Tag Archives: marketing

Guitar for Sale



It must be the week for signage. Or perhaps I am just out and paying more attention again lately. Actually, Gary found this one.

What better selling point is there for a guitar than the fact that it has played a lot of Dylan?

This one made my day.


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Who Writes This Crap


Pun intended.

‘We all go. Why not enjoy the go?’

Hey Charmin, what were you guys thinking?

I am in the business. I am fully aware of the countless taglines submitted, the late nights getting silly around a conference table laden with candy, the absurd options that come out of these sessions and the painful layers of approvals.

I cannot help but think this one was a joke that somehow slipped into the pile and someone who was running out to catch a plane or go to a kid’s soccer game signed off on it without thinking.

Because, you know, even those of us who ‘enjoy the go’ – and believe me, I am one of them – know that this is just too absurd to be real. If you must know, bathroom humor and discussion of toileting has always been a favorite topic in my family. The joke is that it only takes about 15 minutes when we are all together before the discussion turns to… going. So if anyone would be the market for this, it would be us. But it sort of falls flat for me.

Now don’t get me going on the ‘Ultra Suave’ subhead to Ultra Soft. (picturing a guy with an ascot sitting on the bowl practicing smooth pick up lines) *There is nothing like humor when you are your own target… it was just pointed out to me that Ultra Suave is the Spanish translation for Ultra Soft… damn, apparently I would have done poorly on that trip to Spain. Imagine the trouble I could have gotten myself into there.

I will give this brand credit for their ‘sitorsquat’ public restroom app. Although, if I am not mistaken, they stole this idea from George Castanza.

FYI, I am a loyal user of Charmin despite their silly taglines and even though I know it is bad for the environment. There are some places I will not sacrifice, and let’s face it, butt suave is where it’s at.


Filed under absurdities, humor, products

You CAN pick your friend’s nose

Corbis-nose picking1

Remember that stupid saying,”You can pick your friends; and you can pick your nose; but you can’t pick your friend’s nose”?

I never really got that. I mean, people do all sorts of weird stuff with orifices (or is that orifici?), I would imagine a little nose picking amongst friends might be going on out there with the non-germphobic crowd.

I digress, this post was spawned by an email from the stock photography site, Corbis. I have been a Corbis customer since the olden days of graphic design when they would send out these delicious print volumes of stock photo images and we would flip through the pages to choose the right image. And instead of emails, we would receive teaser postcards with images like these to get us to call and do a search. Yes, I am aware this is the Art Director’s equivalent of the ‘I used to walk to school 10 miles in the snow’ story that my dad used to tell us. All you youngun’s, you will have these stories about archaic, clunky handheld mobile devices instead of the chip behind their ear that your kids will have.

Ughh… digressing again. The point is, the other morning, on a particularly difficult day for me (stay tuned for more on that on Tuesday), the photo above showed up in my inbox. It had that Sleeper-esque feeling about it and just the visual made me laugh. Their 20% headline was excellent for their purpose, but this headline popped into my head:

You CAN pick your friend’s nose.

I know, I am brilliant. What a lovely promo for a plastic surgeon… maybe a 2 for 1 deal! It made me laugh on a morning that laughing was the last thing I thought I would do, so thanks Corbis. But, the best part was yet to come when I clicked over to their site (yes it worked, they got the click-through from me and put Corbis top of mind), I found this photo… the pay off.

The proverbial ‘picked nose’.


Yeh it could be time to pitch a plastic surgery team. Anyone in? Other headline ideas?

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Filed under absurdities, advertising, humor, magnet for the absurd, marketing, photography

Floss over Fifty


Floss for people over 50?! Really?! Please tell me who thought this was a good idea. Marketing a product that specifically targets an age group sitting snugly on the tail end of the baby boomers. You know us. We hardly see ourselves as grow ups, let alone ones with aging gums. What is the likelihood that you will find us buying old people’s floss? Pro health “for life”. You know, because dead people don’t floss all that much.

If my Facebook page is any kind of focus group, I am thinking this one is not going to be a big seller. Here are some comments after I posted this picture and mentioned I would be writing a blog post about it:

I won’t be able to read the blog. I will be experiencing dental conditions because I don’t have this floss.

This floss is for dentures!

As opposed to floss for death? Who flosses in heaven? Doesn’t heaven mean no cavities?

is the font bigger so we can read the label without our glasses?

And an all-time fave:

Maybe it’s dipped in laxatives, vitamins and anti depressants.

