March 22, 2007 - nearly a year ago! - as you read what may prove to be a prophetic offer of help to two sadly struggling industries:

"Jay," I hear you cry, "tell us how this all results in an opportunity, rather than in cause for macro-economic doom-and-gloomery!" And so I shall.

Imagine the plight of the typical new homeowner: he's (or she's!) in over his (or her!) head, financially speaking. What with a mortgage payment, a car payment, new appliances, and increased insurance, it would be amazing were he (or she!) not. Here's where opportunity raises its marketing head, as it were.

Keeping in mind that fiscal plight, what response might a savvy marketer at, say, Kenmore® expect if he (or she!) offered said homeowner a subsidy on the interest rate of his (or her!) mortgage? Exactly - he (or she!) would wonder about the attached strings, and rightly so.

In exchange for a half-point subsidy in the mortgage interest rate (this is for discussion purposes only, the actual level of subsidy will be determined at a future date), the homeowner agrees to purchase a certain number of Kenmore® appliances, and to accept certain marketing communications - right on the monthly mortgage statement!

Who makes out in this? Why, Everyone Involved! The homeowner is saving his (or her!) hard earned money each month, in exchange for making purchases which he (or she!) was likely to make anyway. Kenmore® has an immediate sale, and a channel of communication which should lead to a long-term loyal customer, and the mortgage company has avoided having to foreclose on another potentially unsaleable piece of real estate.

Of course, you may rest assured that similar scenarios can be (and have been!) imagined for insurance and automotive marketers.

Interested? We here at Jay Standish, Inc. LLC certainly expect that you are - otherwise you're simply not the savvy, forward-thinking marketing professionals that we've come to believe you to be. Let us know how we can assist you in this new venture.

While we don't claim to know the future, we do help our clients to manage it.

Last time, Jay wrote about experiential marketing and brand evangelists:

Cindy Crawford responded:
"You know, Jay, Linda's not the only smart supermodel out there. As you know, I was valedictorian of my HS class, and I could have been a chemical engineer or something, but I firmly believe that modeling is my true calling. Apple was going to name something after me too, but "Crawfish" seemed more like a code name than a ..."

Thanks for your note, Cindy (if it's really you - I find this a bit hard to believe), and there was certainly no disrespect meant to any of your sistern in the supermodel sorority. I know you're all smart and beautiful, and I love you all equally!

-- Jay

Monday, February 11, 2008

Updated: MicroHoo! ? YaSoft?

We here at Jay Standish, Inc. LLC have had several inquiries regarding the proposed "merger" of Microsoft and Yahoo! This is all made more interesting than a simple attempted purchase of one large company by another by the return of Yahoo! co-founder Yang to the CEO position.

We've always been fans of the Yahoo! Yang Clan, so watch for him to give Steve "Monkey Dance" Ballmer the boot as soon as the merger of equals purchase has been executed.

Aren't M&Es fun - at least to watch?


Update 2/14/08:
It appears that the Redmonkeys may not get their wish after all. Not only has Yahoo! turned down their offer, but now they have competition from News Corp and everyone's favorite, Rupert Murdoch. Whatever happens, count on it to be bad for Mr. Ballmer. His only chance for the fame he so obviously covets (after all, Billg is famous, and he's a nerd, right?) is to win the next season of dancing with the stars.


Friday, January 25, 2008

2008, Here We Are At Last

It may have taken a few weeks, but
are we ever ready to wow you again!

First off, to those of you who've been reading the "blog" site, I'd like to make sure you hear our apologies regarding the erroneous obituary of O.D. "Slim" Whitman. Mr. Whitman is still alive (and very popular in Europe, as well as here at Jay Standish, Inc. LLC!), despite the report we had received and passed on at the "blog" site. Again, our apologies to all and sundry.

It has been gratifying to carry on the conversation which is enabled by that back-and-forth medium (the internet "blog"), if only to hear from those of you who seem not to want to reply by e-mail. Thus far, we seem to have avoided most of the lunatic fringe that some other "blogs" seem to attract (apart from the fantastically-named "durwood quade" whose modus operandi appears to be name calling and political advocacy - I hadn't realized that Ru Paul was running for president this year), and for that we are quite grateful.

Now, on to the, if you will, "meat" of the newsletter: Experiential Marketing. While we promised to address packaging in a response to a comment to an earlier newsletter, as we investigated that topic, it became clear to us here at Jay Standish, Inc. LLC that packaging is really only the gateway, or introduction, to the full experience of a brand.

The packaging can serve to invite the consumer in (cf. those new, no-can-opener-required cans of ground coffee - while we may have an issue with the rim left on the can, we can have no issue with the ease with which our respective kitchens - or anywhere else! - can be filled with that fresh-opened-can-of-coffee aroma), or to keep him (or her!) out (viz. that flexible, clear, yet nearly impervious plastic in which all manner of products are now encased, for the cutting of which my sister bought our mother (as a Christmas gift, no less!) some of those nifty Black & Decker® electric power scissors: which were packaged in that self-same plastic - perhaps said plastic is fortified with irony!).

Still, the packaging, however good (or bad!) is but the first part of the brand experience. First steps are important, no doubt (remember - a Journey of a Thousand Miles (or Kilometers!) begins with a Single Step!), but they are only first steps. What we, as savvy marketers, really want is for our customer (or customers!) to enter fully into the brand experience; not simply to see the brand, but to be the brand. (Ah, I miss Mr. Gianopoulos, my Junior High School P.E. teacher, who taught us all (in Dodge Ball, no less!) this sure route to success: "See the ball, Be the ball;" but I digress.)

