Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Chumlee or Sylvie?

No, really, vote for Sylvie. Who cares about upcoming political campaigns, anyway? So much muckraking, so little fun. And if you can't vote for something as precious as Sylvie or as entertaining as Chumlee, why bother showing up on election day?

Here is something fun to vote for: Jones Soda Sylvie.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Cupcakes for the Amish!

I posted the following blog entry --  Too Busy to Ever Really Get Anything Done -- back in Dec 2009 originally. Funny thing is, it's still all true. Maybe even moreso with all the advances in handheld devices, geo-targeted marketing strategies and instant messages. We are crippled with the inability to create long-term goals because we are so busy dealing with short-term, reactionary issues that quite literally pop up repeatedly over the course of a normal business day. It's like microwave popcorn only not quite as tasty.

Which altogether makes me entirely too exhausted. And also leaves me for want of a simple afternoon filled with simple pleasures commonly disguised as inconveniences. Do you agree? Here's the article...

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There are 5 stages of grief. Eight stages of listening. 12 steps in a recovery process.
There are 1,860 steps to the top of the Empire State Building.
There are over 5,100 stone steps in the Great Wall Marathon that takes place every year.
Australia's Highway 1 is the longest national roadway spanning over 12,000 miles.
Across the globe, there are varying levels of complication and political tyranny; including our own levels of government.

There are multiple stages of declaring bankruptcy and layers upon layers of documentation for adoption, divorce, marriage, birth, death and imprisonment.

Yet research shows that one of the most physically fit groups in American culture is that of the Amish. According to a study, these stress-free folk cover an average of 18,000 steps a day. Something like averaging 6 hours of hardcore heavy physical exertion a week, 35+ hours of moderate activity and 6 miles of walking. No cell phones, computers, televisions, iPods, treadmills, microwaves, curling irons, Tomtoms, Blackberrys...

How is it that we have so much and yet we end up with so little? I'm exhausted just thinking about it.

# # #
So, what do we do about it? We celebrate! Friday, May 27 is National Cupcakes and Cocktails day...let's all act like we are Amish and reward all our hard work with a cupcake. And perhaps a cocktail or two, too!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Cupcakes and Cocktails in Chicago

So it's official. Cupcakes and cocktails should be a national holiday.

Don't believe me? Hop onto Twitter and just ask @heartbreakcuppy. It's a site dedicated to aiding the achy breaky hearted through devine sugary delight. Also see @cupcakeblog and @cupcakes for more cupcakery. And @sugarbabys in Houston, @myretrocupcakes for 50's inspired cakes and @simplycupcakes in Naples, too. @sascupcakes in N.C. ships to your door and @britishcupcakes sell cakes out of the U.K.

Or pop into any of the fine cupcakery establishments in the Chicago area. There is Swirlz cupcakes, with the fine tagline of "Cupcakes make people happy!" Who among us can disagree with that?

Then there is the Bleeding Heart bakery; offering up totally yummy local, sustainable punk rock pastry; minus tha bacon, of course. 

Convinced? Vote for Cupcakes and Cocktails to make it official. After all, it should be a national holiday.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Cupcakes and Cocktails

Cupcakes and cocktails. These are two things we need more of in this world. They are easily the answer to all the world's problems and frustrations. It's really that simple. Is there anything that a cupcake and a cocktail can't remedy? I don't think so.

That's why we are coining Friday, May 27 as the day of "Cupcakes and Cocktails."

If you find yourself in the central Illinois area, you are invited to drop in and join us for one; for a cupcake or a cocktail, or both.

If you can't join us, please celebrate on your own! Gather your friends and raise your glass in a toast while grabbing your nearest caked cup -- we deserve it!

If you agree with me, cast your vote here!

Monday, May 9, 2011

Facebook: What's Love Got to Do With It?

I like perfume. I like gummy bears and diet soda. I also like running, beaches, books, painting and fashion. And with each of my likes, there are preferred brands that I can easily attach. Philosophy's Falling in Love smells pretty decent. Haribo bears and alphabet gummy letters rock. Diet Dr. Pepper is delicious. Asics and Adidas both have shoes that have helped me cross a marathon finish line or two.

So what's wrong with "Liking" a brand on Facebook? Nothing, if you are like me and like a brand because, well, you really like a brand in the first place. The problem with "liking" any old brand for any old reason or for a specific reason in particular (say, in order to enter a contest or because you want to get a certain exclusive coupon) is that you are not really "liking" the brand. You are instead "liking" a behavior. So, in reality, you like coupons, not brands. Which means that you will likely never have a real relationship with a brand.

And why is that a problem? Because brands don't spend millions of dollars a year so that you can scratch your "coupon" need, but to gain your participation in a give and take consumer-brand relationship; they give you products you want and you give them your money. At the end of the day, it's about making a connection between your ad dollars and the register receipts. Which means that there needs to be a relationship between a person and a brand.

"Half the money I spent on advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don't know which half," is not only a classic statement describing the state of advertising, but also totally true when applied to the digital sense (or cents). Credited to both John Wanamaker (1838-1922) and Lord Leverhulme (1851-1925) this famous quote rings true no matter how you apply the formula.

More recently I attended a panel discussion that featured mommy bloggers; giving them a voice to describe their patterns of behaviors and desires from brands when it comes to Facebook marketing, gaming and Twitter content. Seems they enjoy Facebook "liking" so much that -- according to the panel at least --  they often hit the cap of Facebook "Likes," meaning that for every new brand they like, they have to unlike one in order to make it happen. Hmmmmm. With a cap of 3,000 likes per consumer page, that means at any one time, a mommy panelist has 3,000 new status updates a day (if all pages post a new status every day.) At a minimum. I don't know about you, but I can't possibly "like" 3,000 things at any one time.

Which tells me that "Liking" a brand should not be a goal for Facebook marketing spend.

For more on this topic, please read B.L. Ochman's recent article, "Disturbing Trend: Big Brands Pimping Facebook Likes."

Don't get me started on how Facebook is now paying users to view ads. Just read about it hear and keep the comments to yourself. Ugh.