Monday, July 30, 2007

Sowing the Seeds of Doubt in Your Relationship

No product name on this one, so it was probably a government awareness campaign aimed at soldiers and sailors.















Found via LiveJournal's Vintage Ad Community.

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Update on Floatplane Tragedy in Alaska

As reported last week, Taquan Air out of Ketchikan, Alaska has a nightmare on their hands following a tragedy with one of their planes, which went down last week in rugged terrain, killing four Princess Cruise passengers and the pilot.

A Taquan spokesperson told the Anchorage Daily News that the pilot, Joesph Campbell, had a lengthy aviation career coupled with six years spent flying over the rugged terrain of the Grand Canyon, making him an ideal candidate for a job at Taquan flying over the mountainous Misty Fjords.

However, a commenter named Michael has added this message to my previous post:

"Taquan Air should have done a better background check on this pilot. He worked for us and we fired him. He also worked for at least two other companies that asked him to resign. He was a problem employee and a marginal at best pilot."

I can't follow Michael to any website as his blog profile is marked "Unavailable," but if this is verified by investigators, it can't be good for Taquan Air.

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Sunday, July 29, 2007

Locals Only - Salesmen: Take Heed

Part VI in a series of reviews of very local advertising.

In the wrong hands, Photoshop is a very dangerous tool. Outer glows, drop shadows - I don't know where to start on this ad, which was the inside cover of one of those glossy locals that come in the mail for free, even though it says $3.95 on the cover. It's filled with fake features and advertorial profiles of local dentists and other assorted businesses. I know some people can't afford an ad agency or design firm, but if this business can afford the inside cover, maybe next time the salesman responsible for this atrocity can pay a local high school student $100 to design an ad.




















Locals Only Part V
Locals Only Part IV
Locals Only Part III
Local Only Part II
Locals Only Part I

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Bald Bobble Bill

The Plaid Tour is the most well-executed advertising campaign for an advertising agency I've ever seen. From the concept of "Brand Aid" to the website with its little plaid van crossing the globe, these people have thought of everything. Regular updates via (cough) Twitter, instant messaging with van occupants, live camera, a growing Flickr set and the sneaking suspicion that when they get back at the end of the week, the press coverage alone should be responsible for even more new business. I expect to see this effort written up as a feature in some industry trades soon.

And Bill of MTLB finally got himself immortalized as a bobblehead figure on the Plaid "meet the staff" page. I've heard it joked that white guys can't do the bald thing very well. Bill pulls it off. He's likely using Plaid client HeadBlade to achieve the Mr. Clean look.

I predict this agency is about to explode, and I'm putting in my request now to be their Florida office.

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The Revolution Hasn't Happened Yet

AT&T, Sprint, Verizon: they all talk about "Now headquarters is wherever YOU are." They show the busy business people on the bus, at the golf course, in the airport, at the restaurant - all around the world, spreading the word - getting business done by laptop, mobile device and brain implant transponder.

But still - telecommuting is slow to take off. Why? Lots of reasons, but the biggest I suspect, is trust. Or rather, distrust. If your colleagues can't see you, they assume you're goofing off. Well, at least the dishonest ones assume that - because that's what they'd do if they worked from home.

I worked well from home when it was an option. Not so well on a mobile device or from the golf course (never touched a club in my life) but as long as I've got my high-speed connection here at the casa or on my laptop, what's it matter where I am? I can shoot an email to you just as fast from here as if I were down the hall in a cubicle. Sure, we can't have a face-to-face brainstorming session, but you drink your coffee, I'll load up here, then we can get on the phone and toss some ideas back and forth. If we really got smart and invested a couple hundred bucks, we could set up cameras, then you could watch me and make sure I'm working, or we could have that face-to-face brainstorming session via cable. We can put on the headsets and talk over Skype. Without a commute, my workday started at 7 AM. I can put in more hours at home than I can in an office. And I'll be honest; in those hours I might climb on my bike and take a couple mile journey just to get out and clear my head. But how is that any different than taking my lunch break to work out in the company gym? Did I meet my deadlines? Was the client happy? So, what's your problem?

The cubicle was meant for animals. It’s a kennel. The cubicle was meant for robots and slaves.

Who is the evil genius responsible for this design and who are the salesmen who sold it? Who are the corporate heads that bought into it and why are they still in power? When we find these people, we need to send them off to some sort of camp, along with the purveyors of florescent lights, the builders of time clocks and sellers of the software that does the job of a time clock. Let's also get the people who invented the magnetic company badge that opens the door to your highly classified workplace. We'll put them all out in the middle of nowhere where they won’t disable the creativity of the American worker anymore. Put them in cubicles with fluorescent lighting and make them clock out when they want a drink or a smoke or they need to take a leak. Treat them like animals, cattle, robots. Give them “benefits” that they can’t walk away from. Health, dental, 401K.

Employers can’t trust their cattle to work from home.The employer and manager require dictatorial control and micromanaging of tasks. They need to have meetings about meetings in preparation for the meeting, where they will present a Powerpoint deck about the upcoming meeting. They want dress codes and time clocks. A few have started what they think is a revolution: they've set up teepees and canoes in which they hold meetings. Or maybe they call them pow-wows. Quaint. Cute.

How to sell this notion of telecommuting to the powers that be? Here's something they can understand: drag into this conversation America's favorite worry-du-jour: Global warming. Let's make all these talkers and squawkers prove they really care. Employers could save millions on scaling down their office space, taking advantage of the technology that is available to them right now. We can give employers willing to take part in a telecommuting plan special government incentives, as they will also be contributing to a national traffic solution and "keeping our planet clean for the children of the future." (Choke back the tears, corporate spokeswoman.) Traffic is out of hand in most American cities, and most of it is due to throngs of office workers reporting for cattle call. Gas prices, carbon emissions, etc, etc.

