Monday, June 30, 2008

Cheap is what you get.

Everyday, financial people, clients and account people bid us to do things "cheaper." When you pay for cheap, you get cheap. This is my cheap version of the Sistine Chapel ceiling.

Conservatives are now pro-choice.

For years, conservatives and reactionaries have been against choice--certainly choice when it comes to abortion rights. Now, however, their policies (and the results of their rule) have, as never before, promoted choice

Thus, more and more people face choices.

Health-care or food. That's your choice.
Rent or gasoline. That's your choice.
Welfare or starvation minimum wage. That's your choice.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

A moment in Manhattan.

Last night I saw Hamlet at Shakespeare in the Park. It was warm and humid in New York, rain threatened yet the theatre was packed. When Hamlet soliloquized "To be or not to be," in the distance the tympani of fireworks boomed. Serendipity. Thunder and torment. Beautiful. And a beautiful reminder of what is good in the world.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

As we approach election day.

By 1938 Hitler had set his sites on "anschluss," the incorporation of Austria into the greater German reich. While historians aren't sure how many Austrians supported being subsumed into Nazi Germany--estimates range from 40% to 60%--it was something Hitler wanted. He couldn't just take-over Austria--he would have faced huge diplomatic pressure and perhaps war earlier than he wanted. So, the Nazi's held a plebiscite. 99.7% of Austrians voted "Ja."

Above is the voting form that was used in Austria 70 years ago. The large circle on the left is for a yes, or "Ja" vote. The smaller circle is for "Nein." ie the designers of this form did all they could to design-coerce people to vote the way they wanted--the Nazi way.

Design matters.

Who will be designing the voting forms this November?

Friday, June 27, 2008

It gets worse and worse.

America at 5:30 AM.
The smell of swamp and refinery on the New Jersey Turnpike.
The air hangs dirty.
The six rows of razor-wire girding a prison in Newark.
The half-hour wait for "Elite Access" check-in.
The half-hour wait to get through "Elite Access" security.
The surly, be-gloved "security" people.
Or government support of the petro-chemical industry?
The people moving like cattle, having bought the fear.
The fear that is our opiate.
Beamed out every second via ever-present flat panels.



I lost "Smokey" last Thursday as I was taking her out for a fly near the Met.
Black and grey feathers. Blue/teal head . Red feet. Her head bobs when she walks. Coos.

Reward if found.

(My way of reminding one and all that your copy and art must be distinctive. Stock words and stock photos add up to a stock ad.)

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Here's a statistic for you.

Since review season is in full-flower, I thought I'd remind you of this item that I found in BusinessWeek last August: "97% of executives believe they are among the top 10% of performers in their companies."

Lincoln. Your grand-parents' luxury car.

Lincoln, a defunct auto brand, is running an advertising campaign that is colossal in its aggressive stupidity.

It seems they are attempting to revitalize the brand (have you ever been in a Lincoln other than a rickety Town Car with 325,000 miles on it and no suspension) by trumpeting a keyless entry system.

Wow! Keyless entry! That'll make me buy a dead brand rather than an Audi, BMW, Mercedes, Cadillac, Lexus, Acura, Infiniti, Honda, Toyota, Nissan, etc etc.

There's a compelling bit of copy for you, "Starships don't need keys." Does the use of the archaic word starship mean to imply this Lincoln can travel at warp speed? Or that its drivers have pointy ears?

Starships don't need keys, my ass.

You know what? Starships don't need internal combustion engines either.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

When helicopters hover.

During the Guiliani era in New York, that era of incipient Armageddon, few things were more frightening than when helicopters loomed over head, sitting stationary in the sky, the roar of their rotors serving as a warning, a growl.

These were the inexplicables. Was there a traffic condition? A motorcade? Or a Khassam rocket speeding our way? There were soldiers toting M-16s in the subway, at Columbus Circle, wearing helmets and riot gear, with dogs leashed and straining. And the helicopters hovering.

I bring this up because I always believed that if Republicans really want to win the next election--national, state or local--just send out the copters.

Now this comes across the news desk at Ad Aged's Washington bureau:

The John McCain camp has stolen a page from Der Doktor Goebbel's campaign manual--you know the one where Rosa Luxemburg was found dead in a river and the jews burned down the Reichstag. ie. a huge threat loomed around every corner--support Hitler, the security candidate.

What am I railing about? This: Charlie Black, a senior adviser to Senator John McCain, was quoted in a magazine interview saying that another terrorist attack in the United States would “be a big advantage” for Mr. McCain in the coming election.

Republican politics.

Blow up a Federal building.
Confiscate baby formula at airports.
Terrorize and demonize Islam.
Call Barack, Hussein Osama.

It's coming.

A private army (Blackwater) thrives despite--or because of--their crimes.
We have been made used to having to show our papers.
Soldiers are on the streets.
Helicopters are hovering.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

My client meetings tomorrow.


First Witch
Round about the Cauldron go;
In the poison'd Entrails throw.
Toad, that under cold stone
Days and Nights has thirty-one
Swelter'd Venom sleeping got,
Boil thou first i' the charmed pot.

Double, double toile and trouble ;
Fire burn and Cauldron bubble.

Second Witch
Fillet of a Fenny Snake,
In the Cauldron boil and bake;
Eye of Newt, and Toe of Frogge,
Wool of Bat, and Tongue of Dogge,
Adder's Fork, and Blind-worm's Sting,
Lizard's leg, and Howlet's wing,
For a Charm of powerful trouble
Like a Hell-broth boil and bubble.

Double, double toyle and trouble,
Fire burn and Cauldron bubble.

Third Witch
Scale of Dragon, Tooth of Wolf,
Witches' Mummy, Maw and Gulf
Of the ravin'd salt Sea shark,
Root of Hemlock digg'd i' the dark,
Liver of Blaspheming Jew,
Gall of Goat, and Slips of Yew
Silver'd in the Moon's Eclipse,
Nose of Turk, and Tartar's lips,
Finger of Birth-strangled Babe
Ditch-deliver'd by a Drab,
Make the Gruel thick and slab:
Add thereto a Tiger's Chaudron,
For the Ingredients of our Cauldron.

Double, double toyle and trouble'
Fire burn and Cauldron bubble.

Second Witch
Cool it with a Baboon's blood,
Then the Charm is firm and good.

Avoid simplicity like the plague.

Advertising is a simple business. A really simple business. People inherently don't give a hoot about your client, so to communicate you have to do something interesting and unique. That's about it. But how many adverts (look! I'm British, I said adverts!) actually do that? No, they rely on "the pour shot," "the spoon shot," "the coffee aroma up the snout shot." And so on, so it all becomes a bland wash of beige.

