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What Is Your Passion?

What does your eye doctor think of your eye sight, if they send you this kind of appointment reminder?

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Just sayin’!

Several years back, I was attending a seminar on law and legal marketing. One of the first speakers started his speech by saying that he was going to tell us his secrets for Internet marketing, but was not worried about utilizing them and taking away business. He reasoned that  the majority of us would either be too lazy, or too consumed with our work to follow through on what had made him successful.

Honestly, his speech ticked me off a little. I guess he got my competitive nature riled up. As I thought about what he was saying, it made me realize there was a better way of doing things… but like this fellow in this picture, no matter how hard I worked,  I had lots to learn. There was a better way to do things!

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At the time, that lawyer was one of major Internet marketers in the country. He had his website everywhere. Recently, someone mentioned him to me. That made me realize that I had not seen any of his marketing for a while; that his website was not reaching me. What had happened to him? He is still out there, but it made me think.

A book that I am listening to on Audible, in my car, is written by and also read by Gary Vaynerchuk titled Crushing It!  The book  just came at the end of January At the beginning of the audio book, the author acknowledges that he was going to be adding to it, as he read the audio portion. He noted that technology and marketing had already changed so rapidly, since he had written the book.

I think that’s why the earlier mentioned lawyer was not in my stream of consciousness anymore. He probably has not managed to keep up. It really was not about a competitor catching up to him.

At the Firm, we constantly challenge ourselves to be better. Not just be processors. (I think this coffee server might have just been processing. Right?)

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As Gary Vanderchuk says, “there are entrepreneurs and there are ‘wantreprenuers‘”. Follow your thrill and passion and you will find the “fulfill”. The financial reward will follow the passion. If someone simply wants money, they will not be successful. At some point their “Want To” will run out.

Our motivation and passion can be helping people, beating insurance companies, constantly learning, and seeing something different every day. If someone comes to work to simply get on Facebook or ask everyone how their weekend was, then they probably are not following a passion. It’s just a job to them. Ultimately, their “Want To” is going to run out and make them search for something else.

Coach Vince Lombardi knew how to challenge people. Here is one of his quotes that fires me up! “The dictionary is the only place that success comes before work. Hard work is the price we must pay for success. I think you can accomplish anything if you are willing to pay the price”.

I am challenged by Martha Washington’s (1732-1802) mantra for life, “I am still determined to be cheerful and happy, in whatever situation I may be; for I have learned from experience that the greater part of our happiness or misery depends upon our dispositions, and not upon our circumstances“.

It’s Our Monday! It’s going to be a great day! I dare an insurance company to deny today!

And finally, for our pic o’ day, I guess this is an example of someone who may enjoy making cakes… but still be processing what someone says to put on their cakes? The definition of literally:

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Just Some Advertising Thoughts

I cannot help it.

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Hahahahahahahahahahahaha

This blog is about some of my rambling thoughts about advertising. I think this all started when I repeatedly kept seeing the same advertisement for pillows. It was driving me crazy.

It’s the ad where this couple…in their bathroom… notices the “My Pillow Guy”. I mean, come on. Why would it be acceptable to start an ad from the restroom. With a guy with “out of this world” hair coloring, staring at you from the mirror in your bathroom. Am I the only one who thinks this is a tremendously crazy idea. Seriously? I cannot stop typing about this! I do not want the “My Pillow Guy” in my bathroom. Get out!

Advertising is a funny thing. It gets into our mind. For instance, what comes to mind when I say it’s “finger lickin’ good”? You know!

In fact, here is a list of the most memorable slogans from the survey firm Survata . Can you finish them? I started us with the first most recognizable. I was going to put the answers at the bottom, but my copy and pasting skills…made it easier just to attach:

