Friday, July 31, 2009
Thursday, July 30, 2009
Wednesday, July 29, 2009
Tuesday, July 28, 2009
Monday, July 27, 2009
The blogging conference BlogHer is the largest gathering of its type for female bloggers in
The blogging conference BlogHer is the largest gathering of its type for female bloggers in
The survey, conducted by Ketchum Communications, found that four in 10 female bloggers have provided information or feedback collected on their blogs to marketers to help them better market to women or mothers. An even larger percentage (53%) indicated that they would do so if asked, meaning this is a fruitful place for marketers to focus as they consider how best to reach women.
Not surprisingly, the research also pointed out some warnings to marketers as they try to tap into this profitable segment:
- Take the time to read the blogs and understand the areas of focus.
- Don’t assume that all female bloggers are “mommy bloggers.”
- Know that female bloggers are “more than their blog”—they have other roles in their lives other than being a mom or a blogger, including jobs outside the home.
Respondents also pointed out their dislike of how consumer technology products are marketed to women. The most common mistake cited is “patronizing language”—33% said that this turns them off to the brand being marketed. “Stereotypes” was also cited, by 28%, as a turn-off. Other feedback included “not being clear on product benefits” (15%), “using too much jargon” (11%) and “making products that appeal to men” (7%.)
Ketchum and BlogHer collaborated on the research, which was administered online by BlogHer in late June 2009.
Sunday, July 26, 2009
- Mick Jagger turns 66 today. All jokes aside, he and his band colleagues can still rock it out.
- The parking lots around local restaurants still appear full, even with the down economy. But, there are sure more "dinner deals" to be had at upscale eateries. The Bristol has a $29 prix fixe, four-course meal and Sullivan's is advertising dinner for two for $69.
- Speaking of Adkins, he and fellow country stud, Toby Keith, invade Sprint Center in Kansas City on Friday night this week.
- The Sprint Center is getting a return date from Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band on October 26. Maybe The Boss will start the concert on time this visit--his Kansas City concert late last year started over an hour after the announced start time.
Just a quick list would be: man walking on the Moon, the gathering of hundred of thousands of people at the Woodstock Music & Arts Festival; Charles Manson; the New York Jets beating the Baltimore Colts in the Super Bowl, thus becoming the first AFL team to win this football championship; Rod Laver winning the calendar-year tennis Grand Slam; the birth of Sesame Street; the release of notable albums like Led Zeppelin I and The Beatles' Abbey Road and the incorporation of Wal-Mart.
In the world of sports, we not only had Laver and the Jets, we had the Amazin' Mets winning the World Series, the aging Boston Celtics winning their 11th NBA title in 13 years, Mario Andretti winning the Indianapolis 500, a guy named Orville Moody winning the U.S. Open--his only major title ever, and Michigan upsetting #1 Ohio State. In college hoops, John Wooden's UCLA Bruins won their third straight national title led by a guy named Lew Alcindor (later becoming Kareem Abdul-Jabbar) and in college football, #1 Texas beat #2 Arkansas 15-14 in the "college football game of the century," according to the Southwest Conference. Yes, that's the same Southwest Conference which no longer exists and the same Texas, who's now in the Big 12 and Arkansas, who's now in the Southeastern Conference.
Forty years from now we'll celebrate the year 2049. On what will we look back and reminisce? The death of Michael Jackson? Jon & Kate? President Obama's health-care initiative? Tom Watson's "almost" British Open victory? The release of the new Wilco album? The beginning of a long run by Conan O'Brien as host of The Tonight Show? The start of a long, national political career by Sarah Palin?
Color me skeptical--it's going to be hard to top '69...
Friday, July 24, 2009
Thursday, July 23, 2009
Now, the whole affair threatens to blow up to into a pop culture "news" event. ESPN is upset at the New York Post for running photos of Andrews. The entertainment media are reporting on the situation. And, the latest twist is this Tweet from USA Today sports columnist Christine Brennan, "I also would suggest to her...that she rely on her talent and brains and not succumb to the lowest common denominator in sports media by playing to the frat house."