Employers are always dreaming up new ways to make their employees happier. So they invest thousands in the company gym that no one uses, or they offer you Snapple, foosball, corporate daycare and ergonomic keyboards. Save the money. Let your people work from home. That would make many of them happy, and likely more productive. Here's a neat benefit: no more sick days. Unless someone's dying, they can get their ass out of bed and over to the computer to make sure the report they promised by 11:00 AM is where it needs to be.

Many jobs just can't be done remotely - retail, factory, education - but millions can. And while some people enjoy the social environment and interaction of an office, many of us don't. For those who don't, options are available now that would enable us to produce quality work, no matter where we are. Just ask AT&T, Sprint or Verizon.

But it's not going to be a reality anytime soon. You just can't be trusted to do your job out of sight of your corporate masters.

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Saturday, July 28, 2007

Buy an Astronaut a Drink



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Friday, July 27, 2007

Friday Fun Facts

















  • If you took all the banner ads ever placed for Classmates.com and laid them end to end, they would reach to the moon, circle it 30 times, then come back to earth and still have zero creativity to them.
  • If you took all the money that Classmates.com spends on banner ad placement and distributed it evenly to every citizen in the United States, we would all receive $768,349.53.
  • If you took all the pictures of all the graduates featured on Classmates.com banner ads and put them in a blender and set it for "puree," that would be cool.

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Thursday, July 26, 2007

One Year, 365 Posts

One year ago today I started this blog. This post is #365. Where's My Jetpack? has almost become a part time job volunteer position. It was started out of frustration with not being able to write anything fun at my job. (Go ahead, write 40 pages about predictive and statistical analytics software and tell me you had fun doing it.) I suppose I'll keep it going, unless someone out there has an actual paying job that let's me write like this.















On this anniversary, I will add a new feature to the sidebar called "Open Mic Night" in which I will open myself up to ridicule, scorn and derision by posting homemade recordings every so often. At worst, I make you cringe, requiring an aural palate cleansing using your favorite music. At best, I quit my day job and go on tour with the White Stripes.

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Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Locals Only - The Fish Market

Part V in a series of reviews of very local advertising.

Christians have their own books, bookstores, radio stations, music, TV stations, programs, movies, magazines, theme parks, yellow pages - and now their own electrical contractor. You've seen these ads before. The fish symbol is code to other Christians that this is a reputable contractor who will wire your home or business the way Jesus would.













It's a cheap ploy - and it likely alienates more people than it attracts. This very well might be what "Do not take the Lord's name in vain" was really addressing.

So you need a new car? Let your fingers take a walk

through the business guide for the born-again flock
You'll be keeping all your money in the Kingdom now
And you'll only drink milk from a Christian cow


Locals Only Part IV
Locals Only Part III
Local Only Part II
Locals Only Part I

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When Tragedy Hits Your Company

When is the right time for a company to acknowledge a failure or tragedy on its website? Immediately? Not at all?

Two couples on an excursion from a Princess Cruise Lines Alaska journey were killed along with their pilot when a sight-seeing floatplane crashed in rugged terrain yesterday. Princess has already announced permanent cancellation of all excursions with the tour company, Taquan Air, out of Ketchikan, Alaska. A visit to Taquan's website shows a company proud of its pilots and its well-serviced fleet. No mention of the tragedy, not even on their "Press" page.

Planes crash. It's tragic, but it happens. And I'm sure there was some sort of waiver signed by the passengers that acknowledged the inherent dangers of flying that kind of plane in that kind of environment, absolving the company of obligation in the event of a crash. But is the company responsible in this Age of Information to say something like "We deeply regret....grieve for the losses..." anything like that? Would American or United do such a thing on their websites in similar circumstances? Not likely.

But I think in this case, the answer is yes. They've got to address it somehow. Not only did Taquan just kill four paying customers, they lost one of their pilots. And once the shock of that tragedy wears off, they will wake up to the reality that they also lost a huge revenue stream in cruise line passengers from Princess, who quickly took care of their own PR disaster by announcing the permanent shunning of what was, until yesterday, a trusted partner. And with the news out there on the front page of Google, you know Norwegian, Carnival, Royal Caribbean and all the rest will be looking over their lists of excursion partners and consider dumping Taquan.

How do you fix this? Is it fixable? Is Taquan screwed? Should they rebrand and get away from the now soiled Taquan name? You PR types feel free to weigh in.

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Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Anybody Catch That Absinthe Recipe?

Did someone say the 30-second spot is dead?

I didn't do something that I often do last night: I didn't mute the TV when they went to break. I didn't take a bathroom or refrigerator break. I didn't look at the guide to see what was coming up later.

During Modern Marvels on History Channel (this one was about the art of making Brandy, Cognac, Moonshine and Absinthe) one of the breaks went like this:

  • Obscure factoid about the history of alcohol
  • 30 second spot for car maker
  • Weird fact about the history of alcohol
  • 30 second spot for beef jerky
  • Funny factoid about the history of alcohol
  • 30 second spot for insurance
  • Interesting fact about the history of alcohol
  • 30 second spot for car maker
  • Top strange fact about the history of alcohol
  • 30 second spot for something I don't remember
  • Promo for another History Channel show
  • Back to show

Each of the factoids ended with an onscreen message that said, "More in 30 seconds." They were all no more than :10 each, but interesting enough to keep you tuned for the next one. All the sponsors within the break were fairly A-list (Volvo, I remember) and there weren't any locals.

