Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Shameless Holiday Post

Blogger recently came out with a new way to sell out while blogging. Teaming up with Amazon so that bloggers can recommend books or lets see...just about anything ever since that is what Amazon's inventory consists of. One can then put links to these items so that if people decide to buy that item via your link the blogger gets a % of the straight cash.

So rather than talk about how lame this is or how people are going to exploit this or how obnoxious this might be; I decided I am going to fully embrace it and make a post dedicated to recommending a crap load of stuff and see if any of you suckers take the bait.

Without Freddy Ado (I totally stole that line from one of my favorite blog's, Club Trillion ) here are some of my holiday recommendations for things to buy assuming you did not receive all the gifts you wished for and now have some extra cash from Aunt Bernice.

I used to think I was one of the few people who knew about this fantastic show but it has obviously gone main stream. If you have never seen it, I highly recommend getting season 1 and 2 and dedicating yourself to it on a rainy or snowy or might I say Sunny afternoon.

If you have already seen seasons 1 and 2 then get 3 and 4 duh.

Even if you are a true Sunny fan, you may not know that this Always Sunny Christmas special exists because I think they did a pretty poor job promoting it. However I may or may not have watched a perfectly legal version of this at someone else's diggs and think it is worth an hour and a half of your time.

My next recommendation is for what I consider to be the best reality TV shows there are hands down. These shows may appear to be intended for 12 year olds, and maybe they are so get out your old pogs collections and give them a shot (seriously though these shows are hilarious and nothing like the reality TV you are used to)

Now I will step aside from the boob tube and recommend a few reading materials for you intellects out there. I swear I was the first person ever to read Malcolm Gladwell's books and everyone copied me. Nevertheless I still think his books really get you thinking so if you have not yet drank the kool aid grab the laddle and saddle up partner (by the way I started reading his new book, "What the Dog Saw" and it rips)

A few more books I enjoy...

When I stop kidding myself with books for my brain I turn to St. Paul's own Vince Flynn. If you ever felt like you could have made it as a Navy Seal or an Army Ranger and need to get your fix on some good old fashion ass kicking then I highly recommend the following:

Alright I am starting to feel absolutely dirty and ridden of shamlessness but yet I just can't stop now...

Ok now I feel gross...I actually like The Hangover but wizards and vampires is where I draw the line so don't click on those.

I promise to never have another post like this again...ok I don't but I won't do it again until at least next year...(see what I did there)

As always

One love, one heart

Eric McPherson

Twitter: @EricWMcPherson

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Passing along some advice...not Tiger Woods related

I actually have nothing to say about Tiger Woods right now but figured it would be frowned upon to not somehow include him in this post...."Tiger Woods has a lot of he has a hole in one" (The Book of Sheibs, p. 24)

With that out of the way I wanted to share a piece of advice I received early on in my young advertising career that has helped me throughout the beginning stages of my metaphorical career journey.

Two summers ago I was an intern at an advertising agency which was also my first job in an office (The Office - Season Five). Needless to say it was quite a transition from wearing steel toed boots and sweet shirts with my name on a patch over my left breast (go ahead and giggle you immature Ikes/Ingrids).

Towards the end of the summer, summer days wasting away, my supervisor gave me some parting wisdom. He told me that whenever your boss or supervisor asks you to do something (so like your job) whether it be a huge, month long project or a quick email, think to there anything else I can do while completing this task to make my boss' job easier?

Often times this means doing something or figuring something out that your supervisor did not necessarily tell you directly.

It seems like a pretty simple idea, in fact it is a very simple idea, but I cannot tell you how many times I have thought about that conversation and applied it to the job I have now. Your supervisor may send you a word doc and ask you to print 30 copies of it. Give it a once over and fix any blatant typos. You don't even need to tell him or her you did it, the point is not to do something and then expect a sticker for it like you got 100% on your first grade spelling test (see video below). The point is to get in the habit of making your supervisor's job easier in order to help the agency run a little or lot more efficiently. Maybe someday you will be the supervisor and you will have an intern or junior person that is intuitive to helping you out...then we got a whole Lion King, circle of life thing going on....which rules.