Andrews is a very pretty woman. She's also a very good sideline reporter. Neither, though, are important to the bottom line here--Andrews was spied upon...she was violated. That is a crime whether your name is Erin Andrews of ESPN or Erin Andrews of Anytown, USA.
I personally cannot believe Brennan's post, given that it came from a columnist who has a long history of supporting women's athletics and equality of women in sports--whether as a participant or in the business of sports. I'm saddened that Brennan intimated that Andrews brought this upon herself in some way. That's just wrong...
What's notable about this news in the branding world is the timing--it was in January that Gatorade ditched it's familiar branding and went to "G", announced by a "What's G?" campaign. The purported objective was to make the brand "cool again," according to the Journal's report, but instead consumers became confused.
This slip is the second major branding dilemma for Pepsi in 2009. In February, the company moved back to familiar packaging for Tropicana juice after consumers revolted against the generic, undifferentiated packaging which had taken its place.
According to today's report, Pepsi will move Gatorade back to a focus on its core audience--"the sweating masses."
"What's G?" Apparently, that question went unanswered by too many consumers.
Wednesday, July 22, 2009
iPod - 42%
Dishwasher - 38%
Microwave - 28%
Air conditioning - 16%
Computer - 8%
Think about the findings for a moment--more people are willing to do without an appliance which washes their dishes versus a mobile device which makes calls, texts and checks e-mail. And, more people are willing to live without air conditioning versus having a computer!
In sum, the takeaway is that the personal computer is the most important device in the home these days. That means that a technology which only became "personal" in the mid-1980s--some 25 years ago--has surpassed televisions, microwaves and dishwashers as a "must have" item. Amazing...
(Source: Shelton Group for Eco Pulse, online survey of 1,006 adults, April 17-May 1)
Tuesday, July 21, 2009
I've gone into the local Apple store twice over the past three days and can relate that the experience was both stunning, in observing the energy and interest of the consumers in the store coupled with the Apple "genius" associates, yet very troubling in the specifics of what I encountered.
Our family owns six Apple products--two laptops and four i-Pod/i-Touch devices. We love Apple products but aren't the types who place the Apple decal on the window of our car. A healthy respect for the brand and the quality of the product is how I would portray our opinions about Apple.
So, it's with a bit of disappointment but also a lot of irritation that I report on my interactions at the Apple store recently. One of our i-Pods no longer holds a charge. My wife took the device in a month ago and had it "restored." That restoration did not fix the problem. So, when I went in Sunday to explain that the problem was still there, my expectation was that we'd get a new device or, at minimum, a replaced battery.
Guess what? I had to make an Apple Genius appointment. Now, it was always my understanding that the Genius bar in the Apple stores were for those who wanted tutelage in the art of mastering the Apple operating system. I mean, c'mon, I have to make an appointment for someone to even look at my i-Pod? Yep, that's the deal.
So, I go in today for my "Genius" appointment. A bright, likable young man--an acolyte that one typically encounters at Apple--helped me out. He checked the device, checked the customer service notes and said "we need to get you a new battery." I said, "OK, let's do it." Well, said acolyte informed me, "we don't have that item in stock--we'll have to order it." I was told that they would call me and that I could come back and bypass making an appointment in order to make it "convenient" for me.
Let me get this straight--the local Apple store does not stock a component which powers a device which is sold at high volume. And, I had to have an appointment--about five minutes in total length--to even make this discovery!
The visit pointed out to me the strength of the Apple brand--that Apple, in effect, almost gets a "pass" from consumers because the quality of the products and the shopping experience seems to overcome the negative feelings engendered by this handling of service and repair issues.
The Apple brand continues to be the model to which other brands aspire. Personally, I think the company has to be careful that, with its success does not come a lack of appreciation for handling those few consumers who actually do need repair on an Apple product.
Monday, July 20, 2009
Gary wrote, "As magnificent as Mr. Watson was, we couldn't help but crack up at all the pandering over his age, as if he were an ossified relic puttering up the fairway upon a cherry-red Rascal. This was a fit, athletic man who'd won eight majors in his career. As he himself noted, he felt capable of playing excellent golf on a course like Turnberry, which rewards dexterity and intelligence as much as muscle fiber.