Maybe this model has been in place for some time and I just don't watch enough TV, but I thought it was an innovative and refreshing way to approach the dreaded (and rumored to be on the demise) commercial interruption. The show continues within the break and you're compelled to sit through another "Messin' with Sasquatch" ad.

I think History Channnel just got a leg up on TiVo.

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Monday, July 23, 2007

Pizza La - Big in Japan

SONG STUCK IN HEAD WARNING: The viewer agrees to hold Where's My Jetpack? harmless for subconscious rememberances of this jingle and/or entire commercial later in your day. By clicking the "play" button, you acknowledge that you are aware that a Japanese pizza commerical is about to commence, complete with annoyingly catchy childlike jingle (and accompanying dance steps) and scary animation. Possible side effects may include: nightmares, dizziness, blackouts, hallucinations, loss of bowel control and seizures.


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Half a Page of Scribbled Lines

As all the Harry Potter hype circulates, I'm glad for the author, even though I've never read any of her books. She was "on benefits," as they say in England, not very long ago. Now she's a billionaire. That's a nice story.

I read recently that Graham Greene, the 20th Century English author, set himself a minimum writing quota of 350 words per day. For those of us who write for a living, that's nothing and can be accomplished quite quickly. Yesterday's post about blogging was over 700 words; two days worth of writing by Greene's standard. Of course a blog post is no Greene novel, and he may have set such a low goal so as to create quality rather than quantity. But the point is discipline. Greene said, “I have no talent. It's just a question of working, of being willing to put in the time.” (Of course, if you owned a villa on Capri, writing might come a little easier to you, too.) "Silent" Calvin Coolidge made a similar observation: "Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Eduction alone will not; the world is full of educated derelicts."

I mention this because I'm going to try it, but maybe I'll up the quota to 500 words. I mention this also because I know bloggers, writers, people in advertising, and pretty much everyone are unfulfilled artists looking for a purer outlet for their creativity. Will we become billionaries? That would be nice, but it's not the point.

I may try something in the adventure/comedy/time travel genre. (Picture Bill Murray and Chris Rock if they played the leads in Twelve Monkeys.) Don't know yet.

I always encourage creatives to keep something on the side that no one else has a say in. Paint, draw, write, compose, or perform. Keep your skills sharpened. I think that's why so many of us blog now.

(Word Count: 350)

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Sunday, July 22, 2007

Drinking The Kool-Aid - But Not Catching a Buzz

On Friday, Copyranter did me the kindness of linking to a story here at Where’s My Jetpack? (Good for a huge spike in traffic, with that link being the leading source of traffic over the weekend – and likely through this week.) In the comments section of that post, I thanked him, as did Mr. William Green of Make the Logo Bigger. Bill pointed out that Copyranter “ranks higher than me on every blog ranking list he doesn’t want to be on.”

Copyranter has no labels, no Technorati tags, no digg icons and he doesn’t Twitter. He’s not asking you to Stumble Upon him or mark him as del.icio.us. There’s no way for you to email his stories to your friends from his site. He steadfastly refuses to keep a blog roll, even though he’s known to make the rounds as a commenter here and there. The most he offers his visitors is a Feedburner link.

So what makes Copyranter’s blog have a Technorati ranking of 14,117 and an Authority of 297? (Those numbers, for those of us who watch them, are mockingly higher than many blogs with every social media icon known to man cluttering up the end of every post.)

Say it with me, class…CONTENT.

That’s not to diminish the value of all those social media tags and widgets, and if Copyranter were to employ them, he could probably write a book, sell it online, and retire in wealth and peace, free to toss the Plastic Flatball™ with his girlfriend in the park. But any book he wrote would only be a bestseller because of its content.

Content is still king. For all the attempts by some to make their blogs rack up huge traffic numbers and links from other blogs, it’s surprising how many of them have so few comments under the posts. Why? Likely nobody cares about what was written.

I’ve had the opportunity to help clients set up blogs, and I know many of you are engaging in the same practice. But I honestly fear for the livelihood of those blogs. Few are participating in them at best. And no one’s reading them at worst. Maybe it’s a lack of transparency. Maybe it’s already a backlash on the part of the audience, small though it is. It is easy to distrust a corporate blog, unless that corporate blog is in some way compelling by its content.

You hired a new employee? Woo-hoo! You’re speaking at a conference? Yay you! You landed a new piece of business? Awesome. You'd be better off to save that news for your Sunday afternoon call to your mom, so you can hear her say, "We're so proud of you." Or issue a press release no one is going to read.

I want you to tell me something new, something refreshing, something newsworthy or something funny. I want you to be an authority. I want you to have an opinion. I want to see you push the bounds of corporate communications and tell me how you, as the high-powered and well-known CEO of Acme, Inc., think the San Diego Chargers made a HUGE mistake in firing Marty Schottenheimer. (You do have a personal life. Your customers and prospects can benefit from seeing your humanity.) I want you to throw open the curtain and say, “People are complaining about our new rollout, Product X. Some have outright called it 'a piece of shit.' We’re working to resolve some of the obvious problems, but I invite those people who are dissatisfied to please comment here on my blog and see if together we can resolve your issues.”

Another problem with corporate blogs is frequency. If you’re posting once a week or less, just quit now. You need to keep it up. And get out there and comment on other blogs if you ever hope to see a visitor who didn’t just find you by accident. And by all means, do not engage in fake conversations with yourself, commenting anonymously on your own blog just so you can have some comments.

