New Podcast: Digging Detroit – Dodge, Detroit & Women in Industry

Digging Detroit’s Tom Reed and Pete Kalinski discuss the early days of Detroit’s automotive history with historians Bailey Sisoy Isgro and Madelyn Rzadkowolski. Topics include: Advertising’s current portrayal of the Dodge Brothers Dodge’s famous dependability—and fix-it-yourself car kits General Patton and the Dodge military contract Women and Detroit’s cigar industry as a vehicle for entry into the workforce (and why Detroit was a cigar center) Using campaigns of conscience to get women into the workforce during WWI Detroit’s African American 600% population boom between 1910-1920 Detroit as the “Paris of the Midwest” More campaigns of conscience to force women out of the workplace after WWII Dodge’s role in the arsenal of democracy Fear of women earning too much–and gaining political clout) Promoting the myth of the non-communist “nuclear family” in the nuclear age For more information on the Dodge Brothers go to MeadowbrookHall.org. For more information on Bailey’s Detroit History Tours  go to… Read More…

When Opponents Weren’t Enemies: Michigan’s Harry Kelly and G. Mennen Williams–Politically Opposed, Mutually Respectful

It was once Armistice Day–in recognition of the end of the Great War, begun 100 years ago with an assassination in Sarajevo and ending with the loss of millions of lives, the restructuring of the world’s balance of power and with heavy reparation requirements on the defeated paving a certain path to another world war 25 years later.   Franklin Roosevelt, Harry Truman and George Marshall refused to let history repeat itself in 1945 and created a plan to rebuild former foes into allies—not the humiliated vanquished whose death we might celebrate.  The GI Bill would create the foundation of a new middle class—turning returning soldiers into college graduates. Today we thank our veterans for their service but do we really follow the lead of “the greatest generation?” Opponents, Not Enemies One week away from our biannual trench warfare of election ads, millions of dollars are spent and hundreds of characters assassinated… Read More…

New Podcast: Marketing Guru Discusses Google-Ads, App-Creation & Common Mistakes

  Kevin Walsh interviews Sandy Barris, a longtime marketing expert. He is the author of 97 Marketing Secrets to Make More Money and the app, Sales Goal On Fire Pro.  More information at www.SandyBarris.com Sandy shares his lifelong journey and lessons, including: – Writing a book, not to sell but to use as a giant business card of credibility – How Google’s AdWords works, and which words cost the most) – Creating an App (or hiring the right people to do it for you) – Marketing a la carte (one-day turnaround for customers who just need booster-shots) – War stories (successes and failures) – Election Ads (does negativity work?)

Propaganda, Potholes and Pensions: Political Ads & Business Clichés During Election (Hunting) Season

It wasn’t supposed to be this close of a race in Michigan. To get Rick Snyder re-elected governor may take more checks from United Citizens like the Koch brothers to create more subtle ads like the following… [youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WnPG2iW3cqU] This cringe-worthy moment was a response to Mark Schauer’s surprising “too-close-to-call” campaign—perhaps riding on the bumpy road of last winter’s potholes and angry pensioners whose fixed incomes become less-fixed with Snyder’s new tax on their retirement. Even GOP legislators weren’t happy with this tax… Republican Sen. Rick Jones of Grand Ledge, who introduced the repeal bill on March 20, said he did so in response to constituents in his district who have called his office or approached him in coffee shops to complain about the pension tax as they prepare their returns. “Since it’s tax season, I’ve had a huge amount of calls from my constituents when they find out what their tax liability is,” Jones told… Read More…

