Where The Wild Things Are Today

Maybe it’s just me, but perhaps you too share my sinking suspicion that all this AI, all this data and machine learning, will ultimately create little more than the world’s most brilliantly optimized classified ads.

Oh they’ll be effective ads—remarkably so. They will forge an unprecedented level of tactical and transactional effectiveness. They will optimize the context of a wide variety of consumer journeys, they will weight the messaging hierarchy, they will include nearly infinite personalization integrated directly into the consumer experience.

They will do all these amazing, innovative, unheard of things every minute of every hour without ever taking a sick day or leaving for a new opportunity.

But they won’t fire human imaginations with the white hot power of pure delight. Continue reading

Better Living Through Food Science

Thanks to some inspired Australians who run Black Star Pastry, the world now knows the magic and majesty of the glowing donut: the Glonut. To celebrate Sydney’s Vivid Festival, an annual event of light, music and creativity, baker Christopher Thé infused icing with Vitamin B so that it would glow under black lights.

The luminescent results are worthy of Springfield’s Nuclear Power plant. But actually, while the donuts are wonderfully inventive, they don’t begin to match the visual impact of the lighting of the sails of Sydney’s Opera House. For even more amazing festival imagery featuring large scale light projection, visit here.

Wow. Winter in Australia looks really, really cool.


Why Italian Lingerie Makes Me Nervous

I see what you did with that subject line.

A while back, my wife wanted to replace some underwear she liked that she bought out of town. So I found it on the web and placed the order. Good news? Problem solved. Odd news? Now, everyday, a new email from Cosabella arrives in my inbox.

There are certainly worse kinds of spam, but none that make me quite as uneasy.

Because I’m not really getting these emails from Cosabella, I’m getting them from Albert.

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The New Brand (dis)Loyalty

Professional sports has dealt with this for years: the Mets trading Tom “The Franchise” Seaver to the Reds, LeBron James leaving Cleveland for Miami (then coming back and now maybe moving on to Los Angeles?), Brett Favre leaving Green Bay for the archrival Vikings (best t-shirt ever seen in a Wisconsin gas station: “We’ll never forget you Brent.”).

That same phenomena has just hit advertising for the second time in less than a year as the recently-canned ‘most interesting man in the world’ switches from Dos Equis to tequila…

And judging from the pour, he drinks the stuff like water.

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I’ll Just Leave This Here: Mary Meeker’s 2017 Internet Trends Powerpoint

I get it; no one likes Powerpoint. It’s a terrible format for communicating anything truly important, an awful source for disseminating real knowledge.


Every year, Mary Meeker, a former Wall Street securities analyst now working as a Silicon Valley venture capitalist with Kleiner, Perkins, Caufield & Byers, releases this highly-anticipated Powerpoint deck: her annual analysis of internet trends.  This year’s version weighs in at a staggering 355 pages. I won’t pretend that I’ve read through it all, but I plan to. And you should too; download a pdf of it here. Continue reading

Steve Cropper and the Transcendent Joy of Team Play

As a teenager in the late 70’s, I grew up on a steady aural diet of pre-formatted FM radio. I didn’t mind–I didn’t know better. Until I saw The Blues Brothers. Sitting in my seat at the Harrisburg East Mall theaters, Sam Moore and Dave Prater reached off that soundtrack and shook me by my (oversized) lapels. Thankfully, John Landis included a rather gratuitous close-up of Elwood plugging “The Best of Sam and Dave” into the Bluesmobile’s 8-track. The next day, I rode to the local record store and asked them to mail order it. Three weeks later, the LP was on heavy rotation on my Radio Shack Realistic turntable.

“Play your part, play it simple, listen to what the other guys are doing, and complement them. Make them look good, too. If you do that enough times, they’ll turn around and make you look good when it’s your turn. That’s the way I’ve always looked at it.”

Steve Cropper

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