Today, though, I am not talking about what we produce. I am talking about the way we manage people. At my agency now, we are doing "reviews." Whoever concocted the criteria for the reviews cares not a whit for anything but good citizenship and affable mediocrity.

Take a gander (or a goose) at these strictures and measurements. Edited to spare you nauseau.

Bridge Builder. Creates internal equity. Partners well with other groups and disciplines. Promotes teamwork.

Business Partner. Invested in the clients' business. Understands the clients' challenges and category. Strategic thinker. Thinks through assignments. Asks the right questions.

Innovator. Known for generating original concepts that support brand strategy.Offers a unique point of view. Can take an idea and make it better.

Skilled Navigator. Proactive in resolving issues. Knows when to escalate up. Innovative problem-solver. Identifies workable solutions.

Rainmaker. Shows strong creative and marketing instincts. Develops strong relationships with clients. Offers POV the clients trust.

Amid the hundreds of words above, there's something missing. Is their work good? Does it win awards? Does it drive businesses? Does it make clients successful?

Here's how to do a review. It should take ten minutes.

Are they good or do they suck? Do they come through? Do you want them on a pitch?

Monday, June 23, 2008

Seven phrases you can never say in advertising.

George Carlin died yesterday. He was, perhaps, most famous for his spiel "7 words you can never say on television." The original seven words were, shit, piss, fuck, cunt, cocksucker, motherfucker, and tits.

That got me thinking about the seven phrases we can never say in advertising, some to bosses, some to subordinates, some to clients, some to our children.

"No actually the team came up with this. It was their idea. All I did was ok it. I'm not putting my name on the award submission. It was all them."

"I think the client is right on this one."

"It doesn't make sense to do TV for this."

"It's my fault. I fucked up."

"Yes, I was the ECD on that 'Sunny D' commercial."

"Man, that was one terrific, insight-laden brief."

"I'm only staying late so people think I'm busy. I play ping-pong all day."

Please add your own.

Bring me a solid gold platter filled with sauteed hummingbird's tongues.

Ah, the Romans convened in Cannes last week in the form of advertising executives (an oxymoron if I ever heard one.) This week, I believe Cannes is hosting a convention of Studebaker auto-dealers.

Yes, rather than acknowledge and adjust to the changing realities of the marketing world (six-million prime-time viewers lost in just one year--according to Nielsen) agency people from around the world celebrated the Old Order and hoped against hope that 1985 would come back.

I have nothing against a good bacchanal with a side order of orgy thrown in, but while agencies axe and can and "right-size," either de jure or de facto via 4% increases (an Orwellian increase at best--inflation is way over 4%--if you're reality-based that is) it seems profligate at best, fiddling while Rome burns is more like it, to grope and gawk and strut.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

The tenth ring of hell. And 39 Yiddish curses.

Writhing bodies, burning lakes, boiling blood--all that is reserved for worse miscreants than even Dante imagined. The worst of the worst is reserved for an ex-boss of mine who A)due to petty jealousy drove me out of a job I loved B)claims on his website credit for my work which he had nothing nothing nothing nothing to do with and C) and most egregious, copied my agency name to name his own.

A Selection of Curses
from Nahum Stutchkoff's Thesaurus of the Yiddish Language

1. Ale tsores vos ikh hob oyf mayn hartsn, zoln oysgeyn tsu zayn kop.
All problems I have in my heart, should go to his head.

2. Zol es im onkumn vos ikh vintsh im (khotsh a helft, khotsh halb, khotsh a tsent kheylik).
Let what I wish on him come true (most, even half, even just 10%).

3. Eyn imglik iz far im veynik.
One misfortune is too few for him.

4. Finstere leyd zol nor di mama oyf im zen.
Black sorrow is all that his mother should see of him.

5. Khasene hobn zol er mit di malekh hamoves tokhter.
He should marry the daughter of the Angel of Death.

6. Shteyner zol zi hobn, nit kayn kinder.
She should have stones and not children.

7. Azoy fil ritzinoyl zol er oystrinkn.
He should drink too much castor oil.

8. Oyskrenkn zol er dus mame’s milakh.
He should get so sick as to cough up his mother’s milk.

9. Oyf doktoyrim zol er dos avekgebn.
He should give it all away to doctors.

10. Zol er krenken un gedenken.
Let him suffer and remember.

11. Zalts im in di oygen, feffer im in di noz.
Throw salt in his eyes, pepper in his nose.

12. Shteyner af zayne beyner.
Stones on his bones.

13. A kramp (a kram, a kortsh) im in layb (in boyakh, in di kishkes, in di gederem, in di finger).
A cramp in his body (in his stomach, in his guts, in his bowels, in his fingers and toes).

14. Trinkn zoln im piavkes.
Leeches should drink him dry.

15. Lakhn zol er mit yashtherkes.
He should laugh with lizards.

16. Meshuga zol er vern un arumloyfn (iber di gasn).
He should go nuts and run around (through the streets).

17. A meshugener zol men oyshraybn, un im araynshraybn.
They should free a madman, and lock him up.

18. A hiltsener tsung zol er bakumn.
He should grow a wooden tongue.

19. Krugn zol er di (town name here) brokh.
He should get the (town name here) hernia.

20. Gut zol oyf im onshikn fin di tsen makes di beste.
God should visit upon him the best of the Ten Plagues.

21. Fransn zol esn zayn layb.
Venereal disease should consume his body.

22. Farshporn zol er oyf(tsu)shteyn?
Why bother getting up alive?

23. A kleyn kind zol nokh im heysn.
A young child should be named after him.

24. Vi tsu derleb ikh im shoyn tsu bagrobn.
I should outlive him long enough to bury him.

25. Er zol altsting zen, un nit hobn farvos (mit vos) tsu koyfn.
He should see everything, but have no reason (with what) to buy it.

26. Got zol im bentshn mit dray mentshn: eyner zol im haltn, der tsveyter zol im shpaltn un der driter zol im ba’haltn.
God should bless him with three people: one should grab him, the second should stab him and the third should hide him.

27. Vifil yor er iz gegangn oyf di fis zol er geyn af di hent un di iberike zol er zikh sharn oyf di hintn.
As many years as he’s walked on his feet, let him walk on his hands, and for the rest of the time he should crawl along on his ass.

28. Tsen shifn mit gold zol er farmorgn, un dos gantse gelt zol er farkrenkn.
Ten ships of gold should be his and the money should only make him sick.

