Category: ramblings


Yeah, So I Heard Blogging is Really Effective When You Post Regularly…

And from whose mouth dropped this pearly bit of wisdom? Mine own.

More than once, in fact —  in every meeting we’ve had recently with a new or potential client, since social media is a component of nearly every proposal we’ve written lately, and a part of every job we’ve landed unless it is 100% straight print.

Oh (I whine in a non-annoying way), I don’t have time to update our blog — I’m ghost-writing four other blogs every week, plus all the writing I have to do like website content, print ads, a ton of collateral, ghosting clients’ Facebook fan pages, Twitter feeds, e-newsletters, blah blah blah socialmediacakes.

Flickr/theTrial
Flickr/theTrial

But I THINK about our blog constantly. Given the choice, I’d be blogging every day because I have an opinion on everything. In theory, this blog is supposed to have some parameters that keep me within the rather elastic bounds of advertising, marketing, and media; selling stuff; how badly brands/people are selling stuff; how cleverly stuff is sold with out anyone realizing they were, in fact, sold something, or they don’t care because it was so well done; egregious marketing ploys; any time the Wall Street Journal writes about something that I find amusingly outside its purview; I think you get the picture. And did you notice I dropped the “royal we” at some point? Because this is my responsibility, like the creative direction and graphic design are Steve’s. The blog just really ties the room together, man.

So, my random attached-to-no-holiday resolution (although I could pin this onto Labor Day…) is to get back to blogging monthly for Alchemy, and start posting our clients’ news as well when we had a hand in it. Because in addition to always having something to say about someone or something, we have a lot of new work and new clients to talk about, and they deserve the attention.


Unplugged: A Fairy Tale

There once was a time when a vacation was the perfect way to take a break from one’s job, unplugging from the work realm and exploring the elusive, magical world of Time Off.

But time waits for no (wo)man, and in our industry especially – public relations and advertising – connectivity, email, and social media have cast a pall over our ability to get away. Instead, we never really unplug; we monitor, respond, react, and work to keep to our 21st-century responsibilities intact and our clients feeling that they’re getting the service for which they pay. We can’t afford for our clients’ branded social media to take a vacation, too – it’s not feasible to send an “out of office” tweet, Facebook post, or blog comment that is guaranteed to reach all followers. At best, we look like we’re ignoring our responsibilities to clients’ communities. At worst, our clients’ professional reputation (as well as our own) may be on the line while we’re catching few rays and ordering Pina Coladas at the pool bar.

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Don’t Harsh My Thongs

What’s with all the thong hate? No, not THOSE thongs. “Thongs” are what we used to call flip-flops down here when I was a kid.

Not our feet, not our beach. Image courtesy of KSL Broadcasting, Salt Lake City UT (ksl.com)
Not our feet, not our beach. Image courtesy of KSL Broadcasting, Salt Lake City UT (ksl.com)

Whatever you call them, I read six articles published in the last week referencing the horror of people wearing flip-flops (Slate,  Huffington Post, MSN, CBS, Fox, and Jezebel), and saw on my way out the door this morning that the Today Show  was, as usual, coming late to the party. At least Jezebel took the contrarian (shocking, I know) position that there is no shame in sporting ugly, exposed feet.

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Late to the Sharknado…

I had a whole bunch of ideas for a blog post – you have beardvertising to look forward to, people – but abandoned them after #sharknado took over Twitter and garnered the SyFy Channel’s latest cheesefest so much second-screen publicity that it was a featured story everywhere from the Today Show to Variety to the Wall Street Journal.

Too mature to know about the guilty pleasures of SyFy’s made-for-TV schlockfests? Sharknado, which premiered last night, stars D-list (and really, we’re being generous here) celebs Ian Zeiring (Beverly Hills 90210) and Tara Reid (American Pie). A hurricane off the coast of California sucks up man-eating sharks and transports them, via tornado, to Los Angeles. Said sharks proceed to fly out of funnel clouds and eat everyone.

Sweet.

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Mom Jeans and Pie

Hot Mom Jeans -- not an oxymoron anymore.
Hot Mom Jeans — not an oxymoron anymore.
Nothing mom-like about these, either...
Nothing mom-like about these, either…

They’ve done it again; The Wall Street Journal has written about something seemingly so far afield from the Bernanke press conference and stock prices that I am grinning wickedly. Of course, it actually does have a monetary and advertising/marketing tie-in — women over the age of 35 spend a LOT of money on clothes, and can better afford to spend $200+ on a pair of jeans. But this headline was just too non-WSJ for me to pass up: “A Makeover for ‘Mom Jeans.’

Then there’s the pie. According to MediaPost.com via Supermarket News, the pie is beating the cream filling out of cupcakes, and is the next big food crush. So, this is my “mom and apple pie” blog post, albeit turned on its head a bit.