Don't be an idiot and take this too literally to the point of reading through that same document you were asked to print and re-write a paragraph thinking that will really be going above and beyond. Just be smart the next time you are given a task and ask yourself, is there anything else I can do that will make my supervisor's job easier?

One love one heart,

Just be smart,

Eric McPherson

Follow me on twitter @EricWMcPherson (if you are hip and enjoy the Twitter)

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Obama's Hook and Ladder

A lot of what has been written on this blog has been of a negative tone. Apparently it is easier to write about complaints than positivity. I would like to change that vibe (at least briefly) and talk about a TV ad I saw over Thanksgiving.

I imagine most people that consider themselves "good" Americans saw this ad at some point over the holiday because they were watching the edge-of-the-seat action that was Thanksgiving day football (the Detroit Lions...'nough said). The ad I'm talking about is the NFL Play 60 spot that features stars from the NFL as well as the big man in charge, Obama.

Before I continue I want to make it clear that the intent of this post is not to start any political arguments so please don't think I am attemtping to make myself heard on what should be legal in California or how much prescription drugs should cost or anything of that nature.

When I went to YouTube to watch the ad again, I stumbled across what I was looking for, but with this title...

When I first saw this ad I did not realize some people would get all bent out of shape over Obama being involved in it. I think most people would agree that childhood obesity is a problem in our country, so I personally have no issue with whomever is President being part of this type of movement (this is as deep into the political woods as I will venture).

My only issue with the ad is A) the slow motion is so slow that it took forever for the scene to play out (however I can't really argue because the great Dave Chappelle already clearly explained how slow motion makes everything better)

and B) how did Troy Polamalu lose Obama in coverage that easily? Ok, dumb joke but my point is this; politics aside I really like what the NFL and the United Way are doing here. There are times where celebrities and athletes seem to be giving back for the sake of looking good while the cameras are rolling. But the issue of exercise and getting out and being active is actually relevant to the nature of the NFL. Giving back to a group or movement that pertains directly to your organization is a great way to make a real impact. I'm sure there are thousands of other great examples of this, but I noticed this ad, liked it and wanted to talk about it so there.

Other charities and powerful organizations could take a page out of this campaign's playbook (had to do it).

One love, one heart

Eric McPherson

Monday, November 2, 2009

Answer me this NFL

For many a year I have been an avid professional football fan, specifically a fan of the Minnesota Vikings (yes I'm aware that we have never won the super bowl so spare me please). Believe it or not this post has nothing to do with Brett Favre, in fact I will only say his name three more times throughout this post...Favre, Favre, Favre.

Something I have never understood about the NFL is how the TV scheduling for the Sunday afternoon games works or why it never changes. I could probably Google it , but then I would not have something to write/complain about so I'm going to skip that for now.

Specifically I do not understand the rationale behind the first and second groups of games and how they are televised. FOX and CBS each show games at noon and/or 3 PM (central time). Sometimes FOX will show a game at both times, while CBS will show a game at one or the other or vice versa. Sometimes  FOX will show a game at noon and not at 3 and CBS will show a game at 3 and not at noon or vice versa. What I am getting at, is that of the 4 slots for NFL games on Sunday afternoon, usually 3 of them are filled with games and sometimes just 2 of them are filled with games. The leftover 3 or 6 hours is filled with paid programming.

(Sorry, I couldn't resist)

Financially this makes no sense to me. I know it has something to do with local coverage and NFL licensing and all that legal mumbo jumbo. But from a money making standpoint one would think that the NFL as well as FOX/CBS would want to work on adjusting whatever legal ramifications there are in order to make more money. Just look at this article from Ad Age on how well Sunday night and football are doing in the ratings race right now.

Add in the fact that sporting events are some of the only "DVR proof" programs on TV and you have all the more reason to show as much NFL as possible (a great post on the shelf life of sports and ratings can be read here in Mark Cuban's blog , which helps reiterate my point...OKmaybe I'm reiterating his point but nevertheless and alwaysthemore).