1. “Finger lickin’ good”, KFC 87.9%
2. “Every kiss begins with ___ “, Kay Jewelers 87.4%
3. “15 minutes could save you 15% or more”, Geico  82.3%
4. “Just do it”, Nike 82.3%
5. “Snap, Crackle, Pop”, Rice Krispies 79.5%
6. “You’re in good hands”, Allstate 78.2%
7. “Taste the rainbow”, Skittles 75.1%
8. “Melts in your mouth, not in your hands”, M&Ms 73.2%
9. “Maybe she’s born with it. Maybe it’s ____ “, Maybelline 69.3%
10. “I’m lovin’ it”, McDonalds 68.9%
11. “____ is on your side”, Nationwide 68.8%
12. “They’re G-r-r-reat!”, Frosted Flakes 68.3%
13. “We have the meats”, Arby’s 67.8%
14. “The king of beers”, Budweiser 66.1%
15. “M’m! M’m! Good!”, Campbell’s 62.1%
16. “It gives you wings”, Red Bull 59.3%
17. “The happiest place on Earth”, Disney 58.7%
18. “The breakfast of champions”, Wheaties 57.1%
19. “Can you hear me now?”, Verizon 54.9%
20. “Taste so good, cats ask for it by name”, Meow Mix 53.9%
21. “Eat fresh”, Subway 52.4%
22. “When it absolutely, positively has to be there overnight” FedEx 52.4%
23. “At the corner of happy and healthy”, Walgreens 51.5%
24. “Betcha can’t eat just one”, Lays 50.7%
25. “The snack that smiles back”, Goldfish 49.0%

These are slogans that are currently in use. There are a few on there that I do not ever remember hearing. The Goldfish slogan? Really? Is it wrong that I cannot stop myself when I start eating Goldfish. Are 5,000 goldfish too many in one seating?

I might have thrown in “When it rains it pours” but I suspect that has come and gone. I guess the slogan “Don’t marry King Henry VIII” is more advice than slogan?

I like the “advertising” Facebook post of my friend, Ken Price. He posted, “I want to be buried in a transparent casket. Good idea? Remains to be seen“. Hahahahahaha (I think that is hilarious)

We are always in search of new ideas for our advertisements. Ultimately, I always find us back to “We will come to you”. I guess that qualifies as our slogan! At least one of them.

And finally, this post makes me laugh. A roommate playing a prank. I guess this is “bad marketing”.

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Are They listening? Should I Be Concerned?

Sometimes when I start typing Our Monday Blog, I suspect that you wonder if I am getting paid by the word. I start one place and find myself easily headed down another rabbit hole. (Couldn’t help but throw in an Easter metaphor… right?)

It feels like every week brings us news of another store or company who have suffered a data breach. And a lot of people have their personal information exposed. So that leads me to ask the question, “Are we inviting hackers into our homes because of our purchased equipment. Which now leads me to write about Facebook and Amazon… and what patents they are seeking. A question of privacy.

But honestly, I feel a little like this in discussing some of this technology:

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When it comes to technology in the future, I just like to keep it simple. Much like this watch!

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Practically speaking, at the start of their season, Michigan and Villanova had a plan to win it all. But there is no way that they could have been certain that they were headed for the NCAA Championship game tonight. To give them a chance.

But technology companies think a little differently. Nothing about just a chance.

For instance, Facebook would have us believe that their future plans are here for Us. Here is their privacy statement:

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Something tells me that “my control” would be better described as “what they control of me”. As to Facebook’s new products, here’s what we know. Facebook already has new home products in their arsenal to introduce, that would compete with Alexa and Echo.

But, they have delayed introducing these products and hardware because they are concerned that it would play into the public’s perception of Facebook invading our privacy and using it against us; or having some third party or country use it against us. This delay occurred after it was reported that 50 million Facebook users had their personal information harvested by that creepy company Cambridge Analytica.

Which also leads me to the discussion of their filed patent applications. A view to the future of products.

A recent Gallop Poll reports that 22% of Americans use devices in their homes like Echo or Google Home. (A NY Times article that also discusses the eerie laugh that Echo was strangely making) Which is why we are concerned about companies eavesdropping on us, even though they all insist otherwise.

Amazon and Google assure us that their devices only react to certain trigger words and then shut off. They assure us that unless the green light is on, there is nothing happening. Never mind what happened last fall when Google distributed its Home Minis to journalist… and the equipment never stopped recording. (AndroidPolice.com)

And yet… all these advancements are for our benefit.  But we all agree that voice data from this technology is evolving and here’s where these companies apparently see the future.

For one patent application, Amazon describes a “voice sniffer algorithm”  for home and mobile devices, to analyze audio almost in real time and to react when it hears words like “love,” bought” or “dislike. ”Here’s what they are working on as indicated in a NY Times article titled,  Hey, Alexa, What Can You Hear? And What Will You Do With It?

