Feb 24

Don’t toy with us

Today's guest post is co-authored by Peppercommers Sara Whitman Ramos (pictured) and Brendan Mullin.

PhotoPeppercom’s motto has always been to work hard, play hard. So, what better way to live that  motto than to hang out at last week’s Toy Fair? Brendan Mullin and Sara Whitman (that’s us) took on the show, meeting with influencers and manufacturers, and of course stopping a bit to goof around with some of the latest and greatest in playthings.

Organized by the Toy Industry Association, Toy Fair 2011 hosted 300 exhibitors, making this a very good year. Association leadership was quoted as saying, “This kind of positive news reaffirms Toy Fair’s reputation as the epicentre of toy and youth product creativity, originality and excellence in the Western Hemisphere.”

To get some perspective on that, we had the chance to speak with industry veterans, Claire Green and Wendy Smolen, co-founders of The Sandbox Summit. In addition to providing much-needed advice for tackling Toy Fair – Hydrate! Snack! – they also shared their thoughts about the state of Toy Fair, and whether or not the show is living up to its reputation:
What are your thoughts about the quality of exhibitors you saw this year in comparison to previous years?

There was a much more upbeat quality to this year's Toy Fair than in the past two years. The quality of exhibitors was basically the same. You have the classic big guys, the mid-size companies who are always trying to muscle their way in, and the innovative new guys. It's an interesting mix.
 
We agree. Everyone was happy. We weren’t sure if it was the promise of better economic times, the toys or just something in the air. At one point, that “something” in the air was flying marshmallows from The Marshmallow Fun Company.
 
What trends are you seeing that are particularly exciting?  Technology always grabs headline. Here are a few themes:
 
1. This year we saw the reverse trend of apps transforming into product. Classic online games like Angry Birds and Tetris both moved off the screen and onto the table.
 
2. 3-D. Hasbro, Mattel, Spinmaster, and others all brought out products that can be viewed in 3-D.
 
3. iPads/iPods as toys. More and more companies are creating apps to play on the iPad. Discovery Bay introduced Yoomi, using a device that turns an iPad into a game. VTech introduced a kid-friendly alternative to the iPad. Hasbro had My3D, which lets a player play 3-D games on an iphone; Fisher Price introduced a kid-tough case for a parent's iPhone. 
 
4. New technology. We saw a laser printer that colors Barbie's hair (Fisher Price) and a voice-activated car (Bandai).
 
5. Great thinking games. ThinkFun, Gamewright, FatBrain, BriarPatch, WorkForge, Blue Orange all had imaginative, creative ways to play.
 
There’s no doubt that technology and toys will continue merging in fun and unusual ways. One of Sara’s favorites was a ping-pong playing robot from Tosy, a Vietnamese company. B tried to take him on, but the robot was scared silly by his paddle-wielding skills.
 
Anything that toy manufacturers are not addressing effectively or as well as you’d like to see?
We’re always surprised to see traditional packaging geared towards “girls” and “boys.” It’s the 21st century and time to grow beyond the pink and blue.
 
And to close, what catches your eye when you’re walking the floor?
Having been immersed in toys for so many years, what catches our eye is what has not been done before or is now being done in a smarter, more fun way. It's the "slap your forehead" moment. It always makes you smile. And that's really what toys should do.
 
To our ears, sounds like Toy Fair nailed it on all three counts – creativity, originality and excellence.

But, we’d like to hear from Repman readers. Do you think the current state-of-the-art in toys is better than previous generations? Are toys safer?

In the meantime, stay tuned for more from our day of play at Toy Fair 2011…coming soon. Now, give me that toy!

Feb 09

What’s the biggest difference between the advertising and PR trades?

The very best advertising agencies do one thing incredibly well for their clients. Having gleaned Leonardogillesfleur_Irreconcileable_differences_43_904 insights from an end user's wants and needs, they'll create a compelling campaign that creates an emotional connection between a brand and its target audience. When done correctly, it's positively magical.

To their credit, though, ad agencies never, ever, attempt to advertise their own services in the industry trade media read by clients, prospects and peers.

The same cannot be said for PR firms. Our industry trades are littered with myopic, self-congratulatory ads that provide no insight whatsoever on the client's or prospect's world but, instead, focus squarely on what the PR firm feels sets it apart from the competition. And, that dear reader, is a cardinal sin.

Advertising should be about you. Not me. It should prompt a visceral reaction that leaves you nodding your head and mumbling, 'Yeah. That's me. That's my need. I need to know more about how they can help me.'

