Monthly Archives: March 2010

It’s Not Easy Being Green-ish

I’ve seen broad terms like “green marketing” and “sustainable marketing” tossed around with very little explanation as to what they really mean. To remedy that, Mamie Patton’s excellent redux can be found here.

So if we accept these definitions, my question is: How much value do these movements have in the greater marketing scheme? Continue reading



Filed under Advertising & Marketing, Branding, Energy, Green Marketing, Sustainable marketing

Nestle’s Quick Facebook Debacle

Undoubtedly, much has been and will be written about Nestle’s very public social media gaffe. And that’s how it should be. They screwed up with a spectacular flash of idiocy that would make John Edwards blush. Most of what I’ve seen so far centers on the specifics of what they did wrong. It was a lot of things, and they were very wrong. However, in an attempt to be constructive, I’d like to suggest some guidelines that could have saved them from the heat they are taking now. Here are five rules I believe they (and every company that participates in social media) should follow:

1. Don’t delete comments unless absolutely necessary. Comments have a near sacred place in social media. Editing or deleting them is serious business and should be done only as a last resort. Specific threats or abusive or especially profane language can be good reasons to delete a comment. And even then, many of those are judgment calls. Otherwise, let the community communicate in the space. Policing people who are changing your logo for their profile picture is a lose-lose proposition, as Nestle’s Facebook experience has shown us. Even if you could win a legal battle over copyright infringement, you’ll never take all these people to court; and you end up looking like a bully. Pick your battles. And be sure they are worth fighting in the first place. Continue reading


Filed under Branding, Facebook, Intellectual property, Nestle, Social media & branding

A Hard Act To Follow

The follow-up is hard. Ask The Stone Roses. Their eponymous first lp released in 1989 was hailed by critics as an instant classic. It was a major force in the Madchester music scene that engulfed the U.K. and even made a splash in the U.S. in the early 90’s. So when they got ready to release their second record nearly five years later, anticipation was high. And the pressure was on. When it finally came out, it was almost universally panned by critics and ignored by the public. You could say they were asking for it by calling the record Second Coming. The band broke up two years later and all the promise was gone.

Following up great creative execution is hard, too. In a world where you’re only as good as your last whatever (TV spot, blog post, SXSW panel discussion), there is immense pressure to replicate the success of the last effort. And how do you do that? Change as little as possible and hope there’s still interest? Go in a completely different direction and risk alienation? Or the dreaded “c” word – compromise. What’s a top creative agency to do? Continue reading


Filed under Advertising & Marketing, Branding, Old Spice

Decide To Volunteer

There are a million reasons not to volunteer in your community. But the best one I’ve ever heard is probably the most honest. “I don’t want to.” And if you don’t want to – don’t. But I want you to want to.

A few years ago, I was working on a web site design with a local non-profit. One of the contributors was a guy I only corresponded with via e-mail. I struggled a bit as to how he should be a part of the project. He wasn’t really a designer. He wasn’t a programmer. He knew a little HTML and that was about it. But he was more enthusiastic than anyone I knew. He was always coming up with ideas of how to make something better, more engaging and more accessible. Even so, he wasn’t very fast with his tasks and I was worried about how much I could count on him. I approached the director of the organization who told me why he was slow. He is a quadriplegic. Everything he does on the computer, he had to do with his eyes. He volunteered because “he wanted to give something back.” Continue reading


Filed under Non-profits, Volunteering

Old Spice ad: Damn near perfect

I’ve worked on television commercials since the 80s, so I’m a tough audience. But I can say with near certainty that most of the commercials that make it to TV are just not very good. There are a million reasons why. Some legitimate (budget, timing, etc.) and some not (poor writing, bad execution, etc.).  But once in a while a spot comes along that just does everything right. The Old Spice commercial “I’m on a Horse” is one of those, for me at least. Here are five reasons why this one does it right:

1. Excellent execution. This is just done very well. The writing is crisp and funny, with just the right balance of  silly and deadpan delivery. The talent, Isaiah Mustafa is just wonderful. The right look, excellent delivery and the perfect presence to pull off the comedy of the writing and communicate its message. It’s engaging for the full thirty seconds, but has a wonderfully unpredictable and memorable payoff at the end. But most of all, they make a very difficult set of logistical challenges look simultaneously easy and fascinating. Continue reading


Filed under Advertising & Marketing, Branding, Old Spice, TV Commercials