And here is how they can use such triggers under the patent, “for our benefit”. You could be talking on the phone to a friend… and then get an offer for travel or a sale on pants. The patent describes a diagram where “to your benefit” might mean that you then see an ad for a Wine of the Month Club membership.(Here is the rest of the story)

Google’s patent applications would “benefit you” through their home by providing smart product advertisements that are generated from your audio and visual signals.

So should we be concerned about the applications and just consider them as advancements in technology? No so fast! So says Jamie Court of Consumer Watchdog, which is a California non-profit organization that recently published a study of some of these futuristic applications for patents in an article titled, Home Assistant Adopter Beware: Google, Amazon Digital Assistant Patents Reveal Plans for Mass Snooping (Here)

As I started writing this blog, I got myself crazy researching. If you are still with me this far… maybe you are shaking your head too!

One final thought on this. Google has said that it will generally not provide audio recordings of users to third parties, but may send transcriptions of your voice and your information. It’s listed (Here under their privacy category of “Does Google Home share my information with anyone)

And…. no surprise, Amazon may give app developers this same information as well. (Here) Hmmm!

And for pic o’ day let’s go far away from technology. I guess this is what they call airline humor and it makes me laugh!

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Happy Too!

I always like to start Our Monday Blog with some positivity. This pic o’ qualifies as reaching goals. Right?

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While driving down the road recently, I saw a billboard advertisement for a grocery store chain that simply said, “Groceries Delivered“. That seems to meet a need, but it also is becoming more popular. Perhaps the aggressiveness of Amazon is causing everyone to step up their game in the grocery business.

I remember being one of the first law firms to advertise “We will come to you“. I had noticed a trend of several new potential clients failing to show up for their appointments at the office. I learned that once someone had crashed their car, it made it very difficult to come to our office. Missing the appointment made total sense. I had to come up with a solution… going to their home on their time.

Which brings me to the thought of how to step up our service now? What message or new service could I advertise.

I love the positivity of my father-in-law. When someone asks him for help, he regularly responds with, “Happy Too“. Be willing and ready to help! If I could convey that in all of our ads… then I have maintained our true hopeful message. If someone needs our help… I hope that they feel our response of “Happy Too”!

 

And finally, for our pic o’ day, I think many of us relate to this as we sit in that chair!

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A Little More About Our TV Ads

Yesterday we shot TV spots that included a spot in our market, for the upcoming Super Bowl. The ad should run between the third and fourth quarter.

I have shot my ads at different locations over the years. This time, we were at a TV station in Richmond, Virginia.

Our social media team is putting together a “behind-the-scenes” of our ads. I liked the GoPro cameras there, but I noticed that none of the cameras seemed to help put more hair on my head. Just saying! (Is it wrong to covet a better head of hair? Yes… it probably is but that’s the excitement of Hollywood!)

Which leads me to some behind the scenes trivia from prior TV shows and movies. For instance, the bench that was used in the movie Forrest Gump where Forrest sat for most of the movie as he told his story…

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was a movie prop that had been placed in Chippewa Square in downtown Savannah, Georgia.  It has since been moved to the Savannah History Museum.

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I guess life really is like a box of chocolates…and a bench that made history!

Over 500 vehicles were destroyed during the filming of Transformers: Dark Side of the Moon. However, the producers of the movie did not have to pay anything for them. They were given to them by an insurance company because they had all already been damaged in a flood.

Here’s some craziness from TV past. NBC’s longest airing western, Bonanza, that aired from 1959-1973, has a cost-cutting curious piece of trivia.

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All the actors received one costume at the beginning of each season. This was done to keep the cost of costumes down and make it easier in case they had to reshoot any of the scenes.

For our commercials… I did change a few times but no popcorn was harmed during the shooting of the Super Bowl ad!

And now our pic o’ day… (Some Old McDonald trivia?)

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“Get a Tailor”

I often hear that we are living in difficult times. I cannot disagree. There is a lot of anger out there.  I guess that’s why I like this picture. Lessons from a dog about finding joy in living in the present!

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Which brings me to some anger that came in on our website a couple of nights ago. Here was the message:

Message Body:
You have the worst commercials I’ve ever seen. Your clothes are terrible. It would benefit you to meet with clothing specialist and a decent ad agency..