But, who was not inspired by his sprightly surge? Starting on Thursday, Mr.Watson stunned the tournament with a three-day trip through a time portal to his puffy-haired 1980's heyday. And, he'd done it with a gentlemanly mien and a charming sense of self-deprecation...Let that twinkle and spunk, and not the playoff immolation, be the memory of Mr. Watson's weekend."
Elisa Camahort Page, COO of BlogHer.com, an online female community which logs 15 million unique visitors per month, said merely disclosing that a blogger is accepting money, freebies or perks to include product mentions isn't enough to solve the problem.
Watch for this issue to grow in visibility given the influence of bloggers on consumer opinion.
Forty years ago today, the
Here are a few:
- Michael Collins, NASA astronaut, when the Eagle, the name given for the lunar module, undocked from the command module Columbia, “Okay, Eagle…you guys take care.”
- Charlie Duke, NASA astronaut at NASA headquarters in
- Neil Armstrong, “Houston…Tranquility Base here. The Eagle has landed.”
- The late, great Walter Cronkite, “Oh, boy.” Cronkite uttered the words after hearing that Neil Armstrong had successfully navigated the lunar module to the Moon’s surface.
- Armstrong, “That’s one small step for man; one giant leap for mankind.” The first man on the moon supposedly intended to say “that’s one small step for a man” but forgot the “a” during the excitement of the moment.
Sunday, July 19, 2009
Tom Watson was the story in sports this weekend. And, as he's been throughout his career, Tom was and is “ours.”
To Kansas Citians, Watson has long been our third professional franchise—and, to many, he’s been the #1 franchise versus the up-and-down feelings of the locals for the Chiefs and the Royals. Watson was raised in
Watson has unabashedly been a fan of the Royals and the Chiefs, has worked hard to get a Champions Tour event located in Kansas City, has designed two notable golf courses in this area and, perhaps most importantly to Kansas Citians, stood up to a local country club when they denied membership to a prominent Jewish businessman.
Today, around this city, activities stopped to take in the spectacle of Watson--he of age close to 60 and the newly replaced hip--striding around the links of Turnberry doing battle with men half his age and younger. Watson, written off early when he bogeyed two of the first three holes, hung tough, showed the mental fortitude that he was known for in his prime, and held the lead alone heading into the 18th hole. And, while those watching will say it was the putt for the win that betrayed him, it was actually his shot #275 of the tournament which did him in. Watson chose to hit an 8-iron and absolutely smoked a gorgeous shot which hit in front of the green and headed towards the flagstick. What Watson hadn't calculated was the firmness of the ground around the green as it kept going and going--past the hole, past the fringe and settling ever-so-slightly into the rough. That bit of bad luck, as if the Gods of Turnberry were saying "not this year, Toom" in their Scottish accent, caused Watson to putt from the fringe, beginning a pair of poorly struck putts which cost him the tournament.
Hearts sank across this town--it was hard to watch our hero fail after flirting with one, final improbable major title. Yet, in the sadness came the realization that Watson had provided us with the local sports story of the summer...that once again, he was "our" story which was being shared internationally given the magnitude of the Open Championship.
"Our" Tom Watson...epitomized by this personal story from several years ago. I was attending a PGA Tour event and encountered another Kansas Citian who immediately asked “How’s our boy doing?” I knew right away who he met—he was talking about Watson...“our” Tom Watson.
Thanks, Tom, for reviving so many great memories this weekend…and for being “ours.”
- You know you're a redneck when: 10,000 people attended the annual "Redneck Games" in Duluth, GA, which featured competitions like bobbing for pig's feet, spitting watermelon seeds, belly-flopping into a giant mud pit and making farting noises with your armpit.
- To all you Megan Fox fans out there (guys, this means you), she thinks you're "weak." Fox had this to say about the men who fawn over her. "Weak, ridiculous, retards--so pathetic."
