Wednesday, March 26, 2008

six things

that caught my attention today:

1) from the always-attention-grabbing Jessica Hagy (why isn't she a brand planner?)

2) was pre-ordering the new Death Cab for Cutie album this morning and ran across the Vitamin String Quartet's tribute to DCFC. wow. perfectly mellow music for an overcast Wednesday.

3) Japanese taxi lights.

4) German company compares food-shoot images with real post-cooked product.

5) a flash of brand insight from Tom Asacker. brilliant.

6) muxtape. an online, social space to mix and share songs. instead of burning cds of your iTunes playlists, or hoping the object of your affection still has a tape deck and affinity for Rob Gordon-like romance, you can upload and mix and direct your listener to the site. brilliant. it's a bit slow to upload and load...not sure if that's new bugs or just the volume of traffic this great idea is sure to be receiving.

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Sunday, March 23, 2008

Happy Easter Inspiration

I was doing some post-Easter-dinner blog reading and came across a teaser for a documentary on mountain biker Bobby McMullen. via "How To Avoid The Bummer Life" blog, here's a video sure to inspire you to burn off a few of those Peeps and be a bit more thankful for what your body allows you to do.

and a news story on Bobby (with a pretty hilarious transition from the Montel Williams show).

ready for a hard transition?

so, i was wondering if, in my lifetime, i'd ever find a more annoying song than this:

then i found this:

please tell me this is a joke. that Dolly's 80 year old inner-skeleton broke through centuries of plastic surgery and decided to give the Fine Young Cannibals (FYC) a go. some thoughts after considering both versions of this song:

Is it just me or do the FYC look like they are beating the hell out of their instruments instead of playing them?
I get that "Crazy" is part of the song, but that doesn't give a pass to the random chorus images in the video.
Can a man simultaneously try to sing falsetto and act manly?
If your song is titled, "She drives me crazy," and you dedicate a lot of your video to the element of "crazy," wouldn't you want to devote more time - or EQUAL time, at least to the "SHE" part? as in, SHE? she, like a women in the video? said crazy-inducing female? we see two women, but they are dressed in some weird costume jumping at each other. and it's a mere cameo in the balance of a number of dudes. just a thought. i'm not a director, but it looks like an erotic hair club for men commercial, or a "how-not-to-play-your-pink-guitar" tutorial.
I know that there are a number of WoolardSpeak readers who are of the age when this might have been a break-up anthem. please feel free to enlighten. 'cause I got nothing.
Does anyone remember a time when Dolly Parton wasn't at least 60?
However old, or plasticized, she still sounds more manly than the lead singer of FYC.

upon necessary due diligence what, then, am i to make of this?

i looked up YouTube's history on Wikipedia and it cites 2005 as the launch. quick math says this guy created the video in the last three years.

i guess the only reconciliation to what took an unfortunate amount of my night is that the above attempts are not alone in the sea of "artists" covering the FYC chart topper. even Muppets, and a "We Are The World"- caliber cast take on the song.

God bless YouTube. and my birth date.

back to being serious...hit up the Interwoven Threads blog for a couple new posts on doing better in your li'l corner.

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Tuesday, March 18, 2008

on insight and innovation

most of what i do is geared around uncovering insights and turning those insights into a relevant strategy. the other part of my day job is updating my facebook profile and downloading new music from iTunes.

planning/strategy folks go round and round about processes/resources/validation/research and very rarely agree on what it is, exactly, that they are looking for in an insight. many times, we back into an insight (or strategy) to validate an already-known mindset. that's not an insight. so what's an insight?

i think this slideshow by Matthew Millan explains insight in a brilliant way.

so here's to Columbo.

another inspiring Internet find today: mass innovation. a short film by Charles Ledbetter. well put together and a great reminder of the world we live in as marketers and consumers.

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Monday, March 17, 2008

A survey for surveyors

those of us in planning and strategy are used to fielding and analyzing surveys of all types. via Craig Elston's A Brit Planner in the Rockies blog, a survey for those in the planning and strategy field. looking forward to reading the results...especially the findings regarding how an accent helps us do our job better (a theory i've long held). :)

in other news, China keeps ticking me off, this time in principle.

according to Brand Index, the Southwest Airlines brand may have suffered a blow last week, but its measure of quality and mindshare are strong even though its level of positive "buzz" fell sharply. another great example of good PR and differentiating brand strategy doing the heavy lifting during a brand reputation crisis.

a deep list of data visualization tools, via Make the Logo Bigger.

the Fail blog. life just got so much more successful.

happy St. Patrick's Day. i hope you enjoy drinking yourself silly in the name of a Saint you don't know much about and a country of which you more than likely don't originate. ah, cheers to the legitimization of week-day drunkenness.

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Thursday, March 13, 2008

What's your cultural footprint?

PSFK points toward an important conversation on Cultural Sustainability as possibly more important topic of debate than sustainability/green/CSR. i don't think it's more or less important, i do, however, think it is possibly the catch all and summit of what is sought through environmentalism, cause, CSR, sustainability, etc. here's a succinct def. of Cultural Sustainability by Danah Boyd:
At the same time, a company can be environmentally sound and completely destroy local economies and other aspects of culture through their moves.

