Jan 29

Bloody hell! The British POV on Trump’s winning the presidency (Part III)

You think the Brit’s are done with Trump? Think again. Here’s the final installment…

trumaaapIf Trump does win, look into your crystal ball and tell me what you think the world will be like in 2020 (after four years of The Donald running amok).

  • “America will be attacked again in a big way as the notion of any Trump-esq figure wielding global influence like a toy will drive all sort of people directly into the hands of terrorists and undermine the West entirely. We’ll invade in retaliation of course and the world will be like it was after four years of George W. but 10 times worse. This will have economic knock-ons of course and basically result in all out ideological/ religious warfare and prolonged global recession. I would probably give up my American passport and move to Sweden.”
  • “More war, more greed, more polarisation and an increasingly isolated US – whose only embassy remaining will be in North Korea – the one place Trump seems to admire.  In my mind – he is like the future, rich Biff from Back to the Future 2.  US will be like that ugly, huge prison of a casino and the rest of the world will try to live on in an increasingly chaotic world! Who knew BttF was so profound!”
  • “Lots more war, lots of people dying, everywhere.”
  • “Well the US has a pretty amazing track record of assassinating its presidents when they don’t like them. I guess Trump will have to move about in a bullet proof bubble or he will go the way of Lincoln, JFK, Bobby and all the others. But if he survives?
    • There will definitely be a cure for male pattern baldness
    • Orange will be the new black
    • Spanish will be banned as a language
    • Land of the free will be dropped as a tag line I can’t even imagine
    • What it will be like except that the Third Reich sounds familiar…”
  • “A less safe place; USA would be more under threat from extremists and more isolated. And the US would lose its prominent position in the world. Putin will run his hands with glee!”
  • “His views will create a lot tension. I predict Mass rioting”


Jan 27

Bloody hell! The British POV on Trump’s winning the presidency (Part II)

protest-against-donald-trumpOur British colleagues are far from done in terms of analyzing a possible Trump presidency. Check out what they think it might mean for the Middle East and the world itself.

Would Trump’s slash-and-burn promise to annihilate ISIS, topple Assad and establish “pro-Western” governments in Iran and elsewhere bring any semblance of stability to the Middle East?

  • “HA-H-AHA you must be joking! The reason we’re in this mess is because of more than 50 years of misunderstood American interventions (and a couple hundred of European colonialism) through unwanted regime change and failed state building via proxy wars which has completely destroyed the notion of any Middle Eastern stability for decades. Setting loose a useless Muslim hating billionaire with no moral compass and even less diplomatic tact or ethnic understanding would signal the end of days to the whole region and play directly into the hands of ISIS and terrorists who have more in common with Trump than the rest of Islam.”
  • “No, it would make the US the single biggest glory target in the world.  West is Best makes my blood run cold.”
  • “Are you kidding? It is the equivalent of sticking your finger in a massive hornets nest and giving it a big stir! However I would start seriously buying shares in the arms industry…”
  • “Absolutely not! Clearly he is not someone who learns from history!”

What’s your take on Trump’s desire to ban Muslims from entering the US and deporting the 11 million illegal Mexican immigrants currently residing in the US?

  • “America was built on immigrants, I’m pretty sure the Trump dynasty doesn’t descend from the Cherokee, so who’s he to ban or deport hard working families looking for a better life and do the jobs Americans don’t want? Muslims aren’t a nationality or a race, it’s not on your passport and it makes no sense even though they’re already doing it to British families who just want to go to Disneyland.”
  • “It really worries me that he is still in the running to be President following these statements –scary how so many people in the US can support this view.”
  • “It makes him a fascist – pure and simple.  Terrifying when you consider the US is a country founded on immigration.  Ironic when you consider the US is “the land of the free.” Where does it stop? When does Trump (a German-Scott) decide what is enough?  Will you set up internment camps for the ethnically undesirable, poor, disenfranchised?  I could go on, but I am depressed just writing this.”
  •  “It just can’t be serious. Please.”
  • “To use your analogy, it is a bit like trying to rehouse the Jews after the holocaust and the brilliant British came up with the idea of shoving them all into this place called Israel…well that worked well didn’t it?  I can’t imagine Mexico wants them back as their economy is deeply creaky already without an extra 11m, so maybe the US can grab some landmass somewhere and transport the 11m there. As to the Muslims…yes it does sound very like the Jewish scenario of 1936…and of course history shows that it did not stop with the Jews. In fact more Gypsies died in the camps than Jews and then of course there were the mentally ill, disabled etc.”
  • “Ridiculous in the extreme. I think Christians are just as much a threat to peace and stability!”
Jan 25

Bloody hell! The British POV on Trump’s winning the presidency (Part I)

trumpUK-660x330When I visited our London office a few months back, I asked for their thoughts on Donald Trump’s still nascent run for the presidency.

