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Completely Personal

This is a full week that includes lots of casework; Attending an Orioles game. And even doing some TV production later in the week. I could blog about each of those.    However, every now and then, something comes along that trumps all of that.

Last week, we celebrated my dad’s last radiation treatment. He rang the bell! It had been such a climb up the mountain for him with 44 treatments, that he said that he didn’t even know how to feel.  Just taking that last step of finishing… congratulations Dad!


(Mom put these together. The last one is Dad and his doctor)

Food Lion and Nonsense

OK, more blog nonsense. Yes, quite possibly the worst blog I have written because it has nothing to do with legal.   So, seats in the upright and locked position.

Recently I mentioned that I enjoyed watching the Food Lion ads. I cannot take my eyes off the lion. So, someone sent me some lion jokes. I’m not sure that I’ve ever heard lion jokes but here they are. Just my two cents worth:food Lion


Q: Did you hear about the man who turned into a lion every night, and back into a man in the morning? It was actually simple. The man would crawl into his bed each night, and while he was sleeping, he was ‘a lion there’!



Q: Why did the lion lose at poker? A. Because he was playing with a cheetah



A hungry lion was roaming through the jungle looking for something to eat. He came across two men. One was sitting under a tree and reading a book; the other was typing away on his typewriter. The lion quickly pounced on the man reading the book and devoured him. Even the king of the jungle knows readers digest and writers cramp.


As they say… I’ll be here all week!!!


And for Pic O’ day…








Allstate’s Mayhem Story

Yes, I admit it. I enjoy the Allstate Mayhem commercials. During March basketball, Allstate has aired the ad that tells us  “It’s March, It’s Mayhem” during the tournament.  The campaign first premiered in June of 2010. Mayhem is played by veteran actor Dean Winters . More on him in a bit.


I enjoy the commercials of Mayhem wrecking havoc as a reckless maid, or a team flag, or a Christmas tree that falls off the car. There is also a running gag throughout the campaign;  Mayhem sports the damage and injuries that he sustained in the previous spots such as scratches on his face or rips in his suit. For instance, he has bandages on his face

Allstate claims that it airs this campaign because it wanted to focus attention on the benefit of insurance protection while adding the humor of things Mayhem says like,  “please don’t take my aggressive tailgating the wrong way. I’m just more important than you”. Or, when a tree falls on a car, ” Yes it was a bad storm. But look on the bright side, now you get that sunroof that you always wanted.”

The topic of insurance coverage would be a good blog topic. However, for this blog, I am focusing on the story of Dean Winters and how he managed to rebound from true Mayhem in his own life.

Prior to signing on as Mayhem, Winters had appeared in many television series that included Oz, 30 Rock, Law and Order: Special Victims Unit, and Rescue Me. For me, when I saw the Mayhem commercials, I knew that I recognized him but I could not place from any specific TV show, and I did not know his name. He had not yet arrived to a steady Hollywood income.

On June 19, 2009, following the shooting of a Pilot titled Happy Town, Winters contracted a bacterial infection. He became increasingly sick and collapsed upon the arrival to his doctor’s office. While being transported to the emergency room, his heart stopped beating for a total of two and a half minutes. After paramedics revived him, he remained in intensive care for three weeks.

Over the course of the following year, Winters continued to experience continuing problems that included developing gangrene, which led to the amputation of two toes and half of one thumb. Thereafter, he endured ten subsequent operations that included a skin graft. Because of his illness, he was replaced in Happy Town , and he was away from acting for over a year. Then, Tina Fey brought him back to work on her 30 Rock series, which led to his Mayhem character.

I do like the Mayhem character but I think I am most impressed with the Winters’ story. He has faced obstacles and overcome them and now he is playing a character that shows that we need insurance protection from these obstacles and mishaps. At the same time, it is estimated that he is earning in excess of a million a year at Mayhem. He also joked in an Ad Age interview that “I wanted to become an actor so I didn’t have to put on a suit and sell insurance”.

DID YOU KNOW that ancient Egyptians slept on pillows made of stone? The Egyptians believed that the head was an important spiritual and life center for the body. Pillows were not necessarily for comfort as much as protection. Wealthy Egyptians also had pillows carved out of wood to allow for good air circulation.

For pic o’ day, I would call this “no responsibility”.

no responsibility

Skipping the Ads

     “I’m watching my ipad” is a funny line from a Dish Network commercial. It’s an old curmudgeon on the porch who does not want to be interrupted.

