Thursday, December 31, 2009
Tuesday, December 29, 2009
So, with a focus more on entertainment than, perhaps, results, here are my personal favorites of 2009:
Apple "Mac versus PC"--
One spot of many from a terrific advertising campaign.
Kia Soul "Hamsters"--
I love the head nod, the bobbing heads and the tapping paw--what human hasn't done that when driving/riding in a hot car? Great stuff...
I know I shouldn't vote for work on which I was involved but this deserves mention due to its Emmy nomination this year.
Sprint Now Network--
Yep, I should recuse myself on this one too...but I'm not! Great advertising, and a Cannes Gold Lion winner.
Coke "Happiness Factory"--
Once you see this commercial, you have a hard time forgetting the imagery as you await your ice-cold Coke being birthed by the vending machine.
Dos Equis "Most Interesting Man In the World"--
This may be my favorite campaign of 2009--great advertising coupled with online and viral in a category always hard-pressed for work which is not sophomoric or sexist.
E-Trade "talking baby"--
I laugh every time I see this commercial.
The combination of unbelievable visuals coupled with the Moody Blues and Morgan Freeman's voice makes this one a winner. And, it's from a brand who's been making consistently good advertising for a long, long time.http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2OC5_wJLxZU
Monday, December 28, 2009
- Jon and Kate: Any list of feuds is incomplete without these two parents who very publicly split. In fact, the train wreck was so public we're all tired of it...and thus, we won't replay the details here.
- Tiger and Elin: Boy runs from house, gets in SUV and drives into fire hydrant. Girl has golf club in hand. Vehicle has smashed windows. That alone had gossip outlets considering the possibilities. Then, the list of raised hands came from all those ladies who claimed to have been one of Tiger Woods' sexual conquests. Publicly humiliated, look for Mrs. Woods to return to her native Sweden in 2010, hopefully with her children in tow.
- PC versus Mac: Microsoft struck back with its own campaign in 2009 after Mac's very successful head-on comparison to PC's and all of their issues. The work by Apple, and TBWA Chiat Day, continued to be great advertising.
- AT&T versus Verizon: Here's another public battle of the brands--category leaders taking on one another over network coverage. The two companies duked it out with millions of ad dollars spent in the fourth quarter along with public legal battles. It was reminscent of the long distance wars of the early 1990s.
- Mark Funkhouser versus Wayne Cauthen: This one didn't make the national news but city government in Kansas City, MO maintained its heritage of being great theater. The very public feud between the Mayor and City Manager ended with Cauthen's ouster, and a perturbed City Council. In the end, it was another black eye for Kansas City.
- Lane Kiffin versus Urban Meyer, Pete Carroll versus Jim Harbaugh and Rick Neuheisel: Kiffin, the rookie coach at Tennessee, called out SEC golden boy Meyer; Carroll went nose-to-nose with Harbaugh after Stanford went for two late in their victory over USC; Carroll had his QB throw a late touchdown pass against Neuheisel when the USC coach took issue with a UCLA timeout, late in a game in which USC was comfortably ahead. Boys being boys? Perhaps, but not exactly good examples set by these leaders of young men.
- Kanye versus Taylor: America's darling, Taylor Swift, was in the midst of another awards show winning yet another award when Kanye West stole her microphone, and the show, by proclaiming that Beyonce had a better and more deserving video than Swift. In the process, Swift's appeal only grew.
- Letterman versus Palin: The mean side of David Letterman was exposed when he went after Sarah Palin through jokes about her daughter. He later apologized but Palin is still in his cross-hairs as a comedic foil.
- Steven Tyler versus Aerosmith: Their tour was cancelled, the band split, then Tyler showed up at a performance by Joe Perry and proclaimed that all was well. The story reversed course when the band commented to Rolling Stone magazine that it was over. Tyler's now in rehab and it sounds as if the band will eventually re-unite provided the lead singer successfully deals with his dependency to prescription painkillers.
- Etta James versus Beyonce: Etta didn't take kindly to Beyonce serenading President Obama with James' classic "At Last"...and she let everyone know about it. The suggestion of bodily harm to Beyonce was over-the-top, even for noted bad girl James.
- Christian Bale versus Shane Hurlbut: The Dark Knight went off on the crew technician when Bale felt Hurlbut had deliberately walked through his line-of-sight during the filming of a scene in Terminator. In case you missed it, here's the clip from YouTube. (Caution: Contains very strong language.)
- Clay Aiken versus Adam Lambert: Former American Idol competitor Aiken wasn't upset by Adam Lambert's second place finish on this past season's Idol. Said Aiken, "I couldn't be happier about the way AI ended this year. I only turn on the show once a season and only to see what the set looks like each year. This year, I happened to turn it during the minute when Adam Lambert was singing 'Ring of Fire' and, at that moment, thought my ears would bleed. Contrived, awful and slightly frightening!" Ouch...
