Ragu Wants You! (to remember your traumatic childhood memories)

September 24, 2012 § Leave a comment

Dear Ragu, you’re disgusting.

Okay, perhaps that’s a bit harsh. But after we saw one of their “Long Day of Childhood” campaign ads, everybody watching tv in my room had the same reaction; “oh yuck!” followed by “oh wow that’s an ad for pasta sauce? Wtf?”

Just take a look for yourself:

The last time I checked, aren’t food ads supposed to make you feel hungry? I mean, my stomach is churning right now… for the wrong reasons.

Let’s take an analytical perspective at this:


A boy walks out into a room, where his mother wipes pasta sauce off of his face. With her spit.

Hmm… so this must be a lysol commercial, right? That’s pretty nasty. And if you ask me, the last thing this makes me think of is food. I mean, walking around with food on your face is pretty gross, if you ask me, but I can mentally imagine a nice big can of Lysol coming out of the closet soon. I mean, that’s what has to happen, right?

After which point the country singer re-iterates that yes, indeed she just wiped his face with spit

Still nasty. Still no Lysol. Where are those wipes when you need them, anyways? (you can use those on people’s faces, right?)

and re-iterates it again

I think I’ve gotten the point. And literally, the slow-mo’s and zoom in’s to this woman’s finger from her tongue to this boy’s face is making me start to feel a little bit physically ill.

oh, and just in case you didn’t know, she just used spit to wash off his face


after which he is suddenly at the dinner table holding a bottle of Ragu

Whew- at least that woman isn’t wiping her spit on that boy’s face anymore. Oh, wait, but what’s this? That’s not a can of Lysol wipes! It’s food? Oh God, get the barf bags on the ready.

and we can conclude that what was on his face originally was, you guessed it, Ragu sauce

Oh yum! Did you know that Ragu sauce is the official source of misery in the lives of children in the lives of children worldwide? Meaning all of this wouldn’t have happened if he hadn’t been fed Ragu in the first place! The Horror!

Family dinner with more pasta. Insert guilt trip: you make this poor child’s life absolutely horrible. The least you can do is feed him some Ragu, right?

You are all horrible people and by this point I have officially sworn to never touch another bottle of Ragu sauce again for the sake of humanity.


Yikes. It may be time to hire a new ad agency. Just maybe.


Shazamination; Shazam’s Plans for World Domination (via Your Television)

September 22, 2012 § Leave a comment

You know that little blue “s” symbol that advertisers have started dropping on the corners of their advertisements? Expect to start seeing more of them, starting now.

While I am sure most of you have heard of Shazam, the social music-tagging software, the program is now branching out into a whole new universe; television.

I remember the first time I saw a Shazam button on an ad: Progressive. Being the front-of-the-curve as usual, the brand promoted their adver-game Rocket Cat Adventures (meow) by encouraging us to scan the symbol to play along. While promotig some of their own agenda, of course.

Oh- and don’t forget the Olympics! The perfect testing ground of their expansion, Shazam promoted themselves as a secondary source of content.

“Now with Shazam, you can access ALLL of the content!”

“How revolutionary! A new way to distract myself WHILE I am being distracted by TV!” while I won’t deny that we are already distracted to the brink by multiple sources, often at once, the role of this “distraction” is  evolving.

While today we may distract ourselves with Plants vs. Zombies while watching Dr.Phil (“that’s good quality television!” in the words of Justin Timberlake), tomorrow we will not  only be watching tv, but interacting with it.

“Now how is that ever going to happen?” you may ask

One word: Shazam. Not only can you watch a progressive commercial, but now you can play the cat in the commercial, allowing the brand to position itself while providing you with an active means of watching. Now that’s smart.

Now, how about an app that cleans my house while I watch?

A View of Society From Mars; An Alien’s Perspective

August 13, 2012 § Leave a comment

If Mars aliens were examining us from a space rover, what would they see?

It’s what I’ve been wondering ever since I heard news of the Curiosity rover landing last week, and I’ve come to a conclusion that as an inhabited planet, we must be a fascinating group to watch, just like little ants under a microscope.

While the Mars rover has landed too recently to make any Earth-shattering (haha, get it?) finds, here is what a window into Earth life must look like from the big red planet.

Green, blue, and inflated with cheap goods– That’s us. We may not have a surplus of drinkable water, but we most certainly do have an economy based on plastic rubber duckies and the like. An alien with a microscope may be sufficiently perplexed by an economy that is so grounded that the largest booming businesses are sweatshop factories in China.

A headless-chicken political mentality– Democrat! Republican! Idon’tcareicrat! Although political polarization is nothing new, it has reached what may be considered a new high on the fronts of economic stimulus and social rights. The aliens would probably be moderately interested in this, until the cane-beating begins. It’s just too painful to watch.

