“Ours is a culture and a time immensely rich in trash as it is in treasures.” -Ray Bradbury
Content for the win - Vol. 2, No. 1
January 2013

Fish For Fish, Not Bait

My friend Bob Hoffman, a.k.a. The Ad Contrarian, is at it again. The guy just can’t stop making sense. In a recent post he points out that 80% of all workers in the professional and business services sector are under 55. “They are completely out of touch with the reality of who the consuming public is. They cannot see beyond their own noses and their own narcissistic vision of who buys things and why.” Hoffman adds that Baby Boomers control over 75% of the nation's wealth;  account for 50% of all consumer spending;  buy 62% of all new cars;  yet, Boomers are the target of just  5% of all advertising. I might point out that Bonehook has clients who provide services to Boomers and low income seniors.

Say Cheese
Where do you find great retail copy today? In a specialty cheese shop in New York City, where else?

This is how Bedford Cheese Shop rolls:

Mastorazio, Madaio - The Lindsay Lohan of the cheese world, this pecorino has a tan, leathery exterior that surrounds a delicate yellow paste. With hints of herbs and the aroma of hay, you can almost hear the bleating of Lindsay up in the Italian hills. Pair with nicotine, Red Bull and an alcohol monitor.

Andante Dairy Nocturne - Icelandic ponies. Japanese cats on the Internet. Yawning puppies. Toddlers who give each other hugs. Goats climbing all over everything. Pink and green macaroons. Red pandas. Sparkly nail polish. Do you get where I’m going? Cute things. This cheese is so perfect and cute and delicious you just want to marry it. Or buy one and eat it.

Source: The New York Times

Super Bowl Advertisers Go Three And Out
The Super Bowl will be played this Sunday along with lots of million dollar ads. Millions to make and millions to run. But is anyone moving the creative needle at all? From the looks of it, no. In teaser ads, released early to foster online buzz and word of mouth, we see tired old formulas repeated once again.
White guys talking like black guys (for VW) and old people acting like young people (for Taco Bell). Both spots are from Deutsch/LA, and both may score well in the USA TODAY Ad Meter, but that doesn’t mean people will buy more reasonably priced German cars or fast food.

The New New Thing: Reach, Depth And Relationship Channels

Nate Elliott of Forrester shares some new ideas about how to organize a brand communications strategy:

"Stop thinking about 'earned, owned and paid.' The concept of earned, owned and paid media shook many marketers from their slumber and helped them see a way past traditional channel-based marketing plans. But this model was never representative of the way customers used media; like 'digital and traditional,' it's a classification based on organizational convenience rather than on the customer journey. Our data show that customers turn to reach, depth and relationship channels at different stages of the life cycle -- regardless of whether those channels are digital or traditional, or whether they're earned or owned or paid."

Paid, owned and earned media is, of course, a pretty fresh concept and one that is not going to disappear from our decks or website pages anytime soon. But there’s a race going on here, isn’t there? A race to redefine what was just redefined. A race to create your own jargon, like “every company is a media company,” when in fact every company is definitely not a media company. Does anyone or anything, when it comes to MarCom make sense anymore? Are we able to discern between hype and what is real and tangible? Memes rise like fireflies on a humid night. They fade just as fast. What remains are the fundamentals of the business, but chances are Fast Company won’t cover you or your company if you humbly practice the fundamentals.

Ashley Ambridge Names Her Price

The Middle Finger Project is the web home of Ashley Ambridge, a copywriter and coach. I like her approach to pricing, because it is transparent, and it helps clients see what they can get for their money. That’s the main problem with the hourly rate framework. How fast does one work? How well does one work? And how many revisions will it take to be market ready? All these factors determine the project price, and they are variables that can not easily be predicted or controlled. So, hourly pricing is bad. Project pricing is better. Ambridge also offers her pricing in packages. I can see Bonehook adopting something like this, although our packages would need to be flexible enough to accommodate for each client’s unique situation.

  1. I was quoted in Willamette Week yesterday. Too bad the news I was asked to comment on wasn't a bit more uplifting. Turns out tenfour, a Portland agency that I liked and picked up projects from, is closing its doors this week. If you need a super smart senior strategist, give me a ring. I know just the guy. 
  2. Darby and I enjoyed a great vacation last week. We flew to JFK and spent a number of days on Long Island with Darby's parents. Then on to Florida for time with my mom and time on the lovely sunny beach. 
  3. I am working on a short story called "Toxic, Toxic and Toxic" about an ad agency that has the Nuclear Power account. When it is done, I plan to shop it around, as opposed to posting it on the web myself. 
  4. I am participating in the beta run of Contently, a site set up to match make between journalists and editors. I've been invited to write for the site's Content Strategy blog, which is a paid content opportunity, so we shall see what develops. 
Bonehook is a guide service and bait shop for brands. We currently help clients in high tech business-to-business, emerging media, energy conservation, real estate, social services, talent management and sporting goods tell their best stories to prospects, customers and staff. Call 503-970-3862 to book.

Words That Mean Something
"Realism, if it is to reflect current reality, must include fantasy, computer simulation, rampant consumerism and corporate malfeasance, and futurism as a permanent state of mind, as well as all the old stuff: character, consequence, the thoughts and predicaments of regular people, the unmitigated exploitation of the weak by the powerful, the eternal possibility of the individual’s redemption." -Joshua Ferris' intro to CivilWarLand in Bad Decline: Stories and a Novella