Monthly Archives: July 2010

Big Star

Today, Andy Hummel, the original bass player for the band Big Star, died at the age of 59, four months after Alex Chilton, the leader of the band, died at the same age.

After Alex died, I realized just how many of my friends didn’t know Big Star. And upon playing them a few songs, they typically said “they sound like whoever did the theme song to ‘That 70s Show’ and I would sigh and say, yes, yes that is Big Star as well.

So now none of the people who read my blog can say they haven’t heard Big Star. Andy Hummel, rest in peace.

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Inception

I love a good story……honestly, I’m a sucker for it. I can’t get enough of the brain creating situations and centuries and sentences that may, or may not exist.

So I decided to play hookie from work (ssss…don’t tell my boss) and catch a late afternoon showing of Inception yesterday. I was instantly drawn in. The world Nolan creates is bizarre and real and … I’m not going to say any more as I imagine most haven’t seen it yet.

If you’re not familiar with the concept of the movie – it’s about extracting – and planting – ideas in people’s minds while they are dreaming. Time travels at different speeds during different levels of a dream, and through coaxing and manipulating you can gain as much, or plant as much, information as you need.

“Dreams feel real while we are in them…..it’s only when we wake up that we realize something is actually strange.” States DeCaprio’s character Cobb states.

It really is an incredible concept. But I have to wonder just how sci-fi the idea is. At what point can you convince an unconscious change your thinking by a dream? What can carry over from the world where you mind has no limitations? What can we learn if we were able to fully listen to what our brain tells us each evening when we sleep?

And if you knew you could get inside someone else’s dream, would you do it?

Another brilliant theme is that one single idea can build a city, create the impossible, change the world. If we would could remember just what our brain allowed us to do, to see, to be in a dream – how much more would we do with our life?

I probably will write more later, as I’m sure I’ll be seeing it again this weekend. But for now, let me just say, you should go buy a ticket, and check out Inception.

And don’t be afraid to dream a little bigger, darling.

Old Spice Got It Right, Man.

While this is a personal blog, and I rarely post business stuff on here, I wanted to make a little statement about Proctor and Gamble (who I’m a fan of thanks to their slave-free supply chain), and Wieden + Kennedy, the ad agency behind the brilliant “Old Spice Man” campaign.

Seems like single-handedly, Old Spice Man changed the rules of advertising … For the better.

First thing is obvious. I am female. Isaiah Mustafa is beautiful. Nuff said.

But second. A brand, that arguably should have disappeared years ago as my generation’s buying dollars took over, has suddenly become one of the most talked about products on earth. How? They personalized it. “Hello Ladies – look at me – look at your man – now look back at me – now look at your man.” And made a campaign so ridiculous that it was the only ad our Lost group wouldn’t fast forward over on Tuesday evenings. The men laughed, the women swooned. The first two commercials were immensely entertaining.

And lets face it. Married men, when’s the last time you bought body wash. Exactly. Your wife is the one who buys it, so technically you’re out of the equation anyway.

So now, do a third commercial that is even more amazing (“Swan dive into the best night of your life!”) and then make it even more personal.

I honestly thought the campaign was brilliant when there were 20 or so videos posted online with Old Spice Man responding to statements and questions from Facebook, twitter and general yahoo questions. But when the video numbers are in triple digits, the answers are directed to super stars and normal folks, and video responses start popping up all over the web, what do you have?

Millions of people engaging in your brand. Your name being locked in their memory as not only a quality product, but downright fun ride.

It’s brilliant. Engaging your audience on a very personal level. Taking advertising out of the TV and banner ads and starting a buzz that brings new customers seeking you out. Yes, it’s funny. It’s amazingly entertaining (see his responses to George Stephanopoulous, his daughter, and even a response to one of his own personal tweets) And Mustafa gets extra credit for spending 2 days wrapped in a towel in a bathroom set.

Yesterday, after spending several hours throughout the day clicking back to the Old Spice Youtube channel to catch up on the new messages to fans, I had to make a run to Walgreens to buy some toothpaste. And funny, I haven’t been in a men’s soap section in 5 years, but yesterday, I did. I walked over, and sadly for me, the Walgreens was sold out of all but one scent of Old Spice bodywash for men.

They did have 2 bottles left of “Swagger” and ya know, it did smell pretty darn good.

So my question is, according to one of the videos, men who use these washes tend to attract droves of women who find themselves powerless to the manliness of these products. So as a single woman, I ask if simply buying these products can attract men to me, who want to smell like a man, man. Somehow I doubt it works in reverse.

No matter what, kudos to the team at Wieden + Kennedy. You have created a social media campaign that did just exactly what social media campaigns are supposed to do – engage the audience, let the audience make it their own and give an entertaining afternoon to many of us who are now dreaming of ways we can engage our audience as well as the Old Spice team.

Don’t Give Up

I never thought I’d have a post saying someone should watch a Pink video…but combine Pink with Herbie Hancock and John Legend, and that’s a different story.

Peter Gabriel wrote this song for his amazing So album in the mid-80s, and Kate Bush sang the sweet, supportive back up. The song is about a man in economic hardship, being out of work and feeling unneeded. The second voice is what women are good at: “don’t give up, you still have friends…”

Sort of a classic look at men needing to be respected, women needing to be loved.

Anyway – Herbie Hancock’s remake of the song is nothing short of stunning, and in a day where unemployment, housing foreclosures and economic downfall are in the news every day, many can resonate with these words

  • moved on to another town
    tried hard to settle down
    for every job, so many men
    so many men no-one needs
  • And the woman’s refrain:

  • don’t give up
    ’cause you have friends
    don’t give up
    you’re not the only one
    don’t give up
    no reason to be ashamed
    don’t give up
    you still have us
    don’t give up now
    we’re proud of who you are
    don’t give up
    you know it’s never been easy
    don’t give up
    ’cause I believe there’s the a place
    there’s a place where we belong
  • All that to say, enjoy a beautiful take on a beautiful song. And to anyone out there needing support, encouragement and rest, don’t give up.