congress is missing wheel of fortune

You probably already knew this — bu the government is made up of complete idiots.

I wrote a post last summer that proved the Feb 17th digital TV switch had been promoted enough that a 3-year old could understand what was coming. (literally)

But now that warm Obama glow has caused Congress (the opposite of Progress, as Nipsy once said) to push the switch back to June.

Sure — there were some issues with the converter box coupons. But after a MAJOR overkill of promoting the Feb 17th switch, if people weren’t ready — they were never going to be ready. And when they found out on Feb 18th that their procrastination had caused them to miss out on the wonderful thought provoking programming of network TV, they would have made the appropriate preparations.

Now — what it will be — is a case of the little boy who cried wolf. People won’t believe the June date either.

Just rip the BandAid off.

no such thing as bad press?

Marketing Tip — Always put your logo on the buoyant end of the plane.


btw– Supposedly this was the first pic of the event taken from an iPhone and immediately uploaded to Twitter using Twitpic. The MSM then interviewed the citizen journalist nearly a half hour after he broke the story.

Other reports say that Sean Connery was standing near the crash mumbling something about Charlemagne and armies of rocks and trees and the birds in the sky.

maybe you should cancel your meeting

Here’s something that sounds weird coming from me: Most conferences and meetings are a complete waste of time/money/resources for both organizers and attendees.

I do several events a year as a marketing speaker. Since, no matter what business you’re in, everyone needs information on marketing — I get to go to meetings for a diverse range of groups and industries and be a third party fly on the wall. As I have worked at these meetings and conferences over the past several years, I have noticed a few things:

  1. Most attendees are not there for knowledge. They’re there to play golf, go to the casino, work on a tan, wine/dine, etc.
  2. If God did a session where He dispensed Perfect Knowledge, there would be at least two guys after the session talking about why His ideas won’t work in their business.
  3. During that break after God’s session? The conference organizers paid the hotel $15/person for coffee. Seems like this is where to cut the budget, not in the programming.
  4. Panel discussions and cock fighting are similar activities. Put several huge egos on a stage and see who can win with a moderator who doesn’t understand what the panelists are talking about.
  5. The amount that people corporate expense accounts pay for alcohol/food/etc increases exponentially during a conference.
  6. Instead of paying for good speakers who know the content and can be entertaining while they present it, let’s just have some executives get up and read in a monotone voice the slides that someone else prepared for them.
  7. There are hundreds of people who have mutual interests together at the meeting. Very few of them make connections with each other except for maybe a greasy business card exchange.
  8. 99.99% of presenters have no idea how/when to use a PowerPoint deck.
  9. Interesting presenters/speakers with new actionable ideas are given 10 minutes to speak. Presenters/speakers reading old information verbatim off their slides are usually given 2 hours.

There are lots more — but the biggest problem that I see over and over is this:
The entire concept behind the meeting is to get a bunch of people who think the same together and have them listen to people who also think that same way.

Mark is getting calls to come to meetings during a tough time for people in his industry and wonders why some of these gatherings aren’t just cancelled. And I agree with him. If your conference / corporate meeting will consist of the “same tired old subjects from the same tired old white guys”, then yes, you should cancel the meeting. And remember that some of those same “old subjects” include new things. If your meeting is just giving lip service to viral-marketing-facebook-web2.0-social-networking new media buzzwords, then re-write your agenda. This is not just current recession/depression/end-of-times thinking. I would say it’s an even bigger problem in boom times as more meetings attended means more missed opportunities.

Having said all this, I have been to many great meetings and conferences that were beneficial for the attendees — while they were at the conference. Even if you have a great experience at the meeting, the real danger time is the day you return to the office after the conference. The kitsch and tchotchkes that were picked up in the exhibit hall get a place on the desk, but what happens to the knowledge? Most often, it’s lost. People and companies that can implement ideas picked up at a conference or meeting are the ones that you see succeed.

I hope you don’t cancel your meeting. While everyone else is sitting on their hands waiting for the storm to pass over, I hope you use this time to put together a meeting that will cause inspiration and action — both at the meeting and when everyone gets home.

(that’s the end of the blog post — here’s the commercial)
If you’re looking for someone to present new ideas and shake up your organization’s thinking at a conference/meeting, you can find more info on how to bring me to speak to your group here.

sacrifice your friends for free meat

This month, it will be six years since Crispin Porter + Bogusky took over the Burger King business and started serving up quirky and viral campaigns that have been critically acclaimed by those in the ad biz. Coq Roq, Whopper Virgins, the Subservient Chicken, the resurrection of the “king” and more — it’s all from CP+B and has definitely brought the buzz to BK.

And yet — six years ago, Burger King was the #2 fast food outlet in the US. Today, Burger King is the #2 fast food outlet in the US. Advertising admired by the advertising community is not always the key to success.

But there’s part of me that actually likes the concept behind CP+B’s latest creation. It’s a Facebook application called Whopper Sacrifice. (Find the microsite at http://www.whoppersacrifice.com/)

Basically, you load the app; delete 10 of your “friends”; and BK sends you a coupon for a free Whopper. The app also lets those “friends” (please use airquotes) know they’ve been deleted for a burger to perpetuate the viral effect. It’s top notch Burger King classiness.

I think BK and CP+B have tapped into the Facebook backlash that’s simmering under the surface of the masses. Everyone has a few pieces of dead wood that they could let go.

And just in case you do actually need all your “friends” (airquotes again) or if you’re like me and just like to scam corporations doing little tricks like this — there’s already a group of people on Facebook who are willing to be your “friend” just to be sacrificed.

Obviously, there have been viral campaigns played out on Facebook before, but none aimed so directly at the Facebook experience. It will be an interesting one to watch.
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UPDATE 1/14/09: Facebook has removed BK as a friend – http://www.techcrunch.com/2009/01/14/facebook-blows-a-whopper-of-an-opportunity/

ad and marketing phrases that I hate

Don’t make me hate you. Don’t use these.

new state of the art website
As opposed to our old website which was run by steam and coal.

got (insert product here)?
We got milk and that was enough. Thanks.

free gift
Ever paid anyone for a gift that you received?

“sports minded business / salespeople”
Respond to a classified employment ad with these words and you’ll either find an idiot sales manager or a pyramid scheme. Or both.

anything that’s “crazy”
Why do car dealers, furniture stores, etc feel it’s a sales boost if their customers think they suffer from mental illness?

these prices are too low to advertise
Original use of this phrase is based in early 20th century antitrust law which also launched the concept of MSRP. But the law only applies to the manufacturer/retailer relationship. 99% of the time you hear it today in ads, it’s baloney.

any phrase in a “conversation” spot
Jim, have you thought of having those hemorrhoids looked at?

cyberspace
1997 called and they want their ____ back.

anything that comes out of the mouth of Sprint CEO Dan Hesse
Isn’t it amazing that these devices can tell everyone how much you hate shaky camera work?

we have to reduce our inventory
The whole point of being in business is to reduce inventory.

I’m sure there are more that annoy me, but these were the ones off the top of my head. What about you? Leave your suggestions in the comments.