Tag Archives: Marketing

When Marketers Attack!

I’m in Dallas tonight, an overnight stop on a trip home. I went to Stonebriar Mall to find a replacement case for my crapalicious Window Mobile phone (Never again. Just trust me on this…you do NOT want a Windows Mobile anything. Ever). So I’m walking along, minding my own business, and suddenly I’m accosted by a mall cart sales rep, offering me a free sample of something I don’t want and don’t need. I wave him off. Not to be deterred, he says “can I ask you a question?,” and starts to invade my personal space. Oh, but I’m ready for him this time. “Nope. Sorry…In a hurry…gotta keep moving…thanks anyway,” I say, as I power walk away. You see, I’ve been here before – literally and situationally. The mall cart salesreps are the slimy underbelly of live sales. They prey on people who respond to a question like that with a naive willingness to answer what they think is a reasonable request. If you’re the type that doesn’t wish to offend, you’ve got “sheeple” written all over you as far as these jackals are concerned.

I hate that. Continue reading When Marketers Attack!

The “Voice of God” has passed away…

I am sorry to report that Don LaFontaine, master voiceover artist, has passed away on Labor Day. He was 68.

I never met Don in person, but I had the opportunity to work with him on some TV spots, and I know his wife, Anita, well. (She’s from my hometown of Shreveport, LA, and my Dad wrote the arrangement she used of “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” to go to the Miss American paegant, as Miss Louisiana.)

By all accounts, everyone that knew Don called him a great guy. My cousin (who visited Don and Anita in California a bunch) tells me he was witty, with a wicked sense of humor, and not at all pompous or distant in the way that celebrities can be. I can attest personally to the fact that he was generous to a fault, and was willing to “put his money where his mouth is” when it comes to causes he would support.

It’s hard for me to think about Don in the past tense. While there are other voiceover artists that mimic’d Don’s style and delivery, there will never be another Don LaFontaine. My heart and prayers go out to Anita and their kids in what must be a very difficult time. Please keep them in your prayers.

In a world of advertising, where too few voiceover artists have the ability to create a distinctive sound, Don LaFontaine will be missed.

Perception IS Reality.

What is real? That’s really the most fundamental question, isn’t it? If we can’t trust our senses, we cannot tell what’s real from what’s not. And that brings us, campers, to the true nature of marketing – perception versus reality.

I once worked for a guy who was a brilliant marketer – a true natural. His favorite aphorism was “Perception IS reality.” His point was that your view of reality is colored by your belief system and, therefore, your perceptions…ergo, perception IS your reality. It follows then, that it doesn’t matter what reality is – it matters only what your audience PERCEIVES reality to be.

Think about the implications of this for a second. They are staggering. Continue reading Perception IS Reality.

BAND-AID® Marketing.

My kid loves BAND-AIDs. She believes that, any time she’s wounded, a BAND-AID strip will make it better. I’m not talking about bleeding, here – I mean, if she sprains her finger, the dog steps on her foot, or if she has a stiff neck – a BAND-AID will fix her right up. My apologies to the fine folks at Johnson & Johnson, but that ain’t necessisarily so. Don’t get me wrong…adhesive bandages serve a useful purpose in the healing process, but they are not the one-size-fits-all, universal cure that my daughter would have me believe. (If they were, I wouldn’t mind our anual expenditures for BAND-AIDs, which seems to be a significant portion of the family debt, since she’s taken to putting them on EVERYTHING…) Continue reading BAND-AID® Marketing.

The Hardest Working Man in Merchandising.

The Godfather of Soul. Sort of. James Brown’s dead and gone (may he rest in peace), but his fame lives on. Which would be fine, except that now his estate is selling off his memorabilia, in order to satisfy some of his debts. That’s a shame, because I think it cheapens his memory. Now, Brown was certainly an eccentric at times, but he was undeniably an important figure, both musically, and racially. (Few remember in light of the almost self-parody he became later in life, how he actively worked to diffuse racial tensions in the early 60’s.) In the spirit of keeping his spirit – and his sense of humor – alive, I have an idea for his widow(s) and kids.

The James Brown Alarm Clock. Continue reading The Hardest Working Man in Merchandising.

There’s no place like Home (Depot).

I like to build things. Particularly out of wood. I grew up in a woodworking shop – it was my Dad’s hobby. (Kind of a weird hobby for a musician – using tools that could end your career in a split second – but I digress.) I love everything about woodworking – the smell of fresh sawdust, the math skills needed to take raw stock and turn it into something useful, the feel of a piece of wood just sanded – you name it. I’m there. I like to work from a rough sketch, working things out in my mind, then putting down the bare minimum info on paper. It’s more fun that way, rather than creating some really detailed, isometric drawing, with dimensions accurate down to a 64th of an inch and so forth. I find that when I work from a rough sketch, that I oftentimes improvise solutions to problems I’d not anticipated, and end up with a better finished product. Some call that “listening to the wood,” but I’m not so mystically inclined. Still… Continue reading There’s no place like Home (Depot).

Water, water everywhere.

Smart WaterI like water. I like to drink a lot of it, as it is probably the only thing in my diet that tastes good, is good for me, and has zero calories. (Now if only they can come up with a zero calorie steak…)

Years ago, Robin Williams did a bit that went like, “Ooh…when I wanna blow a buck on a bottle of water, I buy Perrier!” That was back when buying water – any kind of water – seemed pretty stupid, as the stuff that came out of the tap tasted pretty good. I howled. Then I moved to Amarillo.

I don’t know what’s in the water up here, but whatever it is, it tastes foul and evidently fouls up your teeth. We still bathe in it (by necessity), but we’ve taken to buying water by the three-gallon jug, so our teeth won’t fall out. Continue reading Water, water everywhere.

Hunting Pwospects!

Elmer Fudd & Prospect.Marketing – or more specifically, the “advertising” part of marketing – is a lot like hunting. In this case, you’re hunting prospects, and not rabbits, but the principles are the same. Hunters have, basically, two types of firearms from which to choose – shotguns and rifles. In marketing, most customers prefer the shotgun approach. Savvy marketers prefer rifles. Here’s why… Continue reading Hunting Pwospects!