Followed by

They should just dip it in wine!

Still surprised that Dr. Jimmy has not weighed in.

Is it bad to admit that I saw this while picking up my blood pressure meds?

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Filed under carry a camera, humor, marketing, products

I Take a Sheet

This is a banner week for people sending me things. This one comes from Natasha.

What a campaign! If you have ever eaten dinner over you know there is an inordinate amount of discussion surrounding…

taking a sheet. You could say we are a little preoccupied with it (or is that just me?)

I can’t imagine how they ever got the client to go for this campaign, but honestly I think it is hysterical and will surely get attention for this ridiculous product; Energy sheets that melt in your mouth like those breath strips with ‘vitamins’ and… caffeine, to help you with endurance when you are doing sports.

You know, for those who don’t give a sheet about their bodies (sorry, cheap shot).

BTW, their website is a gas. (I know I have a million of these)

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Filed under absurdities, humor, products

Fill in the blank

Fortunately this blog post is not intentionally blank. In fact it is filled with the nonsense inside my head and a big fat question for the brand guys at Samsung.

We just bought this super cool flat screen TV for bedroom because, well because it was Gary’s birthday and I could not bear another life cycle event with him looking longingly at the TVs everywhere we went. If you read yesterday, it was a bit of an ordeal to buy and make room for this item. It continued to be an ordeal when our main man Carlos came to install this baby and he could not find the stud. Yeh, I know, it was a present for ‘the stud’ but I can’t hang a TV off of him so we needed to find the one in the wall. Built in 1939, this house has its charms, but finding studs in plaster walls is not one of them.

I digress. While Carlos was making countless holes in my wall looking for the stud, doing a great job installing the TV, I decided to look through the QuickStart manual and familiarize myself with the TV.

Ok, that is a lie. Actually, I did not even consider looking at the manual until I was checking out the nifty swing mount on the TV that will actually allow me to get into the back of my underwear drawer in the armoire by moving out of the way (the old stationary tv blocked it) and in turn touched… SOMETHING, that knocked out the reception on the TV. Did you follow that last stream of consciousness insane sentence? Anyone out there distracted by my underwear drawer? No matter, point is we needed to figure out how to get the TV back on again so I looked at the manual. Gary, on the other hand, called Carlos and he told us how to do it.

Never mind. None of this has anything to do with what the point of this pointless post is. Looking through the guide I came upon 3 pages that said ‘This page is intentionally left blank”. Really? WTF. Why would three pages be left blank. Intentionally no less. Ok all you printer and designer types out there, we all know that a saddle stitched (fancy name for stapled) brochure has to have a multiple of 4 pages because the sheets are printed in spreads and folded in half creating 4 pages per signature. Enough of the print layout lesson. My question to the brand manager at Samsung would be:


I mean seriously, guys, a little marketing opp here maybe. Perhaps some more troubleshooting, I am sure you did not cover all the problems that I will encounter on that one page. But three blank pages? And your solution to them was to let us know that it was intentional? Yikes, I have been in the biz for a long time. I have never had a client say, “Hey, let’s intentionally leave these pages blank and then state it so we don’t look like we made a mistake. Ok, our work is done here, drinks anyone?”

Yeh, well, the TV is real nice, even if the brand guys are kind of lame.

Haven’t had enough of me yet? You can also read me at 50-Something Moms Blog. For photo enthusiasts, visit Leaving the zip code, photos from outside the comfort zone.

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Filed under absurdities, companies, gary, humor, marketing, products, tv

Toilet Paper Advertising Smackdown

I must have died and gone to promotion heaven. For the second day this week a toilet paper brand is in the headlines. Yesterday I wrote about Cottonelle’s suggestion that maybe we were not wiping all that well. Today, thanks to my friend, Jessica Gottlieb, I found this Advertising Age article about Charmin’s latest PR program: enjoy the go.


This one is sheer brilliance. Sorry Cottonelle, I remain brand loyal to Charmin and their program kicks ass… wipes.

A Help Wanted ad is a casting call for 5 bloggers to become Charmin Ambassadors. The job description and qualifications call for someone to greet and entertain bathroom guests at the Charmin Restrooms in Times Square and then blog about it. The job runs from November 23rd  through December 31st with a salary of $10,000. This should get around the new FTC blogger guidelines quite nicely.

This is my favorite line:

All candidates must really, really enjoy going to the bathroom.

Honestly, if you know me you also know there is NOBODY who enjoys going to the bathroom more than I do.