Higher ratings = more money. The NFL has been like this for as long as I can remember...even back in the olden days when AFC games were on NBC and CBS was out of the loop.

Tell me NFL, why have you not made the necessary adjustments so that at 3:00 PM on Sundays I have the option to watch the Dolphins vs. Colts game as well as the Bears vs. Steelers game, rather than three hours of ShamWow infomercials?

(If there is a really simple answer to all of this that makes me sound stupid, at least make it sound complicated so that I don't feel dumb, thanks)

(One more thing...I know that if this was really a major problem I could order Sunday NFL ticket or find some way to watch whatever game I want online. But a lot of people rely on cable for whatever NFL games they watch and a lot of people will watch just about any NFL game that is on TV, so don't counter with any of that.)

One love, one heart

Eric McPherson

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Striking Out...on a Missed Opp

Unfortunately many of my friends from college are from what I like to refer to as the armpit (usually I use a more inappropriate part of the human body that rhymes with ain’t) of America....Wisconsin. Like me, many of these friends care more about sports than someone probably should. As you can imagine this has led to some pretty heated arguments and some serious name calling.

Because this group of Wisconsin loving scum is so dedicated to their teams, they are pretty crafty in their tactics for finding ways to watch their games despite living in the great state of Minnesota (except for the Milwaukee Bucks…there has really never been any name calling over the highly celebrated boarder battle between the great Milwaukee Bucks and the dominant Minnesota Timberwolves, not sure why).

One of these strategies is having someone sign up for MLB.TV allowing them to many of them to log in under the same information and watch Milwaukee Brewers games on their respective laptops anywhere with an internet connection (MLB.TV might want to address this). Often times my cheese loving brethren watched these games in the living room while I was busy rooting for a team competing in a real baseball league, the American League, rather than that silly powder puff boy scout AAAA league they call the National League.

What struck my advertising fancy was what happens in between innings during these MLB.TV broadcast games. You might be thinking, “What happens in between innings? Don’t they just show stupid ads or something? That’s not worth getting all worked up over.”

Guess again. They show this…

MLB.TV chooses to inform you that a commercial break is in progress. How ridiculous is this? I have not read into any of the legal ramifications for MLB.TV, but I am guessing that it would not be unreasonable to think that they could utilize this space for more than a “no sh*t Sherlock” statement like this.

I would also guess that someone watching this game, who has probably watched a baseball game on TV before, would not be appalled by a form of advertising in between innings.

How about a simple can of Miller Lite with a logo? I bet some of those dirty Wisconsinites I talked about earlier might even have some of those delicious adult beverages in their buzzard cart smelling mini fridges. They might even be persuaded to go and grab one of those cold brews with one hand in their pocket and the other one on their laptop.

How about ads promoting ticket packages for that team or a local team? Or how about anything sports or dude related?

This appears to be an opportunity lost for MLB.TV, especially considering the fact that the online medium allows for much more creative ideas than the off the top of my head crap I just suggested.

I realize that people are beaten over the head with advertising everywhere they go, but when you are telling the consumer that an ad is being run right now, it might be OKto run one of your own.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009 that really G?

I promise I have thoughts, theories, wonders and queries that extend beyond the breakdown of a 30 second spot (yes I meant to rhyme in a lame fashion there). However, I recently saw an ad that got me going. It was a very simple Walmart ad featuring Gatorade. There was not a whole lot to it other a Walmart store and an explanation that they carriy Gatorade at a low price (I apologize but I am not seeing it on YouTube right now, I promise I am not making anything up and that it does exist).

My initial reaction was a surprise that Gatorade wants to partner up with Walmart. I quickly found out that this reaction put me in the minority of thinking. My roommate along with anyone else I brought this topic up with made similar claims like, "Why wouldn't a brand want to be in a Walmart commercial? Walmart has millions upon millions of customers every day." As we all know Walmart and Google run the world so obviously I agree that the vast majority of consumer products would love to be featured in a Walmart ad.

