Category Archives: Advertising


Apple's 1984 ad.I love advertising. There. I admit it. I love the idea of telling a story that results in somebody buying something. I love being able to create ads that move people. But there’s another part to advertising that frequently gets overlooked by creative types (like me) and customers. The two sides of that particular coin are frequency and impressions.

Let’s say your ad agency writes the mother of all ads – an ode to your product that makes grown men cry, women salute, and people flock to your product. Let’s say you decide to launch this ad out into the public – doesn’t matter if it’s in print or broadcast. Now you have a decision…how many times to run the ad.

Pause with me for a nanosecond. Continue reading Impression-ism.

Do Not Adjust Your Set.

Popeye!For a media guy, I don’t really watch a lot of TV. When I was a kid, I did. LOTS of TV. In fact, my folks told me that my first word wasn’t “Mama” or “Dada,” but “Popeye.” They also told me that I used to run out of the room when the programs were on, and run back in to watch the commercials. Frankly, they thought I was nuts. As an adult, I’ve learned that the average network 30 second spot has the same budget as a 30 MINUTE television sit-com. Think about that. second for second, the commercial has better acting, much better special effects, better writing, frequently better story lines, and better directing. I’m afraid, though, that television is changing, and the way advertising works (or doesn’t work) is changing, too. Let me explain… Continue reading Do Not Adjust Your Set.

Talking Tech (Books).

I’ll admit it. I’m a writer. While I haven’t yet written (or even started writing) the Great American Novel, I have penned two tech books. Of course, my timing being what it is, they were published just as the Dot-Coms were all becoming Dot-Bombs, and the bottom fell out of the tech book market. It’s just now coming back. Lest you think this is sour grapes on my part, I offer up this factoid: In 2001, technical books was the number two category in sales at Barnes & Nobel, nationwide. Just one year later, it was 6th. That’s a huge drop, but it reflects economic conditions more than anything. When you get laid off, the last thing you think about is buying more tech books. Continue reading Talking Tech (Books).


What is spin, exactly?

At one level, “spin” is nothing more than perspective – it’s the writer’s take on the subject. So why is spin so controversial? Simple. Because the real difference between spin and perspective is that spinning is an attempt to cloak the writer’s bias (or perspective) with a veneer of impartiality.

We presume that certain kinds of communication are supposed to be devoid of spin. In a newspaper, the editorial (and op-ed) pages are reserved for opinion. The rest of the paper is supposed to offer news that is straight reporting – and devoid of spin. While that is virtually an impossible standard, few media outlets seem interested in doing anything more than to pretend to be without bias. Continue reading Spin.


Tag Body SprayDo you ever analyze an ad, and think through why an advertiser presents their message in the way they do?

I think about this a lot.

Partly, I do this because it’s my job. Partly because it’s the way I was raised – to be analytical about marketing. (Thanks, Dad!) Partly, because I find marketing techniques to be a fascinating microcosm of how to successfully motivate people.

Continue reading MarketingSpeak.

Cold Dead Fish.


I believe there are two kinds of people in this world. Those that market, and those that don’t get it. Think of them as “tone-deaf” when it comes to marketing.

A buddy of mine once told me what was wrong with his company (a very large computer hardware manufacturer) was that if they sold sushi, they would market it as “cold dead fish.” Continue reading Cold Dead Fish.

WHAT was Jeep thinking?

JeepĀ® Commander

Full disclaimer: I’m a Jeep guy. I drive a Wrangler. Don’t want to drive anything else. Between my wife and I, we’ve owned four Jeeps. I also used to work for an in-house ad agency that had several DCX dealerships – two of them sold Jeeps. I love ’em. So it is with a degree of puzzlement, chagrin, and concern that I ask, what were they thinking with this latest TV ad? Continue reading WHAT was Jeep thinking?

Who is Captain Digital?

What is this all about? Simple. I’m a marketing guy/graphic designer/copywriter/animator/whatever. As you might expect with all those “/” in my vocations, I have a lot of opinions on a lot of things. Mostly marketing and advertising, but we may wander ocasionally. Check back here for random thoughts on the state of marketing, advertising, politics, pop culture, and (un)common sense.

Penguin Theory.

My dad is a pretty smart guy. He’s a musician – not a marketer, but I’ve always been impressed with how much he intuitively understands about marketing and advertising. He has some wise words to say about the phenomenon of copycat TV shows, movies, and radio formats. He calls it his “Penguin Theory.” Here’s how it goes… Continue reading Penguin Theory.