Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Gas made me kill!

According to Jeff Lenard, spokesman for the National Association of Convenience Stores, "As the price of gas climbs, people's values decline."

And, according to Jeff, this is the explanation as to why a gas-station owner is now dead. It's gas prices. Ah, yes. It was the gas. It was GAS that killed the man. Bad, bad gas. Rotten gas - if ONLY gas wasn't so expensive, that man would be alive today.

Well, now we know and now we have an excuse.

OR...we have a good reason for anyone who is acting as a "spokesman" to run his/her quotes before a few people before sending them out to the public. I don't believe that - deep down - Jeff believes that gas is responsible for the gas-station owner's death. But it sure sounds like it - and words associated with powerful images such as death and murder tend to imprint rather deeply in the psyche.

Most rational people "know" that gas doesn't dictate a culture's value-system. But "... if a lie is told enough, it becomes the truth." At least that's what Adolph Hitler said.

My sincere sadness for the family of the gas-station owner...and for the soul of the thief.

Thursday, August 11, 2005

40 years and 375 calories later...

Poor girl. She needed to gain 5lbs. So, she did what any weight-conscious waif would do - she kicked back a few cans of Nutrament (tm) and its 375 mass-making calories.

Now, here are the figures.

1lb of fat = 3,500 calories. (let's assume she wants some soft curves and soft curves come from fat).

5lbs of fat = 17,500 calories...17,500 calories in ADDITION to what she's already eating.

Let's assume that she's burning every calorie she eats up until critical mass - the point she decides to gain weight (stop laughing!). So, she decides to lean on the Nutrament at 375 calories per can.

Nancy has three options: (rounding the numbers)

1 can of Nutrament(tm) a day for 47 days.

2 cans of Nutrament(tm) a day for 23 days

3 cans of Nutrament(tm) a day for 16 days

Having drank a few cans of Nutrament during Jr. High School wrestling, I can safetly guess that Nancy wouldn't be drinking more than 3 cans of Nutrament(tm) a day, so we'll leave it at that.

The point here is not that it takes a lot of Nutrament(tm) to gain weight. Neither is the point that Nancy wanted to gain weight at all - though it seems rather weird.

The point is that Nancy needed to WORK to gain weight.

The ad is clipped from Reader's Digest and published in 1968 - almost 40 years ago. Back in '68, most meals were eaten at home, fast-food was rare and processed food was just beginning to find its way into our guts in the form of "TV Dinners."* There were no Mocha Latte's, no four-bucks four-bucks four-bucks four-bucks, no Buy-one, get one, and even Soda pop was sold in 12oz bottles (unlike the the massive plastic scuba tanks sold today).

Today, we eat more food and eat more of the wrong kinds of food. Read for yourself...


At any rate, back in '68, people were slimmer and ate less. Gaining weight was WORK.

Ok, sermon done (almost). I thought you might find the above ad interesting.

Oh...one more thing. And this is marketing-related. Can you figure out how Nutrament(tm) would be marketed today? Can you imagine seeing the above ad in the local paper or woman's magazine?

Hmmm...let's see here. How about this headline -

"I LOST 5lbs and look so much better in my clothes. Nutrament(tm) helped me do it!"

After all, it has ONLY 375 calories.

Thursday, August 04, 2005

Sympathy for the Devil - a brand-makeover for Al Queda

"Branding" is an essential discipline in modern communications. From automobiles to burgers to world-terror, interested audiences & consumer groups are constantly filtering a barrage of information to pick the brands that resonate, lead and inspire.

Mercedes does a great job of branding. Everyone knows Mercedes is a quality, prestige car.

McDonalds does a great job of branding. Everyone know's McDonalds is consistent, fast food.

Nike does a great job of branding. Everyone knows Nike is footwear worn by great athletes.

Even "Barney" is a great brand. Everyone knows the purple dinosaur means fun for toddlers.

Al Queda - the terrorist organization - has been trying to build their global brand as a retro-idealist anti-American group since at least September 11th, 2001 and frankly, their efforts suck.

Al Queda - the brand - needs a dramatic makeover if it's going to compete in the global marketplace. The photo above tells all...these guys just can't seem to market themselves out of the 16th Century!

Using the Biblical example of the Good Samaritan, the following advice/critique is offered.

1. Ditch the name.

It's unpronounceable. "Al Kayduh"? "El Keyeduh"? "El Keeda"? It's also too vague. With the Palestine LIberation Organization (PLO), everyone knows the mission - liberate Palestine! But as it is, the name Al Queda is a better name for a cosmetic.

Skin cream: "Al Queda - moisturizing, with Aloe."
Gay cologne: "Al Queda - the romance of 101 Arabian Knights!"
Shampoo: "Al Queda - fortified with amino essence for thicker roots."

2. Get a consistent spokesperson.

First it's an old guy. Then a young guy. Then THIS guy. Just who is the face of Al Queda?! Maybe they're having trouble staying in one place or maybe the membership list is changing fast. Dunno. But Al Queda could get a better face. They need to find the "Ronald McDonald" of terror.

3. Ditch the attitude.

The raised finger has got to go - it's a gesture that has too narrow of an appeal. It reeks of "dysfunctional dad" and considering Al Queda's preference for recruiting young idealistic males, it's a turn-off. I can just hear it, "Shut UP! I KNOW how to strap the stupid bomb on, OK?!"

4. New clothes. Now.

The black/white dicotomy is inconsistent with the single-focused message. Try a single, primary color like yellow. And the turban is either done well or not-at-all. The Hindus have great turbans - they're tall, white and look great with a big'ole ruby or emerald in the middle. The Al Queda variety looks like it was thrown-on on the run.

5. Lock up the guns.

First, the AK-47 is too 60's - an era that is becoming universally acknowledged as just plain dumb. "Tune in, turn on and drop out" of the old-style blow-back recoil, heavy cartridges, guys. Al Queda needs a weapon that says "now". Think "lightsaber".

6. Publicity photos! (not on-the-fly candids).

It's the same shot - yellling man appearing to be saying "AAAAAAAHHHH!" or "OOOOOOOOOOOO!" Al Queda needs to think about some thoughtful, well-lit black and whites. Plus the poofy-hair around the lips make it look like they've been trying to kiss bees.


That's enough freebie advice. I have one more key/mission-critical point that will guarantee the long-term positive impact of the Al Queda brand, but considering how fragmented and disorganized they are, it won't be of any use unless I can get them to sit down in one place for a meeting.

That's right...every single living Al Queda member needs to be in the same place, at the same time to hear it.

Yep. The same geographical, physical coordinates. Every last one of them.

Then, and only then, can we change the Al Queda brand into something positive.

Of course, once we get them in one place, we'll need a whole bunch of security... ;)