29. A groys gesheft zol er hobn mit shroyre: vus er hot, zol men bay im nit fregn, un vos men fregt zol er nisht hobn.
He should have a large store, and whatever people ask for he shouldn’t have, and what he does have shouldn’t be requested.

30. Hindert hayzer zol er hobn, in yeder hoyz a hindert tsimern, in yeder tsimer tsvonsik betn un kadukhes zol im varfn fin eyn bet in der tsveyter.
A hundred houses shall he have, in every house a hundred rooms and in every room twenty beds, and a delirious fever should drive him from bed to bed.

31. Ale tseyn zoln bay im aroysfaln, not eyner zol im blaybn oyf tsonveytung.
All his teeth should fall out except one to make him suffer.

32. In di zumerdike teg zol er zitsn shive, un in di vinterdike nekht zikh raysn af di tseyn.
On summer days he should mourn, and on wintry nights, he should torture himself.

33. Got zol gebn, er zol hobn altsding vos zayn harts glist, nor er zol zayn geleymt oyf ale ayvers un nit kenen rirn mit der tsung.
God should bestow him with everything his heart desires, but he should be a quadriplegic and not be able to use his tongue.

34. Migulgl zol er vern in a henglayhter, by tog zol er hengen, un bay nakht zol er brenen.
He should be transformed into a chandelier, to hang by day and to burn by night.

35. Zayn mazl zol im layhtn vi di levone in sof khoydesh.
His luck should be as bright as a new moon.

36. Er zol hobn paroys makes bashotn mit oybes krets.
He should have Pharaoh’s plagues sprinkled with Job’s scabies.

37. Er zol kakn mit blit un mit ayter.
He should crap blood and pus.

38. Heng dikh oyf a tsikershtrikl vestu hobn a zisn toyt.
Hang yourself with a sugar rope and you’ll have a sweet death.

39. Es zol dir dunern in boykh, vestu meyen az s’iz a homon klaper.
Your stomach will rumble so badly, you'll think it was Purim noisemaker.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

A note from my first partner.

My first partner, who like me has something like 25+ years experience in the business, has just decided to fly the coop of the agency he had most recently been imprisoned in. His "I'm moving on" group email got us chatting and exchanging emails and he came across with this remembrance of days of yore.

"Remember when Harold caught our secretary Marilyn (remember when you could say secretary instead of admin) watching soap operas on her little TV she hid (not that she really hid it all that much) in her desk drawer and he asked her, "What are you watching Marilyn? One Job to Lose?" Makes me laugh every time I think about it."

Those were the good old days. When you made $19,500 and stayed all night to make it.

Friday, June 20, 2008

The first (and perhaps, last) Ad Aged tagline contest.

It's here. Halavai, it's here.

Enter and win (you must be 18 or older) the Ad Aged agency tagline contest. Come up with the best tagline for an agency and you can win a no-expenses-paid dinner with Geo, your not-so-humble editor.

Here are some examples for a fantasy agency:

Synfatidel. You like it, we love it.
Synfatidel. We used to have that account.
Synfatidel. When you want our opinion, just tell us.
Synfatidel. The modern stone-age agency.
Synfatidel. We've fallen and we can't get up.

Enter early. Enter often.
Winners will be chosen by the whim, caprice and personal predilections of me, by July 1. Winners will be notified by mail. In the event of a tie, there will be a "tag-off."

Thursday, June 19, 2008

The Old Man and the Agency.

I like Ernest Hemingway. Not in a brawling, drunken, punch Wallace Stevens in the nose and break my hand in two places kind of way. Not in a macho big two-hearted river kind of way. But in a clean, well-lighted our nada who art in nada kind of way.

I often think that Hemingway's novella, The Old Man and the Sea, can teach us in the ad industry a thing or two. First off, The Old Man and the Sea is a pretty damn good story--I'll get to that in a sec. But first, consider for a second that this book, which is about life, pride, defeat, despair, courage, the great DiMaggio and fortitude is, at just 68-pages, shorter than about 98% of all the decks that agencies create. If Hemingway "took the time to make it short," why can't we, when we're selling salad dressing be as brief.

Second, the old man knows that "Anyone can be a fisherman in May." But it takes a special fortitude to be one in September when the great fish come. In other words, you prove your mettle in the business when you survive and prosper when the going is tough. Lesson three is the drought. The old man has caught no fish for eighty-four days. But he goes out on the eighty-fifth day. We have days of lousy client meetings. Political bs. Killed ads. Days when you feel like you suck. But you come back the next day. As the old man said, "But man is not made for defeat...A man can be destroyed but not defeated." I think that's good.

I did it!

I usually work until about 7:30 and take a 20-minute taxi ride home. While in the cab I plug a modem into my computer and do another 20 minutes work online.

Today my computer is in the shop. So I rode home with only my blackberry for connectivity.

Somehow I survived and lived to write about it.

Attack of the killer tomatoes.

The radical right who have been trumpeting ketchup as a vegetable, trickledown theories in which the top 1% of the top 1% of the nation control 62% of the wealth (note to wretched refuse on these teeming shores: this is good for you) the rape of public lands for private wealth, in short socialism for the wealthy and dog-eat-dog Malthusian capitalism for the poor (poor=all those not in the top 1% of the top 1%--this is Rome, remember, bring me a platter of Hummingbird tongues post haste)the radical right who have been ascendant since Ronald Raygun, has just recently invented a new weapon that will maintain America's military, economic and political hegemony into the future.

Yes, thanks to free-market economics we have invented a way to slash defense costs while still being able to kill darkies by the bucketful. (Darkies is what they are, my friends. Our troops call the Iraqis sand-niggers. We don't kill white folk. It's gooks, slants, joes, sand-niggers, etc.)My friends, American ingenuity has triumphed again. No need for smart bombs, dumb bombs, guided missiles, uranium depleted ordnance that takes 14,000 years for its deadly radiation to return to safe levels, no need for that. We have invented the killer tomatoes.

McDonalds, and Taco Bell are now part of the military-industrial complex. Send the darkies our tainted tomatoes and watch the towel-heads get e-coli and die in ugliness and pain:

"What a piece of work is a man,
how noble in reason,
how infinite in faculties,
in form and moving how express and admirable,
in action how like an angel,
in apprehension how like a god!
the beauty of the world, the paragon of animals..."