Last week, I had the pleasure to once again spend time with my British colleagues. This time, though, with Trump zeroing in on winning the Republican nomination, I probed far deeper. I wanted to know their feelings on what a Trump presidency would mean for US/UK relations and the world in general.

Since I received so many thoughtful responses from our troops, I‘ve decided to make this a three-part series that will run throughout the week.

So, here we go. Oh, and a quick note to @realdonaldtrump: Please direct your Twitter bashing at our British employees. I love you, and you love me, and the two of us both love Putin and Mexicans, and we both think Mayor DeBlasio’s an unmitigated disaster…….

What did you think about last week’s discussion in Parliament about banning Donald Trump from entering England? Justified? Absurd? Neither? Both?

  • “I was one of the half a million who signed the petition as more of a protest than an expectation of anything being done by it. I’m proud that enough people signed the petition to force the debate in parliament. Britain categorically rejects such offensive views and that we won’t be bullied by a buffoon who happens to own a couple of golf courses in our country… morality wins out over money!”
  • “Can only hope that US supporters of Trump saw the potential ban and it helped them come to their senses…“
  • “Giving him air time in Parliament is a waste of breath, particularly when there are so many MORE pressing and more important issues to be debating (Syria, immigration, leaving the EU, the world economy, hunger, food banks etc.) However, I also think refusing him entry for being an idiot (nice word) reduces us to his level (more on that below) and gives credence to his words and validity he does not deserve. “
  • “It’s justified because race hate is a real thing and he is incendiary and damaging to the harmonious relationship between Englishmen of all creeds.“
  • “It was necessary and the outcome predictable. But …wow…with the Muslim ban, immigrant ban etc. the NBC prediction that every American will be microchipped by 2017 might come true. How scary is that? “
  • “Freedom of speech is important but if we genuinely believe that his views would cause offence and public disorder then it is quite justified for there to be a discussion about his admission here.”

There’s a distinct possibility that Trump might actually win the presidency. If he does: How would it impact relations between the US and UK?

  • “Defaulting on all common sense and morality would destroy the USA’s credibility and stop many people from wanting to go there or share in the American ideal which currently is still attractive to many. Sadly it will say more about the people than the politicians. “
  • “I think it will become an extremely difficult job for the British government to handle –I find it difficult to see how they can maintain a strong relationship with the US while the British public think the US President is a madman. “
  • “Well – it would make the US an international joke of terrifying proportions. We let you get away with George W Bush, we can’t do it again! “
  • “It won’t…the British will keep their extremely stiff upper lips and be very polite. They will keep calm and carry on. After all the US is the UK’s biggest ally. Jumped up Trump will try and goose the Queen at the inevitable banquet, put a bid in for Buckingham Palace and call it The Buckingham Trump Palace Group. “
  • “It depends on his ultimate policies; the ‘special’ relationship would I think be strained and I feel sorry for any Prime Minister having to deal with him. “
Jan 22

How this entrepreneur deals with stress

DSC_0541-XLSome CEOs golf. Others lie on beaches in such posh resorts as Del Boca Vista. Not me. I climb. In fact, I love all types of climbing. It’s a superb way to decompress, since it’s physically and mentally impossible to focus on anything but one’s next hand or foot move.

Here’s a blog from Art Mooney, my guide, who routinely leads our forays into the unknown


Jan 19

Keep Walking… But to Where?

Today’s guest RepMan is by Peppercomm’s Executive Creative Director, Matt Lester. 

AwNnjGlCIAAEhk4I’d say that most every ‘creative’ has done spec work to showcase their various talents. I always enjoy seeing how far off the beaten path young talent will go, when untethered by clients’ biases – not to mention creative directors biases.

Two college students, Dorian and Daniel, wrote and produced the spec commercial, “Dear Brother”, inspired by Johnnie Walker’s brilliant “The Man Who Walked Around the World.” It is a very nice effort by some talented college students, which, on more than one level, puts a lot of seasoned agency creatives to shame. (The video is at the end of this post.)