The Age of Conversation is very real, and I’ve made virtual friends (even met one) out here within this Series of Tubes. I’ve found voices and opinions I love to listen to and converse with in the year this blog has been active. The blog is a powerful and fun tool. (I’m not talking about MySpace, Facebook or Second Life yet. That’s a whole different post.)

Blogging isn’t going anywhere, but it has yet to be tapped effectively by those who seek to make it a means of “engaging the consumer.”

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Friday, July 20, 2007

Mad Frenchmen

Everyone seems to be in agreement that Mad Men, the show about 1960s-era advertising, pretty much sucks.

Didn't watch it. Couldn't tell you. But in the spirit of suck, and because I enjoy making you cringe with me in perplexed wonder at what people were possibly thinking back in that era, I give you an extra helping of embarrassing nostalgia for your weekend pleasure. This is for Pepsi, 1965. From France. Swingin' times.



UPDATE: My mom called last night. Mom: "Did you watch Mad Men?" Me: "No. I heard it's terrible." Mom: "No. They're saying it's the best show on television."

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When Your Company Name Becomes a Killer

Always have a backup plan when naming a product or service. You never know when bad news might affect business.

(Of course it's not just companies, it can be people too. You know this guy gets all kinds of ribbing even today. And this poor guy.)

I'm not sure how things are going for Manson Construction out of Seattle, but they've probably weathered the toughest part by now. Same goes for Kansas City Chevy dealer Cable-Dahmer.

Those companies stuck it out and stayed in business, likely saying, "We will not tarnish the memory of Great Grandaddy Manson, who gave all he had to this company. This too, shall pass."

Not so for this unfortunate company. Sales dropped 50% in the aftermath of the discovery of AIDS and they eventually gave up.



You never know when a lone gunman with your name or an epidemic that sounds like your name will strike. Your business strategy should include an emergency plan for these unfortunate possibilities.

I'm not kidding. This former Chiefs wide receiver could've broken every NFL receiving record and still never landed on the first page of Google when someone searched his name.

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New York City - Just Like I Pictured It

The collective Google Street View People are hard at play, finding the obscure, the cool, the weird and the unexpected.

I found this one pretty interesting. I'll bet on any given day you can spot the out-of-town stoner pilgrims having their pictures taken here, much like at the Abbey Road crosswalk.

Bonus Trivia: The building is also featured in this Stones video.

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Put the Headphones On

...and then later explain to your coworkers why you're convulsing with laughter. If you're eating when listening to this, please stop, as laughing while eating is a leading cause of choking, and I won't be held responsible for your death. It's a dramatic reading of a poorly (or hastily) drafted breakup letter. I love this thing on so many levels, one of which is the title: You Make Me Touch Your Hands for Stupid Reasons.














Found via The Assimiliated Negro, whose blog is a must read, and will likely today replace some dormant blog on my Linkers and Lurkers list at right.

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Thursday, July 19, 2007

Emperor's Thinkin' Arby's

Click image and watch it grow!

















This comes from Drew and Natalie, of Married to the Sea, "The Champagne of Comics."

Drew also draws Toothpaste for Dinner. Natalie is the artist behind Natalie Dee.

One of their three daily postings is generally good for a wry smile. I usually prefer their collaborations at MTTS. Where they find their bizarre 19th Century illustrations for this daily I have no idea. That's a talented, if slightly twisted, couple.

But how many talented people do you know who aren't also slightly twisted? In fact, I challenge you to find a single "normal" person in your world, talented or not. Everyone's a freak, to one degree or another. And come to think of it, everyone's talented in one way or another, too.

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Ahhh - Collaboration

It can be a dicey thing, working in design and advertising. You've got artists (writers, designers) all over the place, and they think what they just did is good. You've also got planners and AEs who want a say in the project. Let's not forget the client, who thinks his grandchild is the sweetest little actress in the world and will carry the spot all by herself.

I sometimes imagine I can design - and then I run my crude designs by a real designer and the real designer comes back with a response like the note you see posted here.

This is real. Received today by email in reaction to one of my personal websites. It's a former colleague trying to tell me nicely not to mess with website design. I just stuck it in a fake post-it note for effect.

But this is what advertising is usually about. Give and take. A business where egos clash and people move on to other jobs all the time. If your skin is thin, you'll get frustrated.

Now I'm going to respond to this by pointing out all the typos I see on my former colleague's own stupid site.

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Did You Vote for Him?

You may remember Bill Engvall as the 4th funniest comedian on the Blue Collar Comedy Tour. TBS' promotions department has dubbed him "America's Favorite Comedian." And Engvall himself sports this banner on his official website, so he's obviously on board with the messaging.












I saw an outdoor board for this show with the same message this afternoon in Winter Park, Florida. The TBS promotions department needs to peddle their shows, of course, but this is quite a stretch.

Chris Rock? Good shot at the title. Bill Engvall? Maybe I'm just out of step with America. Again.

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Wednesday, July 18, 2007

ISSKT - from Denmark

Hey, Typepad. I have excellent vision, but you're hurting my eyes with your comment verification puzzles. Like the 4th character here. Is it a "g," or a "9?"





I always get them wrong and then they give me an easier one.

Blogger's word verification jumbles are much easier, and sometimes they can even be pronounced, like this one.





