Go Forth and Sin No More, Marsala (2015 Pantone Color of the Year)
Patricia | Jan. 20, 2015

When I first saw the 2015 Pantone Color of the Year, Marsala, I was not impressed. iStock showed it on its homepage as a kind of icky dark pink, and pink is my least favorite color, no matter the shade. After I visited Pantone to see what they were thinking, Marsala started to grow on me, and while I can see its merits, it still makes me a little queasy.

Pantone says Marsala is a “tasteful hue,” and, “Much like the fortified wine that gives Marsala its name, this tasteful hue embodies the satisfying richness of a fulfilling meal while its grounding red-brown roots emanate a sophisticated, natural earthiness.”

I would translate that to mean that it looks very much like a steak before you cook it. That image is not helped at all by this strange photo Pantone shows of a woman holding what appears to be a mask of a wolf’s face which is Marsala-colored. That, or it’s an actual wolf’s head from which she is about to drink. No, I’m pretty sure it’s a plastic mask. Either way, it’s creepy.


In fact, all the illustrations of Marsala are a bit off. We are told how versatile it is for decorating with pictures of a painfully thin model in blue satin hobbled by 6-inch heels with her friend in the leather dress as they drink wine, caress fabric, and address the torso of a man in a Marsala-coordinated vest.


Pantone almost dares you to like this color, which screams “SIN!” from the Marsala-shaded rooftops. But I confess they are probably right when they say it will go with almost anything. After all, sin is as versatile as it is appealing.

“Woo Woo” is So Ten Minutes Ago
Patricia | Jun. 25, 2014

If this video is any indication, Adobe’s Marketing Cloud might be able to kick some serious Google Analytics tail. The video portrays the frenetic, rudderless enthusiasm many marketers and companies show for the next new thing, and makes the point that it helps to know why you’re doing what you’re doing. And it’s funny.

In Adobe’s descriptions of its Marketing Cloud services, it says it can help you stay on top of Facebook, Twitter, and “other” social media sites. Because Google+ is too peripheral to mention? Way to marginalize Google, Adobe.

2013’s Over? Let’s Do This Again!
Patricia | Jan. 1, 2014


As years end, most people are glad they’re over and are looking forward to the next, and presumably better, one. Count me among those who aren’t in a hurry to see 2013 go.

This was a pretty good year for me. I shed some pounds, got a great deal on refinancing my mortgage, and finally got my best friend, Ray, to go to California with me. Professionally, I picked up several wonderful new clients, forced myself to master MailChimp, and finally settled on a business card/branding redesign so I don’t have to apologize when people ask me for my card.

And there was a lot of fun. Thanks to my friend, Kate, I got to attend the Gentlemen of the Road stopover, which was a Very Big Deal here in tiny St. Augustine. I also went to see Steve Martin and Edie Brickell with my friend, Jayne, and her very nice boyfriend who hates bluegrass but endured it anyway for our sakes. And I discovered Pinterest. Love, love, LOVE Pinterest.

I feel especially fortunate to be looking at the new year with all my loved ones poised to cross over to it with me. Some of the times I’ve enjoyed most this year were taking my dad to the doctor in Jacksonville, and then having lunch together and being able to chat all the way up and back. Even my dog is in better health now than she was at this time last year. I also reconnected with some people who had drifted off but were still important to me.

I have no complaints about 2013, only thanks. In just a few hours 2014, and all those new possibilities, will arrive. Happy new year to everyone, and may we all look back with satisfaction at this time next year.

Why Buying Slower Might Mean Buying Better
Patricia | Nov. 27, 2012


There’s always been a link between buying stuff and sex, with people acquiring material goods as a substitute for something you can’t do at Walmart, and I’m not talking about walking around eating a Big Mac while you shop. You can already do that.

There is a new and disturbing trend that goes beyond the personal to the societal.

The rise of mobile technology has unleashed a proliferation of marketing ploys to move the user from shopper to buyer. Whether it’s texts with coupons that pop up when you pass a Starbucks doorway, or a Walmart app that lets you find things in the store without asking a sales associate, or deals at Best Buy that are only good until you walk out the door, the point is: “Buy it now, buy it now, buy it right now, oh baby please, please, buy it now.”

Mobile technology exhorts us to act in the moment

This messaging works. We do, in large measure, buy it now. Just like speed dating and instant hook-ups (and who knows what else these crazy kids are doing these days) have replaced a chance meeting followed by casual dating followed by a real relationship that might or might not end up with legal involvement, so has buying been transformed to something quicker, coarser, and ultimately less satisfying.