How about that! I guess she doesn’t like my suits… or my commercials? Where there is anger….there is also pain!

Which brings me to the survey that we had done several years ago. At the time, a political survey company, headed by a man named Frank Luntz, (His wikipedia) was a good place to start. He was know for doing political surveys in several states. This was long before Frank Luntz was regularly seen on Fox News. (By the way, his hair is fascinating. Just sayin’. Survey says?)

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It was around 1995, and I was still facing a lot of criticism for my commercials. On a weekly basis, I would hear from lawyers, who told me that they were offended by them. Some even said I was ruining the profession. So, even though business was good, I was still concerned about our marketing. I had to be confident in trying jury trials and legal marketing was still a bit new. (Today, people are so used to legal marketing that it’s not easy to even make an impact with TV ads)

I hired Frank Luntz to do a survey of several things, so that it didn’t seem like it was only a survey about our marketing. This was back in the day, when people would be honest about their feelings in a survey. Now… not so much.

Luntz finished his survey and left a voicemail that he wanted to go over the results. Even though we had hired him, he had no idea what we did as a business. Those doing the survey were not in any of our markets.

I called Luntz and said that I was returning his call. “What do you do for a living?”, he started out. I told him that I was a lawyer. He seemed more confused, which made me really wonder what he was about to tell me.

“I laughed when I read the survey responses”, Luntz said. Which isn’t what I expected. Then he went on to tell me what he had learned. One-third of the people liked me; one third despised me. And then he added, that there was about 6% who had never heard of me… and the rest could care less about me.

He went on to add, “keep doing what you are doing. It’s obviously working, because they know who you are”.

I have to admit that I fall in the category of wanting to be liked. Still, when I see a web hit that comes in about our advertising, I remember what Luntz told me. At least you are getting their attention. Advertising and branding. And 40 years from now, I hope I am still receiving those calls!

An attack on the suits? Right? Maybe I should show more of the socks next time!!!

And finally, I have to mention National Coffee Day.  Shouldn’t this be a federal holiday? Yes! On our law firm social media pages, we are having a contest, to celebrate.  These are the good days!

I hope you have a great weekend! And here is pic o’ day. More dog humor. I guess this pup is not living in the present!

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It Makes Me Hungry!

It’s already well known that grocery stores are manipulating us with their product placement. Stores place their name brand items on the middle shelf at eye level of the shopper. And of course, they place those “quick grabbers” at the checkout counter.

I am more fascinated with food and marketing. For instance, bakeries like Cinnabon place their ovens in front so those baked cinnamon rolls attract us to buy. They call it scent marketing. The one time that they decided to move the ovens in the back, sales plummeted. (Story here)

Food marketing also uses colors to influence us. Many use the color green on their wrappers, where the nutritional information is listed. Research has taught them that people perceive food with the color green as being a healthier choice.

Of course, I started thinking about this topic because I ate breakfast at Bob Evans a couple of times this week, and they always have the apple pies at the register. In big bold letters “they” remind me that it is a double crust pie. Now, I am still thinking about that pie. I like pie. And, doesn’t it seem like it should be a good breakfast food! I feel like I am being manipulated, and I don’t mind it.

That’s just my random thoughts on a Friday. I hope you have a great weekend!

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Puffery or False Employment Promises

I like to think that I’m one of those jumpers into Monday!

 

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Which brings me to the blog topic of marketing versus puffery. I remember the first time that I heard the word puffery in law school. I thought that the law professor was kidding.

I soon learned it was a real legal concept. That it’s really a promotional claim that no reasonable person would consider the advertising statements literally. I guess it’s perfect for sales. Like the salesman who always claims that I have “lots of things in the pipeline”, when his manager questions his lack of sales.

How about those horrible commercials for Chevrolet, with the people so amazed at the cars and trucks that all they can do is jump around and say wow. I have never seen “not actors real people” seem so excited about car seats and looking at the half of a car. That’s not puffery in marketing. That’s just nonsense.

A better example is the advertising of Papa Johns Pizza. It’s puffery because no one really believes that they have better ingredients and therefore better pizza. Someone could potentially like the taste of their sauce or think that Peyton Manning is funny in the ads. However, no reasonable person would think they have better ingredients, since all pizzas basically have the same ingredients. But that is acceptable puffery advertising.

Unfortunately for Uber Technologies, they crossed the line from puffery, into a claim of misrepresentation. Now Uber  is paying a 20 million dollar settlement for claims of driver deception. (CNBC)

The agreement was made with the Federal Trade Commission relating to statements that Uber had made regarding claims of income that their drivers could make. Between the years of 2013-2015, while they were trying to recruit drivers to their service rather than competitor Lyft, the advertised potential driver earnings far exceeded what drivers really were earning. Plus, drivers were paying substantially more for leased cars than advertised.

The attached article provides a great discussion of earnings in the major cities. It also provides a reminder that companies just can’t get away with misrepresenting benefits, just to assist their growth. Meanwhile, Uber says that they are glad to settle this dispute.

Still, I am glad that Uber is doing well. At least that’s good for us when we want to catch a ride. Right?

And for pic o’ day, it’s really a thought that was sent to me about the progress of New Year’s resolutions:

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Television Commercials and Marketing

On Tuesday, I am going to shoot a couple of television commercials for our firm advertising.  I have to forward the scripts to the TV station where we are shooting the spots. Admittedly, I haven’t finished the scripts, but I am working on that right now. (Yes, I stopped to quickly blog!) I have to make some quick decisions about what the ads should say.

I am told that successful advertising is not telling, it’s experiencing. Some things need no words.

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Nike has long been considered a standard bearer in advertising. The ads that aired during the 2016 Olympics were analyzed for effectiveness. (Adweek.com)  Google found that 34.4 percent of consumers remembered seeing Nike’s “Unlimited” campaign. The ads showed stories of athletes like Chris Mosier, Sister Madonna Buder and Kyle Maynard, (the first quadruple amputee to climb Mount Kilimanjaro.

Nike learned long ago that they were successful by advertising experiences not product. They don’t advertise that their shoes are tremendously cushioned insoles; or that they are better than their competitors, or that they sell more shoes than anyone. Instead, their ads make us feel. They call it emotion branding. (602Communications.com)

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Google then surveyed how the ads were accessed. Eighty-three percent of Google searches that resulted from the Olympics ads came from smartphones. The other 10 percent from tablets, and desktops made up the remaining 7 percent.

A wise marketer told me a long time ago to remember this one thing in my marketing. Don’t market about yourself. Instead, market what you can do for others. And that’s also a pretty good life lesson!

And for pic o’ day, a special thanks to Mike Thomas for posting this on his Facebook. Marketing for the YMCA?

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What About Advertising?

And for Monday morning… it just always seems fitting to start with a coffee pic o’ unless you don’t drink coffee. Then probably… not so much! I needed it this morning. I was at a meeting this weekend, and then I watched lots of football and some of the baseball pennant race games. That’s code for Orioles baseball!

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This past week I was asked a couple of times about TV advertising. It’s my belief that online marketing is taking a big chunk of some TV budgets. But, political advertising still effects our lawyer advertising. By law, political ads have the right to run… for the lowest cost. So, it doesn’t matter how many TV ads that we place, political can replace them all. They “bump” us out of our buy.

There was a time that those political ads became our business enemy. Now, not so much. Lots has changed from the days when there were only three networks.

One British CEO commented about the effectiveness of their advertising by saying, “Half of my advertising is wasted. It’s just difficult to know which half”. Of course, advertising has changed greatly. During the nineteen century, Frank Woolworth discussed his retail advertising for his stores., “Remember your advertisements are in your show windows and on your counters“. Now, that kinda makes me laugh.

I just thought I would mention advertising today because I expect that we will be inundated with political ads over the next couple of months. One politician recently commented that he believes that TV is losing its effectiveness, because people are now used to not believing what they see on TV. Instead, it’s back to personal relationships and personal contact.

Maybe that’s true. Unfortunately, we need to get all candidates, and especially these political PACS, to believe that TV is not effective. By November, it will be such a relief to no longer see some of these ads. For now, it makes me want to pick up a book or my kindle. Or… I just tape and speed through. Gotta hand it to the inventor who gave us the ability to record programming… and use the fast forward on the remote!

 

And for our Monday pic o’ day, I guess it’s wrong to call them chicken tenders…or chicken nugget?

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