Instead, a sampling of recent PR agency advertising headlines seem more like a print version of the old grammar school trick of seeing who could attract the teacher's attention fastest. “Oh, pick me, Ms. Dresner. I know the answer. Pick me!”

To wit, check out these headlines:
– 'Real. Creative.'
– 'Two campers see a bear. Yada. Yada. Yada.'
– 'Telling the story of innovation.'
– 'Go. Ahead.'
– 'Who's in your circle?'
– 'Way more effective'

With the possible exception of the penultimate headline, each and every ad is self-serving. None create an emotional connection with the end user (Note: I'd include our own inward-facing advertisement in my criticism. Doctor: Heal thyself.).

That said, there are a few exceptions to the abysmal state of PR firm advertising. Carmichael Lynch Spong's campaign is both unexpected and client-focused. Their most recent one is entitled, 'They loved the launch. So what about the next 364 days?' That's spot on. It tells me, as a prospective client, that CLS knows I need to keep showing results to my senior management.

Another campaign from an earlier generation of management at Ogilvy PR was just as effective. It depicted a harried corporate communications executive, checking his watch and looking for a cab. The headline read something to the effect, 'We know you live in a 24×7 world and need a partner who does the same.' It's promotional to be sure. But, it also told me that Ogilvy PR ‘got' the prospective client's pain.

The worst PR agency ads are the ones listing the various awards won by the firm in the previous 12 months: “Best Workplace,” “Best Young Professional,” “Best Industry Blog”, “Best Use of Artwork in a Hallway,” “Cleanest Restrooms,100 Employees or Less,” etc. Enough already. Clients don't care about your awards. They care about their challenges.

I think the editors and publishers of PR trades should do more than accept insertion orders and checks from agencies. They should provide some sort of counsel on advertising effectiveness.

There's a reason ad agencies don't advertise. They know it's next to impossible to create an emotional connection with a harried CMO in one page of copy. If only PR firms would wake up and realize the same truth.

Feb 02

The shoemaker’s children

Conventional wisdom holds that, like the shoemaker who is so busy making shoes for others that Barefoot-shoes he neglects his own kids, advertising and PR agencies don’t do a good job of promoting themselves. That’s simply not the case.

More and more advertising agencies are taking publicity seriously. (Note: They have to. Their traditional business model is imploding as you read this.) And, some public relations firms have absolutely mastered the art of self-promotion.

Our agency publicity team has absolutely excelled at the task, as witnessed by this just-released Dow Jones analysis. As you’ll see, Peppercom ranks fifth among all midsized agencies for most publicity garnered during the year 2010. And, that’s a good thing. A very good thing. It means we’re breaking through the clutter and connecting with the world of prospective and current clients in terms of sharing our point of view on matters of importance. But, in surveying both the midsized and large-sized agencies on the list, I can also state that not all the publicity generated by these firms has been positive.

Take Hill & Knowlton, for example. As I wrote in a previous blog, H&K has suffered a series of high-level executive and client defections. Both have produced enormous negative news and speculation. Another large agency, Cohn & Wolfe, received a ton of negative publicity for publicly airing a feud it was having with one of its best known clients. In fact, CEO Donna Imperato’s barbed statement about her erstwhile client was selected by PR Week as ‘the most memorable’ of 2010. That’s one PR Week award no agency wants to win.

Other firms made the list simply because they specialize in providing counsel to publicly-traded companies that are in the midst of a merger or acquisition. The firm’s name appears automatically in just about any business coverage of the event, so their publicity is a foregone conclusion.

I’m proud of our team’s achievement and hope we can move up the Dow Jones ranks in 2011. My only caveat, though, is the publicity we generate about ourselves should be of the positive variety. I’d rather be like the shoemaker’s child than caught up in the harsh glare of the media’s spotlight. That’s the wrong type of agency publicity.

I’d list Peppercom in that group. From day one, I’ve insisted we set aside time for a team of employees to promote Peppercom’s thought leadership as well as general news and announcements. In fact, we strive to produce far more of the former than the latter, believing clients and prospects judge us on our ability to craft thought-provoking original material covering issues of concern to them.
Jan 26

Why not toss in a ’64 Chevy Impala as well?

I delete most spam. Some, though, are bizarre enough to warrant a response (i.e. The Nigerian lawyer who wanted to wire me $150mm immediately, but needed my account information first. I thanked him profusely for his generosity, but noted that I never accepted less than $151mm from strangers).

