Monday, December 18, 2006

Tracking ideas

My wife and I watched the IFC crossword enthusiast documentary Wordplay a few weeks back. If you haven't seen it, rent it, it's brilliant. While perusing lifehacker I came upon a deleted scene in which puzzle guru Merl Regal talks about writing down ideas on index cards and notebooks. He makes the point that ideas can come from anywhere and he always has to be ready to capture them.

Ideas are what pay the bills in the ad business. Every great piece of work starts with an idea. But, like Merl said, you never know which ones will make it. That's why it's important to keep them all.

With Merl in mind, I ask this question: Other than the Hipster PDA, which I've decided to download, does anyone have advice on ways of keeping track of ideas? Is there a certain type of notebook or paper you prefer for archiving ideas?

I've got into the unhealthy habit of writing ideas in random places, such as on a used post-it or on whatever piece of paper is near the top of the pile on my desk, making them hard to find and easy to lose. After listening to Merl, I want to be sure that doesn't happen anymore. What if one of us has an idea for a stamp puzzle?

Wednesday, December 13, 2006


Found this article via the Fallon Planning Blog.

According to a University of Bath professor, advertising with emotional branding and messaging is more effective than nonemotional advertsing. Not an aha! for most of us ad folk, but this research may come in handy while trying to sell creative strategy in the future. Here's a snippet of Dr Robert Heath's findings:

“Our research findings seem to indicate this is true. In advertising, it appears to be the case that it’s not what you say, but the way that you say it, that gets results.”


It's a procrastinators market

Hang in there retailers, the stalemate is starting to subside. According to Forbes Magazine:

Analysts say shoppers procrastinated this holiday shopping season partly due to an unseasonably warm November, which hurt apparel sales. But with cooling temperatures and an extra weekend of shopping before Christmas, things are expected to pick up.

I encountered a stat last Wednesday that stated 82% of consumers were holding out for a great deal. If they don't get a deal, they won't buy. That kind of talk has to make some retailers blood run cold. While at Target a couple of weeks ago, the holiday shopping lull was not very evident. The parking lot was jam packed and every register had a line four people deep. While driving through Country Club Plaza in KC last weekend I continually stopped for gangs of J-walking pedestrians toting multiple sacks. Not cheap sacks. Sharper Image, Mac, Gap, Pottery Barn sacks.

This seasons holiday sales make me wonder if the Wal-Mart-cheap doorbusters throughout the retail industry are doing more harm than good. Sure, people can get a great deal on a flat screen tv or ScanDisk MP3 player, but what happens when those deals are over? People wait for the next deal. Because, historically, they know there will be another great sale close to Christmas.

And, why not give a gift card so family and friends can save even more money while shopping for the 50-70% sales after Christmas?

2006 wasn't a year of great economic growth. Maybe capitol hill economists would disagree, but people are holding there money. With housing market woes, war in Iraq and continual impact of past disasters such as Hurricane Katrina, people aren't sure what's going to happen next. Who can blame them? To me, right now, waiting for the next deal makes sense. I haven't started my holiday shopping yet. Sometimes, especially now, it pays to procrastinate.

Link to Forbes article here.

Mainstream Fighting

Last Sunday 60 Minutes aired a segment about the rise of Mixed Marial Arts and the UFC in the US. Once banned in all 50 states, a redesigned UFC has gained access to 21 states and the attention of millions of men age 18 to 34. I don't remember the exact statistics shared druing the segment, but more people watched a UFC PPV championship fight than a NFL playoff game that took place at the same time.

What is interesting is the fact that once rules were put in place (no groin kicking, hitting while a man is down or bare fists) profits began to sore. The first go round was a bit rotten. But add some thinly padded gloves and 20 other regulations, guys can't get enough.