Isskt. (Pronounced like "biscuit" without the "b.") Sounds like a new widget for bloggers, or maybe a photo and video sharing site. I just checked at GoDaddy and isskt.com is available. Somebody grab it quick! Do you know how hard it is to find available 5-letter domains with a .com suffix? Why do you think so many of the new media emerging companies have such silly, made-up names? Hell, that image above could even be your logo. Just add the word "beta" to the bottom, throw on some Web 2.0ish shiny sheen and maybe make the second "s" face the other "s" backwards, like two snakes kissing.

Pretend you're from a Scandinavian country when you launch the thing and the bloggerati/technorati will love you and jump on board. You'll be all the rage for a month and then Google will buy you.

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They're CHIPS, for God's Sake

I just don't know what to make of this. Aside from sticking the song "Kiss Me" (minus vocals) in my head, which I don't necessarily mind, I'm finding this effort by Sun Chips just a bit strange. Why is everyone out to change the planet in the name of selling something? Live Brightly? I just wanted some chips, thanks anyway.

Personally, I enjoy the delicious taste and crispy freshness of SunChips® brand multigrain snacks from Frito-Lay®, but am I going to jump on board your new effort to change the world with "small steps?"

I've got no problem with people wanting to do nice things and make the world a better place, but THEY'RE CHIPS. It's not a religion.

Please don't get me wrong; I think the notion of Live Brightly is actually a pretty cool idea. But...THEY'RE CHIPS.

And all this chip talk is making me thirsty for an ice cold Coca-Cola
®. In fact.....

I'd like to teach the world to sing

In perfect harmony
I'd like to buy the world a Coke
And keep it company
That's the real thing.

(Chorus 2)
What the world wants today
Coca-Cola (background)
Is the real thing

(Repeat chorus 2)
What the world wants today
Coca-Cola (background)
Is the real thing

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Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Smooth as a Baby's...Wait a Minute

Click ad for bigness.
If this is test #43, I'd be curious to see the previous 42 and any subsequent tests. The babies seem not to mind having their butts rubbed on the face of a freshly shaved man, nor does the man appear to mind the baby butts on his face. This is just too weird. All in a day's work for the lab-coated scientists of the Schick Shave Lab.

I'm a disposable razor guy (sorry, Brits, I'm American - we're wasteful) and have found that Schick is in fact the only brand that won't leave me bloodied (thanks for nothing, Gillette). But I've been using the apparently old-school and now outdated "Xtreme 3" (with Triple Blade Closeness™.) Man, and I thought that razor was the end-all. This new one, the Quattro™, is obviously much better, as Quattro means 4, which is 1 more than 3.

(Scanned from yet another gratuitously self-referencing and filled with Hippie Nostalgia™ edition of Rolling Stone [July 2007], celebrating what they considered the Peak of Human History, the Summer of 1967, or the Summer of Love™, the same year the magazine was founded. RS even went so far as to create a 9-page list of The 40 Essential Albums™ of 1967. Gimme a break. There were actually that many albums released in '67 worth noting? Highly doubtful.)

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Ripples of a Coming Storm

Noisy outside right now, in a very cool way. Nikon-grabbin' time.













Riverbend Dead End - 7/17/07 - 2:15 PM


You Do The Math


From the album Telegraph Canyon

Every afternoon at about this time
for a month
it’s been raining
The afternoon scattered shower
the kind that lasts until the end of rush hour
It’s like someone saying
take it easy
It’s like someone saying
take it slow

The straight and narrow’s got a couple twists
The straight and narrow bends just a little
The cloud ceiling’s pretty high
You got some water in your eye
What chance we’re slippin’ off the path?
The odds are slim – you do the math


Every evening at about this time
for a month
the sun shines
3D clouds under a crystal blue dome
No matter where you are you’re home
It’s like someone saying
take it easy
It’s like someone saying
take it slow

The straight and narrow’s got a couple twists
The straight and narrow bends just a little

The cloud ceiling’s pretty high
You got some water in your eye

What chance we’re slippin’ off the path?

The odds are slim – you do the math

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Silly Pierre Went Dirt Bike Riding in White

I've found a treasure trove of old ads, mostly international, along with some of those classic educational films from a YouTube user who lives in El Centro, California. (If you've never driven through El Centro, it's a desert town in the...CENTER...of Southern California. Hotter than Hell most of the year. Forecast for this Sunday: Sunny and 109.)

This spot is great in its own time-capsule, cultural disparity way. Not sure what French-speaking African country this cleaning detergent ad was made for, but the Lady of the House washes her laundry in a big bowl off the front porch in 1969. She also uses a hand-crank sewing machine.

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Saudi Chicken Balls

See the full :30 here. (From 1993.)

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Big Idea - no CGI

Hate being late to the game, but I just saw this last night on Comedy Central during Colbert (I think). I love the notion of innovative low tech ideas that grab your eye. This one plays on Sprint's theme of "Speed of Light."



I know Sprint has had some troubles of late and is in hot water for firing some of their more bitchy customers, but they seem to be making moves against the monolith of AT&T /Apple and its glroious new Savior of the Universe, the iPhone. I don't know how Sprint's service works, as I've been locked into Cingular/AT&T for too long.

I'm pretty sure every service has its pitfalls and drawbacks - and all you're left with to distinguish them in the end is marketing. This does that, I think. As someone pointed out on American Copywriter, the writing could use some tweaking, but still, it's not bad.

Notes on YouTube say the park this was shot at is Yerba Buena Gardens in San Francisco and that the music is by Architecture in Helsinki.

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Monday, July 16, 2007

Squirrels ARE Useful

Click for bigness.














See also Thinking in Vain's squirrel catapult find.

