Ron Tite’s Customer Service in the Digital Age


Ron Tite relates how his negative airline experience really took off. It’s a great story that is told perfectly and carries a lot of valuable lessons.

I actually got to see Ron Tite back on May 18. He was a tremendous speaker who talked my kind of language. I am just tickled to see that he has a ton more videos on YouTube; they are worth checking out.


Canadian Olympic Committee Rebrand


Brand New has a (typically) great write-up on the Canadian Olympic Committee rebrand, which is also fantastic.

The element of the rebrand that has me shaking my head in an I-wish-I-did-that manner is the mosaic that they created based on the maple leaf. A technique in identity design that I think we’ll start seeing more often, it will surely replace the current trend of designing logos with gradients.


Where’s the Benefit?


Five seconds into this video, you’ll be staring in slack-jawed wonder.

I’ve worked with several new businesses that don’t seem to understand the value of this kind of presentation. There are three reasons this video works really well:

  1. The benefit is clear. You see it once, and you “get it.”
  2. It’s novel. It looks like magic.
  3. There is no big setup. We go straight into the good stuff.

Companies that have products like this are really easy to market.



Tell the truth, but make the truth fascinating


Tell the truth, but make the truth fascinating.”
—David Ogilvy

I love this quote, as it sums up my approach to communication perfectly. It can be found in this video from Adweek, along with many more David Ogilvy sound bites.


Ferd F-Teenthousand

/Observations/, ,

This is a pretty funny sendup of the TV spots auto manufacturers use to sell pickup trucks. These things start as satire, but they inevitably end up in the actual commercials.

Trucktober. Coming to a dealership near you.


A pitch-perfect beer commercial

/Observations/, ,

Brandchannel writes:

Hey every other single beer brand ever, how does your commercial playing tired male sexual stereotypes against female ones feel now? Pretty inadequate, huh?

‘Nuff said.

It kind of reminds me of DQ’s latest spots, which use a similar concept.


Brand differentiation done really well

/Observations/, , ,

The Alamo Drafthouse is an independent cinema chain in Texas that has a strict “no talking, no texting” policy. Recently a customer was ejected from the theatre (no refund was given) for repeatedly texting during the movie despite warnings. She called and left a long, rambling NSFW message detailing her experience. And then things took an awesome turn:

The theatre has turned it into a commercial!

It helps that the patron doesn’t come across very well, so she’s easy to dislike. The theatre pulls off this execution brilliantly.

You can’t watch it and not love the vibe you get from the theatre. A quick perusal of its Wikipedia page suggests that the cinema does a lot of other really interesting things to build the culture around its brand, and to separate itself from the competition. I would love to visit these guys—they seem to really have things figured out.


What if America wasn’t America?


I just came across this series of ads from the venerable Ad Council. I missed these ads when they first aired (in 2002?), probably because I watch very little network TV. They’re quite chilling, especially considering that the U.S. just extended the Patriot Act for an additional four years, which makes much of this discussion practical, not theoretical.

The noteworthy thing about these ads is that their use of mostly white “Christian” actors makes them seem ridiculous. Watch the church ad below and imagine it redone as a mosque instead. It really seems a lot more plausible now, doesn’t it? In fact, the same exercise applied to any of the ads works equally well to reveal our own prejudices.


Stunning skills in Tetris


I will never be as good at anything, as this guy is at Tetris. About five minutes in, the blocks actually turn invisible.


Selling a Volkswagon like it’s a Ronco


I absolutely love this demonstration. It reminds me of the kind of boardwalk-style pitches that Ron Popeil became famous for. Ad people tend to snicker at infomercials, but if executed properly, infomercials absolutely can drive sales.

Actually, it’s easy for those of us in the ad industry to get wrapped up in things like positive messaging and brand awareness. But for a lot of businesses, it’s a clever and passionate sales force that really generates customers.

Consider the following further reading:

Gladwell, Malcolm. What the Dog Saw and Other Adventures. New York: Back Bay /Little Brown, 2010. Print.

In one section of this book, Gladwell writes a really compelling profile on Ron Popeil that’s well worth reading. You’ll gain new respect for Popeil’s ability to create a product and sell the heck out of it. There’s a lot more to him than the Food Dehydrator and the Showtime Standard Rotisserie.