- Hilary Duff versus Faye Dunaway: Dunaway starred in the 1968 classic Bonnie and Clyde and was not happy about Duff's being cast in the role of Bonnie Parker in the upcoming The Story of Bonnie and Clyde. Dunaway's alleged comment was "Couldn't they at least have cast a real actress?" To which Duff responded, "I think that my fans who are going to see the movie don't even know who she is. I think it (the quote) was a little unnecessary, but I might be mad if I looked like that too." Game, set and match to Ms. Duff.
And, finally, our feud of the year goes to the Kansas football and basketball teams. Unfortunately for we Jayhawk fans, the public rumble between select members of the two teams, apparently over the attention of a young woman, revealed a split within the Athletic Department which ultimately came to a head with the disappointing Kansas football season and the ultimate resignation of head coach Mark Mangino.
Sunday, December 27, 2009
- The shocking announcement that Urban Meyer is stepping down as head football coach at Florida will have a huge ripple effect in college football. Who will be the next head coach? And, who then will take the job left by Meyer's successor? Or, will Athletic Director Jeremy Foley look to someone on Meyer's staff in order to better maintain continuity?
- This is the time of year for the "best of 2009" lists. And, once again I'll be reminded of all the "great" movies I did not see or books I did not read.
- A birthday shout-out goes out today to Karla Bonoff, who turns 58. Bonoff is one of the great songwriters of her generation, having penned tunes sung by artists like Linda Ronstadt, Bonnie Raitt, Lynn Anderson and Wynonna Judd. Bonoff is best known as the writer of many of Rondstadt's hits, including "Someone to Lay Down Beside Me," "Trouble Again," and "Goodbye My Friend."
- I'd like to know what percentage of the annual media budget is spent by automakers and dealerships over the last two weeks of the year? Auto ads are pervasive these days on TV, radio and in print.
- There are some classic Christmas movies which are "must see" each season. But, in perusing the channels over the past couple of weeks, there are an abundant amount of Christmas stinkers which are out there too.
Wednesday, December 23, 2009
Vaughan was the longtime resident humorist for the newspaper but this story, touching in its simplicity yet deep in its importance, provided a forum for the editor's more serious side. Vaughan died in 1977 but his story lives on, continuing to touch the lives of many.
Here, on the eve of Christmas Eve, is "A Story of Christmas:"
Tuesday, December 22, 2009
- I predict the shift of Diane Sawyer to the ABC Evening News slot will maintain or improve the networks' ratings for its evening newscast. Conversely, I think the move of George Stephanopolous to Good Morning America to take Sawyer's spot, coupled with the loss of Chris Cuomo, will be a ratings boost for NBC's Today Show.
- Texas is a much better basketball this season because of their defense. The Longhorns have been consistently good under Rick Barnes but, this year, they are placing a lot of ball pressure on the perimeter, coupled with the inside athleticism of Dexter Pittman, Gary Johnson and Damion James. Dogus Balbey and Avery Bradley are two very good defensive guards, and the addition of Jai Lucas makes their backcourt even better and deeper. It's too bad that Kansas and Texas will only play once in the Big 12 conference season. I'd like to see the discussions between these two schools, to add another game between the two to the schedule, come to fruition in the years to come.
- A lot was made of new Kansas head football coach Turner Gill's hires of Carl Torbush as defensive coordinator and Chuck Long as offensive coordinator. But, equally important may be the new hire of Reggie Mitchell. Mitchell comes to KU from Illinois and will be running backs coach and recruiting coordinator. Mitchell has a reputation for being one of the best recruiters in college football.
Saturday, December 19, 2009
The fall from grace by Woods is one of the biggest, if not the biggest, fall by a major figure in the U.S. in the last 30 years. Think about it--who comes close?
Woods is arguably the most famous athlete on the planet and surely is that here in the U.S. He makes more money than any other sports figure in America. He is chasing the great Jack Nicklaus for the crown of most major golf tournaments ever won. And, he has amazed us all with his shot-making--the chip-in at Augusta, the putt in the PGA Tournament, the shot out of the rough at the U.S. Open at Pebble Beach...and, of course, his stamina in winning the Open over Rocco Mediate while playing with a broken leg.
We now find out that Woods had a secret life...and we are stunned. The list of lady friends is into double digits. And, according to the Wall Street Journal, he paid off the National Enquirer two years ago from publishing a story about his indiscretions by granting an exclusive interview to a sister publication. The story just keeps getting more and more sordid.
