Tuesday, October 24, 2006

I love lists

1. Don’t run out of money. It always takes longer and costs more than you expect to spread your idea. You can budget for it or you can fail.

2. You won’t get it right the first time. Your campaign will need to be reinvented, adjusted or scrapped. Count on it.

3. Convenient choices are not often the best choices. Just because an agency, an asset or a bizdev deal are easy to do doesn’t mean that they are your best choice.

4. Irrational, strongly held beliefs of close advisors should be ignored. It doesn’t matter if they don’t like your logo.

5. If it makes you nervous, it’s probably a good idea. If you’re sure you’re right, you probably aren’t.

6. Focusing obsessively on one niche, one feature and one market is almost always a better idea than trying to satisfy everyone.

7. At some point, you’re either going to have to stick to your convictions or do what the market tells you. It’s hard to do both.

8. Compromise in marketing is almost always a bad idea. Extreme A could work. Extreme B could work. The average of A and B will almost never work.

9. Test, measure and optimize. Figure out what's working and do it more.

10. Read and learn. There are a million clues, case studies, books and proven tactics out there. You can't profitably ignore them until you know them, and you don't have the time or the money to make the same mistake someone else made last week. It's cheaper and faster to read about it than it is to do it.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Pop vs. Soda vs. Coke?

When you are a kid, you don’t really notice when someone uses a different term for the same thing, but growing older, you begin to notice these linguistical hiccups. Different regions of the english speaking world use different terms for the same thing — soft drinks.
The word soda comes from soda-water (sodium bicarbonate with acid to create fizz). Its original meaning was sodium carbonate, Na2CO3, but has evolved into one of the generic terms for a soft drink.
Pop was introduced later in 1812 by Robert Southey,
A new manufactory of a nectar, between soda-water and ginger-beer, and called pop, because ‘pop goes the cork’ when it is drawn.
Trailing soda and pop in popularity is coke, which has influence in the south likely due to the location of the Coca-Cola plant in Georgia. “I’ll have a coke,” “What kind of coke?”, “Root beer please”.
While this paper does numerous small surveys on the ubiquity of soda/pop/coke, this newer map is a more comprehensive view of the linguistic divide of people in the United States (via popvssoda.com),
(click to enlarge)

Soda is more popular in the southwest, northeast, and St. Louis area; pop is used more in the northwest and midwest; coke is used in the south.
Other terms for soft drinks from other counties (via wikipedia):
Canadians and the British say “pop”
Some Brits even say “fizzy drink”
In Western Scotland, they use “ginger”
Aussies and New Zealanders say “soft drink”
Some Australians call it “lolly water”
So where did the term soft drink come from? It was chosen because a hard was used to describe alcoholic beverages, hence the antonym soft was the obvious choice for non-alcoholic beverage. And beverage came from the Old French root word beivre (to drink) during their conquest of England in 1066.

Von Schneidemesser, L. (1996). Soda or Pop? Journal of English Linguistics, 24(4), 270-287.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Secret Weapon


The totality of socially transmitted behavior patterns, arts, beliefs, institutions, and all other products of human work and thought.
These patterns, traits, and products considered as the expression of a particular period, class, community, or population: Edwardian culture; Japanese culture; the culture of poverty.
These patterns, traits, and products considered with respect to a particular category, such as a field, subject, or mode of expression: religious culture in the Middle Ages; musical culture; oral culture.
The predominating attitudes and behavior that characterize the functioning of a group or organization.

teenage youth culture and language

The way in which the youth of today uses language to conenside with their cultures and beliefs.

A teen that listens to punk music may use some of the words and phrases that the artists may. For example: 'I don't care about the world'


Wednesday, October 18, 2006

M upside down is W

Precisely. I don't think this title could be any more clear. Its so simple, stupid! Just turn the M upside down of a given word, and the word of today is : ME.