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Overcompensating Much?

If your email signature contains a strange title, numerous phone and fax numbers and about a half dozen different social media links just in case I want to Skype, Twitter or IM you, followed by that insipid "the information contained in this electronic transmision is confidential," why don't you do your colleagues and clients a favor and trim it down some? Do I really need your email address at the bottom of an email from you? Think about it.

Oh, and you aren't from the UK, so please stop signing your emails with "Cheers!"

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Cross Country Barnstorm Begins

The Plaid Van has hit the road, and it looks like it'll be an interesting ride. Part new business development journey, part client service outing, part transparent opening-up to the advertising community, the notion of a 21-day half-country trek in a strange looking vehicle reminds me of the Oscar Meyer Weinermobile. They're having some technical difficulties, but all in all, it seems to be moving along fairly successfully. The ride looks a little bouncy, but that van is huge, with plenty of room to stretch out and blog the journey.

And if I've done my research correctly, I might have an image here of Bill Green of Make the Logo Bigger. Can't be sure until he shows up here to comment. In fact, he might be commenting right here in this picture, as Bill is the holder of the Most Prolific Poster and Commenter Cup two years running. He's not exactly a Weinermobile babe, but he sports a well groomed dome. (It's always interesting the first time you see a radio host you've listened to for a while. Same applies to bloggers who've remained visually anonymous for a while.)

I will be curious to find out what sort of new biz was hatched from this trip and how the expense vs. results of the trip might compare to the ROI of say, a brand summit, a webinar or a speaking engagement. (Did I just say, "ROI?" I'm sorry for that. Really.)

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Verbal Typo

Politicians usually get ignored when delivering their empty speeches to empty chambers, but one of Florida's Senators, Bill Nelson, is getting some unwanted radio and TV airtime for this poor choice of words delivered on the Senate floor recently.


The word, of course, has different meanings, and it could be argued that he was speaking of "social intercourse," but in an age when every misstep in public life is amplified on YouTube and then scrutinized by bloggers with nothing better to do, I'll bet he wishes he could take it back. If he were running for office, some unscrupulous competitor might make a deal over this. As it is, it's just a nice old man who seems to have sex on the brain. It might even make a great military recruitment pitch: Army Strong: Plus the Best Sex You'll Ever Have.

On another note, the Senator's website is a nice changeup from the usual official government representative's site. Bill doesn't go for the top banner that features a waving American flag, nor is he posed in his dark blue suit with American flag lapel pin. He doesn't show the seal of the Senate or any of the other trappings common to most official government websites, like this awful, pandering iconic overload. Bill is trying to get all bloggy and social media on us. I like it, in contrast.

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Friday, July 13, 2007

When Snowmen Go Bad

You know those PSAs done by municipal TV stations? (The same stations that broadcast the county board of commissioners Tuesday night meeting in its entirety.) The spots are almost always sappy, stupid and have really poor production values.

This one is better than most and comes from Springfield, Missouri. It was apparently one in a series called "Character Ed," designed to teach kids to have a good attitude, along with other positive character traits that will cause them to get walked on later in life.

This is the January edition, with happy snowman and grumpy snowman contrasting the right and wrong ways to approach a hard task. Watch after the end, as the makers stuck on an alternate ending. City employees having fun. Who would've thought that was possible?

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Thursday, July 12, 2007

Stats Don't Lie: People Like Smut

...even if it's fairly tame, juvenile smut from the late 1930s.

Just glanced at my blog analytics. It appears the Land O' Lakes Butter Trick is making the rounds again. By midday I had double my normal number of visitors, (mostly from Indiana, Ohio and Michigan) all headed for the Flashing Indian Maiden.










Now, what I need to do is "maximize the experience" for these first-time visitors, get them in "the buying cycle," and provide a "consumer experience" that "engages" them, allowing them to "interact" with my "brand." I must figure out a way to somehow "monetize" this "word of mouth" trend.

Guess I'm going to have to start offering ironic T-shirts or something.

No offense to Bill Green of Make the Logo Bigger, but the coveted Bill Bump can't compare to the accidental viral of a topless Native American.

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Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Amtrack Still SUCKS

Or: Let's Put a Rolls-Royce Hood Ornament on a Broken Down Old Pontiac Minivan.

AdPulp reports on Amtrak's new experimentation with luxury rail service. Amtrak partnered with GrandLuxe Rail Journey for the test venture.

Hey, Amtrak! Before you go off and become a paid spokescompany for some high-end luxury travel gurus out of Colorado, why don't you try getting the basics down first? The fluff can come after you've figured out how to run a passenger rail service.

It is common knowledge in this country that Amtrak sucks. Sucks really bad. Adding a butler to my mahogany lined car isn't going to change the fact that the train is still about 15 hours behind schedule. 5-course meals? Great. So, I'm stuffed, tired, hot, sweaty and late, but my butler insists we'll be "making good time straightaway, Sir."

Why don't you all take a little learning vacation to Germany or Japan, study with some of the great train operators of the world and learn how to properly manage a passenger rail service? Why don't you admit your problems and set about fixing them? You need more tracks. Your exisiting tracks are in disrepair. Your stations, your trains and your people reflect a company that stopped caring about 30 years ago. Your habitual tardiness is legendary.

Click Fake Ad for Bigness













From the Washington Post story on the subject: "Since it was founded 36 years ago, the government-owned passenger railroad has yet to turn an annual profit, and it has piled up about $3.3 billion in debt."