Wednesday, June 18, 2008


As a boy and a young man I spent more than ten years of my life in Latin class. I might not have loved it at the time, the odd teachers who washed out of seminary, the drumbeat of rote memorization and a that, but I love now that I was steeped in it. And not only for the vita brevis, ars longa Ozymandian aspect of it all. I loved Macauley's
"Lays of Ancient Rome,"

East and west and south and north
The messengers ride fast,
And tower and town and cottage
Have heard the trumpet's blast.
Shame on the false Etruscan
Who lingers in his home,
When Porsena of Clusium
Is on the march for Rome.

Thanks to all that rote and all that drilling and all those Seminary drop-outs, man of man, I can still conjugate and decline. I can amo amas amat with the best of them and hic haec hoc while the iron's hot.

What of advertising, you ask? Why this excursion, digression? WTF?

Well Latin helps my mood on bad days.
Fic faec foc
fuius fuius fuius
fuic fuic fuic
fanc func foc
fac foc fac.
fac foc fac.fac foc fac.fac foc fac.fac foc fac.fac foc fac.fac foc fac.fac foc fac.fac foc fac.fac foc fac.fac foc fac.fac foc fac.fac foc fac.fac foc fac.fac foc fac.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Few relationships in life.

I just saw a Michelin commercial during the NBA Finals.

Here is the VO: "Few relationships in life are as important as the one between you and your Michelin tires."

Let's see, there's my wife. My daughters. My brother. My friends. My co-workers. My doormen. The guy at the fruit stand. The girl on the train who smiled at me. My cousins. My dog.

What happens inside your brain when you hear VO stupidity like that? Your brain says "Michelin are platitudinous liars." And the next time one of their commercials comes on or you see one of their ads, you will shut down. Because we shut down on liars.

My sister and the advertising industry.

My sister died a year and a month ago, the result of being thrown from a too large Ducati motorcycle, having swerved to avoid hitting an errant pedestrian as he dashed across the breadth of 12th Avenue against the light. She was 47-years-old.

Last night I got an email from a high school friend of hers who had lost touch, done a google search and somehow contacted me. She asked me to write her a note about what happened.

I take exception with Henry David Thoreau who said that "most men lead lives of quiet desperation." I think Karl Marx, or Groucho were more on the mark. Desperation is too passive. As is quiet.

No, today we lead lives and careers filled with suppressed fear. Anger. Depression. Oppression. Our mortgages keep our lids on, our private school tuits keep us obedient. Our 62" flat screen keeps us flat-lined. This from "Something Happened," by ex-ad-man Joseph Heller:

"I get the willies when I see closed doors. Even at work, where I am doing so well now, the sight of a closed door is sometimes enough to make me dread that something horrible is happening behind it, something that is going to affect me adversely; if I am tired and dejected from a night of lies or booze or sex or just plain nerves and insomnia, I can almost smell the disaster mounting invisibly and flooding out towards me through the frosted glass panes. My hands may perspire, and my voice may come out strange. I wonder why. Something must have happened to me sometime."

This is how we live our lives. Oh, don't deny it. Even if it's not you, it's your client and, by application, you who lives in fear--fear of closed doors and open minds. Our imaginations duct-taped our sense of daring and revolution blanderized as we strive to optimize mediocrity. We quote focus groups and clients saying how happy they are, forgetting that focus groups and client feedback are the Stepin Fetchit's of the modern post-industrial era, "Yawsah, boss man, Ah sho' nuff agrees wiff you. Ah 'specks dat be a right good abvertizement. It sho' nuff do hit all der surport poin's." Beware the be-suited or be-t-shirted mofo who says, "it tested well. The client's happy." He is a virus in your agency's blood--infecting, deadening, metastasizing, destroying. Beware the marzipan glow of self-satisfied clients gloating. The Horst Wessel-lied is coming next, the client version thereof. The stormtroopers will get you if you don't watch out.

We worry about the dumbest things. We are enraptured by fear and loathing. Forgetting that so many of us are in the top 20% of the top 1% and we have nothing more to do than write about nine words a week or come up with one or two visual ideas. We forget that at the end of the corridor is death not a contact report. Be afraid of death if you must. But not life.

PS: That's Nancy in the middle of the photo.

Monday, June 16, 2008

The greatest political commercial ever.

The New York Times just announced that Tony Schwartz, a creator of Lyndon Johnson's famous "Daisy" commercial, died yesterday at the age of 84. You can watch the commercial here:

Rarely has a commercial of more power and persuasiveness been shown--a commercial that spoke of god, destruction and love. LBJ as VO intoned: “These are the stakes. To make a world in which all of God’s children can live, or to go into the dark. We must either love each other, or we must die.”

No mudslinging. Not even fear-mongering. The commercial presented a choice.

You can read Tony Schwartz's entire obituary here:

Me and David Ogilvy in Cannes.

Some years ago, I had the great good fortune to spend a week in Cannes with Mr. Ogilvy. I was just a cub copywriter at the time, but thanks to my prolific ability to write 6200 words of copy for an Ogilvy client, the old man took a liking to me. The two of us had breakfast one morning, just the two of us. Here's a transcription of a bit of our conversation.

You don't happen to have a good cigar, do you? I've got a young physician here who thinks I'm gonna give up smoking. Do you have a cigar?

No, I'm afraid I haven't. Sorry.

I changed the subject, didn't I? What a disagreeable old man I have become! You want to know what I think about Martin Sorrell. Well, I suppose it has some private sort of greatness. He just left you a tip. Hmm? He had a generous mind. I don't suppose anybody ever had so many opinions. But he never believed in anything except Martin Sorrell. He never had a conviction except Martin Sorrell in his life. I suppose he'll die without one. That's been pretty unpleasant. Of course, a lot of us check out without having any special convictions about death. But we do know what we're leaving. We do believe in something. You're absolutely sure you haven't got a cigar?

Sorry, Mr. Ogilvy.

Never mind.

I don't know. Martin was disappointed in the world. So he built one of his own, an absolute monarchy. Something bigger than an opera house anyway. Nurse!

Yes, Mr. Ogilvy.

Oh, I'm coming. Uh, say, young fellow, there is one thing you can do for me.


Stop at the cigar store on your way out, will you, get me up a couple of good cigars?

I'll be glad to.

Thank you. One is enough. You know, when I was a young man, there used to be an impression around that nurses were pretty. It was no truer then than it is today.

I'll take your arm, Mr. Ogilvy.


Happy Bloomsday.

James Joyce's novel Ulysses takes place today, 104 years ago, that is, June 16th, 1904.

