Saturday, December 13, 2008


admittedly, it's been too long since i visited here. learned that if you spend time on facebook everyday, something else goes. but i digress. i wondered why, like any planner should. and i wondered why no coffee shops have a recycling bin for the cups. and i was reminded immediately that they have wax and can not be recycled. but i had to ask again why. and it has to do with cost. and why? why couldn't someone use a cup that is a little more expensive and recycle it and be the first one to do so?
would they be rewarded for the effort? in some markets. and it depends on the cost of the coffee. but worth a thought.

Thursday, October 16, 2008


a couple of months ago i went to my high school reunion. the picture kind of sums it up. what is it that leads us to these events? a morbid curiosity or simply curiosity?
i must admit it was a great deal of fun. the first one i attended. much of the life dancing and pretense was gone. we had been through enough that the values had changed. and we learned that everyone, pretty much, was having a hard time when we were in high school. we just weren't close enough to deal with each other on that level.
perhaps something to remember when we are trying to talk to people who are of high school age. different priorities. seems obvious, but most parents in retrospect can realize it is hard to deal with teens with a state of mind that is in any way similar to theirs.
youth isn't wasted on the young; old age is wasted on those who can't remain youthful.
on to more reunions and more laughter.

Monday, August 18, 2008


why do people who normally would not spend much time watching gymnastics or swimming or volley ball or bad mitten or water polo or ping pong on tv spend hours watching during the olympics? a small number of people watch when track and field events are broadcast but the ratings grow exponentially when it is on during the olympics.
i found myself fascinated by 'phelpsian' feats as well as diving. even watched some of the field hockey as well as soccer and rowing and tennis.
i am just curious why so many are drawn to the games when they normally would not be drawn to watch these events at another time. is it the 'herd effect'?

Monday, April 21, 2008

change and re change

Possibility--In certain times with certain light, what we see changes us.

During the 60's
o Individuals change (people evolve over time, individuals over age, stages of life)
o Organizations/institutions evolve + embrace ritual
∑ Could be university, classes, religion, professional groups, etc
o Leaders grow from the masses
o Products emerge: ideas+things
∑ Both IP and actual things
o Change happens
o Cultural
o Societal: gov, education, opportunities/push back
o Economic: it's coming with the coming recession
o Political: what happens with political ideals get traction, change in leadership
o 9/11
o Ipod
o Internet
o What is a family…nontraditional
o Health issues: obesity, exercise
o Social responsibility
o Boomer generation getting older and taking care of parents and kids
o Talking, thinking globally
o Environment--hybrid cars, recycling, sustainability
o Student shootings
o Shifting paradigms-affected young people most dramatically
o Protests against segregation
o Cesar Chavez
o "Feminine Mystique" is published
o Aug '63-Martin Luther King
o '63-Kennedey assassinated
o Civil Rights Act
o '68 MLK assassinated
o Berlin wall goes up
o Peace Corp founded
o Cuban missile crisis
o Bible in public schools unconstitutional
o Surgeon general's report on smoking
o 64-Gulf of Tonkin--beginning of Vietnam (now a lie)
o Wilderness Act
o Medicare bill
o Miranda rights
o 1st birth control pill
o 1st copier
o 60-1st televised presidential campaign
o 62-1st color television
o 1st James Bond movie
o 1st topless bar
o 1st heart transplant
o Marilyn Monroe dies
o 63-Where the wild things are…children's literature changed
o 64-Beatles land in NYC
o 64-Sydney Portier wins oscar
o Catholic church changes from Latin to English
o Consumer activism born: Ralph Nadar-unsafe at any speed
o 69-Woodstock
o War Protests: why--draft and media coverage of war, mostly transparent coverage
o Meeting with Russians
o Foray into space
o 1st PHd in Computer science
o Vietnam 64-75: 58,202 killed, 61% 21 or younger
o Civil rights violence
o Language- discussion
o Role Models-politicians, musicians, orators (story tellers)
o Networks-knowledge possibility
o Anthropologist
o Political, Social and Economic cycles within eras

∑ Whatever era that culturally, socially and economically hits high notes, you could plot out places
∑ When all engines are working together in all drivers---it creates change
∑ Looks at era that follows--given all that possibility, what did we do with it?

notes from deb morrison presentation

Saturday, April 19, 2008

image vs innovation

New Ways of Thinking

The media's role in this: different kinds of media force change in the marketplace. People are more aware of different media being fed to them these days.

The Difference between Brand Innovation and Brand Image:
Brand Image is oldschool. It follows this old formula:
Product Benefit X Distinct Indentity X Added Values = Strong Brand.
Examples: McDonalds followed this formula, using features such as fast, convenient coupled with family values, and the added value of work with the Ronald McDonald House to create a strong brand. This method worked for a time.

-Problems with this way of creating a Brand Image, is it shortchanges authenticity. A set script or formula is less sincere, and easily imitated. Examples of this are how Burger King copied McDonalds, or the Pepsi & Coke.

-There is often confusion between top of mind awareness and largest share of voice, and brand loyalty. Having a strong brand through the Brand Image formula doesn't ensure product loyalty.