Watching people continually running is circles is a popular spectator sport– Whether it be people or cars, society seems to never have lost its penchant for spicing up the mundane. As civilized creatures, we have managed to make sports a transcendent experience, especially through marketing and social media. Like an athlete? Follow them on one of a variety of social network, buy their autographed memorabilia or follow their blog. Sports are not just about sport- they are about experience.

Everyone is a stalker, but it’s considered socially acceptable– Did you know that your mom is in the kitchen peeling potatoes right now? I don’t actually know her, but that’s what her status says! In todays society, we are all human radio towers, broadcasting our personal lives to,well, everyone. The line between personal and public is now shrinking, for better or worse, and it is not infrequent to have friends ask you about the party a friend of a friend had. How did they know? Oh,right.

If you think Mars is a strange place to visit, you should take a second look at Earth- scrap the telescope and look at a bunch of squiggles called writing which you are reading on a “Blog” which is on the internet which is a series of interconnected tubes (am I right?) An outside-of the box perspective is the lifeblood of innovation.

And if you happen to be a Mars alien, feel free to correct me.

Also, I want your autograph.

Incentivize This!; How Sitting on Your Butt All Day Just Got More Rewarding

August 2, 2012 § Leave a comment

“My god, you actually don’t do anything all day!”

That’s what my parents told me the other day.

Maybe saying I do nothing was a bit of an exaggeration on their part; I work three days a week as a marketing intern at the lovely Netprospex, an up- and-coming data prospecting firm. However, I’m not going to lie; the other two days of the week it might not seem like I do much.

At least in the minds of the technological luddites that are my parents.

Computar? Like the kind with tubes that hold the intra-net?

That’s them.

But my friends, I am out to make the pocket change of a lifetime- while not moving an inch the entire time.

enter: the loyalty program.

You have probably heard of them before, especially in terms of credit card reward programs. But get this: the loyalty program is spreading like a virus, to everything from television to app downloads.

In the great words of Apple, “there’s an app for that!”

Want to get paid to watch comedy clips and doing internet searches? Look no further than Swagbucks

How about getting paid for downloading apps on your phone? There’s a program for that, too; Appredeem.

Or for watching TV? It’s called Viggle.

Watching app trailers? App Trailers.

Visiting blogs? PuchTab

You get the idea. And you know I’ve downloaded all of them. ALL of the loyalty apps!


Loyalty programs really prove that when targeting us, marketing has gone hand-in-hand with entertainment and life, and almost seamlessly. And although these apps haven’t quite reached the status of world domination, and few of them have attained mild popularity, I can almost guarantee you that within five years  being a part of a loyalty program for almost everything and anything will become the norm.

Marketers understand the power of incentives like no other, harnessing the power of social interaction in these apps to make them not only connected, but to make them part of an over-archingly greater entertainment experience. (My inner marketing nerd is smiling relentlessly right now)

it’s just like Hamlet said- “TV or not TV, that is the question!”

…wait a second…

Must Reads: Making Your Maketing Novel

June 22, 2012 § Leave a comment

As you all very well know, I have been spending the majority of my summer doing what I enjoy most: reading. Call me a dork, but more than once marketing book knowledge has saved me from embarrassment. My business book compulsion has also helped me learn things outside of the classroom and workplace; it’s a given, although more than a few people I know take reading for granted, especially in the business field.

In the words of one of my classmates “how can you read during the summer? You couldn’t pay me to do that!” I laughed and proceeded to shove my nose in another book.

This being said, thus far during the summer I have some across more than a few good reads relating to marketing and business as a whole. If you are just beginning to pursue a career in marketing or are a seasoned veteran, I encourage you to pick up any of these titles (many of which are light reading) and go wild.

Here are my top 5 recommended business books for summer reading:

1. Inbound Marketing: Get Found Using Google, Social Media and Blogs by Brian Halligan and Dharmesh Shah

Read this book first! For more than a few reasons, this book has been my savior. Inbound marketing had only been minimally explained to me in school and work, and this book more than filled in the blanks about how the miracle that is user-generated content works. In a very approachable (and even entertaining!) format, Halligan and Shah explain how to use inbound marketing to your benefit, explaining real-world examples of SEO optimiazation techqniques that worked and encouraging you to employ them, as well. Every chapter concludes with a checklist of ways you can incorporate these strategies into your own inbound marketing campaigns. Starting a blog myself at the time, you bet I did as they said; and for the most part, it worked. Halligan and Shah, I owe you one.

2.Crossing the Chasm by Geoffrey Moore

The essential how-to guide of outbound marketing- scratch that; the bible. Moore explains the “Chasm” theory, that in order to sell any product or service, a marketer must first bridge the gap between the Early Adopter and Early Majority markets. “The What?” you say. Basically, this book explains how to keep the momentum behind a brand, service, or product once it has launched and bridge the pitfall created when your brand message does not go public. This book was required reading in my marketing class, and I would have been at a disadvantage if it had not been assigned. And I don’t say that often- did I mention how high school ruined Huckleberry Finn for me?