That's called "Failure" in business. Awesome job, boys and girls. But when your parent corporation, the US government, is already known for legendary inefficiency and inherent corruption, you might be off on a bad foot in this start-up you call Amtrak.

So why don't we take this disaster of a business model and apply a fresh coat of paint and then ask people to pay $789 one way from DC to Miami? Brilliant.

I'd love to travel by train. Used it all the time in Germany, where it was affordable, clean (key word, there, Amtrak) and ALWAYS on time. (Deutsche Bahn, like Amtrak, is state-owned. Hmmmm.) I think train travel is fun and even preferable to flying. If it works.

I've said it before. Maybe it's just the size of this country that makes rail service so impossible, or maybe it's the fact that the automaker lobby (and the airlines) would shit a brick if Americans suddenly took to the rails.
Many major US cities have some form of subway, trolley, train, monorail thing that works. We've just never been able to connect them successfully.

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Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Tuesday Tees: Link Laundry

Throwing some stories /posts / thoughts I enjoyed or benefitted from in some way out on the line, found at a few of my regular stops in this giant Blog Mall.Fogies Fouling up FacebookPastor says put some pants on
Our USP: We're a Smoke Free Pub - Like All of themMadonna creates giant disturbance in the ForceNYT's David Brooks talks a big line of smug crapLazy Loser office roommates














(I found plenty of others, but was challenged beyond my abilities at the moment to come up with a good T-shirt design for them. If some of you would work on your Blog Branding™, I'll have something to work with for next Tuesday's airing of Freshly Laundered Links
. I know, you're busy doing real client work and putting in late hours. I'm not, obviously. Someone hire me.)

(And yes, Head of Captain Kirk is seen here wearing the one and only "Where's My Jetpack?" shirt in existence. His glasses, however, are not real Ray-Bans®.)

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Monday, July 09, 2007

Breadfruit, Rum and Scurvy

The Royal Navy has recently unleashed a series of recruitment ads, some humorous, others more serious, like this one.



Since the theme of unity for a greater cause is all the rage right now, this campaign takes a smart approach and lets the potential recruit feel as though their task within the service will "make a difference", change lives and earn the respect of a bunch of envoys to the United Nations. Not likely on the latter, but if it gets the young chavs off the streets of the government subsidized ghettos, great. Build some character and teach 'em how to properly wear their hats and pants, at least.


Previously in Military Recruitment:

(Czech Republic and United States) Czechs Kick Our Cinematic Butts
(Russia) Someone Still Loves You, Boris Yeltsin
(Australia) Throw Another Shrimp on the Barbed Wire
(Japan) Adventure's Waitin' Just Ahead

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Sunday, July 08, 2007

More Heat Than (Available) Light














Insert your Ice Cold Beverage Ad Here


(Weepy blues guitar, with plenty of sweaty sting. Slinky, funky highhat w/ kick and snare joins in with slutty, nasty bass at about :15. Narrator is male or female, tired, nearly pissed off. )

That kind of day, when stepping out of the safety of the AC for a couple of seconds causes your hair to become wet underneath as your shirt gains weight from the soaked-up moisture, gushing from pores you never knew could sweat; when the promise of momentary cooling from an afternoon scattered shower just misses your neighborhood by a zip code; when relief is your head submerged in a not-cool-enough pool, and coming up for breath means beads of perspiration forming on your forehead as soon as your face hits the air; when as the sun is finally and slowly diving, casting light through your neighbor's sprinklers, you run and grab the camera, convinced you are seeing God's Light, when in truth you are just temporarily delusional, hallucinating from exposure; when standing over a grill in the evening to test your just-invented but never-attempted Lime & Pepper Breast of Chicken™ might be likened to fishing in a molten lava river. In midsummer. In Hell.

And... logo.
(Coca-Cola, Corona, Dasani, etc.)

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Saturday, July 07, 2007

The Mark of the Beas....oh, wait

That was last year. May your day be lucky, then.

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Thursday, July 05, 2007

Pat's In a Metal Mood

I was over at Fred Leo's Hands Across the Porch, where he embedded the classic Shatner Rocket Man interpretation. ("Classic" to those of us who admire The Shat's limitless talents.)

And well, you know how the Internet works. One things leads to another and another and eventually you stumble upon some accidental gold you'd never seen before. Like Pat Boone's "In a Metal Mood - No More Mr. Nice Guy." (And you thought Hasselhoff had cornered the market on horrific cheese.)

This thing is apparently 10 years old, but it'd still make a great gag gift for the Heavy Metallurgist in your life. Which is sort of sad, because I'll bet Pat recorded this in utter sincerity. Looks like he got help from some well-known names during recording.

Here's an audio montage of samples of Pat doing Stairway to Heaven, Smoke on the Water, and The Wind Cries Mary. He also covers some GNR, AC/DC and Ozzy on the album.

Enjoy responsibly.




Buy this gem.

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America's Backyard

Click for Bigness.
















Previously in Orlando/Disney Related:

Mickey Likes the Men
Orlando: Where the Unimaginative Set up Shop


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Grab Can, Lift Arm, Stack Can, Turn Around

In this area, there are basically two options for grocery shopping (three if you count Winn-Dixie, but nobody counts Winn-Dixie anymore, as they are dying a slow and painful death). We've got Publix and Albertson's.

The local Albertson's has a "fresh" fish counter in the back that tends to make the entire store smell like something rotting, the always rotating employees and managers are generally in bad moods, and they keep rearranging the aisles so no one can find anything.