     That ad is like a precursor to a recent ruling in favor of Dish Network, about its “Hopper” product. The Hopper allows Dish Network subscribers to record several shows at one time. It also allows subscribers to entirely skip the commercials during programming. The technology “marks the beginning and end of each commercial” to create the AutoHop feature. 

     Fox sued Dish over their ad-skipping DVR and the Court has rejected a request for an injunction against the service. (USA Today) . So, like the curmudgeon, there will still be no interruptions (commercials) if someone so chooses. The court ruled that consumers have the fundamental right of choice and control.

     If Fox chooses to appeal the Ninth Circuit opinion, it would probably end up being heard by the U.S. Supreme Court. Fox said in a statement that, “This is not about consumer choice or advances in technology. It is about a company devising an unlicensed unauthorized service that clearly infringes our copyrights and violates our contract”.   

     DID YOU KNOW that the word “maverick” became part of everyday language after Texan rancher Samuel Maverick refused to brand his cattle. Eventually any unbranded calf became known as a Maverick.

     And for pic o’ day (I did get office permission to post this despite possible questionable language!!!!)



Fructose Corn is Fructose Corn


The Corn Refiners Association  came to the conclusion that the ingredient, high fructose corn syrup, had gotten a bad name. So, they came up with the idea to change their name to “corn sugar”. A marketing plan!

When they submitted their application to the FDA, the Sugar Association filed suit against them, because they did not want to be lumped in with that ingredient. The FDA agreed on the basis that sugar is a solid, dried and crystallized food- not a syrup.

The Sugar Association  spokesman stated that, “what’s going on is basically a con game”. The Corn Refiners Association issued a statement that the name change was denied “on technical grounds”.

Since then, the Corn Refiners have begun advertising that fructose corn syrup has the same nutritional value as sugar. In the meantime, we will continue to see fructose listed in the ingredients panel of many products. Who would have thought that being compared to sugar would be so “goal-worthy”.

For pic o’ day, I first thought I would stick with the corn theme


But then, I thought I’d go more positive and reflect on “help on hot days”:

TV versus the Internet

     This week will be one of those “plates in the air” kind of weeks. Of course, I have always said that the practice of law is like having 5 baskets, 5 snakes and 4 lids. I didn’t make that up, but I can’t remember who did, to give them credit.

     Anyway, this week will also be a combination of law and marketing. Right now, I am working on a couple of scripts for upcoming law firm TV commercials. This Sunday, we will be on in our TV markets, with a Super Bowl ad. Right now, I am trying to decide if I should “whip up” an ad, just for the Super Bowl, or do one that will be used down the road.

     Most of the Super Bowl  ads are placed nationally. That’s why you see all those articles about the pricing of ads. And, of course, I always feel riveted to my chair at the commercial breaks. That’s some of the best viewing. It’s rare that the public does pay so much attention to TV ads. The local TV stations have 3 or 4 ads to sell in game. That’s where we try to get in.

     I titled this blog “TV versus the Internet” because that is really what has happened in marketing. I regularly hear lawyers complaining about how their TV advertising no longer generates business. For us, we have greatly reduced our TV ads over the last few years. That’s because the Internet has replaced a lot of what TV and yellow pages used to do. .

      The Internet has created a different buying experience. When I am contemplating a product or book to read, I look at the recommendations of others. Did they give the book 4 stars or not. It’s what Facebook is trying to capitalize on, in having your “friends” give a thumbs up or a thumbs down on a product. That will also probably have an impact on professional services.

     It won’t matter how many TV ads a lawyer or doctor might air, if there are a lot of online comments about the services that aren’t beneficial to the business. TV will be more for “top of mind awareness”. 

     The Internet has become the great equalizer and really returned us back to the days that people choose, based on recommendations. It’s a good thing because a 30 second advertisement on television really doesn’t tell you much about a business, except to introduce you to it.

     Well, that’s what’s on my mind. I wish you could give me an amazing TV ad idea. The Super Bowl is one time that you reach an audience all at once. Plus, it should pull big numbers; since Green Bay and Pittsburgh are playing.

     I want a close game; a lot of viewers; several ads that make me laugh and, I need a good idea for our firm. So, I’m pulling out a pen and pad and beginning to write. I have a cup of coffee next to me. Hopefully, if you are in one of our markets, you will see what comes to fruition. That assumes that the production will get it done  and on to the stations.

     That sounds like the same “five baskets” slogan too. I guess that’s the way life really is.

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