For years we in the advertising world have been the term "me generation". In this generation, advertising was made in a way that seemed specialized to each and every individual. We had target markets named after one person: refrence Mike and Kate of NSAC past (just don't look at the visual presentation - Heyoooo! Who was in charge of that anyways? I forget, blast.)

Where was I? Right, ME, just where I want to be. Not anymore. Gone are the days of consumer made advertising. Strangely enough, it is Yahoo! that is grasping to this "original" content concept for dear life.

ME = WE.

WE are now in the "We Generation". People want to be connected to one another. People want to belong. People want a place to call there own whether it be a branded city (see more of this later) or a web community (think Myspace), its time we target the community.

But what does community mean. Is community the new culture? Especially here in this NATION that is in its nature a melting pot. We are called CULTURELESS. But, little bugs, this is untrue.

We have our own cultures, defined on our own terms. They are not confined to RACE, RELIGION, or LANGUAGE. Im sorry, but this view is outdated and unapplicable.

The younger we go, the more this is true. We are connected through similarities in our own cultural definitions.

Think of a company culture. It is not weighed down by silly statistics that MEAN NOTHING and make your eyes bleed. They are defined by more ABSTRACT qualities.

When you ask me about my companies culture, that company being Circle Advertising, I say to you rebellious, creative and sexy. Not 5 african americans, not 3 spanish speakers. We are connected to each other by what we have in common intellectually.

Brands can learn from this. Brands know this. THINK ABOUT IT.

What connects us to each other can connect us to a brand if a brand proves itself to be a part of a culture, or at least understand it.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Motivate with Hate?

I hate hate. Its true. I try not to hate anything, but rather learn from it and CHANGE the future. The only place that I am motivated by hate is the gym - BLAST THE FAT!

Honda. Maybe you have heard of this brand? I certainly hope so. Honda is incredible. They are what dreams are made of. If you haven't been passed the floating "book of dreams", let me know because it is something that should come into everybody's life.

Below is an ad called "hate something, change something" by Honda. Besides it being an incredible ad, it is incredibly inspirational. Think, step one of NSAC. Locate the problem, find the solution.


Just incase you needed a daily dose of goose bumps

Here's to the crazy ones.
The misfits.
The rebels.
The troublemakers.
The round pegs in the square holes.
The onles who see things differently.
They're not fond of rules and have no respect for the status quo.
You can praise them, disagree with them, quote them, disbelieve them, glorify or vilify them.
About the only thing that you can't do is ignore them. Because they change things.
They invent.
They imagine.
They heal.
They explore.
they create.
They inspire.
They push the human race forward.
Maybe they have to be crazy.
How else can you stare at an empty canvas and see a work of art?
Or sit in silence and hear a song that's never been written?
Or gaze at a red planet and see a laboratory on wheels?
We make tools for these kinds of people.
While some may seem them as the crazy ones, we see genius.
Because the ones who are crazy enough to think that they can change the world, are the ones who do.

Sunday, October 15, 2006


There's a Place for Us...

So, here I am as I usually am, drooling over some tasty morsel of information that I just read about... I read A LOT. Anyways, being a twenty something - soon to graduate - individual I find myself perplexed by the really original question of "what am I going to do after college?"

Well folks, I'm lookin' and I'm likin' because the world, where I thought a person like me with a brain that "goes both ways" would end up an eternal outcast, is changing.

Creative Business is the new age, and baby a great age it is.

Here is an excerpt from business week that talks about this corporate cultural shift:

The Knowledge Economy as we know it is being eclipsed by something new -- call it the Creativity Economy. Even as policymakers and pundits wring their hands over the outsourcing of engineering, software writing, accounting, and myriad other high-tech, high-end service jobs -- not to mention the move of manufacturing to Asia -- U.S. companies are evolving to the next level of economic activity.

What was once central to corporations -- price, quality, and much of the left-brain, digitized analytical work associated with knowledge -- is fast being shipped off to lower-paid, highly trained Chinese and Indians, as well as Hungarians, Czechs, and Russians. Increasingly, the new core competence is creativity -- the right-brain stuff that smart companies are now harnessing to generate top-line growth. The game is changing. It isn't just about math and science anymore. It's about creativity, imagination, and, above all, innovation.

