Archive for the ‘ My Family ’ Category

Keep Your Politics Off My Pigskin!

Why Punditry, Politics and Pigskin Don’t Mix

Am I the only one who is utterly astonished by the news that Bill O’Reilly will interview President Obama during the Superbowl festivities? Great! The interview absolutely no one has asked for, airing during the worst possible time!

Maybe it’ll be good for ratings; I honestly don’t know. What it won’t be good for? An enjoyable viewing experience for my mixed political family.

I figure most people watch the Superbowl for one of three reasons:

  1. They love football and are genuinely interested in the game.
  2. It’s a national event, and it’s enjoyable for the mere spectacle of it all.
  3. Who doesn’t like a good party?

I doubt there is a national movement for reason #4.) To absorb biting political analysis in real time.

Most see sports as a diversion and an escape (from more serious fare, from our daily drudgery, from the problems of the world), and the grandest event in sportsdom is the Superbowl. Why are we tainting that with the intrinsically partisan posture of politics? Is nothing sacred for us pizza-eating, beer-sipping masses?

Chances are, if you are a fan of President Obama, you don’t like O’Reilly. Inversely, if you love O’Reilly, chances are you don’t much care for the President. I, for one, live in a house divided, so you can be pretty confident that when one of them is talking, half of the room will be groaning. When the other one is talking, the other half of the room will be rolling their eyes and muttering. What is sure to follow are a few snide remarks and (please, no!) a familial political debate. Just in time for kickoff!

As marketing communications strategists, we live and breathe knowing thine audience. I can’t help but wonder who focus-grouped this idea and decided that it was tailor-made for a football viewing audience.

I, for one, am dreading it. But beyond that, I’m wondering: Who is clamoring for this? Does the country really need more political infighting filtered into our football viewing schedules? What is the target demo for this? Whose taste is this suiting? What am I missing?

I hope to miss the interview for starters.


Life Is Scary as a PR Cog

In honor of Halloween, here are 11 scary confessions about my life as a PR and marketing professional.

1 – I see more of my smart phone than I do of my children.

2 – I actually consider how the lady at the drive-thru window “messaged” the fact that they were out of fries.

3 – I spend almost as much time viewing the source code of a website as I do consuming the actual content.

4 – I see the likes of Tiger Woods sex scandals through the prism of crisis communications, and not for the sheer entertainment of it all.

5 – I get confused when I don’t see a “Share This” widget when leafing through the morning newspaper.

6 – I ask my wife to “send me a calendar invite” when discussing weekend plans.

7 – I advise my six-year-old son to “think about how that message will resonate with ALL of your core constituents” when he complains about bedtime.

8 – I view television ads as short films, not product pitches, and wish to meet the director and copywriting teams of the good ones.

9 – I miss the look of ink-stained fingers that are proof-positive you’ve just spent an hour with a newspaper.

10 – I actually proofread my Facebook status updates.

11 – I don’t mind anything about any of the above, except for #1.

Got any of your own?

Dogs Rule! (part 32)

…and OK Go knows how to make a music video. Is this possible without cuts, edits and special effects, as is their wont?

How Cool I Can Be

…if only in the eyes of my children:

The Difference Between Sales and Marketing

You can find life lessons and analogies in the most unexpected places sometimes.

I have this daily love-hate routine with my two-year-old daughter. Each evening when I get home, she is busy with whatever it is that’s urgent for a girl of her age, and I come in looking for some welcoming. She’s too busy for me, or maybe she now knows how the routine will end up and is just playing the part. She spurns my doting affection, protesting “Don’t TISS (kiss) me, dada! I don’t WIKE (like) it!” Of course, this only makes me persist all the more. And she resists, sometimes to the point of tantrum, and I keep on keeping on while my wife rolls her eyes. I must admit, I come on a bit strong. Eventually, I give up, and we go our separate ways. She lets me know she doesn’t like it, and I chuckle inside at how silly this daily tease is. As the evening wears on, however, she warms to me, and I become her hero and the object of her undying affection by bedtime.

The next day, the cycle starts all over again.

But not tonight. I was warned that she was under the weather and crabby, so I kept my distance upon arriving home. I could see from the “stink-eye” cast my way that she was fully prepared to put up fierce resistance when I entered the room, but I walked right past and gave her reprieve. I went upon my business and let her have her distance. After dinner, as she sit in a chair with her favorite blanket and her favorite scowl, I brushed by her and gave her a gentle squeeze on the foot before leaving the room.

But I didn’t get five feet before she stopped me. “Dada! I love….I love….I love when you touch gentle on my foot. And I love tisses. And I love when dada sit by me.”

As I sat by sick daughter, consoling a sick child and basking in the glory of what I had achieved, it dawned on me:

That, my friends, is the perfect illustration of the difference between sales and marketing.

SALES: Sometimes smothering, necessarily persistent…potentially off-putting.

MARKETING: “Hey. I’m here. And I’ll be here when you need me.”



ADVERTISING: “Hey! Everyone needs me! If you’re reading this, you need me too!”

SOCIAL NETWORKING: “Hey. I’m here; you’re here. I might need you; you might need me. I might need someone you know, you might need someone I know. Let’s stay in touch.”

My Wife’s Ride

…is a Swagger Wagon. We’re so gangsta.

The Comcast Conundrum

Can you think of another company that has the best product in its category but is so reviled by its customer base (and potential customer base) that it’s also an industry whipping post?

I was watching T.V. last night, only to come upon a commercial in which I learned that Comcast “guarantees” the best service in the industry. My wife turns to me and replies, “Or what?”

Yes indeed. Or what? What if I find Comcast’s LACK of customer service so off-putting, so inept, so comical that I would literally step over my own mother to get to a new provider? (Oh, right — I can’t get WOW where I live, Uverse isn’t available “yet,” and I can’t get HD satellite in my neighborhood.) Who do I complain to? And what do I receive as recompense?

Well, about a year ago, I found out. In a progressive approach, the likes of which have been heretofore unseen since Gunga clubbed Mosha over the head in a rite of romantic foreplay, Comcast reached out to me via Twitter, having learned of my dissatisfaction in that very medium. Wow. So 21st-century. What came of that, you ask? Well, I was routed into customer-service hell, where I was placed on hold for 15 minutes—twice—and disconnected from my call—twice—only to be hung up on with no resolution to my issue.

SO…where do I go now to redeem my Comcast guarantee, pray tell? If anyone learns of what I’m owed, please let me know. Comcast can get in line behind the Nigerian prince who is ironing out some probate work for me as we speak.

The ironic thing is this: Shop around…I still think Comcast has the best product. The most channels, the best On-Demand, a decent DVR system. But you will be hard pressed to find anyone willing to utter the words “I love Comcast.” Go ahead. Try and find someone.

How hard can it be to serve the customer the way they want to be served? Comcast is now pretending to devote significant effort and resources to this. I hope they get it right. But the sadistic side of me hopes someone comes in and builds the better mousetrap before Comcast gets the chance. I mean, they’ve only been at this 20 years or so.

RELATED: And if you like Comcast, you’re going to love government-run health care. Bigger and badder than Comcast, the U.S. government is now going to “guarantee” us all sorts of goodies. But to whom do we turn/complain if we’re not getting the service we feel we deserve? I guess the same place we go when the U.S. Postal Service loses our important two-day package some three days after the promised delivery date. The Department of SOL.