Archive for category PurpleSays.

Remembering George Carlin.

The paradox of our time in history is that we have taller buildings but shorter tempers, wider Freeways, but narrower viewpoints. We spend more, but have less, we buy more, but enjoy less. We have bigger houses and smaller families, more conveniences, but less time. We have more degrees but less sense, more knowledge, but less judgment, more experts, yet more problems, more medicine, but less wellness.

We drink too much, smoke too much, spend too recklessly, laugh too little, drive too fast, get too angry, stay up too late, get up too tired, read too little, watch TV too much, and pray too seldom.

We have multiplied our possessions, but reduced our values. We talk too much, love too seldom, and hate too often.

We’ve learned how to make a living, but not a life. We’ve added years to life not life to years. We’ve been all the way to the moon and back, but have trouble crossing the street to meet a new neighbor. We conquered outer space but not inner space. We’ve done larger things, but not better things.

We’ve cleaned up the air, but polluted the soul. We’ve conquered the atom, but not our prejudice. We write more, but learn less. We plan more, but accomplish less. We’ve learned to rush, but not to wait. We build more computers to hold more information, to produce more copies than ever, but we communicate less and less.

These are the times of fast foods and slow digestion, big men and small character, steep profits and shallow relationships. These are the days of two incomes but more divorce, fancier houses, but broken homes. These are days of quick trips, disposable diapers, throwaway morality, one night stands, overweight bodies, and pills that do everything from cheer, to quiet, to kill. It is a time when there is much in the showroom window and nothing in the stockroom. A time when technology can bring this letter to you, and a time when you can choose either to share this insight, or to just hit delete.

Remember to spend some time with your loved ones, because they are not going to be around forever.

Remember, say a kind word to someone who looks up to you in awe, because that little person soon will grow up and leave your side.

Remember, to give a warm hug to the one next to you, because that is the only treasure you can give with your heart and it doesn’t cost a cent.

Remember, to say, ‘I love you’ to your partner and your loved ones, but most of all mean it. A kiss and an embrace will mend hurt when it comes from deep inside of you.

Remember to hold hands and cherish the moment for someday that person will not be there again.

Give time to love, give time to speak! And give time to share the precious thoughts in your mind.

And always remember, life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by those moments that take our breath away.

George Carlin

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Tim Cook: The Apple doctrine.

Apple COO Tim Cook, quoted during the Q3 2008 results call, when asked if Apple would be OK without Steve Jobs:

“Ben, let me add something to that and backup just a bit. There is extraordinary breadth and depth and tenure among the Apple executive team, and they lead 35,000 employees that I would call wicked smart – and that’s in all areas of the company from engineering to marketing to operations and sales and all the rest. And the values of our company are extremely well entrenched.

We believe that we are on the face of the earth to make great products and that’s not changing. We are constantly focusing on innovating. We believe in the simple not the complex. We believe that we need to own and control the primary technologies behind the products that we make, and participate only in markets where we can make a significant contribution.

We believe in saying no to thousands of projects, so that we can really focus on the few that are truly important and meaningful to us. We believe in deep collaboration and cross-pollination of our groups, which allow us to innovate in a way that others cannot.

And frankly, we don’t settle for anything less than excellence in every group in the company, and we have the self-honesty to admit when we’re wrong and the courage to change. And I think regardless of who is in what job those values are so embedded in this company that Apple will do extremely well. And I would just reiterate a point Peter made in his opening comments that I strongly believe that Apple is doing the best work in its history.”

This explains so much, on so many levels.

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Are you seeing the obvious?

Are we all missing a big opportunity?

I wondered the other day:  just how many great marketing organizations are currently focused on small points of relevance and differentiation with their products, while ignoring much bigger and more important insights?

I have been in a number of discussions recently where we have been building improvements to products in line with product based insights about our consumers, and knowledge of our target consumer segments.  This usually leads to some small packaging design changes, minor product upgrades or pricing changes.   Within the consumer, category and segment contexts in which we look at the world, all of these things are good and make sense.  However, going home the other day I was on a tube where the guy sitting next to me was doing his groceries on his phone.  We had missed something:

Our consumers real world is so much more vast and complex than our sophisticated modelled views, that in looking at something so specific we were missing something huge.

Consumers are changing.  Digital, and mobile technology, are changing them in ways which we are all only beginning to grasp:  They are more informed.  They find products differently.  The choose products differently.  They buy products using this technology and then publish and share product recommendations based on experience.  All of these factors are fundamental to marketers, and anyone using a modern mobile smartphone should catch this.  But how many of us are acting on it as a first order priority for our products and the way we sell?  My guess:  not many.  Most are paying lip service to the movement, but few are building their offers up directly from it.

Ask yourself:  In this context, what is more important: looking at the new colors for this season, or making sure consumers can browse, share and buy it through their devices?  Adding a new slogan to your packaging, or ensuring a web based contact point allows consumers to contact you immediately (especially unhappy ones)?  I would posit that unless you are selling to an over 65+ demo, there will be more value in the latter choices that are focused on the broader digital movement – for every one of our businesses.

The lesson here for me is that you need to look for the most obvious and generic insights first, before you focus on the more narrow, segmented and differentiated. You don’t want to be blinded by detail.

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Leo Burnett.

An ad industry legend, Leo Burnett’s genius can be seen in some of his most famous quotes…

“Advertising is the ability to sense, interpret… to put the very heart throbs of a business into type, paper and ink.”