First, an admission — I’m a mom, I’m smack in the target age range for mom jeans, and I love cupcakes. But I’m as likely to buy mom jeans or stop eating cupcakes as I am to start driving a minivan, i.e. never gonna happen. Truly. Never.

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Turns Out Marketing is Really the Pits…

Actor Jessica Szohr, "Gossip Girl" and armpit model...
Actor Jessica Szohr, “Gossip Girl” and armpit model…

Here we go again — I caught a headline in the Wall Street Journal that practically gave me whiplash. If you read this blog with any regularity, you’ll know I LOVE to find articles in the WSJ that are waaaayyyy off-topic in relation to the reams of copy written about global stock markets and the paper’s conservative-leaning editorial.

The headline in question? I reproduce it here in the same point-size type as the online article…

Unilever Tackles the Ugly Underarm

Turns out that the market for antiperspirant and deodorant is, in essence, 100% saturated. Oh, these bon mots are just going to keep coming.

What’s a savvy marketer to do? Come up with a new reason for female consumers to switch brands: Re-mediating our unattractive underarms.

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The ‘Wall Street Journal’ Tells Us What Next Year’s ‘HOT’ Color Will Be. Uh huh. I Said ‘The Wall Street Journal.’

A Jonathan Adler Design in...Honeysuckle
A Jonathan Adler Design in…Honeysuckle

<sarcasm>That bastion of all things fashionable, The Wall Street Journal, </sarcasm> reports that 2011 has a hot color all its own: Pantone 18-2120 TCX, or in non-artist-speak, “honeysuckle.” Yep. The Wall Street Journal. Honeysuckle. News.

I so love it when I get the basis of a post from the iconic newspaper read by dudes in suits on the train, and published by Dow Jones & Co. Earlier this year, the venerable business godhead presented me with another great story: how hard it is for bands to come up with great names. My first thought is inevitably, “Do hardcore Journal readers just skip over stuff like this?”

Courtesy of Pantone
The original Pantone Matching System fan guide. As reflected in the colors on cover, the 60s were all about bright, bold psychedelia, Peter Max and the Beatles.

But, back to pink. Yes, because  Pantone 18-2120 TCX is pink. Hot-house flower pink. Mad Men pink. This passage reads as if penned for one of the glossy fashion tomes, not the paper where people check the Forex and read about grain futures: “A sherbety shade of pink, with a hint of red and orange zest, honeysuckle is seen by designers as a pick-me-up at a time when many people have had their fill of misfortune.”

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Capsule Collections: High Fashion and Low Prices. Hell, Yes.

All rights reserved by Daria Angeli
All rights reserved by Daria Angeli

According to today’s Women’s Wear Daily, the latest addition to the sublime Vera Wang’s portfolio of decidedly non-couture designer items is a cosmetics line featuring makeup and color, skin care, bath and body products, and beauty accessories Kohl’s plans to introduce by spring 2012. Her Simply Vera line debuted there in 2007, is a consistent performer, and a very important part of Kohl’s retail strategy.

As a female with an eye for Chanel and a bank account for discount, the proliferation of capsule collections by marquee couture designers and celebrity/designer-types makes me all warm and happy inside. Until I try to actually acquire these high-concept, low-cost gems and find that there are women who wait in line overnight to get their hands on these clothes the day they debut. My meandering path to the store means there’s exactly one item left, in XXL, and in a color that makes me look nauseated and/or consumptive.

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Loyalty: Huh?

Targeting.gif [animated]

I feel a rant coming on.

It’s a recession; it’s a tough market; everyone’s pulled back; there isn’t enough to go around; blah blah blah. We hear it every day from colleagues who lost a long-standing client to someone who claims they can undercut prices, from people who were fired and replaced by someone cheaper and less experienced, from former clients and employers who offer the sop, “I’m sure we’ll be referring you business.”

Yep. It’s every business for itself. The playing field has leveled and small agencies are competing with larger agencies for the same handful of clients with marketing dollars. Advertising is competing with public relations for the same dollars, each making the argument it can do more for the client than the other. Carpe diem, everyone. Grab all you can.

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Ten Tragic Moments in Pants

Bad, bad pants
Photo courtesy of Salon.com via Flickr. Bad, bad pants.

Do I love the title of this Salon.com article or what? So much that I appropriated it for my post about it. It is primarily a long pictoral cringe at pants styles, ones that seem, like zombies, to return periodically from the grave to attack the unsuspecting. You know it’s bad when  the Wall Street Journal (!?!) is reporting the latest in a series of pants-related indignities: The growing popularity of leather shorts or “the rise of modern lederhosen.” No. Lie. You simply must view the slideshow, and be prepared to sink a little lower in your chair when your own personal pants-related sign of the apocalypse pops up on your screen. Jolly good Friday fun.