- Quote of the day: In honor of tomorrow's 40th anniversary of Apollo 11 landing on the moon, and Neil Armstrong's first steps on the lunar surface, we give you this from President John Kennedy--"I believe that this nation should commit itself to achieving the goal, before this decade is out, of landing a man on the Moon and returning him safely to the Earth." (May 25, 1961)
- USA Today reports that the average man owns seven pairs of shoes. The average woman? She owns 15. So, after you count the three sets of beat-up sneakers, the flip-flops, the golf shoes and the work boots, the average man has one set of dress shoes, right?
Saturday, July 18, 2009
Rest in peace, Mr. Cronkite.
Friday, July 17, 2009
- The Emmy nominations were released yesterday. And, of course, in reviewing the list of nominees there is reaction on those rightfully recognized and those ignored. Thankfully, Cherry Jones was nominated for her role as the president in this past season of 24 even though the series did not garner recognition for Best Drama Series. And, does Thirty Rock really deserve 22 nominations?
- Starbucks is testing a concept to deal with slower sales during the evening hours. The coffeehouse chain will try out beer and wine sales at one of its
- David Letterman has overtaken Conan O’Brien. Last week The Late Show with David Letterman scored higher viewership than The Tonight Show, propelled by the appearance of Paul McCartney on Wednesday evening. While The Tonight Show still draw higher viewership among young adults, Letterman has made inroads into that audience as well.
- Comings and goings: Shout outs go to our friends, Ron Bess and Tom Hansen. Bess was named President of Euro RSCG North America. Hansen left his post as President of TM in Dallas to become CEO at Heelys, Inc.
Thursday, July 16, 2009
It's always fun to watch this tournament if for no other reason than to get the vocal stylings of BBC commentator, Peter Allis. My favorite from this morning, "Oh, that was cruel," uttered after a shot from Padraig Harrington met with an unfortunate result.
Wednesday, July 15, 2009
What's a dude to do? Well, there's always Top Chef Masters over on Bravo.
Tuesday, July 14, 2009
- Ryan Seacrest has signed a new three-year deal to remain as host of American Idol as well as pursue new projects. Seacrest's agreement is with 19 Entertainment, managed by Simon Fuller, the creator of Idol. The multi-year deal will pay Seacrest $30 million for the next three seasons as well as a $7.5 million signing bonus. Now that Seacrest has re-upped, attention will focus to last year's experiment with four judges on Idol and whether that will continue in the upcoming season.
The partnership will include an in-store Mad Men promotion in Banana's 400 locations. The promotion will use imagery and character profiles to show off the clothing retailer's take on dressing for the 1960's workplace. Banana Republic will also co-sponsor a contest for customers to win a walk-on role in a season three Mad Men episode along with a $1,000 store gift card.
Last year, Mad Men teamed with Bloomingdale's for a partnership which was so successful that it more than doubled its limited run of featured window displays in Bloomingdale's stores.
The season two DVD set of Mad Men was released today and the packaging carries the fashion tie-in as well--Don Draper's signature crisp white dress shirt with tie is on the cover of the boxed set.
The season one DVD set was a top ten seller for the TV category last year, according to Lionsgate Home Entertainment, and similar success is predicted for today's release of season two.
The third season of Mad Men begins on August 16.
Here, apparently, is the logic--most believe the DVD rental business is a dying one and will be replaced by online streaming of full-length movies and TV shows. Both Amazon and Netflix are already streaming programming but Netflix has 10 million subscribers to its mail-order, rental business. All 10 million of those consumers are candidates for converting over to streaming.
Amazon currently has about 40,000 titles it can stream to customers. In Netflix, it would gain a company with 12,000 titles and some 100,000 DVD titles. The benefit to Amazon is the increased customer base plus the relationships that Netflix has with studios who own the movies and TV shows.