I know what you are all thinking, who better than the Magnet For the Absurd (MFTA) for this job. Yeh, well, maybe 20 years ago. But I think for now I will just be content to go down to the Hilton on November 5th with my camera and Flip. Every freak in NYC will be there for sure. I should be right at home.

Good ole Mr. Whipple must be spinning in his grave!

Haven’t had enough of me yet? You can also read me at 50-Something Moms Blog. For photo enthusiasts, visit Leaving the zip code, photos from outside the comfort zone.

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Filed under absurdities, carry a camera, humor, magnet for the absurd, marketing, New York City, news

Mommy’s Time Out


I came across this rack of wine quite awhile ago and just stumbled upon this image in the archives on my laptop.

What a brilliant marketing idea. I wonder why I have not seen or heard of this since. So, of course I did a quick search and found their website. Rather unimpressive but I found their little blurb quite charming:

We All know that being a Mommy is a difficult job.  A Mommy’s Time Out is a well deserved break. 

No spin. No pretense. No psuedosnarkiness – (go ahead, click the link. Yes I have yet ANOTHER word in UrbanDictionary. I am become a regular Merriam Websterwitz).  

I like that they went for the simple, to the point message. 

So here’s to you Mike Cincotta of Selective Wine Estates – a job well done. And chances are there won’t be anyone ‘going motrin on you’ for trying to relate.

Haven’t had enough of me yet? You can also read me at 50-Something Moms Blog.

For photo enthusiasts, visit Leaving the zip code, photos from outside the comfort zone.

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Filed under carry a camera, family, humor, humor, marketing, moms, parenting, photography, products, women

Moms Say No Mo(trin) & International Baby Wearing Week


Oh boy, is someone’s marketing ass on the line first thing tomorrow AM! Or maybe not… read on. 

It will surely be interesting to see how this one pans out once it hits mainstream media. Please don’t misconstrue this as a post showing my distaste for Motrin. This is more a fascinating case study to me than wishing any ill will to the brand. I have already heard the term ‘motrined’ used as a description for what happened.

For my non-Twittering readers, this will make your head spin around like Linda Blair and ask, ‘is there this huge underworld of information that I don’t know about going on behind my back?’

Um! Well yes, as a matter of fact there is. Wake up people.

If you are not a product manager or marketing/advertising/PR person then this is probably nothing you need to worry about. Unless of course all your friends are twittering behind your back which is unlikely but maybe you ought to sign up and check just in case. 

I posted about Twitter during the election. For those who are tweeters, go get a cup of coffee while i give a quick primer here. Twitter is like instant messaging with the world where you ‘follow’ someone the same way you would ‘friend’ them on Facebook. You can also search topics and follow what others are saying about things that interest you. The most tweeted about things rise to the top of the topic trend. If you market a brand you should surely be monitoring Twitter, if not finding ways to use it constructively.  If you want more info go here. (I am pretty sure my mom just had to go lie down from this, sorry mom ; )

Now, on with the story. Once upon a time, Motrin created an ad with the intent to reach young moms.  This generation of moms is the most target marketed group in history. They are empowered. They use Twitter. They blog. They write reviews. They drive sales. They are honest, loyal consumers who love to share and hopefully their spirit of community will build brand loyalty.

Unless of course you create an ad that is perceived as condescending and insulting to them. Then they will basically cut your balls off. You can see the ad on marketingpilgrim.com. Andy Beal’s fantastic post gives a stunning overview from a marketing perspective with damage control suggestions.

Could there have been a mom on this account? Referring to a baby as a fashion accessory and saying things like ‘supposedly it’s a real bonding experience’ to wear them in a carrier could not come out of the mouth of a young mother. 

Now, let me state that I don’t find this ad so horribly offensive as I find it horribly lame. (then again my youngest is 16 and he could carry me by now – great visual for those who know him).

Here’s the thing; if you are trying to market to young moms, how about a little research. You don’t even need traditional focus groups anymore, you can use the tools that were the demise of this campaign.

Seeing that within 24 hours there were 244,000 hits of outrage and commentary when I searched Google, 232 hits on Technorati, #motrinmoms and #motrin were the top trending topics on Twitter and there is already a Motrin Moms Facebook page, I would say that it would not have taken too much research to find out this ad would piss people off. Hey, this was the Joe the Plumber of the week.