Brand Innovation is a more interactive and dynamic way of handling a brand. It creates change in the way people do things, the image of the brand becomes what they do, their actions. (Example: Google. Has no advertising, but is known for what they do)

But first, what is a brand? A personality, a lifestyle. Who you are, what you want to be seen as. It is embedded in cultural ideals. (Examples: Ralph Lauren, Tommy Hilfigure, the Kennedy's. Each have represented a lifestyle to emulate, or to aspire to. All were, at least to begin with, innovators.)

In looking at the connection between brand and culture, with the old formula of brand image, consistency had been key. But why would a brand want to be consistent? Authenticity often means changing with the culture, as culture is fluent and interactions with brands are as well. Only liars are reliably consistent. (Examples of changing brands: Geico)

What is the role of advertising?
Is it to build culture, or to highlight it? Should it be the ads or the products that shape the brand? (example: Apple products are changing the way people interact and live, but the ads are showing us this lifestyle and the image of who you can be if you use the product.)

One thing seems to stand out: People are irrational. An example of this is the OJ Simpson trial for murder. He drives away from the police, and 66% of Americans say he's guilty. After a year of intense media coverage, and evidence built up against him, 67% believed he was guilty. Only 1% of people changed their minds, after having nearly indisputable evidence. Decision-making is not formulaic, and often not rational.

Looking at STEP for today's cultural climate (john grant):
S (societal): people are working longer hours, commuting further. As a result, they have less family time.
T (technological): iphone and clones can be used during the commute.
E (economic): gas prices rising, the threat of the recession.
P (political): Excitement over Bush leaving office, a more liberal agenda in the future.

Looking at these categories, does a brand fit into them? Consider that people decide on things irrationally (why else would people buy pet rocks?)

Wednesday, April 9, 2008


i wanted to start with a broad social construct when looking at how people communicate with each other. where do the stories come from that we tend to repeat and what stories have meaning. so i invited a friend to come in and talk to us about mythology.

The following are Peter's notes from Ann Maxwell’s presentation

How do we know things?
-Things that have been tested and results measured
-Measurable facts

Phenomenology: Anything imagined as real can be accepted to be as real as proven things.

Mythology: How the world was created and how are you supposed to be in the world.
Not morals, but open-ended stories.

Joseph Campbell: A Hero with a Thousand Faces
-Why so many hero stories?
-That’s what worth writing about
-Someone who achieved something improbable
-Someone who has given their life to something larger than themselves

Physical Hero vs. Spiritual Hero:
-What type of difficulty did you overcome?

Initiation ritual:
-A child must ‘die’ to come back as an adult
-Going from psychological dependency to independence requires a ‘death’ and

-Finding your career
-Drafted into war

Commonly seen stories:
-“Fire theft” relay race:
-Brought fire to civilization, different birds carried the torch, got burned , and
turned different colors
-“Monster Slayer”
-Three temptations of Christ
-Three temptations of Buddha
-Social Duty
Both return from their journeys and choose disciples.

The trials of the hero journey are essential
-Serendipitous adventure
-Hero is given not only a physical instrument, but also a psychological commitment

Commonly seen metaphors:
-Belly of the whale
-Going in and coming out again
-A willingness to cross the threshold
-Water is unconscious

We all operate in our society relative to a system
-Will the system eat you up?
-Will you harness the system to succeed?

Memorable quotes (from star wars/ the hero's journey):
-“I love you”-Princess Leah
-“I know”-Han Solo

Sunday, March 23, 2008

parkinson's law

we are all familiar with parkinson's law even if we don't know it as that. "the work expands to meet the time alloted" he hypothesized. and we almost invariably do that. i suspect that is why there is a long line at the post office the night that taxes are due by midnight. i suspect students let the work expand until something is due the next day. but why? if we could actually make the time alloted be something easier, less stressful but maybe it is easier to let it slide until we can't let it slide, even if whatever we have to accomplish gnaws at us until we finally get it done because we have to get it done. and then we adopt the phrase that larry the cable guy has made famous "get er done".
so if parkinson is right and it is a law that the work expands to meet the time alloted, are all people in advertising and are all students and are all people in industries and business' with deadlines doomed to let the work expand to meet the time alloted? and if that is true, is this a factor that should be taken into consideration when developing a strategic or communication plan?

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

animal curious

thinking back over the tv spots in the superbowl, most of the ones rated high by usa today had animals in them. what's that about? is it the time and we are looking for something softer? harder to like the spots that just had people in them?
the other day i was passing a huge house that was on fire as part of a training exercise for firefighters. people pulled off the freeway to stop and look and take pictures. flames at least 30 feet above the roof of the old 2 story house. and i wondered what that was about, fascination with a fire like that.
so writing animals into spots, pretty simple tho many of the spots in the superbowl were well written and thoughtful like the bud horse training ala rocky to be able to pull the wagon. and some just funny like the life water lizards dancing together. in most cases they hit an emotional note with people. and the fire was just plain fascination. so how do we combine those elements or understand what it is that strikes a cord with people and send messages that are fascinating and entertaining and thus reward people rather than interrupt and annyoy?

Tuesday, January 8, 2008


i went bowling for the 4th time in my life. i was impressed with the digital read outs above the lane that told me i rolled the ball 16.2 miles per hour. the read out kept me appraised of my horrible score and i could interact by changing names and some other data. a long way from trying to figure out how to score on a huge piece of paper. but it was still bowling just in the digital age. so how many more uses are there for digital technology combined with old games and pastimes?
but the shoes haven't changed much.