Djokovic: Finally, a bad boy relationship that works

I fell in love with tennis almost five years ago. I was in Paris. I was supposed to rendezvous with a boy, but that plan never got put into play. In high Parisian style, with the Eiffel looming in the background and a Hermès suitcase propped by my side, I was unceremoniously dumped via text. Now, the boy retained the rights to the pied-à-terre, but the tickets to the French Open, to his dismay later… read more »

Taking stock of JCP

I was one of many smitten with the “new” JC Penney commercials that aired last month during the Oscars, the ones featuring the likeable Ellen DeGeneres. It was refreshing to see spots that relied heavily on good old-fashioned storytelling to deliver a solid message, and with no blatant ploy to get a quick rise out of a social media marker. Advertising Age reports that the “Roman Returns” spot in particular—in which Ms. DeGeneres is transported… read more »

Apple: A lifetime romance.

Last month, on the eve of the launch of Apple’s iPhone 4s, coincidentally, I found myself in a bit of a technical mess. Which soon gave way to a personal hot mess. I was desperate enough for a tech fix that I ended up on the phone with an ex-, a man I will refer to here as my Mac Genius (MG). MG is not just any ex-, goodness, no. This one was the Ex-Beau… read more »

State Farm. They’ve got an Empire State of Mind.

If you’re like most people, you’re probably grateful that September 11th is behind us, for another 360 days. For another year, we can leave behind the corresponding barrage of corporate tributes reminding us of the tragedy—as if we would or could ever forget. Taking a corporate stance on public issues and events will always be a difficult line for marketers to straddle. Audiences are fickle. Whether you’re being too intrusive, insensitive or outright exploitative, they… read more »

Strong. Social thoughts.

I woke up this morning with a strong thought, possibly an usual one for a communications advocate: I was grateful that social media tools were in their infancy a decade ago. Yes, you can go ahead and slap me. Today’s instant communication platforms might have helped save some of the lives lost during the horrific events of September 11, 2001. And yet still, I’m secretly, somewhat sheepishly relieved to be haunted mostly by the memories… read more »

Social Media Campaigns: DotCom Déjà Vu (All Over Again)

A colleague forwarded me this Business Insider article, “Why I Will Never, Ever Hire a ‘Social Media Expert,’” because he thought I would like it. He was right. I liked it, on Facebook, along with 9,000+ others. I also happen to agree with many of the points raised by its author, Peter Shankman. One being that you can’t make a great sandwich if you only know how to pull the bread out of the fridge.… read more »

This is a Paid-For ROI Rant: Dear Grammy’s…

Where is the love? Show me the bling! In this era of open online forums, in which igniting a media fest has never been faster, easier, or cheaper, it’s always fascinating to see what issue would warrant someone paying thousands of dollars, in this case allegedly $40,000, for a full-page ad/rant printed right smack dab in the middle of The New York Times Sunday newspaper—in the Style section, no less. And, no surprise, it always boils… read more »

Big Brothers Big Sisters—Taking it to the Virtual Streets

Big Brothers Big Sisters of America (BBBS) is one of those fortunate non-profit brands whose allure matches that of Nike—in that pretty much everyone wants to be seen running with a pair. For much of its 100 years of service, BBBS has been blessed with an army of volunteers that supply it with the manpower to fuel its programs and enough corporate sponsors to keep its operations flush with cash. However, few sponsoring organizations have… read more »

The Lost Art of Customer Service: Collateral Damage, Quel Dommage!

It being the season of giving, with consumers doing our respective parts for the economy by spending, you’d think that that the businesses would hold up their end of the bargain by putting in the requisite additional customer service time and resources that the holidays, and all that extra consumerism, require. Think again. Last month, Chase sent me a direct mail piece offering a Continental Airlines Presidential Plus credit card. The low-APR, no-annual fee offer… read more »

A Gap––in Leadership.

For unjustified reasons in my brand eyes, the management at the Gap, the lagging clothing retailer, recently conjured up a new logo and unceremoniously launched it to the world. “Unceremoniously” refers to the fact that there was no launch, no announcement, no PR campaign—just the silent shifting of the old logo guard to the new on the company website. Despite the lack of fanfare, the new logo was not only noticed, but was royally rejected… read more »