Along the way we've heard from those who insist that this is all a "personal matter"--that Woods' privacy has been violated and that he and his wife, Elin, should be given their space. Perhaps so, but what of Woods' sponsors--the companies who have invested millions of dollars in an athlete to help them sell their brand and sell their products?
Woods checked his privacy at the door once he began accepting funds from these companies, for with these relationships came expectations--in contractual language, they are called "morals clauses" or "away-from-the-course performance expectations." The recent revelations confirm that Woods has failed miserably in complying with these agreements. Thus, privacy takes a back seat.
Accenture, perhaps the brand with the biggest stake in Woods, outside of Nike, has totally pulled away and terminated their relationship. Tag Heuer is proclaiming a hiatus in their partnership with Woods--likely code that they don't want to publicly pull the plug yet, but certainly plan to do so. Gatorade has stopped marketing its product linked to Woods and AT&T has said it will stop using any references to Woods in its marketing and advertising.
Nike will, of course, stay involved. It has a Tiger Woods brand of clothing and its golf business is inextricably linked to Woods--it simply has too much invested to walk away.
Woods, through his private dalliances which have become oh so public, has not only lost his marriage but also millions in endorsements. And, brands across the world who rely upon athletes and personalities to help market their products must be wondering, "if it can happen with Tiger, surely it can happen with most anyone."
It will be interesting to see how Tiger-gate impacts the long-term future of athlete endorsements.
Friday, December 18, 2009
- I can't wait to see Sherlock Holmes. I'm curious to see Avatar.
- Congratulations to our good friends at Goodby, Silverstein & Partners (San Francisco), named Agency of the Decade by ADWEEK magazine.
- Do you remember what some were doing ten years ago at this time? In the midst of the Y2K scare, many were buying up bottled water, foodstuffs and other essentials for surviving the catastrophe which awaited once the clock ticked midnight on December 31, 1999. Ten years later, we're still here.
- This is a focus group of one, but it seems like more and more folks are designing and producing the do-it-yourself Christmas card with the family photo(s) on the front. Remember back in the day when these cards were only for those who (a) spent an above average amount on their cards and (b) planned way, way in advance?
- Speaking of holiday cards, have the sale of electronic varieties gone up by an appreciable amount? It seems the right thing to do in this eco-conscious time in which we live.
- I'm pretty sure Bob Knight was yanked off John Calipari's holiday card list. Knight called out Calipari, at a recent speech, citing the Kentucky coach's two prior stops (Memphis and Massachusetts) where he left programs placed on probation. Knight's point? How come Calipari is still allowed to coach...?
Wednesday, December 16, 2009
Tuesday, December 15, 2009
Sunday, December 13, 2009
- Tiger Woods' announced hiatus from golf and business was followed today by news that Accenture joins the list of companies dropping the golfer as their endorser.
- I like the news that Turner Gill will be the new football coach at the University of Kansas given the related news that Chuck Long and Carl Torbush will join Gill as his offensive and defensive coordinators, respectively. A key for Gill will be protecting the current recruiting commitments to KU. (Let's hope he can get Jacoby Walker to re-think his commitment this week to Utah. The Houston dual-threat QB was committed to Kansas but changed his mind during the coaching search process.)
- In Sprint Center news, Eric Clapton will come to the venue in early 2010. And, his opening act will be front man Roger Daltrey from The Who. Daltrey had earlier announced that he would tour on his own, without bandmate Pete Townsend, although the two will be together as the halftime entertainment at this season's Super Bowl.
- KISS drew about 9,700 to Sprint Center recently with a top ticket price of about $127. Taylor Swift sold out in 1.5 minutes with a top ticket price of $65. I'm not suggesting the two acts are comparable, in current popularity, but it does showcase the need to price tickets to the marketplace.
- Speaking of the Sprint Center, Kansas' hoops game with LaSalle there was sold out yesterday. Over 18,800 watched the #1 ranked Jayhawks and stud freshman, Xavier Henry, who scored 31 points. Henry's game goes to a new, and more complete, level offensively when he uses his strength to drive to the basket as he did yesterday.
- Bill Self's post-game frustrations with his team's rebounding and toughness was well-deserved. Kansas is deeper than any team in the country but has yet to display the rebounding and defensive toughness which are hallmarks of Self-coached teams.
Friday, December 11, 2009
Wednesday, December 9, 2009
Monday, December 7, 2009
Saturday, December 5, 2009
If the name is familiar, it's because Messina was part of the mid-1970s commercial success, Loggins and Messina. But, it's in a couple of groups prior to that where Messina was a key contributor and, artistically, proved his musical chops.