The novel, considered by many literary critics to be one of the greatest books ever written, describes in florid detail a single day in the life Leopold Bloom, his wife Molly and Stephen Dedalus, a young would-be-writer -- a character based on Joyce himself. Bloom, a Jewish advertising salesman, spends the day wandering through the streets and offices, pubs and brothels of 1904 Dublin.

Today, all over the world, people will read Ulysses--silently and aloud, singly and in groups, to commemorate the day. I suppose we could all do worse today than to take thirty seconds and read the opening lines:

lather on which a mirror and a razor lay crossed. A yellow dressinggown,
ungirdled, was sustained gently behind him by the mild morning air. He
held the bowl aloft and intoned:

--INTROIBO AD ALTARE DEI." (I will go to the alter of God.)

It couldn't hurt. And it might scare the crap out of the account people.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

This sickens me.

Just received this in my email box:

Subject: Visited the Obama Store lately?
From: "Obama for America"
Date: Sat, June 14, 2008 11:42 pm
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A Father's Day remembrance, continued.

My brother called and we got to talking about my dad. He reminded me of some things I had forgotten about.

My father worked in the Philadelphia General Post Office as a clerk. What he really wanted to do was be a songwriter. In 1957, just before I was born, Woody and the Termites recorded his song, “Two Peanuts” (a riff on the Be-Bop standard “Salt Peanuts”). Fourteen weeks after its release, “Two Peanuts” had climbed to the top of the charts. Woody and the Termites were a one-hit wonder and my father and mother had $1500 in cash and enough encouragement to move from row-house Philadelphia to suburban development New York where my father was to pursue his songwriting.

In 1957, if you were an ex-GI, you could buy a house in Yonkers for $1000 down. But you couldn’t buy much of one. The house my parents bought had been built by an itinerate housebuilder with no particular skill or even understanding of geometry. The house was on a hill, but it wasn’t built into the hill. It was built alongside the hill. In other words, the house was built on a tilt.

That was the house I was born into. When I learned to crawl, I first learned to go downhill, then I learned to crawl uphill. Same when I learned to walk. My point is, I grew up on a tilt. Flat and level were the anomaly. Tilt was normal.
My father’s songwriting career did not go well. He (and Woody and the Termites) followed up “Two Peanuts” with “Two Peanuts Times Two”. The song was a moderate success, breaking into the top one-hundred, but before long it became clear that my father was no Lieber and no Stoller.

Needing money, and having had a glimmer of notoriety, my father became a jingle writer for advertising industry. He sold ditties that had the word “sauce” rhyme with “of course”. He sold songs sung by singing cigarettes. And jingles belted out by animated lima beans. However, regardless of how many of these songs he sold, he never seemed to amass enough money to move from our little tilted house.

That was OK by me though, because it was all the house I had ever known. In fact, I was pretty sure that our house was the way houses were meant to be.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

A Father's Day remembrance.

My father was the first Jew to climb Mt. Everest. Just two years before I was born and five years after Sir Edmund Hillary made his ascent (with help, mind you by Tenzing Norgay, his Sherpa guide) my Dad left his garden apartment in Fresh Meadows, Queens telling my mother he was just running down the block to the newsstand to grab himself a White Owl. Two years later, my dad returned having scaled Mt. Everest (solo and without oxygen) for no apparent reason.

That was my dad. Having unceremoniously left for that White Owl cigar, so did he return. Without fanfare and only a little worse for wear. When my Mom screamed, "where have you been?" (her new boyfriend scampering out their unit through a back window) my dad laconically replied, "I was out for a walk." It wasn't till years later that he spilled his Everest beans. That was my dad. For every action there was an equal and surprising reaction.

One day we were out playing in the street, having a catch. "I climbed Mt. Everest, you know," he told me. I tossed the Spaldeen back. I looked at him, he was wearing loud Bermuda shorts with his black-socked feet tucked securely into sandals, his flaccid muscles revealed 'neath the well-worn white tee shirt he wore. He didn't look like a sinewy mountain climber at all. He pocketed the ball and walked toward me removing his wallet as he did so. He pulled from his leather Swank billfold a crumpled black and white picture. It showed him, up in the stratosphere, beaming. "That's me," he said. "I just started walking up and decided not to stop till I made it." With that he put the photo away and never spoke of it again. When he got about twelve feet from me he whipped the ball my way and struck me squarely between the eyes, the ink from the word Spaldeen leaving a mark that didn't disappear for seven weeks, leaving a cryptic "needlapS" on my brow.

Some years later my dad came home from a "business trip," piling out of his medium green Studebaker with a 200-lb. bottle-blonde stripper, her blue-dyed poodle and a midget. They moved in with us, forcing me out of the pantry off the kitchette that served as my bedroom which they took over. My father never said anything about them other than "they were family and they survived the camps."

That was my dad.

Later on in my dad's life he started making a bit of money and we left Fresh Meadows, Queens for the bucolic Yonkers. My dad came home one night wearing leather lederhosen and affecting both a monocle and a German accent. From that point forward he insisted on being addressed as "Herr Doktor." Again, no explanation, no reason. It's just the way he was.

My Dad died suddenly, as I said. He was no longer speaking German-inflected English. He had settled down and had a fairly good business teaching blues harmonica at a local music school. He was running to give a lesson and fell down dead.

That was my dad.

Friday, June 13, 2008

News from the Midwest.

Yesterday, I suppose as a result of catastrophic climate change, a series of violent tornadoes ripped through the upper Midwest. A farmer's daughter with whom I once engaged in "hey hey in the hayloft," called me to say that her twin Jerseys were caught up in the maelstrom. When the winds finally calmed down, the cows were ok, but you couldn't tell one from the udder.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Introducing a new airline.

Now that United Airlines (Fly the Frugal Skies) has decided to impose a per-bag fee, I've decided this is a propitious time to launch my own airline.

So, here it is, ladies and germans, Introducing Incremental Air.