Experiential Marketing has become one of those catch-phrases, or "buzz" words which seem to have a fluid meaning - terms which can end up meaning little or nothing due to their having been attached to too many disparate concepts. We here at Jay Standish, Inc. LLC want to caution our readers to examine any proposed Experiential Marketing programs to make sure they're not just warmed-over, re-named products from your advertising and marketing partners. In this day of user-generated content, amateur commercials on the Super Bowl®, and general disinterest and confusion, it is imperative that our marketing efforts actually be focussed on where the consumer and the brand interact - in the consumers' heads and homes and lives.

Perhaps one example from our Experiential Marketing Practice will help to clarify. Jay Standish, Inc. LLC team members Morgan and Shannon are members of the up-and-coming (you can bet on this one!) Celtic-Punk band, Left Sister Down (perhaps you've heard of their underground hit, póg mása, cadránta ceanndána buaf!). Now, clearly their fans are their consumers, and they (equally clearly!) want to enter into the "band experience" (if you'll pardon the "play" on words!), and that is exactly how the band is marketed. They offer their fans the opportunity to join them in their bus (more properly, their minivan) as they travel from "gig" to "gig" around the country. These lucky consumers are then treated to the full experience of life in a traveling Celtic-Punk ensemble, from problems finding lodging to chipping in for gas money. These folks are then used as "seed" fans at each concert "venue" to encourage the others in attendance to enjoy the music.

Apple (formerly Apple Computers) calls this kind of consumer "evangelists" (named, apparently, for Linda Evangelista, the first leggy supermodel ever to program an Apple computer using the Hypercard® program once included with each purchase), and they are, perhaps more than any other single marketing effort, responsible for the immense wealth (yet lack of couture) of Mr. Steve Jobs. We here at Jay Standish, Inc. LLC ask you this - who wouldn't want that "gig" - especially knowing one could dress in any way one thought proper! - who indeed?

Last time, Jay wrote to send his holiday best:
Ham Hiroki responded:
"Jay, it's all very well and good that you mention the standard holidays in your note, but relegating the rest of us to a 'blessed whatever' seems a bit cavalier, even for an american..."

Ham -
Based on your note, I'm glad to see that you took no real offense at the omission of various and sundry other celebrations (most specifically your own, Shinto matsuri), and hope that you had a wonderful 大晦日 (
Ōmisoka to the rest of us).

-- Jay

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Further Sad News - UPDATED

A faithful reader in the Detroit area has passed on yet another sad notice. Fabulous vocalist, Ottis Dewey "Slim" Whitman has passed away at the (far too young!) age of 84.

Many of you know that I have a particular fondness for various and sundry artists, ranging from the delicious Parker Posey to the dreamy Josh Groban; but most of you probably didn't know that my first musical love is that yodelling country music exemplified by Wilf Carter (aka Montana Slim, for those of you "in the know" as it were), Ranger Doug (of the Riders in the Sky), and Ottis Dewey O.D. (an unfortunate confluence of initials, that) "Slim" Whitman.

His like may never be seen (nor heard!) again. One could only wish that he had been as popular here in his native land as he was in Europe.

RIP, "Slim." RIP indeed

(Oh, Rosemarie, I lo-o-ove you!)

As noted in the comment from rosemarie (really?!) this seems to have been another instance of exaggerated reports of demise. (Would that such events never took place, eh, faithful readers?)

After doing some "digging" on the "internet" about this article, Leslie (from our Public Relations practice) tells me that it appears that there was an inadvertent release of one of those "just-in-case" obits that all news organizations have "on hand" for celebrities and the like. (Does anyone out there remember the fabulous SNL skit showing Dan Rather recording every possible post-mortem for former President Gerald Ford? Sadly (or perhaps not!) it took some of the solemnity out of the event when it really came to pass. But I digress.)
Shortly after being posted on the website of a newspaper (I'd rather not name them, as I may be able to help them with some marketing and public "relations" activities in the future!), the erroneous report was identified and removed.

To those who may have had their days ruined by this ill-timed and inauthentic report, I apologize; please put it down to the quick actions of a fan, too distraught to think about checking the facts as they were (temporarily!) presented.
And to "Slim" himself, I say: Excelsior!

Friday, January 11, 2008

Another RIP

In the past (mere!) couple of months, we've lost two of the premier adventurers, bon vivants, and teste del formaggio. One begins to wonder how many of us there are left in the world - how many of us can there be left in the world?

First, at the end of November, we lost Evel Knievel - well known to all for his many and varied jumps, leaps, crashes, and fractures.

Now comes the news that our favorite Kiwi (that's a person from New Zealand, for those of you not "in the know" about such things!) has passed away at the (still far too young!) age of 88. Yes, Sir Edmund Hillary (Sir Eddy to his friends) has scaled that final peak into the beyond. The first man to scale Everest - who went on to find a route to the South Pole - is no longer with us.

I once remarked to him that the latter feat didn't seem all that impressive to me, once he had described it as simply, "go South until you can only go North - then you're there, Jay; then you're there." That remark was more than half in jest, and it is with wry amusement that I recall it here.

To both Evel and Sir Eddy, I raise a glass and say: