Creativity Contest – Win a $25 Visa Gift Card

pancakes.jpgThis morning, mid-pancake, I had an interesting idea for an advertising headline, but alas no reason to use it. So I figured rather than letting this idea fizzle into the ether I would throw it out there as a contest. Here are the rules (I know, rules are boring, boring – blah, blah, blah. But it’s all in the spirit of fairness and fun.)

1. Create an ad for a product or service using the headline “Think. Thank. Thunk.”

2. Concepts can be either descriptions or images. You can either post your concept as a comment to this post or e-mail it to me at andreagouletblog at gmail dot com.

3. Post your concept by March 1st at 12:00 noon (EST) to be considered for the prize of a $25 Visa Gift Card

4. Provide an e-mail address with your entry so I can contact you for an address to mail the prize if you win.

5. Me and my zany friends will get together and judge all of the entries based on wit and effectiveness. The winner will be notified by March 5th.

I think that’s it. Questions? Just email me. I can’t wait to see what you come up with!

To your success,

Andrea Goulet

A Fun Game Between the Superbowl Ads (And I’m Not Talking About Football)

Ok. I admit it. When it comes to sports, I could frankly care less. I didn’t even know who was playing in the “Big Game” until this afternoon (sad, I know).

But I still get super jazzed around this time of year…for the commercials!

Last year, I created a survey (I know, I’m a dork…I get it) to poll the party I attended to find out what people thought of the ads. What started out as a tremendously nerdy exercise on my part ended up being the catalyst for some very interesting debates (Rodney, I’m not going to let you throw Frito’s at people you disagree with this year!)

If you’re like me, you may want to partake in the fun. Here’s the list I came up with last year. Take this list to your party and let me know what you and your friends think by posting a comment below. Additional categories welcome. 🙂

  • Best Use of a Celebrity
  • Most Controversial
  • Most Effective
  • Best New Product/Service/Idea
  • Funniest
  • Best Tagline
  • Biggest Waste of Money
  • Most Likely to Be Blogged About/Talked About Around the Water Cooler

Or, you can skip the whole “fooseball” thing all together and just attend an “Adbowl” like the one hosted by the Richmond Chapter of the American Marketing Association 

Either way, have a safe and fun Superbowl Sunday!

Put Your Mind In the Gutter (Or Else Your Clients Will)

Browsing through Reddit today and ran across this post of Worst Business Name Ever with this photo:

kidsexchange1.jpg

Hopefully you see the obvious problem here.

It reminds me of when one of my friends was pregnant. She and her husband were considering names for the baby and this was the conversation:

Wife: What about Regina? It’s my grandmother’s name.
Husband: Nope. She’ll get teased and get called “Vagina” in school.

Every name my friend threw out had to pass her husband’s “what will kids call her” test. Brilliant! Way to think ahead and catch a potential problem early.

Business owners should apply the same test when naming their business. What will clients call you? And put your mind in the gutter before you spend all the time and money on a name that only gets plastered all over the blogosphere as the worst business name ever.

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Andrea Morris is the Chief Idea Officer of Write Ideas Marketing and specializes in helping visionaries, entrepreneurs, consultants and small businesses use high-ROI strategies to get the right message to the right people. For more information, please visit writeideasmarketing.com

Boomers – Here’s Why Gen-Y is So (Selfish, Independent, Ambitious….)

On the forums on MyRagan.com (myspace for MarComm) Kristen Ridley posted a hilarious tongue-in-cheek letter to all Millennials asking why:

“it often appears that you don’t care about anyone but yourself, and believe that you should always get exactly what you want, when you want it regardless of any impacts on other people. What are we missing that would help explain what seems to be a shocking lack of interest in the world around you and your ability to make it better? Because you are so equipped to do just that if only you would choose to. I mean, you have youth and energy on your side (and let me assure you-we envy you that because at our advanced age with those years of excessive drinking behind us we are tired!). Not to mention that all this technology you’re so fond of means you could organize people and actually change the world from your living rooms! Not like us old fogeys who actually had to go out and demonstrate and get arrested and stuff”

Here is my response……

Dear Digital Immigrant,

It is true – the dissonance between our generations has risen to alarming proportions. And your invitation for an open dialogue is most welcomed.

When I was a child (granted, it wasn’t that long ago) my mother told me that insults are just jealousy in disguise. Perhaps your attempts to speak down to our Online addiction (at least it’s not drugs – we “just said ‘NO!'” thanks to Nancy) are simply a big, green envy monster rearing its ugly head?

But I know this is not the case because of your hard work and honest attempts to assimilate to the culture we’ve created.

So you’d like an explanation for our ambition and independence? Let’s start with corporations such as Enron, Worldcom, and Arthur Andersen who were shining examples of the rewards we can expect after dedicating a lifetime of service to an organization.

Not to mention the fact that you’ve been telling us since birth that we must prepare to contribute 7.65% of every hard-earned penny we will ever earn to a Social Security program that will be completely dissolved by the time we’re old enough to participate.

So we’ve learned that the only person we can rely on is ourselves. If we “pay our dues” (I think that’s what you call it) we end up bitter, tired and jaded knowing that we’ve watched a thousand better opportunities pass us by.