Here's how it works, you pay just $69 for any seat on any plane to anywhere in the world. One seat, one flat fee.*

*$69 fee applicable to all flight except flights during blackout periods. Blackout periods include all days you want to fly. To fly on black out days, there is an additional $10 blackout fee. Jetway fees of $8/ticket apply. $2 check-in fees apply. $9 ticket-scanning-fee applicable on days of the week that end in Y or start with a consonant. Flight attendant service fee of $11 applies. $2 armrest fees apply. In the event of the loss of cabin pressure, a $25 oxygen-mask usage fee will be imposed. $7 security fee applies. $4 rest-room usage and upkeep fee valid. $1 carpet depreciation fee applies. $18 window fee or $17 aisle fee applicable on all flights over one minute. On all flights $22 center-seat fees apply. $42 banal announcements from the flight deck fees are active effective March 1, 2001. $9 lighting fees for cabin light apply. $22 aircraft lighting fees apply. $19 fuel-hike surcharge fees where applicable. Fees applicable in entire solar system. $75 additional fee fee applicable on all additional fees. $6 Public address announcement fee. $8 recline fee. $25 airport usage fee, applicable in the continental US and outside the continental US. $55 border crossing fee. 3 magic beans fee fie fo fum fee. $4 tire inflation fee. $7 air fee. $8 mechanics' retirement fund fee. $72 pigs at the trough fee. $12 award-winning inflight magazine fees apply. $6 pillow and blanket removal fees apply. $27 seatbelt fees applicable to passengers with seats. $3 tray table usage fees apply. Other fees, taxes, surcharges, penalties and sundry charges will be applied without further notification and at an additional $25 additional unspecified fee fee.

(BTW, this is essentially what most airline, auto, PC ad telco ads read like.)

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

This ad doesn't work well if you think in Yiddish.

I don't know about you, but I read this (which was an ad on the bottom of those grey bins you slide through "security" at LAX) as "Putz a little appos in your day."

We are fighting two wars.

And this article is the lead story in this morning's online New York Times. I wish I were joking.

From the NY Times:
"Characters as Reimagined for This Century

The 1980s Strawberry Shortcake has been updated to spend her time on a cellphone instead of brushing her cat. Many classic children’s characters are being freshened up."

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

The battle between brand and retail.

Since the beginning of commerce, and certainly since Moshe Schlubbotnik, my grandfather, manned a pushcart on New York's Lower East Side, there's been a battle going on between building a brand and making an immediate sale. (Moshe built a brand. The little pushcart he slaved over eventually morphed into Schlubbotnik's with stores throughout the Northeast before the chain was bought by Federated stores and merged into Macy's. This made me the mogul I am today. The advertising thing, after all is just a lark.) But enough of my torpid family history and onto the matter at hand.

Retail advertising, as it is usually configured, screams price. If a "branding element" is stuffed into some piece of advertising schlock, like a pimento in a rancid olive, that's missing the point. The consumer sees price. Sees cheap. Sees commodity. Dell, about whom I have written lately, now that they have named their new agency Infamy, or whatever, seems to be sticking with the notion of running a retail campaign as well as a yet to be developed brand campaign. Boys and girls, dimwits and dimwitelles, this is a prescription for disaster. The consumer doesn't say, "that is a retail ad," or that is a "brand ad." They are all just ads. Think airlines. Think telcos. They all spent fortunes building brands then undoing everything their brand ads promulgated by commoditizing price ads. "We deliver a great experience." "We're $99 to Cleveland."

Mac, however, has taken a different tack. (As they so often do and with such success.) They create products and communications that evoke LUST. Desire is in all their ads. They create NEED for their product. HP is doing a good job with it too. Not to many others.

So, don't create brand ads or retail ads. Create Lustvertising. It drives sales and builds brand value.

I changed my agency name.

First I announced to the press that I named my new agency "Needle Dick." When the response to that was less than rousing, I decided to rename my newly named agency and pretend that the first name I announced was all part of a joke that the likes of you are too simple-minded to get. So until further notice, the new name for my agency is "Bug Fucker, a Delaware Corporation."

(Obviously this is about the news that Synarchy has been renamed Enfatico, as in "does this dress make my butt look enfatico?")

Monday, June 9, 2008

Cannes is coming. Get your Speedo today!

I ran out at lunch and picked up a Speedo or two prior to jetting off to Cannes with ten or twelve starlets.

To those who carp that there's no way to look dignified in a Speedo, my friends, you're missing the point. A Speedo is about a display of your manliness, an ersatz assertion of your vital bodily fluids. It it your soul and essence, not necessarily your aesthetic. But what matter.

Up at the Speedo store on 41st Street, I ran into a variety of C-level executives using flag-emblazoned lycra to mold themselves into more perfect creatures. Here's one pic I took. Sure as shootin, that ain't Nina De Sesa.

Plastic people.

Dell, formerly Dell Computer, has to convince its customers and prospects that it cares about them. That it wants more than a sale and an upsale. That it will treat people like people. That being said, spend a little money on some real photography. The generic gorgeous mosaic thing is pretty awful.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Playing war.

The San Diego Padres, a major league baseball team, are playing the New York Mets, purportedly another major league team.

For whatever reason (a tribute to our troops whom the defense dominated broadcast industry chooses not to speak about) the Padres are wearing camouflage uniforms. This sickens me. A nation that refuses to sacrifice for soldiers, "plays army" with its baseball uniforms.

The two Americas.

As oil goes up $10/bbl and Exxon registers a record $13 billion in profit, as 55,000 more Americans lose their jobs as the rich get richer and the poor pay taxes, as a public service, Ad Aged is herewith posting Northwest Airlines' 101 Ways To Save Money--advice they dispensed to laid off workers. Complete with typos and the infamous #46.

1. Set your thermostat to 64 and turn it down to 60 at night.
2. Use the phone book instead of directory assistance.
3. Use coupons at the grocery store.
4. Carpool.
5. Ask for generic prescriptions instead of brand name.
6. Do your own nails.
7. Rent out a room or garage.
8. Replace 100 watt bulbs with 60 watt.
9. Make long distance calls at night and on weekends, instead of mid-day, mid-week.
10. Throw pocket change in a jar and take it to the bank when it's full.
11. Always grocery shop with a list.
12. Buy spare parts for your car at a junkyard.
13. Go to museums on free days.
14. Quit smoking.
15. Get hand-me-down clothes and toys for your kids from family and friends.
16. Meet friends for coffee instead of dinner.
17. Request to get interest on a security deposit for your apartment.
18. Take a shorter shower.
19. Write letters instead of calling.
20. Brown bag your lunch.
21. Make your own babyfood.
22. Use public transportation.
23. Drop duplicate medical insurance.
24. Buy old furniture at yard sales and refinish it yourself.
25. Apply for scholarships and financial aid.
26. Exercise for free-walk, jog, bike, or get exercise videos from the library.
27. Form a baby-sitting cooperative with friends and neighbors.
28. Buy your clothes off season.
29. Go to a matinee instead of an evening show.
30. Share housing with a friend or family member.
31. Hang clothes out to dry.
32. Do not use your calling card.
33. Volunteer two hours a month for reduced cost food through the Share Program.
34. Change the oil in your car yourself regularly.
35. Get pre-approval from your medical insurance company before undergoing any procedures or tests.
36. But 'no frills' vitamins.
37. Take a date for a walk along the beach or in the woods.
38. Make cards and gifts for friends.
39. Shop in thrift stores.
40. Have your water company do an audit so you are not charged sewage fees for water used in your garden.
41. Refinance your mortgage.
42. Grocery shop on double coupon days.
43. Trade down your car for a less expensive, lower maintenance one.
44. Convert your cash value life insurance to term.
45. Shop around for eyeglasses.
46. Don’t be shy about pulling something you like out of the trash.
47. Recycle.
48. Move to a less expensive place to live.
49. Use low flush toilets or water saving devices in the tank.
50. Drop unneeded telephone services like call forwarding or caller ID.
51. Buy fruits and vegetables in season.
52. Avoid using your ATM card at machines that charge a fee.
53. Bicycle to work.
54. Shop around for auto insurance discounts for multiple drivers, seniors, good driving records, etc.
55. Ask your doctor for samples of prescriptions.
56. Borrow a dress for a big night out. or go to a consignment shop.
57. When you buy a home negotiate the sales price and closing costs.
58. Turn the hot water heater down and wrap it with insulation.
59. Never grocery shop hungry.
60. If you qualify, file for Earned Income Credit.
61. Shop around for prescriptions including mail order companies (Medi-Mail 800-331-1458, Action Mail Order Drugs 800-452-1976, and AARP 800-456-2277).
62. If you pay for childcare, make use of the dependent care tax credit or your employer's dependent care flexible spending account.
63. Buy, sell, and trade clothes at consignment shops.
64. Shop around for the lowest banking fees.
65. Caulk windows and doors.
66. Iron your own shirts.
67. Plan your weekly food menu before shopping.
68. Buy a good used car instead of a new model car.
69. Purchase all of your insurance from the same company to get a discount.
70. Cut your cable television down to basic.
71. Go to an optometrist for routine vision tests or to change an eyeglass prescription.
72. Buy pre-owned toys and children's books at garage sales.
73. Have potluck dinners with friends and family instead of going out.
74. Use the library for books, video tapes, and music.
75. Inspect clothing carefully before purchasing it.
76. Don't use your dishwasher dry cycle; open the door and let them air dry all night.
77. At the grocery store, comparison shop by looking at the unit price.
78. Make your own coffee.
79. Use old newspapers for cat litter.
80. Shop at discount clothing stores.
81. Skip annual full mouth x-rays unless there is a problem; the ADA recommends x-rays every 3 years.
82. Water your garden at night or early in the morning.
83. Shop around for long distance rates.
84. Hand wash instead of dry cleaning.
85. Grow your own vegetables and herbs.
86. Shop around for auto financing.
87. Donate time instead of money to religious organizations and charities.
88. If you are leaving a room for more than five minutes, turn off the light.
89. Shop at auctions or pawn shops for jewelry and antiques.
90. Keep your car properly tuned.
91. Request lower interest rates from your creditors.
92. Trade in old books, records, and CDs at book and record exchanges.
93. Pay bills the day they arrive; many credit card companies charge interest based on your average daily balance.
94. Buy software at computer fares.
95. Search the internet for freebies.
96. Compost to make your own fertilizer.
97.If your car has very little value, you probably only need liability insurance.
98. Cut the kids hair yourself.
99. Increase your insurance deductible.
100. Buy in bulk food warehouses.
101. If your income is low, contact utility companies about reduced rates.

Friday, June 6, 2008

An analysis of crap.

Please watch this:

Weiden & Kennedy UK has done amazing ads for Honda for the last three years. First I believe, they did "Cog." Then "Grrrr." Then "Choir." I think they won a few Cannes awards along the way. This year they topped all that.

They also synergized, perhaps more effectively than I've ever before seen, a compelling message, with a memorable, pass-along-able, word-of-mouth-able experience/feeling.

In short, they made a commercial that isn't a "spot." They made a commercial that is a national--perhaps world-wide--event.

It's three minutes long. Watch it. Learn. Top it. And sell to your clients. Or, if you prefer, become an obsolete, second-rate slug.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

They've been at it since the Middle Ages.

Since days of old when knights were bold and all that tommyrot, scientists, alchemists and other charlatans have mused about creating a perpetual motion machine. Often it seems to me that our industry has developed and perfected a perpetual dumbness machine.

Listen, really listen to what goes on in your agency, and you'll see and hear what I mean.

I just got off the phone with a brilliant editor and friend, and he said something to me about his skill set. Skill set? My kids might play on a swing set. My wife might have a twin-set. My stomach might be up-set, but what is a skill set?

Instead of saying, "so you can see my skill set," couldn't he have said, "so you can see my skills."

I'm not sure he has the proper skill set v. I'm not sure he has the proper skills. Does adding an "et" to the word skills make you sound smarter? Does it help us communicate with extra-terrestrials?

That's all for now. Time to put my skill sets to better use.

In the Navy.

Advertising agencies, like clients, like most businesses, are like the Navy. The guy who is 5'2" is ordered to paint the ceiling. The guy who is 6'7" is ordered to paint the molding around the floor. If you say, "that's dumb. Let's change that," your counter-order has to go up the ladder, where is rejected because "it's not the way we've always done things."

Today there's an ad in the NY Times, I suppose the prodigious output from Synarchy, Dell's new and oddly-badly-named agency. Here is the headline: "Even the prices work harder."

Yippee! There's news. Dell has low prices.

Dell has spent, I'd guess one-billion dollars a year for the last twenty years saying they have low prices. People have turned from the brand because they worry about Dell's quality and their customer service. Over the last couple years, following its "I can get it for you wholesale" "strategy," Dell has lost significant marketshare to HP, who have chosen to "non-commoditize" their PCs via a pretty darn good Goodby campaign.

For Dell though a new agency doesn't mean new thinking. It appears it simply means new people doing scut work.

And now, a musical interlude.

In the navy
Yes, you can sail the seven seas
In the navy
Yes, you can put your mind at ease
In the navy
Come on now, people, make a stand
In the navy, in the navy
Can't you see we need a hand
In the navy
Come on, protect the motherland
In the navy
Come on and join your fellow man
In the navy
Come on people, and make a stand
In the navy, in the navy, in the navy (in the navy)

They want you, they want you
They want you as a new recruit.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Three career circles.

Life is simple if you remove everything about it that makes it complicated.

So here's your professional world simplified.

No matter where you work, what your level, what your profession, your job has three aspects. Three circles.

First is that you should never forget that you work for In other words, you must be thinking about your professional development at all times. This is the management of your career, your personal portfolio.

