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2012

Bonza Bottler Bottler day.

This will never happen again this century. 12/12/12! I have seen people call it Terry Bradshaw day. Or Aaron Rogers day. But it’s really Bonza Botler day…squared. When Anne Peck was in college, she had a classmate named Elaine Freemont, who loved holidays. She probably liked them even more than Hallmark. She liked them so much, she invented twelve of them. 1|1, 2|2, 3|3, 4|4, 5|5. 6|6, 7|7, 8|8, 9|9, 10|10, 11|11, and 12|12. Every time the month and date were the same number, Elaine called it Bonza Bottler day. In fact, there is a bit of a cult following…

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What constitutes “creative?”

A while back, I was having a conversation with John Warner. If you aren’t familiar with John, he is a consultant, venture capitalist, and all-round visionary. John mentioned the book, The Rise of the Creative Class. This kicked off a discussion of what exactly constitutes “creative.” Our industry has always defined the term rather narrowly. In advertising, “creative” is the term for the people and processes by which promotional concepts are conceived, developed, and produced. The Rise of the Creative Class (and John) define the term more broadly. They would include engineers, architects, city planners, software developers… as well as…

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Stock.

When I first started in advertising, the agency I worked for had a business-to-business client where everyone started out. You never had the opportunity to do portfolio work for this client. But you had a lot of opportunity to have client contact, work on a broad range of projects. I did collateral, long-form video, magazine and newspaper ads, trade show concepts, and even a radio spot or two, as well as writing a co-op program. But there was something about this client that made no sense to us youngsters. The senior folks—creative directors, senior account team, agency management—seemed to care…

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They’re gonna see you in your unmentionables.

Top business executives have built careers on focusing their strengths and downplaying their weaknesses. We have rarely seen it fail. They are very uncomfortable when you start poking around their bald spots and pot bellies. It’s not that they aren’t aware of them (top executives are a very smart lot, by and large). They just don’t want to be reminded of them (or to be reminded that others are aware of them). My mentor and friend, Bobby Joe Jones used to call this trait “corporate ego.” But I see it more as vulnerability than hubris. Anyhow it can be a…

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Mentors.

I’ve been thinking lately about my mentors. What’s funny is how different each of them is (was) from me and how different they are (were) from each other. My first mentor was my Grandfather Davies (my mother’s father). He was an upwardly mobile, politically conservative, Welsh coal miner turned steel worker. He died on Groundhog Day, a week before I turned five, so I had a short time to learn a lot of stuff. From him I learned that flowers are important (he lived in a shotgun house in a not-too-affluent neighborhood, which he decorated with flowers…wild and otherwise). I…

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Missing. The verb.

Today, I am missing Mildred Murray Peck, the mother of our co-founder. As far as I know, she never had an opinion about advertising. It just wasn’t that important to her. The closest she ever got to social media was a brief attempt at email correspondence on an old iMac Anne gave her. That lasted about a month or two. She never really understood or appreciated the email aesthetic. Fragments. Loose thoughts. Random spelling. She crafted letters in her emails. I really got to know her during the last two years of her life. Her widowhood. Before that, she stood…

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It’s my blog and I can cry if I want to.

I just read an article about how nobody reads ad agency blogs. Kinda hurt my feelings. I guess nobody loves me. Then, I started to recall the times when I’ve been in new business situations or at business | social events and have been confronted with something I had said here. There is evidence that at least somebody does read this agency’s blog. So, now I feel better. I’m easy that way. One time, we were in the short list, making second presentations. We had a suitcase full of spec work. A Powerpoint presentation. Clean shirts. Polished shoes. Things were…

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Below Radar.

This is a combination sales strategy and pricing strategy. We used to have a client who sold a certain product to maintenance managers at manufacturing plants. The product sale was a long-term relationship thing. The idea was to get into the plant with the basic product, which would then open the gate for followup services and add-on products. Pretty simple. Thing is, once you were in the door, there wasn’t much opportunity for competitors, but once your competitors were in the door, there wasn’t much opportunity for you. So our client had an approach that was something like this:Telephone sales…

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Who is the Walrus?

The Beatles were famous for, among other things, the orchestrated, sophisticated, high-concept production that resulted from the partnership of Paul McCartney, John Lennon, and producer George Martin. You might recall that George Martin had been with EMI Classical, and had produced classical music (string quartets and the like) prior to his introduction to The Beatles. This explains the introduction of details like the string quartet in Eleanor Rigby and the brass band in Being For the Benefit of Mr. Kite. But of all the great, brand-distinctive work of Sirs Paul, John, and George, The Beatles’ best-orchestrated creation of all was…

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Quick, before the piano burns down.

In one of my past lives, I was a music theory and composition major. One of the experimental pieces we studied was a composition for prepared piano, in which the piano was prepared by having five gallons of kerosine poured into and lit. The tempo marking on the piece was, “as fast as you can before the piano burns down.” That has stayed with me, even as many more practical facts and ideas have slipped from my memory. A couple years later, I worked in the restaurant business. In that business, most of your inventory (food and ingredients) become obsolete…

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4 Hurdles for community bank marketers. READ BLOG >

8 Bank Marketing Priorities—in order. READ BLOG >

“What does the data say? READ BLOG >