We will continue to seize the day, blur the lines between business and pleasure, and keep you on your technological toes. When the tools exist to produce more while appreciating the world and all its beauty – spending our short, sweet moments in a cubicle seems like an inferno ring only Dante could describe.

With much respect for your struggles,

A Digital Native

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Andrea Morris is the Chief Idea Officer of Write Ideas Marketing and specializes in helping visionaries, entrepreneurs, consultants and small businesses use high-ROI strategies to get the right message to the right people. For more information, please visit writeideasmarketing.com

Catchy Store Names & Taglines

sitting-elf.jpgThere’s a restaurant in town called the Bilbo Baggin’s Cafe – their tagline? “Great Service is More Than Just a Hobbit”

Other store names that caught my eye…

  • A bakery called the Upper Crust
  • A bookstore called Books & Crannies
  • A hair salon called Bangs & Burns

I’ll keep my eye out for more and post as I see them. What are some wacky store names you’ve seen?

BTW, if you’re looking to create your own unique store name, Sam Horn wrote the book.

To emoticon or not to emoticon – that is the question.

EmoticonYesterday I came home, checked my mail and was jazzed to see my March copy of Inc. Magazine in the mailbox. On the last page was the section of The Office by Leigh Buchanan where she expressed her extreme displeasure in the use of emoticons in business correspondence.

I’m guessing that my March issue is so hot-off-the-press and that’s why I have yet to find the link to the article from Inc’s website. Once it’s up, I’ll link it here.

So what is the role of emoticons? I agree, in a business correspondence it’s an understudy at best. Yet, I find that in the absence of any other form of expression with someone who you have had a long standing relationship with, a simple smiley can be good.

I’m thinking specifically of a client that I’ve had for about 6 months. We are in completely different time zones – she’s in California, I’m on the East Coast near Washington DC. 99% of our correspondence is via e-mail. When I submit an idea, her emoticon at the end of the “looks great” makes a big difference. It actually reminds me that I am dealing with a human who has feelings and it helps me picture her on the other end of cyberspace and the emotions she’s expressing. To me, this is important, because I can gauge whether or not a project is on the right track.

Ms. Buchanan also suggests the complete eradication of emoticons – and puts the idea to her readers that they replace the simple 🙂 with a long, drawn-out description such as:

“Picture if you will a colon: one tiny, perfect dot poised above its brother. Now imagine that colon transformed into a pair of eyes, bright and sparkling with mischief. From between those dots extends a hyphen. Yet screw up your eyes and…do you see it? A nose! Yes, a nose! Patrician in its straightness it dips toward the generous curve of a closing parenthesis. That parenthesis is a mouth, corners up-tilted in mirth. Viewed in a sum, these marks compose a face whose expression of gentle amusement suggests the good humor intended in the previous remark”

Are you serious!?

I’m all for literary masterpieces, yet if you don’t have time for a 🙂 how the heck do you have time for THAT?

I find this as a classic symptom of the literary superiority syndrome. There are just some cases where a simple graphic can capture the feelings that are too complex for words (remember “a picture is worth a thousand words”) Finding the balance between graphics and words is the real aim of the game.

I wonder if people had the same reaction when contractions entered the picture? I think emoticons will eventually fall into the same category as don’t, won’t, etc.

You won’t use them in business correspondence, but they do have their place.

🙂

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Andrea Morris is a marketing coach who specializes in helping visionaries, entrepreneurs, consultants and small businesses use high-ROI strategies to get the right message to the right people. For more information, please visit writeideasmarketing.com

Superbowl Ads – And the winner is…

Ok, so I’m a day late. Things came up and all I could think about was getting my blog up. Anyway – here we go…..

The winners of the 2007 Write Ideas Marketing Superbowl Commercial Contest are…. (drum-roll please)

Best Use of a CelebrityRevlon for their use of Sheryl Crow (Sorry, Jessica Simpson – we’ve all had enough of you)

Most ControversialSnickers “Man Kiss” (Again, sorry GoDaddy.com – your campaign was too predictable)

And as predicted – this is already being protested by several groups. Click here for a blog about it.

Most EffectiveBudweiser – Dalmatian – a classic hero’s story with cute puppies, how can you go wrong?

Best New Product/Service – OK, I’m getting rid of this category because there weren’t any real “new” products or services this year – just lots of big players that we’ve seen before

Funniest Bud Light – “No Speak English” – celebrating the diversity of the USA – we all found this hilarious (note, this was also a runner up for best use of a celebrity (Carlos Mancia) and Most likely to be blogged about)

Best Tagline – Coca-Cola – Coke celebrates Black History….especially today. Nice touch and not over the top.

Biggest Waste of MoneySierra Mist – just because you throw a bunch of B-list celebrities in a commercial doesn’t make it funny or effective

Most likely to be blogged about/talked about around the water coolerBud Light “Slap Shake” – reminiscing the classic “whassup” – let’s just hope this one doesn’t catch on

As predicted, Amheiser-Busch was the big winner sweeping a total of 3 out of 8 (make that 7) categories. Well played! Your advertising and marketing team deserves a bonus!

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Andrea Morris is a marketing coach who specializes in helping visionaries, entrepreneurs, consultants and small businesses use high-ROI strategies to get the right message to the right people. For more information, please visit writeideasmarketing.com