Your Plaque Preview Then, there are the spam e-mails that unintentionally tarnish the sender's image and provide fodder for Repman columns. I like those.

I recently received this notice from American Registry which, if nothing else, certainly sounded legitimate. The spam alerted me to the fact that, if I hurried, I could still order a drop dead gorgeous plaque recognizing my firm's excellence in sports and leisure in the year 2009!?!?!

To begin with, we do very little, if any, sports or leisure work. So, I seriously doubt we ever won an award for excellence in the category. But, why in god's name, would I order a two-year old plaque? To remind people of what once was? To be able to stop strangers in the street and, after asking for spare change, interject, “So, guess who just got an American Registry plaque for excellence in sports and leisure in 2009?'

But, why stop with selling two-year-old plaques? I think American Registry should go all the way with its retro offerings and include:

– an owner's certificate for a 1964 Chevy Impala. Who wouldn't pay top dollar for that?
– an authentic lock of Arthur 'Fonzie' Fonzarelli’s hair from a 1978 episode of 'Happy Days'
– a mint condition Pan Am flight bag circa 1985.

I'm trying to understand the motivation for the e-mail in the first place:

-Did someone in the American Registry warehouse do some winter cleaning and find the old Peppercom plaque lying in a corner? “Hey Jim, there are some really old plaques back here. The boss ain't gonna be happy.”

– Did someone at A.R. find an old softball tournament plaque, slap our name on it and try to re-sell it as an industry award? I'd give them an 'A' for creativity if that were the case.

– Or, do they practice a bizarro world version of just-in-time manufacturing in which it takes two full years between the time a plaque is made and finally reaches the market?

I'm just glad the company's name is American Registry and not American Dentistry. Imagine receiving an e-mail alerting you that, in 2009, you had advanced gum disease? If nothing else, it would give a whole new meaning to the word plaque.

Jan 24

What sets your organization apart?

Thumbnail Differentiating a public relations firm is no easy task since we all pretty much offer the same set of  services. Sure, the holding companies will play the size card and boutiques will tout their category expertise while we midsized firms will sell a ‘best of both worlds’ solution. Still, it’s tough not to be tossed in with the pack when a big search is underway.

That’s why our decision to embrace humor as a competitive advantage has been so important in making us a breed apart. Some competitors may be larger. Others may have deeper sector credentials. But, no one, and I mean no one, can stand-up to our team of professionally trained, stand-up comedians.

We embraced stand-up comedy as a key management training technique about three years ago. It’s done wonders for improving our people’s presentation skills and workplace morale. And, when a prospect asks what sets us apart, we always add the kicker: “You’ve undoubtedly met some fine firms in your search. But, we’re the only one who will make you laugh.” That’s critical, especially when a new business pitch is extremely close. Clients end up selecting firms with whom they’ve built rapport. And, ladies and gentlemen, guess what skill stand-up comedy training enhances? Rapport building.

MSNBC thought enough of our commitment to humor that they just devoted a five-minute segment to how Peppercom uses comedy as a business tool.

Besides the obvious, there are all sorts of intangible benefits to our comedy ethos. For one, it helps us self-select prospects and employees (i.e. ‘arrogant, pompous individuals need not apply’). For another, it helps us identify stars in the making.

There are more than 3,000 public relations firms in this country.  But, I’m not aware of any other one that would use the words ‘sense of humor’ in answering the critical prospective client and employee question: “What sets you apart?”

Jan 19

Latest H&K turmoil is sad to watch

As a proud Hill & Knowlton alumnus, it pains me to read the latest upheaval at the firm's upper ranks. (Founders Donald Knowlton and John W. Hill are pictured, below.) It seems that, since the late 1980s, H&K has been the industry lightning rod for turmoil, controversy and unrest.

Gallery It wasn’t always that way, though. I had the good fortune to land an H&K entry-level position in 1978. At that point in time, H&K was the gold standard of the profession. Sure, Burson was growing rapidly. But, Carl Byoir and Harshe-Rotman & Druck had already started to decline, and firms such as Porter, Ketchum and Golin were still in their nascent stages. H&K was unquestionably the “…shining city on the hill.”

It was a thrill to work there. In those days, giants walked Hill & Knowlton’s hallways.  We had former newspaper editors, syndicated columnists, press secretaries and industry insiders by the scores. H&K also had a curious new business policy. The firm refused to proactively pitch prospective clients, believing it to be demeaning. Instead, blue chip organizations approached Hill & Knowlton, hoping to be added to its uber-prestigious client list.