“Who is the Tall Dark Stranger There?” James Garner, My First Man-Crush

“I’m getting a little jealous of James Garner,” my wife informed me as I headed down the basement with my burned DVDs.  I was in the middle of  a bit of binge-watching a few months before Netflix appeared on our horizon.  It involved setting our DVR for a series of old Maverick episodes on the Starz Western channel. I’d finally figured out how to burn a bushel of the episodes to a DVD and was taking them downstairs to put by the dusty exercise equipment to induce me to get hooked on a show and lose pounds at the same time. I knew the  Maverick theme song years before I finally saw one of the old episodes… Who is the tall, dark stranger there? Maverick is the name. Ridin’ the trail to who knows where, Luck is his companion, Gamblin’ is his game. Smooth as the handle on a gun. Maverick is the name. Wild as the wind in Oregon, Blowin’ up a… Read More…

Delta Tweet Shows Perils of Real-Time Marketing

Another week, another social media snafu for an airline company. Two months after US Airways posted what will surely go down as the lewdest tweet from a business account of all time, it was Delta’s turn to take flight on the runway of incompetence. The moment came after Monday’s World Cup soccer match between the United States and Ghana. The US won the game, 2-1, behind a last minute goal by John Brooks, AKA The Greatest American Since Abraham Lincoln. In the opening minute of the game, Clint Dempsey stunned the world with the fifth-fastest goal in World Cup history. Twitter lit up like a hippie at Bonnaroo, and brands were determined to inject themselves into the conversation. That’s when Delta stumbled into the room like a drunk uncle and unfurled this astonishing gem: We’re sorry for our choice of photo in our previous tweet. Best of luck to all… Read More…

Fracking, Rat-Packing & Heart-Attacking: Opening Pandora’s Box of Ads

It is better to give than receive–particularly homework.  But for one weekend my high school students didn’t mind, at first, being asked to watch the Super Bowl and its commercials. The quickly frowning class soon realized it would have to count the number of edits, how a narrator was used, the use of graphics, music, celebrities, etc.  But my favorite column read, “Intended Audience.”  I started the assignment back when the agencies realized they could had grab the same audience that didn’t get a sandwich during a timeout for the first Macintosh ad in 1984–and the Bud Bowl began. Generally, a football game will not be the correct forum for Mop & Glow, pet food or feminine hygiene.  (Someone on Madison Avenue once gave birth to the strange descendant of “It’s not your father’s Oldsmobile” as the cringe-worthy, “It’s not your mother’s tampon.” ) The standards for the “Big Game,” as the NFL insists other… Read More…

Shocking NHTSA Commercial Captures Horrors of Texting and Driving

Head bobbing, car swerving, one hand on the wheel, the other on a cell phone. From neighborhoods to freeways, texting and driving has become all too common in the United States. Millions of brazen motorists text and drive every day, testing the laws of chance and putting every driver on the road in peril. According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, more than 3,000 Americans die from distracted driving every year. Thousands of others suffer serious and traumatic injuries. This is no surprise when you consider texting and driving makes a crash up to 23 times more likely. As this issue has gained steam in recent years, many have been waiting for the government to strengthen its stance against texting and driving. The public sector already invests millions in its “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” and “Click It or Ticket” campaigns. How can it be so lax about an… Read More…

Bad Ads and Worse Puns for Rick Snyder: Inside the Koch Brothers’ War-Room

Always a fan of strange ads, I thought I’d deconstruct the possible creation of this beauty–a close second to Rick Snyder’s scuba-diving Super Bowl ad (link). Needless Disclaimer:  The following transcript could have been secretly recorded in a war-room–detailing the plan for the first wave of ads to re-elect Michigan’s Governor Snyder.  You never know… [Sound of door opening and bowing and scraping.] Koch 1:  “Okay boys, lay it on me.  Whaddaya got?” Slappy:  “Pardon sir?” Koch 2:  “In Michigan, son, in Michigan.” Slappy 1:  “Oh.  Well we own most of the senate and a lot of house members.” Slappy 2:  “And we’re taking over most of the public schools and are funneling tax dollars to Pearson Publishing for the cyber-school scam.” Koch 1:  “No no no.  I mean tell us the big plan for Ricky boy.” Slappy 1:  “Who?” Koch 2:  “Snyder.  Rick Snyder!  You know the governor.  The… Read More…