What is unfolding is the commoditization of knowledge. We have seen global forces undermine autos, electronics, and other manufacturing, but the Knowledge Economy was expected to last forever and play to America's strengths: great universities, terrific labs, smart immigrants, an entrepreneurial business culture.

read the whole article at http://www.businessweek.com/magazine/content/05_31/b3945401.htm

Drink it down creatives, it always goes down smooth!

Monday, October 09, 2006

Sleep is for...

This is un-freaking-believable...

Reminicint of the Good/Bad/Ugly old days a la:

Oh deskies.

Brand Stretching - GENIUS, SON!

Brand Stretching: V: To stretch a brand beyond where it normally performs.

Brand stretching means taking your brand into a whole new market. It’s the Caterpillar Boots strategy. As distinct from brand exploitation (your logo on merchandise) and brand extension (from Cadbury chocolate to Flake).

The general formula for success is 1+1=3

Nivea Sun drew upon Nivea’s heritage in skincare, it also made the main brand sexier. Sun worship is natural, hedonistic and lets face it bikini clad.

The core principles are as follows:

1. have a good enough brand
YES: Versace Palazzo hotel
NO: McDonald’s Arches hotel (that’s a real example, it’s in Zurich)

2. enter hot markets, with growth, dynamism or simply buzz
YES: Nivea Sun
NO: Club Med shower gel

3. stick with audiences who already love your brand
YES: Armani Casa home design and furnishings for yuppies
NO: Levi’s suits

4. it just has to ‘click’ (even if that’s just in hindsight)
YES: Apple iPod
No: microsoft XBox

5. think and act like a start up
YES: the launch of Playstation (1) a geurilla media spectacular
NO: the eventual flopping out of Sony MP3 players

The last point is critical. A Nielsen study in the 90s showed that launches under existing brand names were no more (or less) successful than new brands. the suspicion is that a new brand puts more effort in; this is their one shot.

The methodology.

A. break your brand into numerous part credentials
B. use these to invent new products, services, concepts in a different market
C. get into conversation; seek informants and partners and talent who know how to make these often naive but different ideas into a functioning reality in the new market

If you took the whole Caterpillar brand (industrial machinery multinational) you’d never get to boots. But both have excellent gripping treads, rugged performance and a certain appeal to the 4 year old in all men.

I have found this methodology to work excellently across a number of projects. i cant say what the ideas were because while they wouldnt have to shoot me, their lawyers would be entitled to have a pop!

So lets take a hypothetical one instead. What if IKEA (who I know well, and am starting a new project with, but who I have never worked on brand stretching with) were looking for new brand stretching ideas? They have already done some thrilling extensions eg pet furniture, IKEA homes (ready furnished and affordable), IKEA food (just launching; an extension of the cafe). But what about…

IKEA COMPUTERS: funky, functional and shockingly affordable

IKEA HOME EFFICIENCY: the social values applied to solar panels, monitoring energy use, plus of course the storage solutions which make daily life so much more lievable

IKEA SEX BOOKS & TOYS: a more thrilling topic for their competence in instructions and clever objects

IKEA SENIOR: accessible, thoughtful design which makes kitchens, stairs and so on work for (customers’) elderly (parents)

IKEA TRANSPORT: perhaps a new take on the motorised bicycle/with secure trailer for kids, shopping and of course flat packs; a clever hybrid solution to the pressing prolkems of city living; only this time outside the home

IKEA LOTTERY; based on their vision of improving the lives of ‘the many’ - with all profits to urban regeneration

IKEA NURSERIES; a key social support, unaffordable and poorly managed as a sector, an extension of the instore creche

Those examples are deliberately off the cuff and hastily sketched. I just want to show the workings. I’ve found that bar a few lucky quick wins, it generally takes a lot of patient digging to unearth the star ideas which are truly lateral and yet ‘RIGHT’.