Our power brokers were the powerfirm’s upper ranks. It seems that, since the late brokers. Bob Gray, who ran H&K’s Washington, D.C. office, was the ultimate Beltway insider. If a client needed to influence Congressional votes, Gray made it happen. I had the pleasure to work alongside two of Gray’s subordinates, Sheila Tate and Colburn Aker, to support the American Trucking Association’s efforts to prevent new anti-trucking legislation in scores of states (note: Tate later became Nancy Reagan’s press secretary and founded Powell-Tate. Aker had his own influential lobbying firm for decades). I traveled to New Hampshire, Oregon and the state of Washington in 1980 to help the team ensure voters turned thumbs down on increased trucking taxes. It was an unparalleled experience for a green-as-grass, 24-year-old account executive.

H&K’s decline began in the late 1980s, when a senior management struggle resulted in the firm’s representing highly controversial clients such as The Church of Scientology, The U.S. Catholic Bishops and, most notoriously, the government of Kuwait. With the latter, H&K was accused of staging a genocide of Kuwaiti kids (an event that later inspired the Hollywood movie, “Wag the Dog”).

H&K seemed to have stabilized its image and reputation free-fall by the end of the 20th century. And, quite a few industry trades rightly lauded Paul Taaffe and Marylee Sachs for their fine work in righting the ship. Now, they’re gone with the wind and the firm, once again, seems to be in adrift. It’s really sad to say this but, once a firm sells to a larger holding company, all bets are off. Some survive. A few even thrive. But most, like H&K, begin a long, slow downward spiral.

Jan 11

Dynamic duo or desperate divas?

I am not a fan of celebrity endorsements. Never have been and never will be. I’m Meat-dress-lady-gaga-02 anti-endorsement for two fundamental reasons:
1.)    I’ve seldom seen one where a celebrity’s image and reputation perfectly aligns with those of an organization.
2.)    There’s simply too much organizational image and reputation downside in this age of naughty celebrity behavior (think: Tiger, Brett, Mel, Lindsay, Britney, etc.). I realize some of those celebs don’t double as product endorsers, but you get my gist.

So, I winced when I read the AdWeek article about Lady Gaga’s unholy alliance with the Polaroid Corporation. The legendary, if beleaguered, brand apparently inked a deal last year with the train wreck of a pop star to have the latter endorse Polaroid’s new line of digital cameras and trinkets. She was also ‘appointed’ Polaroid’s chief creative officer. To which I respond, Ha! Could you imagine attending a brainstorming session with Lady Gaga in which target audience demographics and psychographics are discussed? I think even Snooki could provide more coherent input.

For Lady Gaga, though, the Polaroid gig provides some much needed, real world credibility. Indeed, her statement says as much:

"The Haus of Gaga has been developing prototypes in the vein of fashion/technology/photography innovation – blending the iconic history of Polaroid and instant film with the digital era – and we are excited to collaborate on these ventures with the Polaroid brand. Lifestyle, music, art, fashion: I am so excited to extend myself behind the scenes as a designer, and to as my father puts it – finally, have a real job."

The Haus of Repman doesn’t buy this collaboration at all. For one thing, Gaga is a ticking time bomb. And, no matter how badly Polaroid needs to re-position itself and appear cool to Millennials, partnering with Gaga is anything but authentic. Desperate, yes. Authentic, no. I could see Polaroid partnering with, say, Keith Richards. But, Lady Gaga? C’mon.

In fact, if memory serves, Polaroid had great success in the 1970s partnering with actors James Garner and Mariette Hartley for a long-standing, highly successful advertising campaign. Garner and Hartley were established, trustworthy and, unlike Gaga, highly professional. More importantly, the campaign ‘rang true’. It represented the Polaroid that consumers had come to know and love.

This past week, Lady Gaga was on hand at the Consumer Electronics Show to help Polaroid launch a new product. Her appearance created enormous buzz, but she dropped the F-bomb right in the middle of her remarks and the Polaroid CEO was actually booed when he appeared on-stage before the pop princess. Do the brand guardians at Polaroid actually enjoy seeing their boss booed and hissed before a major press conference? I know I sure wouldn’t. And, I’ve known more than a few CEOs who would fire an entire marketing or communications department for anything that disgraced him or the brand.

Polaroid’s unholy alliance with Lady Gaga may be driving a momentary sales spike. But, based upon her outlandish ways (a la her dress made of raw meat), I predict this is nothing more than an accident waiting to happen. Soon enough, we’ll read reports of Polaroid and Lady Gaga parting ways because of ‘creative differences.’ What that will really mean is someone at Polaroid finally woke up and said, “Why in god’s name do we want to entrust the brand’s image and reputation with a celebrity train wreck who’s gone off the tracks in the past and could drag us along with her in the future?”

Dec 16

What sets you apart?

85658802 I typically find myself immersed in at least one strategic client positioning each and every month. And, without exception, the CEO or lead executive will say her people are what separates the organization from its competition. They'll say such things as:

– “Our people are totally client focused.”
– “We have deeper sector knowledge than anyone else.”
Or, my personal favorite…
– “Our people are smarter.”

People are an asset but, almost without fail, they are NOT what sets an organization apart from its competition.

6a00d8341c39e853ef0148c67db778970c-800wiIn her most excellent new book, 'The Art of Managing Professional Services,' Maureen Broderick  defines positioning as: “The FOUNDATION of a successful brand. It flows from all other elements of a firm's management: shared vision, values and culture. A focused positioning attracts both top talent and steadily builds a distinct brand.” I'd add two other points: a positioning MUST succinctly describe the unique end user benefit your organization ALONE can provide. And, it MUST ring true.

Here are three examples of what I consider three memorable positionings (all created by a certain strategic communications firm with which you may be familiar):

– “Disrupt your own organization before your competitors do it for you.” (for a strategy firm that helped clients figure out how to re-create their service offerings)

– “At the crossroads of the spiritual and the secular” (for a church that was equally adept at providing spiritual guidance and networking events for Wall Street executives)

– “What sets us apart from our competition is helping set clients apart from theirs.” (for a nascent PR firm run out of a squalid, one-bedroom apartment)

Every now and then, people CAN drive a firm's strategic positioning. Broderick points to law firm Skadden Arps, whose motto is, “Walking through walls for clients.” Skadden, and Skadden alone, commits to a 24-hour call return policy. Employees will not go home until every piece of client business for the day has been completed. The firm insists upon it and clients hire them for that almost maniacal commitment. They do, in fact, walk through walls for clients. That's an end user benefit and it rings true. 

Mostly, though, we run into clients who want their funky work environment to drive their positioning. Others insist upon hyping their past credentials as a differentiator, (i.e. “Our CEO is a builder of businesses.” Gee whiz.).

The single best way to arrive at a strategic positioning is to interview key internal and external constituents and ask them the same question: “What does The Befuddled Group, and the Befuddled Group alone, do best?” Qualify that answer, make sure some competitor, (e.g. Perplexed & Perplexed, Ltd.) hasn't already claimed the strategic positioning and you're off to the races. But, remember, it's a distinct end user benefit, and not the people, that set an organization apart.

Dec 14

The W Deserves an F

Robinsonjack_Tomlin11 W_Hotels-logo-CCE5D496E7-seeklogo.com Today's guest post is by Ann Barlow, President, Peppercom West.

If you’ve stayed at a W hotel, you know how hard they work to be hip.  I was at one for three  nights this past week, and when I tell you the priority they gave coolness over service wore a little thin by the time we left, I’m being kind. 

was fortunate to go to the first TEDWomen conference in Washington, D.C.  As usual with these things, the conference had ‘deals,’ (there’s no such thing in that neighborhood) in this case at the Marriott, the Willard and the W.  The Marriott was sold out, and the Willard was a little pricier than the W, so I chose the W. 

  When you arrive, the bellmen are all in black shirts and  pants, so initially it’s not easy to spot them.  (I can’t imagine how that could possibly work in NY, where black is the signature color.)  At any rate, we were shown to our room, which looked eerily like the inside of a refrigerator.  White drawers, a bluish brushed glass on shower, white bed. I half-expected the headboard to read ‘crisper.’

The shower is a good example of hip over what’s actually good for the guest.  The bluish, but nonetheless transparent, glass faces the room and entranceway so if you are showering when, say, room service walks in, you’ll be revealing more than your preferences for tea over coffee.  What is the point?

In the bathroom, there are the requisite toiletries, tissues, towels and robe.  There’s a little white bag hanging next to the robe labeled ‘plan B.’ What’s in this mysterious bag?  A roll of toilet paper.  Seriously?  Couldn’t they just put an extra roll under the counter and be done with it?
The worst, though, is when you want to call for anything from a wake-up call to housekeeping to room service.  In what must have seemed like a great idea at the time, some marketing guru decided that the guest should dial ‘1’ no matter what they needed, and they would be served. 

Three problems with that:
1.    They answer with an impossibly cheerful ‘Whatever, whenever! How can I help you?’  Try being greeted that way more than twice and see if your nerves don’t begin to fray.
2.    About half the time, the line is busy, especially since the same people who answer also man the front desks.
3.    Because they wear so many hats, the Whatever Whenever people sometimes forget to do what they said they would for you.  When that happens, the Whatever Whenever greeting makes you want to go through the phone at them.

One of several cases in point:  We asked for a wake-up call at 7 am.  The Whatever lady asked if we would like a 7:15 follow-up call.  I thought that was a great idea, because being on West Coast time (we’d flown in from California), I knew it wouldn’t be easy to wake up.  So I said yes, please.  She asked if we wanted breakfast, and I said no thank you.

Well, they must have taken the Whenever part a bit too seriously, because the wake-up call never came.  We woke up at 9:30.  My husband missed his 10 am meeting in Reston, and I was late to register for the opening day of the conference. If that had happened the second or third morning, the results would have been disastrous. We weren’t pleased. 

I want to point out here that the hotel did its best to make things right, taking $200 off our bill and sending up wine and cheese.  And the next morning when apparently they once again took Whenever a little too much to heart and showed up late with our breakfast, they comped it.

The point is, trying hard to be hip at the expense of service is so 2008.  In this kind of economy – and to my way of thinking, in any economy – why not focus your energies on good customer service instead of being cool?  Turn down the ‘unz unz’ beat in the lobby so that the concierge can hear your question and the bartender hear your drink order.   Let the operator direct my call to housekeeping or room service.  I’ll sacrifice the one-touch saccharine greeting for knowing that my request will be honored.

This is hardly the first time I’ve stayed at a W.  No doubt, the hotel chain will say, ‘whatever,’ but whenever do I intend to stay at a W again?  Never. 

Nov 19

You are what you watch. Except when you aren’t.

Dog watching television According to psychographic ad targeter Mindset Media, the television shows we watch provide a  unique insight into our personality and can help brands better target their marketing spend (insert link).

For example, modest people, says Mindset Media, are more likely to watch 'Deadliest Catch' while altruistic types, such as Ed Moed, dial up cooking shows like 'Rachel Ray.'

Hmmm. Color me skeptical about all this psychographic psychobabble.

In describing viewers of my favorite show, 'Mad Men', Mindset says it attracts creative types. (No duh. The show's about an ad agency.) But, the creative types who watch 'Mad Men' are also emotionally sensitive (Well, yes, that's me.) and intellectually curious types (Damn, right again.) who tend to be more often dreamers than realists. (Whoa. Back off, Mindset. That's not me!)

Mad Men watchers are also liberal (Gee, these guys are pretty good.) and prefer brands such as Blue Moon and American Express. (I order sauvignon blanc, but I do like a Blue Moon on occasion and carry an AmEx card.) Mindset says I wouldn't be as interested in Campbell's Soup or the Cadillac Escalade. (That's putting it mildly.)

Mindset analyzed viewers of other shows as well, including ‘The Office’ which, while it's gone steadily downhill, is still a favorite of mine. “Like Michael on the show,” says Mindset, “watchers of The Office think they are superior to others.” (Rubbish.) In fact, says Mindset, fans of ‘The Office’ believe they are extraordinary (Which I am.) and happily brag about their accomplishments. (I'm a shameless self promoter.) Viewers prefer Starbucks (Not me. The coffee's way too bitter.) and the BMW Series 3 (Now, this is scary. I own an M3.) They dislike McDonald's (The word 'loathe' would be more appropriate.) and the Lincoln Town Car. (I'll ride in one, but you'll never catch me behind the wheel.).

All in all, this psychobabble stuff IS pretty impressive. Their analysis of me based upon my viewing of ‘Mad Men’ and ‘The Office’ is eerily accurate.

BTW, in case you watch ‘Glee’ (which I can't stomach), you're “in touch with your own feelings and may even feel happiness or sadness more intensely than others.” I'll bet you didn't know that, did you? You also drink Evian and drive a Volkswagen. You dislike Quaker cereals (What's your issue with Quaker cereals?) and the Chevy Silverado. (Does anyone like that car?) Oh, and as reluctant as I am to add this in, Mindset says ‘Glee’ viewers are closest to viewers of ‘Mad Men’ when it comes to being creative. Not true. We ‘Mad Men’ types rule.

So, what's your favorite TV show and what do you think it says about you? I'd go on, but I need to DVR 'Eastbound and Down.' I'll bet Mindset would have a field day with viewers of that show.