Scary Chattanoogan Billboards: Swaying 86 People with Mystery Money & Veiled Threats

The plan was simple.  Just convince under a hundred people that Detroit was once again the bogeyman, just like in Robocop. Yesterday in Tennessee, in a narrow vote swung by just 6%, the United Auto Workers’ efforts to unionize the Chattanooga Volkswagen workers fell short, 712-626.  The “yes” votes began to fade away in the final two weeks due to a barrage of billboards like the following… Ironically, as seen in the above typoed billboard, there was not only the threat of liberals and Obama, it also mentions the dirty “politicans” who abandon their oaths of office to all their citizens and instead conduct business for the sake of their campaign benefactors. But it’s okay if those non-liberal representatives choose to have “Big Government” step in during a private worker-management vote.  After all, if Volkswagen became unionized guess what might continue to happen all the way down to the Gulf… Read More…

Then Along Came a Snyder: Super Bowl Scuba-Governor & Four Great Lake Shipwrecks to Explore Before Drowning in $30 Million in Ads

It’s not every Super Bowl you see a snorkeling governor rising dramatically from the depths of a swimming pool. Toss in the Phil Hartman-like cheesy narrator and you’ve got a $400,000 bid for amnesia. And while Super Bowl ads often have strange, engaging openings, they often aren’t know for their literary depth Even the press secretary of former Michigan GOP governor John Engler admitted he was a bit baffled: “Truscott initially was confused by the snorkeling scene too, but upon further reflection, he thought it worked as a metaphor.” (link) Most Super Bowl ads don’t require “further reflection.” There’s not a lot of metaphors either, unless you count cute dogs, groin-injuries and trucks hauling cattle. This strange spot produced by Strategic Perception Inc. of Hollywood oddly blends two famous 1960s Hollywood images that have never before co-existed: Benjamin Braddock and James Bond… It’s not too far of a leap, actually,… Read More…

Industry Night at the Auto Show: The Top 5 Displays

In sales and marketing, the best professionals need to know every inch of their product. In advertising, it is equally as important to know the ins and outs of every other product on the market. That’s why they finagle a $93 Industry Night at the Auto Show invitation for the Creative Department folks like me. A chance to peruse current and upcoming vehicles from every major manufacturer and parts retailers without having to deal with the suits and elbows that flood the floor when it opens to the public. Admittedly, one of my favorite parts of this event each year is the simulated and virtual driving stations. Unfortunately that is not the highlight this year, as most of them are pretty forgettable. Maybe with the exception of the Ford Focus ST simulator, which ends up being more like driving a regular Focus anyway because it only has automatic transmission capability…. Read More…

Iced Tea and Rejection: Life of an Advertising Copywriter

We welcome Phil DeAngelis to MyMediaDiary.  This is his first post! Housed along many inner streets of major cities across the world, there’s a magical place where scatter-brains get paid to think and dink around all day. To pump nerf balls and adjust swivel-chairs from the ground up and then back again. A place where anyone can wear whatever they want. And there are no rules. Okay, so that place doesn’t exactly exist. But somewhere near the corner of “Almost” and “Not Quite” there lies the creative department of an advertising agency. For the record there are some rules, and you can’t dink around all day. But I wanted to set the proper mood. Other than the importance of iced tea, the purpose of this entry is to offer a narrow prod into the life of a Copywriter, considering that the job is oft misunderstood. Mainly for other lost souls… Read More…

Corinthian Leather: A Fond, Gas-Guzzling Reminiscence of Shag-Luxury

It’s funny what passes for luxury when you’re a kid. In 1973, we visited my Uncle Bob and his family in Winter Haven, Florida and I couldn’t believe they had a fountain in their backyard.  Along with so many in-ground pools, lizards running all over the yards was added the magic of my grandma’s mobile home park three miles away where they actually had adult bikes with three wheels! Moving into our new house that same summer, I was amazed to see that each of the kids’ rooms had its own color scheme of shag carpeting—pink, green, orange and yellow.  My parents’ room was a deep blue shag and the family room was a tasteful blend of all of the colors listed above. But what made me know we had really arrived was the plastic rake that the previous owners had left behind to tend the fluorescent blades of carpeting…. Read More…