The voiceover is a poem, written in collaboration with the actor John Reilly, is well done.  Though its connection to Johnnie Walker’s positioning is a bit tenuous, I will commend their ability to play in the sandbox with other creatives. The production values are outstanding, with nice performances and beautiful cinematography, which is appropriate to the content. All around, a very good effort by raw talent. Bravo!

Having said that, and I hate being the one to break the news, but my consul to Johnny Walker would be not to have anything to do with this fine piece of film making. You see, (spoiler alert) knowing the number of alcohol related deaths each year is not something the industry is proud of, I doubt they’d want their audience wondering if it was their product that lessened this fine family by one brother. Eventually, perhaps, due to the brothers’ “ways, always [being] the same,” this fine family would be reduced by two.

Liquor companies have stayed out of the high courts by being pretty good at policing themselves. They’ve done this not only by avoiding promotion of overconsumption, but also by overtly promoting moderation. Allow me to point out that there were never any laws against promoting liquor on network television. Over all these decades, the liquor companies themselves elected not to broadcast in order to avoid the fate of the cigarette industry. Smart, I’d say.

So, do push boundaries, do think outside the proverbial box, crush it, my young friends. But always mitigate the risk to the company you’re working so hard to promote. Engage your audience, create brand loyalty and, yes, entertain. But stay true to the brand’s essence, and don’t sacrifice its integrity for entertainment’s sake.

But, hey, good luck. The kid’s got talent. Keep working.

Jan 14

7 Steps To Football Heaven

Today’s guest post is by Peppercommers Matt Purdue and Joseph Checkler.

NFLaaThe NFL is in trouble. Unless you’ve been living under a rock with Donald Trump, you noticed that last weekend’s wild card playoff games were terrible. The Steelers-Bengals debacle looked more like a mixed martial arts fight than a football game, and the Seahawks-Vikings frigid farce ended in a missed chip-shot field goal.

The so-called product on the field is disintegrating. So how do we fix America’s game? Here are seven steps the NFL should take to right the ship.

  1. Expand the playoffs to eight teams per conference. Under the current format, the best players on the best teams sit out during wild card weekend, leaving us the dregs of the Chiefs’ Spencer Ware (who?) vs. the Texans’ Brian Hoyer (ugh). Getting rid of byes for the top teams would at least give us a chance to see the likes of Brady, Manning and Kuechly play another week. And the lower-level of competing for first-round favorites shouldn’t punish the top seeds too much.
  1. Institute soccer-style yellow cards and red cards. The Steelers-Bengals game was a joke with a combined 18 penalties, and some games have had even more. It’s time to bring down the hammer and borrow a page from soccer. Any player receiving a personal foul or unsportsmanlike conduct penalty gets a yellow-card warning. Their second penalty results in a red card – and they’re out of the game.
  1. A player loan system. Another soccer idea. Every year, a handful of elite quarterbacks (Eli Manning and Philip Rivers, this year, for instance) find themselves playing golf in early January, while playoff teams are stuck with things called Brian Hoyers starting postseason games. Whether it’s because of injury or bad management, it’s a problem. What if, before its game against the Chiefs last weekend, Houston was allowed to send the Chargers a third- (maybe second? Would they go as high as first?) round draft pick to rent Rivers for the playoffs. Loan talks could begin the moment the coveted player’s team is eliminated from the playoff race, to give the guy a chance to learn the new system. Loan deals could involve any combination of players and picks. And needless to say, the lent player would be ineligible to play against the team that owns him. What? This wouldn’t be awesome?
  1. Eliminate the excessive celebration penalty. Everyone knows the NFL is the No Fun League. So let’s establish a 10-second celebration clock. After a touchdown, players can bust out with choreographed moves; fans can vote for the best on social media. At the end of season, the best celebration gets the Ickey Woods Trophy.
  1. Expand replay to include certain penalties. Incorrect penalty calls – or missed calls – that decide important games have to go. On one play, a cornerback commits what 37 U.S. states would consider second-degree felonious assault and the ref misses it, while on the next snap, incidental contact results in a 52-yard pass interference call that flips field position and, ultimately, the game. The fix? The NFL uses some of its excess cash not being used to study concussions to train and hire a team of 100, tasked with monitoring every play of every game in real-time. These are the men and women who should be in charge of replay. By the time a coach throws the challenge flag, the replay committee should already have an answer, or something close to it. (Also, all pass interference penalties of more than 20 yards should be automatically reviewed)
  1. Kick out the extra point. The new extra point rule makes them a little less than automatic, but let’s take it further. Teams should be forced to go for a one-point conversion from the one-half yard line, or a two-pointer from the two. The layers of strategy this adds to the game would be excruciating for coaches, but boo hoo. We fans would love it! The extra point is not a natural part of football. (Frankly, neither is the field goal, but baby steps.)
  1. Enact the three-strikes law. It’s time to clean up the NFL. If a player is arrested for anything, he gets an automatic four-game suspension. If he’s arrested again, he’s suspended for a season. If he’s arrested a third time, he’s out of the league. Period.