Messina joined super-group Buffalo Springfield in 1968--an outfit which included Neil Young, Stephen Stills and Richie Furay. Messina played bass and was in the band only long enough to participate on their last album, Last Time Around.
After the breakup of Buffalo Springfield, Messina and Furay formed Poco--an innovative group credited with being a key architect of the southern California country rock sound. Poco was a favorite of album-oriented rock radio stations in the 1970s but had uneven commercial success as only a handful of hits entered the top 20 charts during that time.
Messina left Poco in October 1970. He became a studio producer for Columbia Records which is where he met Kenny Loggins. Messina was producing Loggin's solo record but ended up sitting in on several cuts, singing back-up vocals and playing guitar. The album ultimately was titled Kenny Loggins with Jim Messina Sittin' In. The rest, as they say, is history as the duo ended up making several popular, successful albums before splitting in 1976.
Happy Birthday--Jim Messina!
Friday, December 4, 2009
But, go see The Blind Side--this season's feel good movie-of-the-year. The true story of Michael Oher, currently playing in the NFL for the Baltimore Ravens, is one that makes you smile, makes you cry, and, for me, made me wish there were more Leigh Ann Tuohy's in the world.
I won't say more--go see for yourself.
Southside Johnny was one of the lesser known members of the "New Jersey Sound" movement, with the most famous, of course, being Bruce Springsteen. Lyon grew up in Ocean Grove, N.J. and was acknowledged by no less than Jon Bon Jovi, another notable New Jersey performer, as his "reason for singing."
Lyon fronted the band, Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes, a favorite of mine from the 1970's. His first album, I Don't Want to Go Home, debuted in 1976 and achieved some commercial success. The band's 1978 album, Hearts of Stone, was voted one of the top 100 rock albums of all time by Rolling Stone magazine. That album was arranged and produced by Steven Van Zandt, better known as Little Steven in the E Street Band and later as Silvio Dante on The Sopranos.
Lyon continues to perform and members of his band have played roles in the Max Weinberg Seven, the house band for the Conan O'Brien Show and now The Tonight Show with Conan O'Brien.
Southside Johnny Lyon--Happy Birthday!
Thursday, December 3, 2009
Alright, this may not be the most ethical thing to do given that Mark Mangino has not yet been fired at the
So, here are who we consider to be the leading candidates, in order, for what will soon be an open job at KU.
- Kevin Sumlin, Houston: Sumlin has Big 12 experience, directed
- Larry Fedora, Southern Mississippi: In 1988, Glen Mason was hired at
- Skip Holtz,
- Nolan Cromwell, Texas A&M: The Ransom Rambler would make older KU alumni happy—for many of us, Cromwell remains perhaps the greatest multi-sport athlete ever at
- Randy Edsall,
- Gus Malzahn,
- Turner Gill,
Is this it? Of course not—there are certainly names we don’t know or haven’t mentioned here. Would I like to go after Gary Patterson at TCU? You bet—but the administration there is moving swiftly to re-do his contract. Would a guy like Phillip Fulmer want to get back into the game? Maybe—we know he’d be paid well at
Whoever the pick, the criteria have to be as follows:
- Recapture and sustain momentum which seemed to be building in 2007-2008.
- Recruit, recruit, recruit—and do a better job of attracting more four-star talent to
- Rebuild Jayhawk Nation support in the football program, including restoring faith in the vision of the Gridiron Club. (In other words, get alums to open/re-open their pocket books for contributions.)
- Not allow
- Equal Mangino’s record against
In addition, and this is very important, the new coach must hire a proven, good defensive coordinator. The majority of the names on the list above have made their bones on the offensive side of the ball. In order to sustain excellence, a stout defense is needed to thwart the spread offenses which have become de rigueur in the college game.
Who’ll be the new coach at
Wednesday, December 2, 2009
Earlier in the year we celebrated the 40th anniversary of
This weekend, 40 years ago, another event occurred which some feel was the beginning of the end of the “Woodstock Nation.” That event was Altamont, a free music festival in northern
The concert, and murder, were documented in Gimme Shelter, a 1970 film directed by Albert and David Maysles. The film chronicled the band’s 1969
An interesting side note is that a camera operator for the concert was a young George Lucas. Lucas, who of course went on to become a successful film director, had his camera jam after shooting about 30 minutes of film—none of his footage was incorporated into the final cut of the movie.
In honor of Bobby Bowden’s retirement from college football, we give you the following from the head coach at
There is a lot of material to draw from, given Bowden’s quick wit, but this comment, about linebacker Reggie Herring (1978-1980), was always a favorite of mine: “He doesn’t know the meaning of the word ‘fear.’ In fact, I just saw his grades and he doesn’t know the meaning of a lot of words.”
Bowden’s charm will be missed.