Abilify’s Bathrobe: The Joe Camel of Anti-Depressants

The first time I saw the Abilify ad, I thought Saturday Night Live’s monologue had just finished.  There was no way it was serious… I am fortunate not to suffer from the crippling effects of depression, but when I saw this cartoon, I felt insulted for the millions who do.  It’s tough enough to have to admit that you’re at the mercy of this syndrome but to have a pharmaceutical company display its complexities with an animated bathrobe, like a possessed Linus’s blanket, is wrong. Not only does it perpetuate the “loafer/just get out of the house” stereotype of depressed people remaining in their bathrobe all day it trivializes the nature of the disorder, it dumbs-down the entire disorder. James Heaney wrote a great analysis (link) of the use of pastel colors, the female narrator and other Madison Avenue tactics designed to sidetrack the consumer from the rather terrifying side… Read More…

Cyber Schools–What the FAQ? A Union Goon’s Tea Party Question Reveals New British Taxation (with Podcast)

Podcast of interview with Kevin about this post by Night Shift’s radio host, Tony Trupiano (WDFN Detroit, AM 1130).  (Begins at 1:40) If Columbus explored as much as the Detroit Free Press, he’d have never left that dock in southern Spain. In a  “Free Press-Release” yesterday by Lori Higgins, “Michigan Students to Have Many Options for Online Learning,” we learn of the many choices that Michigan students now have to their education via online learning following the passage of Senate Bill 619.  I had high hopes that I’d finally learn a little more about the companies that are running these schools (if they are indeed companies). You’ll find all kinds of facts and opinions in the ever-popular comments section (from trolls and non-trolls) to the article, examining the ethics and big-picture questions that I won’t explore here.  I’m just trying to follow the money. You may have seen the marketing. … Read More…

County-Wide School Districts? Kicking the Tires in Ol’ Machiavellian Michigan

Quoting billboards is kind of a family hobby.  “Keep up the good work, Governor Snyder,” my son read on I-96 last Tuesday. “Kind of like, ‘Brownie, you’re doing a helluva job,’” he chuckled. My poor kids have, surely by osmosis while sitting at eternal dinners with me, come to expect no good news from our state’s capital for most of their lives.  And this morning’s headlines didn’t change that pattern. Growing up in the micro-town of Clawson, Michigan, I was amazed, even as a clueless junior high student, that we had our own superintendent.  Heck, most of us couldn’t believe we had our own laundromat. So here are three simple questions for the salesman before you buy the 2014 County-Wide School District being rolled out by State Superintendent Mike Flanagan. The vehicle sure looks swell during the commercial and it looks even prettier in the showroom. And who’s not in… Read More…

“Fabberglasted” – Local Legend of Baseball and Fertilizer, Rod Allen

I blame Justin Timberlake. Without the Super Bowl wardrobe malfunction with Janet Jackson, there wouldn’t be such a long delay of live television broadcasts–and I could just turn down the set and have the radio playing. Anyone unfortunate enough to watch a Tiger game beside me knows that I’ve got a collection on my phone’s note-pad.  It’s a three year-old assembly that was created as a little therapy. The title of the list: “Rod-isms.” Rod Allen is a former Tiger who batted .333 for the club–for his 15 games.  At an ’84 reunion of the last World Series champions in the Motor City, I was very happy to look down on the field and see some of my favorites:  Gibson, Trammell, Whitaker, Parrish, Petry, Morris…”and Rod Allen.” I don’t do double-takes too often, but I did that day at the ballpark.  I had to check my “Bless You Boys” book,… Read More…