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Todd Henry: Why Creativity is No Accident
Patricia | May. 23, 2012

I have been working my way through The Accidental Creative by Todd Henry at a snail’s pace for two reasons. One is that it’s harder to sitting with a book when I spend so much time sitting in front of a computer. But the other is that the book is so content-rich — and sensible — it’s almost worthy of memorizing.

Henry also has a good web site and e-newsletter that continues on the theme of speaking with your own voice and clearing the space in your life to do it.

This TedX talk gives you an overview of what Henry has figured out and it’s well worth watching, even if it means a little more sitting in front of a screen.

Wall Street Vs. Madison Avenue: We Lose
Patricia | Oct. 3, 2011

adweekWhen the #OccupyWallStreet protestors get tired of the financial district, they can always hoof it over to Madison Avenue, where in one of life’s little ironies, Advertising Week is kicking off.

Even as runaway greed is lambasted on Wall Street, festering consumerism is encouraged at the eighth annual seminar/festival/networking event for more than 70,000 advertising professionals and major clients.

As in every past year, multiculturalism in advertising will be applauded yet rarely utilized. One workshop entitled, “Where Are All the Black People?” shows that at ad agencies, things haven’t changed very much since the days of Mad Men. The biggest difference, of course, is that the early Madison Avenue types didn’t have to sit through endless discussion groups about social media “solutions.”

Divorcing ourselves from Wall Street and disconnecting from our mobile devices is in the category called, “Putting the Toothpaste Back in the Tube.”

As the #OccupyWallStreet folks choke on tear gas and wave signs about bailouts and being in the 99 percent, ad industry types, who facilitate the consumer desire that lines Wall Street pockets, will be entertained by Andrea Mitchell and Brian Williams of NBC News, along with Steve Harvey, Jennifer Hudson, Sarah Jessica Parker, and Justin Timberlake.

The futility of the entire situation might have been unwittingly captured in this tweet from @KYColChad:

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At Last, Someone Said It: ‘Creativity Isn’t Everything’
Patricia | Aug. 10, 2011

PizzaGuyAh, a man after my own heart.

Russell Weiner, chief marketing officer for Domino’s Pizza, said what anyone who has worked with the wrong type of ad agency already knows.

You can waste a lot of time, money, and effort pursuing “cutting edge” creative that only entertains the staff members who get to spend all day in brainstorming sessions to produce campaigns that might win the agency another peer-awarded accolade. Meanwhile, your product or service treads water. Weiner:

Creativity isn’t everything. Base the creative solution in something not creative — which is real business insights, real consumer insights, real data insights — and use those as a springboard.

There’s no such thing as creative for creative’s sake. When you have a super creative agency, if you don’t have a strategy … it almost exacerbates the problem.

And by “super creative,” I think we all agree we mean agencies that create campaigns that rely on stunts, crowd sourcing with no staying power, and empty platitudes; and that lack understanding of your product or service, or its users.

A Minus for Google+
Patricia | Jul. 13, 2011

Is it possible that someday we’ll look back wistfully at the age of Facebook and fondly recall when we were “friends” with everyone on the playground, even the smelly kids? As we await our Google+ invitations, the world shifts. Facebook has made us more like those guys were at the end of The Breakfast Club, looking at each other in new ways and finally reaching outside of our defined groups. It does look like Google+ has the potential to a big step backward.

A “Movie Trailer” for A Book? Great Idea!
Patricia | Jan. 7, 2011

When I heard Eduardo Porter on the Diane Rehm Show, I knew I had to get his book because how people make decisions is an area of fascination to me as a marketer. But when I went to Amazon to look for the The Price of Everything, I was blown away by this trailer. First of all, it’s really well executed. Second, what a great idea in this day of people who don’t read because the internet is rewiring our brains. Watch this fascinating animation.

Wake Up and Smell the Lemons
Patricia | May. 21, 2010

I’m so glad I stumbled across Erik Proulx, his blog Please Feed the Animals, and this film, Lemonade. It begins from the old saying about how, when life gives you lemons, you should make lemonade (although I have to say, I prefer Tina’s version: “When life gives you lemons, throw those suckers in the garbage!”). But it presents neither unrelenting cheerfulness nor happy endings. Instead, it shows what happens to a group of former advertising people who have one thing in common — the shock of layoff — and the ways they changed their lives in the time that’s followed.

The film is well worth the 35 minutes it takes to watch, and if it doesn’t leave you questioning your own life choices and comparing them with what you once dreamed you would be, then you are just more together than a person has any right to be. The film is available in its entirety for free on hulu.