Jan 11

Blame the fame game

chaaaapoI’d say it began with Jessie James.

It most certainly gathered steam during the Great Depression with the likes of John Dillinger, Al Capone and Bonnie & Clyde.

And, it most certainly carries through to the present (let us not forget John Gotti, the Teflon Don).

“It” is fame, and gangsters crave fame more than a $1 billion sale of crystal meth.

Joaquin Guzman Loera, AKA el Chapo, was no different. The thug positively salivated at the thought of seeing himself on a 3D Imax screen. Instead, he’ll be staring through the bars of a maximum security prison for the rest of his life (a third tunnel escape notwithstanding).

Sean Penn and Kate Del Castillo may have set the trap that enabled Mexican Federales to pinpoint the little ruffian’s latest hideout, but it was ego and the prospect of immortality that finally brought down Loera.

And, so, thanks to the journeys of Penn and Del Castillo (legal or not) the Feds were able to draw a fresh bead on North America’s most notorious bandito.

One might say that, like Spitzer, Weiner, Edwards and all the philandering American politicians of recent times, el Chapo wanted to be caught.

Loera wanted to see how far he could push the system since, like his American counterparts, he’d succeeded in pushing ever other boundary. So why not agree to take a meeting to discuss a potential Hollywood blockbuster, I’d title, “Meth, Death and me: the life and times of el Chapo.”

As for producing and writing the flick, forget about Del Castillo and Penn, I’d have turned it over to Quentin Tarantino or the Coen Brothers. No one has elevated bloodlust to higher (or lower) levels than those three.

As for casting el Chapo, Penn would have been my first choice. The guy always looks like he’s spoiling for a fight.

Alas, we must abandon the “what ifs” for now and content ourselves with “Narcos” and the Pablo Escobar story on Netflix. Escobar is good, but he’s no el Chapo.

“El Chapo, baby. We’ll need you back on the set in 15 minutes, ok sweetheart?”

Jan 06

Is Bobby D destroying his reputation?

dineroIs it possible the same, world-class actor who wowed audiences in such classics as Taxi Driver, Raging Bull and The Godfather: Part II is now routinely showing up in such tripe as Dirty Grandpa, The Intern and Grudge Match?

I’m referring to Robert De Niro who, if he passed away today, would be remembered as one of the greatest actors of his generation.

In addition to winning Oscars for best actor in Raging Bull and best supporting actor in The Godfather: Part II, De Niro also received best actor nominations for his roles in Cape Fear and The Deer Hunter, respectively.

And, yet, he pops up almost every month in yet another piece of dreck: Killer Elite, Machete and Righteous Kill to cite three others.

Is Bobby D Hollywood’s answer to Muhammad Ali? Has he become so enamored of the silver screen that he’ll grab any role available? Lord knows he has more money than God. And, were he trying to continually perfect his craft, De Niro would turn to the stage.

Searching for an answer, I asked Hollywood trivia expert par excellence, Thomas J. Powers, Jr., to answer two simple questions:

1.) Why is De Niro seemingly prostituting himself?

“I don’t think De Niro is prostituting himself at all. I’ve seen a few of his lesser movies…he has done a very professional job. He is good. Acting is work. “Bobby Milk” has earned his right to work.”

2.) Will it impact his long-term reputation?

“No. If he was an athlete doing sub par stuff it would probably impact his long-term reputation. But Bobby De Niro is an actor. He does good professional work. His reputation remains stellar. He is a Hall of Famer for all time.”

Agree or disagree with Tommy’s views, Bobby D has clearly not guarded his reputation over the years. Nor has he been selective in choosing titles that would afford him the opportunity to both stretch his talents and display his craft.

I find it both puzzling and depressing. Fade to black.

Jan 05

Auto-correct needs to be auto-corrected

aaaaaHow many times have you sent a text or e-mail only to receive a response such as, “Huh?@

If you have?’, that’s because you do daily battle with the disaster that is the iPhobe’s auto-correct function (Note: I’m purposely letting auto-correct do its thong in today’s blog in order to demonstrate its trolley destructive force).