Yet, I question whether it is a smart move in the specific case of Gatorade. Gatorade is in the rare circumstance of dominating a category. I understand that it is getting harder to keep its crown considering the success of Vitamin Water and the introduction of newly competing products almost every day. I also imagine that even a company like Gatorade is having issues with the well documented southern turn of financial frugality (that is my fancy way of avoiding the E word).

That being said, I go back to advertising 101. Is an action that is a possible detriment to your brand in the long run worth the opportunity to help sales in the short term. I mean no disrespect to Walmart but sites like this exist for a reason. And for the record I thoroughly enjoy that site and hope it continues to deliver the goods.

I know my perception of Walmart being the place we went when me and my renegade friends needed to buy  toilet paper in Costcoesque bulk for mischievous high school behavior is probably not the same as millions of others around the country. But Gatorade has spent years building one of the strongest brands there is. Most of us have probably seen this commercial...

...and frankly I think it is great (who doesn't love a good montage). You know what I don't think; that it screams Walmart in any way, shape, form, color, texture, etc.

I am more than willing to listen to the argument that being paired up with Walmart is too great an opportunity to pass up. However, I imagine that the vast majority of consumers would be able to gather that Walmart stocks Gatorade. Over the past thirty years Gatorade has built itself up into a monster brand that people love and respect. Gatorade's brand was crafted with amazing work like this...

Not by selling out to the man...did I just sell out to the man by using the term, selling out to the man? Probs.

One love, one heart

Eric McPherson

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Rubio, Rubio Ru Bi NOOOOO

I'm sure Minnesota sports fans are pretty sick of hearing about Ricky Rubio (the recent Minnesota Timberwolves first round draft pick that went awry). That said, I will make this short and promise not to just regurgitate thoughts, rants, slander, libel, cliches about the economy being bad or opinions from Bill Simmons or any other ESPN/NBA analyst.

If you are unfamiliar with the situation feel free to peruse this article and/or this article for a better understanding of the debauchery that is Ricky Rubio. If you are a Twolves fan that is just pissed off that Rubio not playing for the Wolves this year means the team will not be able to take advantage of sweet Rufio, from the movie "Hook", promotions or chants during the games click here.

My frustration dates back to the NBA draft this past spring.

I believe the new GM, David Kahn, for the Timberwolves did about 95% of his homework for the draft. For the record I am a firm believer that GMs/coaches should do 100% of their homework before their respective drafts...weird concept, I know.

Let me explain.

Everyone knew that Blake Griffin was going first to the Clippers. The next 5 or 6 picks were pretty up in the air. David Kahn was obviously very high on taking Johnny Flynn with one of his back to back picks at 5 or 6. My guess is, like many of the "experts", he figured Ricky Rubio would be drafted in the top four, leaving him with his choice of Tyreke Evans, Hasheem Thabeet or James Harden to complement his dreamy I mean coveted point guard, Johnny Flynn.

On the surface, a solid plan.

Yet, David Kahn forgot to take into account the curse of former Timberwolves GM Kevin McFail. Naturally, the three guys that Kahn planned on choosing from were taken consecutively two, three and four.

Uh oh. Panic mode.

This led to Kahn quickly realizing that he had no choice but to take Ricky Rubio and deal with his whole Spain, buyout situation later. What Kahn failed to do was be quick on his feet and make a smart decision following the Rubio pick. He could not let go of his Tom Brady like man crush (oh wait that is me with a man crush on Tom Brady but we can discuss that at another time) on Johnny Flynn and decided what the heck, I will take him too.

The thoughts, "but wait, Ricky Rubio and Johnny Flynn both play point guard...Ricky Rubio and Johnny Flynn can't play at the same will be difficult to develop both of these guys into great players if they have to split minutes with each's going to be a pain to get Ricky Rubio to come here in the first place and now he will have to compete with a young, further developed player making him want to come to Minnesota even less" failed to surface in Kahn's brain.

You have the fifth and sixth overall picks of a draft, David Kahn nor anybody else on his staff couldn't have stopped and said "hey, maybe we should take 10 minutes and come up with a plan just in case Ricky Rubio does fall to us at number five?" I was better prepared for multiple scenarios during my fantasy football draft than David Kahn. I am a self admitted fantasy football dork, but nevertheless and alwaysthemore.