I know this is getting long but bear with me. For I have just read a tweet from Jessica Smith of Jessica Knows informing us that is International Baby Wearing Week. (I kid you not). Could the Motrin team have known this and timed the ad? I am thinking not. If they did, wouldn’t they have jumped on this social media shitstorm in a heartbeat with some damage control? Although Mashable seems to think it was timed.

So, Mr./Ms. Motrin brand manager and your advertising team, shame on you for playing golf or going to the movies or whatever it was that you were doing on Sunday. Not so much for running the ad and thinking you were smart to time it with International Baby Wearing week, 20/20 hindsight is a beautiful thing. It is the non-reaction in realtime that is distressing. Did you (especially your agency) not have any alerts set for mentions of your brand? Especially if you were doing this timing thing. Isn’t this the job of an agency in 2008?  C’mon folks! I am sure at least the agency guys have iphones or crackberries buzzing away in their pockets all day long to make them feel connected. 

Could it be that it wasn’t that the ball dropped on this, but they didn’t even know there was a ball? Good news is that these things tend to spread like wildfire and fade out just as soon as the next thing hits. It will be interesting to see if there are any long-term repercussions.

I don’t know about you but I have a headache from all this. I think I will go take a …

(quick update as of 9:30PM Sunday the Motrin site was just taken down, looks like someone woke up and is on the damage control. Can’t wait to see what the morning brings)

(11PM update (no I don’t sleep much) McNeil’s Consumer Healthcare VP of Marketing, Kathy Widmer sent this email to a mom blogger in response to her feedback on the Motrin site. Hope they get a more comprehensive response up on their site by the AM. And just a tip, if social media bites you in the butt, use it to make some lemonade).

11AM monday update: Mainstream media picks this up here 

Haven’t had enough of me yet? You can also read me at Mid-Century Modern Moms and at 50-Something Moms Blog.

For photo enthusiasts, visit Leaving the zip code, photos from outside the comfort zone.

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Filed under absurdities, current events, marketing, moms, social media, trends, twitter

We are #1…


…at picking up #2?!

Oh yes, you read that billboard correctly. This is an advertisement for Callahead. And who, might you ask, is this company? Well, if you live in the suburbs near a house under construction, or you attend an outdoor concert or event, then you would know that Callahead would be a supplier of…

… you guessed it, porta-sans. Yes, my friends, here is a company that capitalized on the funkiness of its product with a campy name. Then went one step further in the school of ‘i know you are but what am I’ advertising and came up with what I think is a brilliant tagline. Seriously, how can you not laugh when you see this? Come on all you lofty sophisticates and award-winning creatives. I challenge you to say that this is not effective and memorable. At the risk of using a marketing term with a double entendre, this sucker is extremely ‘sticky’.

So you get the full picture of why I took this shot, let me first say that my sister-in-law called me the day before I saw this billboard to tell me that she saw the truck and did not have a camera. The next day, there I am driving into the city for brunch and right on the ramp to the Midtown Tunnel is that crazy billboard. I missed it on the way in, so on the way out I hung my camera out the window facing backwards and caught it at the last minute. NO, I was not driving. Give me a break, I am not that nuts.

I was going to crop it till I noticed the Empire State Building, that crazy sky and the wild angle and decided the whole shot was a keeper.

callaheadJust in case you were wondering what these look like in person, I took a picture of one on my walk this morning. This baby is the Econo-Head. Oh, how I love that name. As the website states, ‘this product has evolved dramatically over the years… Econo head is one of our most attractive portable toilets available today.’ Wait, here it comes…

ARE YOU KIDDING ME? How did anyone write that copy with a straight face?

Hold on, this gets better. Here are a few of my faves in the product line: The Special Event Toilet (for those special events, you know what they are). The Construction Flush (is that like a Royal Flush?) and my all time favorite…

The Job-Site Head. OMG, this one kills me. Go ahead, think about that one. Job? Head? This reminding anyone of anything here? Really, who would not like a little head on the job site? If you remember way back when I did a post about ‘a little head would be nice’. (You really need to click on that link now, don’t you?)

Face it, bathroom humor and infantile behavior always gets a laugh. And remember, this ain’t no mom blog 7 days a week, that’s for sure.

Haven’t had enough of me yet? You can also read me at Mid-Century Modern Moms and at 50-Something Moms Blog where Jana joins in the election bloglove.

For photo enthusiasts, visit Leaving the zip code, photos from outside the comfort zone.

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Filed under absurdities, carry a camera, humor, marketing, New York City, photography, road signs, sex