Most recipients of auto-corrected e-mails laugh it off and try to decipher what the sender actually intended to say. Others will make light of an obviously mangled word or phrase and respond with something woody. And, then, of course, there’s the old reliable, Huh?

Auto-correct malfunctions and malaprops are a ticking time boom for those of us in the communications field who rely on it to stay in constant touch with clients, reparetees, peers and friends.

Mon particularly notorious example, a client of ours was totally humiliated when he sent out account team thanking them for their sexual prowess. I mid yiu boys.

We’re pretty sure he meant to write extra effort, but auto-correct decided otheriise. Clearly, suro-corect can rear its ugly head at the worst possible moments and be oh-so-politically incorrect. In fact, I wouldn’t brc surprised if it pkayed a lead role in damaging personal or profesioal relationshits.

Don’t get me wrong. Auto-correct dos comes in handy when one takes the extra time to backtrack on each, and every, note to assure correct spelling, punctuation and grammatical usage. But, few of us have the time to do do.

I predict that, in 2026, someone at Apoke, Samsung it one of gh other mobile device manufacturers will finally correct the auto-correct incorrectness. Or, if hurt don’t, some 22-year-old tech which will and turn around and sell his nascent technology for $3 or $4 billion to, you guessed it, Apple, Samsung or one of the other mobile manufacturers.

Until then, suck it up, fund the time yo double and tripe check everything you type and revelnin your sexual prowess.


Jan 04

Four Predictions for Where Co*te*t Ma*ke*ing Will Go in 2016

As a onetime rookie journalist (I cranked out obits for The New York Times, hosted a daily news program on WGCH Radio in Greenwich and wrote copy for CBS NewsRadio in Boston), I have a warm place in my heart for my erstwhile peers (especially those who are unafraid to make predictions).

In today’s guest blog, Peppercommers Joe Checkler, who joined us from The Wall Street Journal and Matt Purdue, former editor of Worth, collaborated to predict the future of the most overused words in marketing communications today: Content marketing. Read on, and please post your content reactions to their content predictions on our various channels. Thanks…

predictions-624x755We’re going to try and write an entire blog post about content marketing without ever uttering the overused phrase “content marketing,” starting now: As thoughtful companies continue to evolve into publishers that straddle the line between raising brand awareness and producing compelling material, it’s easy to see where the world is going. Becoming an authority is about more than declaring, “I want to be a thought leader,” and writing something or posting a video. Consumers and businesses are much more adept at sifting through the menu of options to find what they like and what they trust, and all of our 2016 predictions keep that fact in mind.

1. We’ll see more sponsored content: A few years ago, top-tier publications like The New York Times raised more than a few eyebrows when they decided to use native advertising, sponsored articles featured prominently on their home pages. Well guess what? Print advertising revenue isn’t ever coming back, so the world has come to understand that trusted news sources need to give up some of their news space to sponsors. The Times’s “From Our Advertisers” section features visually appealing pieces teased by compelling headlines, from big-name sponsors with something to say. Whether it’s a NetJets ad that gives readers a glimpse at the business, or CA Technologies explaining the behind the scenes of the “app economy,” consumers will continue to get more comfortable with becoming more informed in a way that helps their trusted news sources pay the bills.

2. More companies will figure out social media: Even cable companies have gotten better at communicating with their customers on social media. And when the cable company’s starting to figure it out, well, you know it’s here to stay. Expect brands to continue using Twitter and Instagram to not only raise brand awareness, but contact their customers and would-be customers directly.

3. Brands will lose their fear of third-party content: Leading brands are finally starting to realize that audiences want different points of view when it comes to content. Unlike this Pepsi so-called content hub, which tells you everything you want to know about…well…their huge product-placement deal with the TV hit Empire. Thankfully, many brands are building content hubs that incorporate information from outside parties that…gasp…don’t even mention the brand. Potential customers congregate to brands that are willing to help them research their options, not force feed them one type of product or service. In 2016, more brands will include third-party content in their publishing strategies.

4. …Until they find out that most of it is crap: Unfortunately for marketers, most of the vendors who supply third-party content (i.e. content farms) have not cracked the nut when it comes to finding content that’s spot on and moves a potential customer further along in the purchasing journey. We’re talking about content farms that feed brands generic listicles and videos that can be found in countless other places. In 2016, it’s going to remain very challenging for brands to find a cheap, easy way to populate their pipeline with really strong third-party content.