The moral of the story...

DON'T ASSUME (I will spare you the cliche "assume" saying), but take the extra ten or fifteen minutes for that "what if" situation. Especially if it is your first major assignment for a very public, high profile job.

(Like GM of an NBA team)

One love, one heart


If you like what I have to say or don't, feel free to follow me on Twitter at @emacdizzle

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Late in the Game but here Nevertheless.

Introduction: I decided it was time to take a crack at entering the blogosphere and share some of my thoughts that can't be expressed in 140 characters or less (I could not resist a cliche reference to Twitter right off the bat...sorry) I am a huge fan of just about anything  advertising or sports related. That said, I do not intend on attempting to intertwine both advertising and sports into every post. There will be times where that will more than likely happen, but as popular as niche is becoming I am taking a stand and will attempt to go against the status quot and discuss two industries within the same medium.

Here goes post #1 (an advertising focused entry)...

Yesterday I saw a new TV spot during SportsCenter (so much for not intertwining...) for 1800 Tequila. The ad features Michael Imperioli who famously portrayed Christopher on "The Sopranos". My guess is that this ad will generate a lot of buzz because of its blatant attack on Patron. It is a great example in the ongoing debate of whether ads that directly mention/attack their competition  are A) fair game B) actually help your competition because of the "all press is good press" rule or C) whether they are even effective at all.

Yet, when I saw this ad, this debate was not the first thing that came to mind. Like many others, I am a huge fan of "The Sopranos". At the mid point of my senior year in college, I discovered I had a neighbor who owned every season of "The Sopranos" on DVD, ever. Needless to say a few of my roommates and I ripped through the entire series over the course of our winter break (I'm not a big skier or snowboarder so I had a lot of free time during winter breaks in's cold...check judgment at the door). A euphemism for this experience might be a  "timeless couch escapade". I agree with the masses that "The Sopranos" was a brilliantly done show and continues to have a huge influence on pop culture today.

Alright, I will try to get back to the tequila ad and to the point here but first a little more background. For those of you not familiar with "The Sopranos", Christopher's character was a very loose cannon with a lot of potential in Tony Soprano's mobster regime. He also had a serious drug and alcohol problem that became very significant to the plot throughout the series.

So when I first saw this TV spot, what immediately came to mind was, "Should Christopher be drinking?" Obviously this was a silly thought to have considering "Christopher" was a character in a fictional show. Yet, I guarantee the vast majority of people who recognize Michael Imperioli do so as the former Sopranos star, and I am willing to bet I am not the only one who thought about Christopher's drinking and drug habits when seeing him endorse a brand of Tequila. As I thought about it further, I decided that the ad could be portrayed many different ways; ironic, smart, insensitive or maybe I'm just crazy and nobody else really cares about this stuff because it is a pretty cool ad.

Yet, I question 1800 Tequila's choice of spokesperson. I have a hard time believing that during the concepting stages of this ad, nobody brought up this little detail about Michael Imperioli's past portrayal of Christopher. I am now wondering if he was chosen on purpose because people like me might over analyze the situation and talk to other consumers about it while generating buzz all at the same time (in that case, touche1800 Tequila).

I think it is important for alcohol based brands to be very careful with their advertising (which could easily be the topic of a whole other post, or five paragraph essay...everyone's favorite kind of essay, but I will spare you). Will anything come of this? Probably not, but I do not think it is smart to ignore details, especially the way consumers pick everything apart in today's world and how easy it is to post it online (see this post). Subtle details might not seem like a big deal, but when you are at the beginning stages of executing a very expensive campaign it is wise to make sure your ads don't contain elements that could lead to a negative uprising or just a small stir.

Only time will tell if this campaign helps 1800 Tequila become more top of mind in the classy tequila realm (if there is such a thing). I was once asked, "What are you doing tonight? You wanna get in the zone with some Patron?" So they might have a ways to go.

One love, one heart

Eric McPherson (Emac)

If you are at all interested in my shorter thoughts feel free to follow me on Twitter at @emacdizzle.