By comparison, the local Publix is a veritable Disneyland. It's clean, the employees this week are the same ones from last month, and they always seem to be in good moods. The only area where Albertson's trumps Publix (locally, anyway) is fresh sushi, which I will go to Albertson's for when the sushi jones kicks in.

I'm pretty sure what makes Publix the better store is that Publix is employee owned. These people have a stake and therefore, they care.

It might also be the music. I think they just switched their music, or the manager's away for the holiday and the employees are having fun. Used to be all you'd hear were 70s classics from the likes of Carly Simon, Billy Joel and Gladys Knight. On a recent trip I heard Big Audio Dynamite and U2. Then yesterday it was Billy Idol and Joe Jackson. If I say, "Supermarket music," your top-of-mind song isn't going to be "Look Sharp."

And damnit if I didn't find myself, like a sucker, enjoying it. I have become the targeted demo supermarket shopper.

Previously in Supermarket Marketing:
Don't Wander From Your Brat as He Dances in the Cart


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Tuesday, July 03, 2007

God Bless America... NOW, Damnit!

That phrase, "God Bless America." It's always struck me as a little demanding. Sort of like we have this inflated sense of entitlement to all that is good and glorious, which is, I suspect, why so many other nations find us repulsive.

Don't get me wrong (or as our President likes to say, "Make no mistake!"), I love my country. It may stink in lots of ways, but it's one of the best ships afloat. Always room for improvement, though - which is another reason it's a pretty cool place.





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A Headline That Freaked Me Out






For a second. You mean Google's getting into the rail business in addition to their other transportation experiments? Or this little commuter assistance tool?

So Google didn't buy Grand Central Station, just a communications company.

Still. To think these guys are still in Beta, in business less than a year, and the big boys come calling with the checkbook. Nice.

Soon, you will drive your Googlecar to the Google-Mart, where you will purchase your Googlefood and Googlewear.

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Attention United Kingdom Visitors to Mickey Mouse

I was just up at the Orlando Sanford International Airport, where many UKers (who are easily identifiable by their footwear) seem a bit perplexed that they've flown into an airport that's still a good 50 miles and an hour away from the "wonderful attractions of the Central Florida region."

Naming this airport the Orlando Sanford International Airport is what they refer to in the travel and tourism industries as "a bald-faced lie designed to create traffic at a second-rate airport in a struggling suburb."

Use the other airport. Much easier. Then again, if crumbling rural sites, long rental car journeys and toll roads are part of your vacation plans, go wild.

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NPR Doesn't Do Commercials

Sort of.

I was over at NPR's site, listening to a Robert Smigel interview (creator of Triumph the Insult Comic Dog) that TAN pointed out, and noticed how their player carries a nice big banner throughout the interview. The actual interview was naturally prefaced with that very affected, almost dead exclusively NPR type voice that announces, "NPR is supported by Mastercard / Toyota / VisitBritain /etc." - and then the announcer tries not to sound like an announcer as he /she reads the company slogan / copy / come on.

When you hear these on the radio, they're fairly innocuous, and you actually believe that NPR is pretty much a non-commercial operation. But when they're doing audio preroll on their website and keeping a giant reminder of their "supporter" (read: sponsor) in front of you for over half an hour, then I think they've gone beyond "listener supported" and become a full-fledged commercial network. But really, I'm not saying anything new.

And besides, as they say in Stratford-Upon-Avon, Shakespeare got to get paid, son.


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Plans that Either Come to Naught

Some people collect rocks or coins. I'm in the habit of collecting domain names.

The latest one I put up is Telegraph Canyon, sort of a big dream for down the road. Might be a music publishing company someday. We'll see.

Currently it's just a repository for some off-the-wall art. (I'm not a designer, but I play one on the Internet.) You'll find Jetpack guy buried in there somewhere, set within a surreal model I threw together a while ago.

Can you tell I've got some time on my hands? Wouldn't mind working with some of you should the need arise in your busy businesses.

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A Random Sampling of Random Visitors

Here's a snapshot of yesterday's drop-ins at Where's My Jetpack?

Average visitor is likely a male, in need of transportation, be it a jetpack or a motorcycle (not a Harley). He is also in the market for porn of the Indian or Xena variety. And he could use a burrito.









I'm sure all of these searchers were quite disappointed in my offerings. Search is not an exact science. It's obviously very much a hit and miss exercise in many cases, even when you've got giants like Google and Technorati working for you.

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Monday, July 02, 2007

Body Bag: Standard

I guess the VW Karmann Ghia had a reputation for being gutless, but this old ad seems to be deliberately trying NOT to sell them. Very odd.

Making fun of your product can be an admirable thing for a brand in the right instance, but making your car look like a piece of crap toy is not the angle I'd take.

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Anybody Know a Literary Agent?

One that doesn't charge up front and only takes their cut when they sell your book?

I've done the standard query sends to numerous agents and have quite the collection of "Not right for me at this time, but good luck" rejection letters. I once contacted Anne Rice, who graciously responded in person and recommended a publisher. That name-drop got me in the door at a big NY publishing house and allowed my first 50 pages to get looked at by some people. Wasn't right for them at this time.

I know every copywriter out there has a story in them (or several) that they'd rather be telling instead of selling health insurance, law firms, grocery stores and cars. I'm not special, just thought I'd throw a line out there and see if anyone knows anyone.

I sometimes like to imagine that this story might have an audience in Europe or Australia, as one of its undercurrents is the transformation of America from Republic to Empire. So in some way it's sort of a warning - disguised as a novel.

A synopsis and some chapters are linked to the image here. I can be reached at jetpacks (AT) gmail (DOT) com.

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