August 3, 2010

The Upside of Blagomania!

Many curious eyes are watching the next (yet hardly the last) chapter of former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich’s exploits. This one is in the court of law, and we are about to learn what 12 of our fellow citizens collectively have to say about Blago’s future.

What verdict do you predict will be handed down?  Regardless, Illinois has once again made a national name for itself via political corruption.  However, I prefer to be positive, to see the bright side.

And what exactly is positive about all of this?  I am glad you asked.  Here is my top-10 list:

1)    Barbers everywhere will likely never have to create the Blagodome style again;

2)    Chicago’s struggling news media are surely selling more ads during the trial as readership, viewership and listenership have increased;

3)    Chicago is that much more of an attractive place to film movies about the mob and political thrillers;

4)    Political cartoonists, late-night talk-show hosts, comedians, Republicans and reality TV viewers are having some good fun;

5)    The term “Blago” is a joy to say…and, we get to say it a lot these days;

6)    Lucky bidders will take home some of Blago’s personal belongings when his five storage lockers full of stuff are auctioned off due to not paying his bill for the last year (I just hope some of the $400,000 worth of fancy clothes are part of the stash);

7)    We finally have a politician who truly LOOKS like a mobster (the black jogging suit);

8)    The next governor will know which corruption tricks to avoid during his or her rein;

9)    Illinois voters may finally see some efficiencies in government if Blago and former Governor Ryan share a jail cell; and

10) We are sure to see more of lovely and very entertaining Patti Blagojevich on reality TV, as she will likely become the family’s primary breadwinner.

Please feel free to add to this list via the comments section on this blog!

July 11, 2010

Note to corporations: please stop hijacking our calendars

I opened Sunday’s Tribune, glanced through the ad inserts…and there it was.

The ad circular for the office-supply store, Staples, boldly stating: “Back to School Sale!”

Are you kidding me?!  July 11?!  SIX weeks before school?!

I know we see Thanksgiving ads in mid-October, but those don’t send spikes of terror into every square inch of a 10-year-old’s body.  Those three hideous words – Back to school – DO.  Can’t this crap wait until it’s fair time.  It’s like beginning hunting season three weeks early.

No kid wants to see his mom come home from her errands IN EARLY JULY with a bag full of pencils, note pads and binders. Thousands of kids all over America are going to run to their camp calendar on the fridge just to confirm that it’s not mid-August.

Is Staples really getting a big jump on its competition?  Perhaps. But, I doubt it. I don’t think consumers/parents want to be reminded how fast time is passing.  And, we actually resent when corporations and marketers falsely reinforce the point.

I get that someone at Staples corporate probably suggested, “Hey, guys. NO one is thinking back to school in early July. Let’s be the first and get a jump on our competitors.”  You’re right.  Families are still planning their summer vacations, NOT thinking back to school. So, try another tactic to get people into your stores. Something that’s believable and that lets kids digest their last meal fully before being thrown into an artificial, time-hijacked panic.

Listen up kids: YOU’VE GOT PLENTY OF SUMMER LEFT.  Don’t give school a second thought until two weeks before you have to go.  Staples, are you listening?

(Perhaps you’re working on your Christmas sale ad circular. BTW: Santa doesn’t want to be bothered, either.)

July 1, 2010

PR advice to Apple regarding the 4G class action lawsuit.

Apple / iPhone 4 has been hit with (the first of possibly many) class action lawsuit(s). NOTE TO APPLE: Step up, quickly address this issue  with substantive solutions (trade-in faulty 4G phones for new replacements as soon as they are available + $20 iTunes credit), and make it a positive story. Otherwise, you’re going to get nailed in the media AND really piss… off a lot of your loyal users.  What’s brand loyalty and equity worth, after all?

Here’s possibly the first story on the class action lawsuit: