Dec 06

Curious? I think most guys would be repelled

Have you seen the TV commercial featuring Britney Spears and her new line of perfume called ‘Curious’? InCurious_2
the spot, Britney makes eye contact with some hunk and then, seconds later, is embracing him in her peculiarly passionate, but sleazy, way.

My first thought: what woman would wear Britney’s perfume? My second thought: what guy would ever find this a turn-on?

I can imagine the scene: a guy and girl are connecting. Things are progressing nicely. The guy is totally intoxicated with the woman and whispers in her ear, ‘I love how you smell.’ She sighs, and says, ‘It’s Curious by Britney Spears.’

Ouch. Talk about a buzz kill. Game. Set. Match.

What sane guy is going to want to hook-up with a woman who wears the perfume of America’s sleaziest and most unstable celebrity? If I hear that response, I bolt for the fastest exit, post haste.

What marketing genius thought ‘Curious’ was a smart line extension? Who’s the target market: emotionally unstable, drug and alcohol-addled girls, aged 18-25?

There are great new product ideas, good new product ideas and just plain bad ones. Curious perfume by Britney Spears belongs in a category of its own I’d label: ‘ugly.’

Dec 05

I’m mad as hell and not going to take it anymore

Remember the classic line from the movie ‘Network?’  I’m mad as hell and not going to take it anymore’Weingarten
was shouted by newscasters and news viewers alike in response to the demise of serious news coverage in favor of ‘happy talk.’

Well, I feel the very same way after seeing some high and mighty media types take potshots at public relations professionals.

Everyone and their brother has already weighed in on Wired Magazine’s Chris Anderson ‘outing’ 300 or so publicists who annoyed him with e-mail pitches.

Now, there’s Gene Weingarten writing in the Washington Post and beating the bejesus out of PR once again.  Like his Wired peer, Weingarten bitches about voice and e-mail messages from PR people. Rather than out specific ‘flacks’ though, he decides to instead publish his answers to one firm’s queries aimed at updating his profile in their database.

In his incredibly barbed, published response, Weingarten crucifies PR. To wit:

– In explaining his specific ‘beat,’ he says it: ‘…mostly involves ripping PR professionals a new one.’
– In decrying some perceived coupling between PR and marketing, he says ‘the unholy alliance between PR and the soulless marketing industry…makes the team of Hitler-Mussolini seem benevolent.’
– And, asked what tips he’d give PR professionals who may want to contact him, the always affable Weingarten says, ‘I encourage midnight visits to my home by PR professionals who have no immediate relatives or close friends.’

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Dec 04

Eli Manning is anything but ‘unstoppable’

The problem with celebrity endorsements is, well, celebrities. And, unless a brand acts quickly toCitizenwatchad0507
disengage itself from a poor performer, its fortunes can plummet right along with the celebrity’s stock. Sometimes the decision is obvious, and smart marketers have dropped such losers as Brittney, Barry Bonds and Michael Vick faster then you can say brand disaster.

But what should a brand do when it signs a deal with a marginal performer? Citizen watches is facing that dilemma after inking a deal with New York Giants Quarterback Eli Manning. Unlike his celebrated big brother Peyton, Eli’s career has been anything but rosy. Despite pulling out a last-second win at Chicago this past Sunday, Eli’s performance was questionable at best. And, two Sundays ago, he single-handedly blew the game by throwing four interceptions against the Vikings.

So, when Citizen Watches airs commercials and publishes print ads saying their watches are as ‘unstoppable’ as Eli Manning, it elicits a chuckle, a cry of derision or worse.

Eli Manning is a real mixed bag. And, I for one don’t want to own a watch that, like Eli, might work one minute but stop the next. If Citizen continues to stand by their man, I suggest they switch from ‘unstoppable’ to ‘unfixable.’ At least it will ring true.

Tip o’ the hat to Isaac Farbowitz for this idea.

Dec 03

Party hard, but party wise

It’s holiday season time and once again employees old and new, senior and junior need to mix good cheerOffice_party
with good sense.

Over the years, I’ve attended holiday parties that have been a mix of the good, the bad and the ugly. To wit:

– one employee becoming totally inebriated while the rest of us watched in horror
– a consultant slinging back mud slides and then wobbling around our hallways, insulting women near and far
– one employee so smashed he literally couldn’t pull himself off the floor
– a senior executive attempting to make a speech, but being so blasted he forgot what he was saying, stopped and walked away into the night
– an intern flashing the magic finger at Ed not once, but twice
– various employees breaking down and crying
– dirty dancing, groping, fondling and hooking up

We’ve also had great themed parties, including one that featured a murder mystery and another with a magician performing various tricks.

Holiday parties can be a great bonding experience. But, they can also do a number on one’s reputation and career path. The best advice I’ve heard is to party hard, but party wisely. The image you save may be your own.

Thanks to Debrah Hussey for the idea.