3. Culturematic by Grant McCracken

This book is a goldmine of real-world examples of brands that stood out and became greater because of it. So how can “reality TV, John Cheever, a pie lab, Julia Child, Fantasy Football, burning man, the Ford Fiesta Movement, Rube Goldberg, NFL films, Wordle, Two and a Half Men, a 10,000-year symphony, and ROFLcon memes” “Help You Create and Execute Breakthrough Ideas?” Without spoiling too much, they do it by being different, word of mouth, and creating a new culture for their consumers. This book is absolutely to blame for my business book addiction at present.

4.Say Everything by Scott Rosenberg

Believe it or not, Blogs are not a leftover scrap of the 1990’s internet bubble, but a real form of marketing prowess for individuals and brands. This book explains just how blogs have become the media by the people, for the people, and why they won’t be going out of fashion, well, for a while. This book blends beautifully when it is read after Inbound Marketing, as it expemplifies inbound marketing done right. Part history, part guide, this book is surprisingly readable. If you have ever even looked at a blog post like this one and considered joining the blogosphere yourself or as a marketing pursuit, read this. Yes, You.

5. Onward by Howard Schultz

A gorgeous read about the trials of the Starbucks company in its re-branding effort during 2007/2008. The book is in a way an inspiration within itself; beginning with the crisis and ending with the return of the company as a top-dog in the coffee world after years of slippage, Howard explains how experience really is everything. As a story, this novel is interesting within itself, but the marketing and business value which can be derived from this novel is invaluable. That and Howard Schultz is thebombdotcom.


Gunn’s Golden Rules by Tim Gunn

Tim Gunn of Project Runway is the perfect example of the personal brand. Rising to fame in his later years, this book describes how even some of the largest names in fashion thankfully have brands like Vogue to form their first impressions. Gunn’s charismatic manner comes through his writing naturally, taking us the reader under his wing like one of his students, and guiding us through his own life experiences to perfect ourselves, and in a marketing context, our own personal brands.

Enjoy the sun, wear suntan lotion, and get your read on!

What are your favorite business books? (i.e indulge me in my pursuits as a bookworm?)

The Business Book Compulsion

June 7, 2012 § Leave a comment

Lately, I have found myself spending nearly every spare second of my free time reading like there’s no tomorrow. And it’s not just any genre of novels which has suddenly entranced me, but rather the genre of business novels.

Most recently, it was the blogging novel “Say Everything” by Scott Rosenberg (a must for anyone entering the blogosphere for the first time), before that it was a top-to-bottom read-through of the classic textbook “Introduction to the Principles of Marketing”, and before that the novel “Knockout Entrepreneur” by George Foreman himself.

It hasn’t even been two months since my summer vacation began, yet if my GetGlue check-ins are correct, I have sped through over five novels, or roughly one per.  week. Freakishly enough, this means I have not only just free-read more books than I have during two yers of highschool combined, but get this; I haven’t even tired of the genre yet.

Actually, quite the opposite has happened. Maybe it is because this summer is my first without some kind of required reading built in, or perhaps it is a result of at last what I consider to be my calling, business and marketing, and simply cannot get enough of it.

Or maybe, I am just going crazy, which is an entirely viable possibility.

Actually, change the words “viable possibility” to “undeniable certainty”

However, this novelistic obsession seems to follow a common trend in my life- throughout my childhood and adolecence, whenever I became thoroughly engrossed in a topic it completely consumed my reading focus.

I can recall some point early in my phase of fascination with Ancient Egyptian culture when my mom told me the elementary school librarian took her aside to tell her my reading tendencies were “atypical” of a child my age:

“she told me ‘she never reads books outside of those about Ancient Egypt. I have never met a child who centered on a single subject like that”

Apparently, the librarian futiley suggested to my mother that I go ahead and read a fantasy book, or an early reader chapter book. My mother found the woman’s drive to coerce me to fiction hysterical, and even encouraged me to keep doing what I was doing.

The result? Whenever tv specials about Tut the boy king would come on TV, or our class took a field trip to the museum of natural history, I would end up correcting my tour guides on the aspects of Egyptian history they had gotten wrong.

“you freak”

In fact, I had drilled the material so far into my memory that years later even after my craze ended in 6th grade, I didn’t study for a single test in the Ancient Egypt chapter in history class because I already knew it all. Just like some kind of freaky sponge.

But the moral of this story is- even if you become a target of ridicule for your extreme interest in business, marketing, or whatever field you pursue in life, just as my mother told me as a kid, keep doing what you are doing.

I cannot empasise enough the importance about reading about your career even on your days off- it will help you immensely, and although it might come with a small stigma initially, your “Freakish” ability to rattle off the history of the founding of Facebook at will will someday be in your favor.

Although, in all legitimacy, if you attain a fascination with something like Ancient Egypt in reading, I don’t suggest changing your shopping habits as a result of it. I literally have two life-sized statues from my Ancient Egyptian phase in my room right now, and they are taking up the overflow space for all of my business books!

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