Odor Blocking Power

If advertising’s goal is to be remembered, this new campaign by Old Spice succeeds. Loudly. Visually. Explosively. Will it result in more sales?It already has — about 30 percent over a five-year window. Attention is step one. Purchase is step two. Word of mouth is step three.

More than 1 million views of this 2007 video started the effort. Leo Laporte does a nice dissection of the Old Spice phenomenon here, starting with the January Super Bowl kick-off ad this year.

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Tiger the brand, Tiger the human

Having worked both as a print journalist early in my career and later in marketing at tier-one global golf brands (TaylorMade and adidas), I’m fascinated by the Tiger Woods story. Not the salacious details of his liaisons with who knows how many women now set to cash in. That’s too easy. Like rubbernecking on the highway. Just another iconic fall from grace. Expected mea culpa being strategized by his handlers as I type this. Lowest common denominator celebrity “news” that has zero true bearing on the world — other than his and his family’s.

No, the fascination with this cautionary tale is how consumers will respond. Nike Golf was built on Tiger’s back. It was nothing, zero, nada in 1996. Then the words “Hello World” from Tigers lips launched the start of what is approaching a $1B golf business for Nike. Tiger’s lent his name, face and image to countless other brands to give them more prestige, more power, more visibility.

I, for one, can’t wait for the end of January when Tiger normally makes his beloved return to Torrey Pines in San Diego to play in the Buick Invitational. It’s the same site where he won the 2008 U.S. Open in a playoff to a journeyman guy known as Rocco Mediate. It might make for the perfect stage upon which to ask forgiveness from a primary audience of men. Or it might be the first tournament he “skips” for reasons we all know. It’s not easy anymore being Tiger. The brand just became more human.

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The changing face of news

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5 Keys to Twitter

Without a doubt, 2009 has been the year of Twitter. More than billion keystrokes from mainstream media have breathlessly chronicled the 40-person company’s rise to the heights of pop culture. If you’re in media, consume news or surf the Web, think of the last day in which you didn’t hear the word. See what I mean. All the chatter can be easily summarized.

Five simple things to keep in mind if you’re using Twitter or just jumping on the Twitter craze:

  1. Listen
  2. Share
  3. Reply
  4. DM
  5. Enjoy

With Twit-SPAM and self-proclaimed “social media experts” swarming Twitter to hawk “secrets” and products that promise you thousands of followers, rest assured this tool still comes down to basics on a very human level and communication. People still like knowning that a real person is on the other side — and hears them. If you’re able to hear thousands — or even millions of followers — and make them feel engaged, well, you’re not really human. You’re a bot.

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Filed under Communications Society, Creativity, Customers, Hype, Productivity, Twitter, Viral

Oh, What a Camera Would Do!

NASCAR has them in the drivers’ cockpits. MLB has them dug into the ground in front of home plate. The NFL has had them in players’ helmets.

In sport, cameras give us a view we’d otherwise never see (unless on the field of play or going 200+ mph in the race car).

Here’s where the next camera advancement needs to happen: In the head tubes of professional cyclists’ race bikes. Not the superstars, mind you. They would likely rail at any aerodynamic effects. During a bunch sprint, riders are going over 40 mph within centimeters of each other, not just inches. Flying elbows, crossed wheels and crashes at this speed while riders are protected only by a helmet, half gloves and lycra makes for spectacular viewing. 

Why not give fans worldwide (especially in Europe) a close-up incredible view that would bring a whole new dimension to the sport and how it is covered and televised? I would allow such a move in a heartbeat if running the UCI. Now is a good time (with Lance Armstrong back racing) to re-ignite passions and recruit new fans.  Mini cameras embedded in the head tubes of a few bikes in the peloton would give new meaning to performance enhancement.

Bike races are performance as much as they are sport. Let’s enhance them any way we can without betraying athletic accomplishment.

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Filed under Advertising, Creativity, Hype, Performance Enhancers, Professional Sports, Sharing, Sports, Visibility

Wasted Away in Swine Flu Ville

Cinco de Mayo used to be dream date for Tequila makers, Mexican beers breweries and margarita mix devisers.

Not this year.

The unfortunate hype around “H1N1” aka Swine Flu and our friends in Mexico has cast a cloud over Cinco de Mayo. For places like San Diego (just 30 miles north of the border), today’s a barometer to measure if Americans have figured out that erring on the side of caution is, well, erring on the side of caution. In an age where communication is faster and more accessible than ever before, human emotions can still trump the facts. A barrage of images of people wearing masks conjured up memories of SARS, plain and simple.

This is not to downplay that people have gotten sick, and some have died.

But I know what public health hysteria looks like up close.

I stood in Hong Kong’s Kowloon District at the height of the SARS outbreak in 2003. During a 4-day business trip to the mammoth Huawei outside Shenzhen, China, and Beijing (before the SARS penetration was fully disclosed there), people took precautions as best they could.

Hysteria looks like every single man, woman and child both indoors and out wearing a blue mask: Police. Street road construction crews. Flight attendants. Pilots. Hotel workers. Toll booth collectors. All of them.

I remember coming back to San Diego and feeling a little rundown. I had a pesky cough. I was congested.

I stayed out of the office for 2 weeks and telecommuted to my start-up. I slept on the sofa away from my wife just to be safe. I, as the TSA signs instruct today, covered my cough.

Fear is a terrible thing.

Facts are what we need more than ever.

Not opinion. Not hype. Not hope.




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Filed under Awareness, Hype, Language, Photography, Viral, Visibility

Kilroy is Here… And Here… And Here

Hop around on the Web (especially Twitter) and you’ll see a common design trend: Cropped head shots–cropped for bios, avatars, for a lot.

If eyes are the window into the soul, a photo of a cropped human face is the window into Web 2.0 personal, digital branding.


There’s the famous top half of a head (Seth Godin, master of blogging and ideas that spread). There are lots of single eyes (Ev, co-founder of Twitter, comes instantly to mind). And there are pairs of eyes (too numerous to count).

Pretty nifty and memorable, but cutting-edge original?

At first glance, it sure feels that way.  If you weren’t around during WW II or the Korean War (I wasn’t either)–or are not a student of graffito and street art (I’m not)–you’d think, hey, the cropping-avatar-biography-image-thing is clever and cool.

Yes, it is.

But it’s already been done. 

“Kilroy” is a bona-fide original. He made his doodling debut in the 1940s. The phrase “Kilroy was here” accompanied a line drawing of Kilroy, two eyes, two hands and a nose peering over a make-believe wall. The image was the U.S. soldiers’ way of marking turf in Europe and other tours of duty. 

Digital cameras? No way. Not then. Hand-drawn. An idea that could onlly spread as fast as G.I.’s could draw and write.

Today, thanks to social media, the “Kilroy” style may be one of the most viral design elements out there, a visual idea worth spreading. Kilroy is the foundation for a popular way to brand your face (and yourself) on Twitter, your blog or Facebook.

Nearly seven decades after he debuted, Kilroy remains here among us, but his name has been changed to Personal Digital Branding.

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Filed under Blogs, Brand, Communications Society, Creativity, Design, Ideas, Photography, Social Networks, Twitter, Viral, Visibility, Web