Second is the work you do. If you are a carpenter, it's making a wall-unit or a desk you can be proud of.

Third is that you must be helping to change, modernize or relevant-ize where it is you work. How can you make the place better. Raise its level or ambition. Create the opportunity to build more or better wall-units or desks?

At the best places these circles are in alignment like records stacked on an old turntable. At the very least, these circles must overlap. At bad places, those circles are not concentric at all. Don't be a circle jerk.

How to execute.

Execution used to be about bringing a concept to reality--getting it online, in a magazine or on TV. Now execution returns to its semantic roots. Now it is about killing things. Killing spark. Killing innovation. Killing juice.

Like a Roman emperor, allow me make the ceremonial snuffing out of life easy. As the gladiators were forced to sing in the Colosseum, "Ave imperator, morituri te salutant."

So, here goes--27 executions to begin with. Save time, save sturm, save drang! Pass them to your account people, your clients. Let's go home at 5!

1. "The logo's too small."
2. "The lawyers won't let us."
3. "It tested poorly."
4. "It takes too long to get it."
5. "Not enough product sell."
6. "The client hates it."
7. "It might offend someone."
8. "They'll rip us a new one."
9. "Too negative."
10 "Doesn't fit the format."
11. “Too confrontational.”
12. “The client warned us about that.”
13. “It’s not P.C.”
14. “Makes people uncomfortable.”
15. “It’s not measurable.”
16. “I wouldn’t have done it that way.”
17. “We ran it up the flagpole and no one saluted.”
18. “We couldn’t get consensus.”
19. “I don’t get it.”
20. “We already have too many ideas.”
21. “The benefit isn’t obvious.”
22. “It’ll go right over their heads.”
23. “I think I’ve seen something like that before.”
24. “It’s not what I was thinking of.”
25. “It’s too expensive.”
26. “It might backfire on us.”
27. “It’s outside of scope.”

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

"Holding company dumbness."

Or perhaps "Meeting organizer dumbness."

My wife and I both work for different agencies in the same holding company. I suppose to save money, this holding company's email system includes everyone who works for the entire holding company, not just your individual agency. So, if someone types our last name, since my first name precedes hers in the alphabet, my name comes up before hers.

As a consequence, about once a week I get invited to a meeting at her agency.

Nitwits, halfwits, dimwits.

Cartoon without comment.

The advertiser's Bill of Rights.

I suppose American Airlines' decision to start charging for carrying your luggage got me thinking about it. People probably wouldn't be so upset about annoying charges like that if, in return, they received service. For instance, if I knew my bags would be on the carousel within fifteen minutes of touch-down, I'd be fine with a petty fee. It's only when you pay for service you don't get that you become outraged.

Leaping logic, Sandy! My mind went from that to the notion that emerges every now and again, that of a consumers' Bill of Rights. And that got me thinking about this: What if your agency offered its clients a Bill of Rights? Mine would go something like this:

The advertiser's Bill of Rights.

1. You have the right to be spared the expense and time in having us attend endless meetings with people who can only say no. You have the right to have us present only to top decision-makers and take direction, in person, only from them.

2. You have the right to hear the word "no." No is harder to say than yes and more important. It is not necessarily what you want to hear. But it's often what you need to hear. In other words, and perhaps more precisely, we will be unfailingly, unflinchingly honest with you.

3. You have the right to disavow anything cheap. Cheap brands do cheap work. You are not a cheap brand, we will spare you from the temptation of cheap by simply refusing to comply.

4. You have the right to innovation. We will assiduously avoid all that has been done before, either by us or our competitors. The done-before is likely dull and derivative. You have the right to be spared that.

5. You have the right to be big. Small is a waste of time and money. It fails to gain attention or have an impact. We will spare you small.

6. You have the right to emotion. People respond with their heart not just their head. You have the right to work that will make people feel something.

7. You have the right to top talent. We will find the best people in the industry. These people are often expensive, surly and difficult but they produce the work you need. You have the right not to be spared the difficult.

8. You have the right to make a decision. Over-think is the enemy of breakthrough. We will spare you the temptation to spend hours combing over copy, rough-cuts and retouching. You get three looks of 24-hours each. Then we "take the paper away."

9. You have the right to never do your own creative. If we ever hear you utter, "I guess I'm just a frustrated copywriter/art-director" we will remind you to put your pencil down.

10. You have the right to appeal to your consumers. We will remind you that we don't care what your wife's sister's gardener thinks, or your board, or your Indonesian interns. You have the right to work that is for consumers, not conference rooms.

I'm sure there's more. But that's enough for now.

Monday, June 2, 2008


This came across my desk today. I wish I were making it up.

"Statements made in this press release that are not historical facts, including statements accompanied by words such as "will," "believe," "anticipate," or similar words, are forward-looking statements within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995 regarding _____________'s plans and performance. These statements are based on management's estimates, assumptions and projections as of the date of this release and are not guarantees of future performance. Actual results may differ materially from the results expressed or implied in these statements as the result of risks, uncertainties and other factors including, but not limited to, the factors set forth in ______________'s filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, including _____________'s Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2007. The Company cautions you not to place undue reliance on the forward-looking statements contained in this release. The Company does not undertake any obligation to publicly update or revise any forward-looking statements to reflect future events, information or circumstances that arise after the date of this release."

Cause marketing.

People wear elastic wristbands in a variety of colors showing their support of cancer research, or the homeless, or the plight of the polar bear. There is a no-shopping day in London where we are meant to not shop, I suppose to run against the ever-strengthening tsunami of craven consumerism. Every star in Hollywood has a lapel pin or a ribbon on their person to show they care. There are days when you're meant to leave your gigantic SUV at home, switch to compact fluorescent bulbs, where you're told to plant trees, pick up litter, love your neighbor, hug your dog.

It's all well and good. But what does all this do but assuage your conscience? You can still be an asshole and wear a lapel pin.

That's why I'm proposing a day that would have real consequence--that would brook real world improvement for the 28% of the planet's population that lives on a dollar a day. I'm not asking a lot. Just hold your breath for twenty-four hours.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

All about Yves.

Some years ago, I became fast-friends with the great couturier to the stars, Yves St. Laurent. You really couldn't imagine two people more dissimilar than me and Yves but through one of those flukes, we just hit it off.

"Georges," he would say to me, "you dress like zee blind homeless peeg."
"Yves," I'd reply, "you're a deranged, effeminate strumpet, but I love ya."

Now, to some serious business. The Safari jacket? That was my idea.