Boyd expands on her blog. very simply, it's the dissection of a company like Wal-Mart, which has gone above and beyond to "green" its business, while being culturally harmful and anything but sustainable for many of the employees, communities and manufacturers with which the brand interacts.

so as we look at greening our brands. or making our businesses more sustainable, it's important to look at the the big picture. what's your cultural footprint?

on a lighter note, i was moving desks a while back and while shuffling cabinets and files from one floor to another, dropped my Oak Ridge Boys Sing Super Gospel Hits Vol. 2 album down the elevator shaft. i'm not sure where i got the album or why i like it, but i was pretty bummed. this morning our secretary let me know the elevator repairman had been here and found it. even better, he is a major ORB fan. i wish i could have met him. i'd have thanked him and then given the album away.


Wednesday, March 12, 2008


this post is as much about sharing inspiring links as it is about cleaning out the massive amount of tabs in my Firefox window. so here goes.

time spent online finds content is king. duh. now, we all understand the reasons why a site like Slate would command more time than a site like Facebook, even though your clients/friends/little siblings would immediately argue otherwise, this Adage piece is good fodder for remembering engaging content still beats flash and fancy. i think the point the article makes can transfer to advertisements. we marketers are the most to blame for tearing off our shirts and getting in a frenzy over the next great spot. many times we forget to ask, "Did it engage? Did it increase sales?"

speaking of engagement...Transport for London has created a very nice spot to underscore the need for motorists to be aware of cyclists sharing the road. watch "Do the test" here.

food fight depicts U.S. warfare since WW2. this is brilliant in its animation and use of stereotypes.

via stampkit, i'm moved by this collection of Polaroids exploring subculture.

now for some environmentally-minded linkage.

this would be another chance for me to get into my feelings about China as a global predator, but i won't. i'll just point toward another sad example of why the country's staging of the Olympics baffles me.

how green is your agency? unfortunately, many agencies that might utter "Green Marketing" and "Sustainability" are incredibly ill-suited to deliver on those topics. a nice reminder from Agency Spy (follow up to this) on agency life and environmentalism. and no, recycling ideas does not count.

and finally, if you're in Kansas City and are wanting to see Bodies Revealed, you need to buy tickets ahead of time. found this out the hard way last weekend. ne'er fear, we have purchased tickets for this weekend and I'll be wearing this in solidarity.

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Saturday, March 08, 2008

and then this happened

spent the afternoon bouldering and then went to "check out" the new bike shop near my home (39th street). Volker Bicycles is a big fat "thank you Jesus" in my world. no more long drives to the bike shop. plus, the owner is a great guy and they've got an amazing stock of brands (from jerseys to bikes) you don't see around Kansas City. as icing on the cake, they sell Walz Caps, which makes me happy.

so i get inside and immediately see the Swobo Del Norte sitting in the front of the store. i have all intentions of not buying anything. i'm just getting finished converting my old mtn bike into a commuter for work and play and am planning to buy a new mtn bike this month...but, it's hard to miss with red rims/hubs/chain and silver reflective tape on the track-style handlebars. i did a couple laps, then got to talking about it. single speed, front and rear brake. steel frame.

and then i take it for a test ride. and lost all self control. steel frames are tight. rides like a Cadillac. the little machine hummed through Midtown and the fact that i was freezing my ass off didn't matter at all. i was falling in love.

get back and let them know i need to run some numbers (this is the new massive impulse for measured impulse). i think i was back at the shop in an hour and bought the little mama out from under a nice couple who were getting too close to my new toy.

i bundled up and have been riding since. it's just freakin' sweet. there's really little else to say. fits me perfectly, makes me 10 times cooler (thanks, Swobo!), will be a solid and stylish commuter come spring, and even looks pretty rad in my living room (the road bike is going to be jealous when it comes back from Multisport spin and sees its space taken).

("The detailing is phat," said Monk. "If I hadn't just been outside, I'd pee on it and make it mine.")


Friday, March 07, 2008

weekend tuneage

we're overdue for some WoolardSpeak music recs. looking at a week full of iTunes purchases, i here's what i've been pumping through my earbuds.

The Khrusty Brothers - The Khrusty Brothers: this is plain Amazing. this KC band is part Beck, part Beastie, part Bright Eyes in my opinion. and i love it. they're playing tonight at the record bar to release the self-titled album. start with "On a Shelf."
The Everybodyfields - Nothing is OK - i was in a mellow, bluegrass/folksy mood this week (hence many of the following purchases, save Danger) and this group of ex lovers are to blame. start with "Aeroplane."
Iron and Wine - Woman King EP - start with "Freedom Hangs Like Heaven."
Yonder Mountain String Band - Younder Mountain String Band - start with "Classic Situation."
Danger - 09/24 2007 EP - check out "11h 30." little bit of a departure, but this song freakin' rocks.


Wednesday, March 05, 2008

"before you accuse me..."

eric clapton got it right on so many levels when he challenged introspection before ridicule. jeff risley (see how i lumped him into good company - you're welcome) posted some very important points on greenwashing and consumer expectations.

i think a bridge between what corporations do and say and what customers do and say can be built through transparency. one of the most non-greenwashing companies around, Patagonia, tackles its own inequities via the Footprint Chronicles. Patagonia calls this the "examined life," which seems like a relevant statement per Risley's post.

a little honesty and introspection go a long way.

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