Monday, July 13, 2009
Sunday, July 12, 2009
The match, in which Watson shot successive 65 scores on the last two days of the tournament, is documented in the attached story in today's New York Times. What is best remembered about the duel is Watson's 60-foot putt on 15 which evened the match during the last round of play. He then birdied 17 to go up by one on Nicklaus, still considered the best golfer ever (or at least until Tiger Woods breaks Nicklaus' record number of wins in majors.) But, in a forgotten piece of the drama, Nicklaus birdied 18 from 40 feet away putting pressure on Watson to make his two-footer for par. He calmly knocked it in and the Open championship was in the hands of the 27-year old from Kansas City.
The great Nicklaus and Watson squared off often during this era in golf--the 1977 Masters, the 1992 U.S. Open, and the classic at Turnberry. Reminiscing about these head-to-head duels is why we thirst for a consistent threat to Wood's dominance on today's PGA Tour.
Saturday, July 11, 2009
- Also with a birthday today is Richie Sambora, 50, of Bon Jovi--he of the Heather Locklear/Denise Richards romantic triangle of two years ago. (Sambora and Locklear divorced in 2007.)
- Surgeons recently completed a successful eight-way kidney transplant involving 16 people in four U.S. states--a record for so-called domino transplants. The effort took place over three weeks in Baltimore, St. Louis, Oklahoma City and Detroit.
- It's official--Mad Men will begin season three on AMC on August 16.
- Talk about no-frills flying. A low-cost European airline asked Boeing to design a plane with standing room so that they could pack in more passengers. Those standing would fly with a belt buckling them to a metal pole.
- Here's an interesting cocktail--authorities in Malaysia confiscated 900 boxes of coffee laced with Viagra. The distributor claimed that the mixture would "provide an energy boost." No foolin'...
- It was hard to miss the numerous television shots and photographs, over the past week, of the gold casket at Michael Jackson's funeral. The casket was a custom-built model, fashioned from bronze, plated with 14-carat gold and lined with plush velvet. According to the New York Daily News, Jackson was impressed by the casket at "The Godfather of Soul," James Brown's, funeral service three years ago and promptly ordered a casket for himself. Cost: $25,000.
- Britney Spears' and her ex, Kevin Federline's, physiques are headed the opposite directions. While Spears has regained most of her former, toned body, Federline has ballooned in weight by nearly 100 pounds since his divorce from Brit. K-Fed now checks in at a non-svelte 235 versus his former dancing weight of 150.
- Who are these people? Three percent of Americans say there hasn't been enough coverage of Michael Jackson's death, according to Pew Research.
- And, to close, for all you weekend golfers, here is the quote of the day from PGA Tour player Padraig Harrington, who has missed five straight cuts at tour events. Harrington said, of his driving woes, "My driver is an office club at the moment. It works 9 to 5 and never on weekends."
Thursday, July 9, 2009
- Here's an odd one--nearly four in 10 Americans say their views have grown more conservative. (Source: Gallup) Despite the results of the 2008 election, Americans, by a 2-to-1 margin, say their political views in recent years have become more conservative--39% say they are more conservative than a few years ago and 18% say they are more liberal, with 42% saying their views have not changed.
Wednesday, July 8, 2009
- AdAge.com has a poll asking "will the New York Times make it past 2012?" Sad...yes, the newspaper is having financial issues but the thought of losing our nation's best-known newspaper is depressing.
- Either Wes on The Bachelorette was a heckuva actor or Jillian had the worst intuition and discernment of any female on reality programming.
- Mad Men can't get here quick enough. Is it August yet?
- It was great to see The Sporting News rank Kauffman Stadium #6 out of all Major League Baseball ballparks. Number one was, no surprise, Boston's Fenway Park followed by PNC Park, Pittsburgh; Wrigley Field, Chicago; Camden Yard, Baltimore; and AT&T Park, San Francisco.
- One consequence of the number of retailers who are closing doors is that the vacant real estate is one of the hottest new advertising venues. Advertisers are using the empty storefronts for ad messages and, in some cases, more immersive experiences with consumers. For commercial real estate companies, it's better than an empty space not pulling in any revenue.