Alright, Circle... Get to it.

Must is the operative word here. DUH.

Must, need, love, crave. These are all words that get you into Circle Advertising.


is what gets Circle Advertising to the Nationals.

Don't say I didn't warn you.

5 Ways to Teach People to be More Innovative

- Bob Sutton, The D-School @ Stanford University

I found this while perusing through my many industry blogs that we ad people peruse. Its what we do. Anyhow, being the "boss" of a company, I found this very useful and have applied it to the ways thing are going to improve here at Circle Advertising this year. More than likely, it will be useful to anyone who reads it, so listen up, Chuck.

1. Producing Smart individuals is the first step; teaching them to collaborate is the second.

2. Teach people to fight as if they are right and listen as if they are wrong.

3. Teach people to treat innovation as an import export business.

4. Teach experts to seek out novices, and novices to seek out experts.

5. Teaching people to succeed isn't enough; teach them how to fail too.

Our Thing, a poem of sorts.

We are the eternal underdog; the long shot; the risky bet.
This thing e do, we do not for the glory; not for the gain; not for the win.
We do this thing because we need this thing.
It runs in ourveins and it speaks to our souls; it moves us.

This thing is not comfortable. This thing is not safe.
Nothing here is the same today as it was yesterday, as it will be tomorrow.
This is the way we like our thing.

Smite rounting, for this is the enemy of evolution.
Reject fear, for this is the emeny of creativity.

Take notice. see all. Think. Listen. Act. Learn. GROW.

Fat Cats nap.
underdogs plot.

underdogs run faster; push harder; think smarter.
They snatch the Fat Cat's feast from under their face.

While they are sleeping, we are scavengering.
While they are gloating, we are starving.

For our feast, we will never stop.
For our thing, we will persevere.

- the Children.

Lessons to learn from Columbus besides the obvious raping and pillaging.

Columbus failed early and often. He failed when he joined in the attempt to conqure the Kingdom of Naples. Later, he was captured by Portuguese ships as he escorted an armed convoy. He was wounded. And he never did get to India. The fact that he didn't give up and become a shopkeeper after this rough start was critical to his success.

Columbus was a thief. He didn't invent the idea that the world was round. In fact, Ertosthenes, Aristotle and Ptolemy pretty much made it an established fact among educated people long before Columbus was born. Just because he didn't invent the idea doesn't mean he couldn't use it.

Columbus didn't do his research carefully, reinforcing his optimism. He thought that calculations of the size of the Earth were in Italian miles, not in the longer Arabic miles. The correct calculations would have 'proven' he should never have left.

Columbus took advantage of human nature. The rulers of Spain were desperate to find an edge and Columbus offered them a quest that could address their state of emergency.

Columbus was persistent. It took him seven years at court in order to get funding.

No one really believed that Columbus would change everything. His contract with the king included huge bonuses for success, largely because they were pretty sure that he would fail.

Columbus didn't consider side affects until it was too late. In order to help repay his investors, Columbus took slaves (the first person to do so in the New World) and in one notorious case, arranged to cut the hands off of each Haitian adult male who failed to bring a minimum amount of gold to his ships.

Ultimately, in death, Columbus became a brand, a story bigger than his own facts. Buried in Spain, moved to Santo Domingo, then to Havana and then back to Spain. Namesake of the Knights of Columbus. Honored by statues and streets and even cities. In many ways considered the "first American," demonstrating vision, persistence, insight, brilliance, bravery and world changing paradigm shifting... almost none of it true, of course.

I think the lesson of Columbus Day is a marketing lesson. Successful marketers allow people to tell themselves a story they want to hear. Columbus did that his entire life, and especially in death. Great marketers then do work that they're proud of, using their leverage to create things that people might not want in the short run, but are delighted in later on. I think Columbus was certainly successful. I wonder what would have happened if he had been great.