“Anyone who thinks that people can be fooled or pushed around has an inaccurate and pretty low estimate of people – and he won’t do very well in advertising.”

“Make it simple. Make it memorable. Make it inviting to look at. Make it fun to read.”

“If you can’t turn yourself into your customer, you probably shouldn’t be in the ad writing business at all.”

“Regardless of the moral issue, dishonesty in advertising has proved very unprofitable. “

“The greatest thing to be achieved in advertising, in my opinion, is believability, and nothing is more believable than the product itself. “

“The secret of all effective advertising is not the creation of new and tricky words and pictures, but one of putting familiar words and pictures into new relationships. “

“The secret of all effective originality in advertising is not the creation of new and tricky words and pictures, but one of putting familiar words and pictures into new relationships. “

“The sole purpose of business is service. The sole purpose of advertising is explaining the service which business renders. “

“The work of an advertising agency is warmly and immediately human. It deals with human needs, wants, dreams and hopes. Its ‘product’ cannot be turned out on an assembly line. “

“To swear off making mistakes is very easy. All you have to do is swear off having ideas. “

“Too many ads that try not to go over the reader’s head end up beneath his notice. “

“We want consumers to say, ‘That’s a hell of a product’ instead of, ‘That’s a hell of an ad.”

“When you reach for the stars you may not quite get one, but you won’t come up with a handful of mud either. “

~ Leo Burnett  (1891 – 1971)

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Collected bits of wisdom worth sharing:

“You can’t depend on your judgment when your imagination is out of focus.”  John F. Kennedy.

“I am enough of an artist to draw freely upon my imagination.  Imagination is more important than knowledge.  Knowledge is limited.  Imagination encircles the world.”  Albert Einstein.

“If I listened to all my customers – I would have ended up building a better horse and buggy.” ~ Henry Ford.

“Genius is the ability to reduce the complicated to the simple.”  C.W. Ceran

“If, at first, an idea is not absurd, there is no hope for it.”  Albert Einstein.

“Every child is an artist.  The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up.”  Pablo Picasso.

“If you don’t execute your ideas, they die.”  Roger von Oech.

“No, sir, I’m not saying that charming, witty and warm copy won’t sell. I’m just saying I’ve seen thousands of charming, witty campaigns that didn’t sell.”  ~ Rosser Reeve.

“There is real magic in enthusiasm.  It spells the difference between mediocrity and accomplishment.” ~ Unknown.

“I never came upon any of my discoveries through the process of rational thinking.”  ~ Albert Einstein.

“To a man with a hammer, everything looks like a nail.” ~ Unknown.

“A good piece of legislation, is like a good sentence; or a good piece of music. Everybody can recognize it. They say, ‘Huh. It works. It makes sense.”  ~ Barack Obama.

“Emotion is the energy required to learn anything.”  Clotaire.

“A business that makes nothing but money is a poor business.” ~ Henry Ford.

“Innovation is what distinguishes a leader from a follower.” ~ Steve Jobs.

“One of the strongest characteristics of genius is the power of lighting its own fire.”  ~ John W. Foster.

“You cannot think your way into action, you can only act your way into a new way of thinking.” ~ Unknown.

“We are what we think.  All that we are arises with our thoughts.  With our thoughts, we make our world.”  Gautama Buddha.

“The artist doesn’t have time to listen to the critics. The ones who want to be writers read the reviews, the ones who want to write don’t have the time to read reviews.”  William Faulkner.

“Believe nothing, no matter where you read it or who has said it, not even if I have said it, unless it agrees with your own reason and your own common sense.”  ~ Buddha.

Bill Murray:  “I have developed a kind of different style over the years. I hate trying to re-create a tone or a pitch. Saying, “I want to make it sound like I made it sound the last time”? That’s insane, because the last time doesn’t exist. It’s only this time. And everything is going to be different this time. There’s only now. And I don’t think a director, as often as not, knows what is going to play funny anyway. As often as not, the right one is the one that they’re surprised by, so I don’t think that they have the right tone in their head. And I think that good actors always — or if you’re being good, anyway — you’re making it better than the script. That’s your fucking job. It’s like, Okay, the script says this? Well, watch this. Let’s just roar a little bit. Let’s see how high we can go.”  ~ Bill Murray.

“Make it simple. Make it memorable. Make it inviting to look at. Make it fun to read.” ~ Leo Burnett.

“To swear off making mistakes is very easy. All you have to do is swear off having ideas.”  ~ Leo Burnett.

“When you reach for the stars you may not quite get one, but you won’t come up with a handful of mud either.”  ~ Leo Burnett.

“‘You can fool the whole world down the highway of years, and take pats on the back as you pass / But your final reward will be heartache and tears / If you fool the man in the glass.”  ~ Bill Parcells.

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Rosser Reeves.

Rosser Reeves (1910-1984) was a famous ad exec and the originator of the USP.  From his 1961 best seller Reality in Advertising:

  • Each advertisement must make a proposition to the consumer. Not just words, not just product puffery, not just show-window advertising. Each advertisement must say to each reader: “Buy this product, and you will get this specific benefit.”
  • The proposition must be one that the competition either cannot, or does not, offer. It must be unique—either a uniqueness of the brand or a claim not otherwise made in that particular field of advertising.
  • The proposition must be so strong that it can move the mass millions, i.e., pull over new customers to your product.

“No, sir, I’m not saying that charming, witty and warm copy won’t sell. I’m just saying I’ve seen thousands of charming, witty campaigns that didn’t sell.”  ~ Rosser Reeves

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