Tuesday, July 7, 2009
In case you've missed it, the Kindle is the small notebook-sized device, sold by Amazon ($489 for the new Kindle DX), which holds thousands of books, periodicals and magazines. And, while the Kindle has had successful sales--estimated by one analyst at 500,000 in 2008 and 300,000 in the first quarter of 2009--overall only one in every 400 Americans or so has the device. Amazon does report that sales of books for the Kindle are already 35% of those for print, a data point which hints at the growth path for the readers.
But, has the Kindle met its match at the beach, or even the pool? Much like the i-Pod, beach and pool goers will have to reckon with the elements when they consider taking their Kindle...or a good, old-fashioned hardback or paperback.
Monday, July 6, 2009
- Speaking of Federer, I feel really, really badly for Andy Roddick. The guy played the match of his life only to lose to the best tennis player ever in an epic match yesterday. Interestingly, a "Congratulations Andy" ad by Lacoste, the brand endorsed by Roddick, appears today on the back page of The New York Times' sports section. A similar full-page, congratulatory ad for Federer, by Gillette, appears inside the same section. At least Roddick beat Federer today on the advertising placement front.
- Public Enemies opened this past long weekend with a not-too-bad take of $26.2 million. Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs and Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen both took in $42.5 million. Enemies cost about $100 million to make and has also received a lot of marketing support behind the launch of the film. It will be interesting to see how the movie continues to fare--do summertime movie-goers want serious, shoot-'em-up cinema?
- Sylvester Stallone turns 63 today. Was it really 1976--33 years ago--when Rocky became a film sensation, eventually winning an Academy Award for Best Picture? The film, by the way, was produced for $1.1 million.
- The New York Times reports today that the median age of viewers of The Tonight Show has dropped from 55 to 45 in the month since Conan O'Brien has assumed hosting duties. That's an amazing shift in viewership demographics in that short a time.
- Casey Kasem is stepping down. The 77-year old disc jockey is calling it quits after 39 years broadcasting American Top 40, the franchise he founded in 1970.
Sunday, July 5, 2009
Saturday, July 4, 2009
- Isn't it amazing that two of our country's key Founding Fathers, John Adams and Thomas Jefferson, both died on July 4th--Independence Day--in 1826?
- On this day 15 years ago, I attended the U.S. Mens Soccer team loss to eventual champion Brazil in the World Cup. The match, at Stanford Stadium, Palo Alto, CA, reinforced how far the U.S. still had to go in global soccer even though the team had advanced to the round of 16 after an upset win over Colombia, a tie against Switzerland and a loss to Romania. Last week's loss to Brazil in the finals of the Conferederation Cup, the first FIFA final ever for the U.S., was certainly a sign of our progress since that game in the '94 World Cup.
- There aren't many good Independence Day-themed movies. One of the best is The Patriot, the film which launched Heath Ledger's career. Ledger is on the cover of the latest Vanity Fair.
- Fifty years ago, Alaska was admitted into the United States and on this day in 1959, the 49-star U.S. flag debuted in Philadelphia. Ironic then, that 50 years later that state is in the news after the announcement yesterday of Governor Sarah Palin's resignation.
- Did you know the Bomb Pop was invented in Kansas City? The red, white and blue version of the summertime treat was always a favorite but I was most partial to the banana-flavored Bomb Pop. Now, that was good eatin'.
- Famous people with a July 4 birthday: Calvin Coolidge, Rube Goldberg, Meyer Lansky, Eva Marie Saint, Floyd Little and Geraldo Rivera.
My grandmother and grandfather and uncle and aunt all lived within five houses of us out in “the country.” (“Country,” in this case, indicated the larger lots which we had while all around us were farms of significant size.)
My grandfather owned the ice plant in town—the place where townspeople would come during the time when “ice box” was the kitchen appliance which evolved into today’s refrigerator. He also sold cold beverages and summer fruits out of this huge, walk-in cooler which held the coldest bottled soda in town.
Each year, grandpa would come to our family gathering after working a long day at the plant on what typically would be his busiest day of the year. When he arrived he usually had two ice-cold, sweet-as-sugar watermelons under each arm, grinning and chuckling as he walked up to our outdoor barbecue and picnic.