Also interesting is the Octogon that the fights take place in. Surounded by chain link fence, the fighting area has the feel of a cockfighting ring. Thoudands of screaming fans sit eagerly awaiting the next pummeling while multy colored lights and long winded announcers feed the atmosphere. Have you ever seen Battle Bots? It kind of reminded me of that. The octagon is a fighting ring hyrid. Boxing and pro wrestling take place in squares and traditional wrestling (middle school, high school and college) takes place in a large circle. The octagon seems to be a mixer of the two shapes associated with fighting.

Men have always enjoyed a good fight. Yes, you may think fighting is barbaric (which it is), but league leaders argue that football is just as violent and millions are encouraged to play and watch. The 60 minutes segement a very good point when it pointed out that if there is a football game on one corner, a basketball game on the next and a fight on the third corner, chances are everyone is going to gather around the fight. Fights show passion, vulnerabiltiy and agility. All things that grab peoples attention regardless of the situation.

I can't prove this, but I wonder what king of impact the movie Fight Club had on the success of the UFC? Yes it was no-holds-bared, kick-them-while-they're-down fighting, but it got a lot of guys worked up. Instead of watching fake diamond cutters and pile drivers, there was a need for something different. Something a bit more real.

Wednesday, December 6, 2006

Men Who Knit

I encountered the men who knit blog a number of months ago. I don't remember how I came upon it, but it was definitely an unexpected find. While eating lunch with some coworkers I mentioned the interesting blog I had just stumbled upon. They laughed. During our conversation I coined the phrase Man-knitting. They laughed again.

Recently I noticed a featured YouTube video about a new DVD that quickly grabbed my attention . . .

This video is a great example of how the gender roles between men and women continue to blur. Men are staying at home with the kids while mom goes to work (check out this at-home dad blog), they're taking on larger roles in the kitchen and around the house, opting for time with the kids rather than putting in extra hours at the office. If men can cook, clean, garden and change diapers, why can't they knit?

That's the question this DVD of man-knitting stories attempts to answer...

Even though the lines are blurring, these men are still men. I spent an afternoon at an at-home dads play group in the KC last summer. Yes, they were changing diapers and tending to skinned knees, but they also talked about drinking beers and the proper way to patch drywall. It's not necessary for them to establish man-barriers. None of them claimed to be parenting in a manly way or handling anything differently than their wives. They expressed frustration with the fact that many view they're parenting roles as "women's work." I'm sure men in the Real Men Knit DVD feel the same way.

I haven't seen it yet, but I may watch it in the future. If I do, I'll provide a detailed synopsis.

The ol' bait & switch

In college I remember hearing a story about a sewing machine retailer that used an ad featuring a machine at a very low cost. The retailer was looking for an easy way to get people through their doors. Once in the store, customers were informed that the hella cheap sewing machines were sold out. Sales people would inform them about more expensive machines and begin to up sale.

Who doesn't want a good deal on a sewing machine? Lately on YouTube there are a few videos using viral bait & switch, claiming to contain celebs such as Britney Spears and Jessica Simpson in less than flattering positions. Users, most likely young males, hoping to get the inside scoop on a hot piece of gossip are disappointed. Instead they see a commercial or some teenager talking about how he will annoy everyone, etc. Here's some examples:

and there's this...

Unlike the sewing machine incident where people probably figured out what was going on and left the store, the comments under the videos reveal that people seem to be sticking around. They're interested despite being lied to. Viewers know it's going to be fake, but they view the entire video, comment and analyze anyways. Thought it was interesting.

Starting to blog...finally

I probably should have started a blog months, maybe even years ago. But I'm shy, I guess. Every time I've started the blog creation process I've backed out, thinking I don't have anything interesting to add to the conversation. I read blogs every day. There are so many smart, interesting, creative, odd people sharing their thoughts. Well, it's time to join the conversation.

Where do I fit? I dunno. Who cares? I'm going to start sharing the interesting content I encounter throughout my daily account planning routine. Maybe I'll even have something interesting to add to the conversation once in a while.

I can't wait to see what happens.