One year, my dad and uncle ordered a huge box of fireworks from a mail-order place. This was before ordering online and even toll-free numbers. Dad and my uncle mailed in their form for a huge box of sparklers, firecrackers, bottle rockets, Roman candles and fountains. We had all waited in anticipation, knowing that this would be the best fireworks display ever. Eventually, the two brothers were setting off fireworks simultaneously--they had not calculated on the volume of fireworks that they would receive coupled with the short attention spans of all of us.
Time seemed so simple then. A sweet watermelon, my grandmother's fried chicken, a warm summer night and fireworks which were allowed in backyards. I miss those times but relish those memories.
Friday, July 3, 2009
Malden had starring roles in major movies like Patton, On the Waterfront and How the West Was Won. He was also well-known as Lt. Mike Stone in the TV series Streets of San Francisco where he starred alongside a young Michael Douglas. But, it was his uttering one of the best-known advertising lines ever, "Don't leave home without them," which gained Malden significant, consistent screen-time.
The phrase, of course, was on behalf of American Express Travelers Cheques. Malden served as on-screen talent for AMEX during the 1970's and 1980's in a campaign which spanned 25 years and became one of the best-known in advertising history. As with all good, long-running advertising, it became a pop culture phrase--Malden's involvement was mimicked by comedians, including a well-known bit by Johnny Carson on The Tonight Show, and was used by the children's show, Sesame Street.
The American Express campaign was devised by Ogilvy and Mather and legendary ad man, David Ogilvy. While perhaps not the first famous spokesperson on behalf of a brand, Malden's success set the stage for many others who would follow on behalf of American Express, including Jerry Seinfeld, Kate Winslet, Robert DeNiro, Tina Fey, Ellen DeGeneres, Tiger Woods and Martin Scorcese.
Thursday, July 2, 2009
- Christian Bale is no Al Pacino to Johnny Depp's Robert DeNiro. Having those two stars on camera, although sharing very little screen time together, is what made Heat a classic.
- Depp is clearly this generation's Pacino.
- The scene at the Little Bohemia Resort is classic Mann. I know, it's not the shoot-out scene from Heat, but it's terrific movie-making.
- Marion Cotillard and Depp sizzle in their scenes together.
- As one who is fascinated by this period in American history, the movie is pretty true to the facts. The biggest artistic liberty is Baby Face Nelson's death being chronologically out-of-order.
- Billy Crudup is very good as a very creepy J. Edgar Hoover.
- We've come a long way from Bonnie & Clyde, the 1967 film starring Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway, which was best-known for the bloody scene where the two get killed. Mann's movie is violent but not gratuitous in its display of the killing and bloodiness of this era in crime, and crime-fighting.
In 1984, NASCAR had not yet reached the unprecedented levels of fan and sponsor involvement as that of the current decade. Yet, the sport drew a rabid following, particularly in the Southeast, the true home of stock-car racing. As affirmation of the sport’s growing impact, then President Ronald Reagan became the first sitting president to attend a NASCAR race when he showed up at the superspeedway in Daytona.
The ’84 race featured a stirring finish matching Petty with another star driver, Cale Yarborough. Both dueled into turn four and down the stretch, trading paint, sparks flying until Petty nudged ahead to clip Yarborough at the finish. It was The King’s 200th—and final—win in a distinguished and still unmatched racing career. Having Reagan there made it only more special for Petty and his followers.
The famous #43 Dodge, used by Petty in this race, was sent to The Smithsonian and was displayed there until 2001. Most recently, the car was sent to the Richard Petty Museum in Randleman, N.C., adjacent to the original Petty home.
Congratulations to The King on the 25th anniversary of his final victory.
Wednesday, July 1, 2009
Smokey has been a recognized symbol for conservation and the protection of America's forests since his "birth" in 1944. The Ad Council estimates that his message has helped to reduce the number of acres burned annually by wildfires by about 22 million in 1944 to an average 7 million today. The Council also notes that Smokey is second only to Mickey Mouse and Santa Claus as a recognizable figure in the U.S.