Archive for the ‘ Jersey Shore ’ Category

What the F?

So this past weekend I was immersed in pure euphoria otherwise known as the Philadelphia Phillies and the Philadelphia Eagles… perhaps the only combo better in my book than vanilla milkshakes and sex.  And don’t you know, they both completely sh*t the bed Sunday night.  Now let’s give the Phightin’ Phils a break; the night prior they clinched a playoff berth (first of any MLB team) and rightfully celebrated by chugging goblets of Veuve Clicquot.  And for our beloved Iggles, well, they gave it the ole’ college try vs. a predicted Super Bowl contending Atlanta Falcons but our favorite reclamation project – and key to our season – Michael Vick went down to injury late in the 2nd half where had he stayed upright, the ‘Birds would have certainly beaten the Pigeons.

But the rest of the trip is what has me up typing with one eye on the Rachel Zoe Project.  That would be, in order, the ride back from Philly to DC, my 8 year old’s little League baseball game, and then my TV viewing for the evening.  Interestingly enough this concept started a full week prior watching Monday Night Football.  Now I have a general disdain for NFL commentators as the number of ‘goods’ max out at two:  Al “Do you believe in miracles” Michaels and Troy “is that you LaVar Arrington hiding under my bed” Aikman.  The rest of the bunch are toss-ups between the voice-over guy for the old Monster Truck rallies and Michael Buffer.  But one of the 3 Stooges from the MNF booth, Philly’s own Ron Jaworski, had a minor slip of the tongue.  It’s so damn funny that I can only implore you to view/listen; I’ll wait…

Funny as sh*t, right??? I really can’t stand Jaws; as much of a homer Philly fan that I am, I’m sure you think I would/should love him, but no.  I didn’t even like him when he led the Birds to their first super bowl appearance in 1980 (disclaimer: I turn 40 in about a month.  It’s widely believed that prepubescent boys begin their life of sports fandom – and by extension, a constant barrage of beer ads, truck commercials and cut-aways featuring practically naked cheerleaders… and we like Halloween parties in our middle-age featuring the same elements, why??? – around 8 or 9 years old…  the ’80 Super Bowl hit when I was 9… I was hooked on the Birds!  But bearded wonder Jaws was NOT for me… he looked like a dope.  And then I heard him speak and his ‘dopiness’ was cemented.  One of my favorite phrases is ‘tis better to keep your mouth shut and be thought a fool than to speak and remove all doubt.’…  Apropos for Jaws.   And it’s not what he says but rather the over-inflection of his voice pattern that’s like nails on a chalkboard for me.  But my position was/is “give the guy a break.”  We’re talking cable TV (ESPN) after 10PM people… if we can’t say sh*t there, where can we???  And the fact that the poor guy had to castigate himself and actually apologize during the broadcast was flat embarrassing (but also very funny!).   Didn’t we learn during that whole wardrobe malfunction thing a few Super Bowls ago that the NFL needs some sort of delay on their broadcasts?

But here’s the rub… one week later during my post Philly sports malaise day, I went the OTHER way with this profanity opinion!  Now I played a collegiate sport and know full well the locker room mentality to the point where the F word is merely an adjective in my daily lexicon (“can you believe that f’ing client still hasn’t paid?”  “Honey, throw a chicken pot pie in the f’ing microwave?”  “Our f’ing neighbor is banging on our door again because we’re too loud?  What the f?!”).

So I’m listening to 2 hours of the Howard Stern show (huge fan… don’t judge me) on my drive back to DC and, not having had much chance to listen since his shift to satellite radio about a decade ago, I was pretty amused by the casual dropping of our favorite 4 letter words.  But I have to tell you, it was EXTREMELY conversational and literally a non-factor in terms of frequency but in terms of effect, A+.  My next profane-laced experience (now that I’m somewhat super-sensitive thanks to Jaws) was my 8 year-old’s little league game!  No, none of the kids were dropping f-bombs, but merely EVERY parent conversation (whispered of course) WAS!  Then, the Coup d’Etat … the Charlie Sheen f’ing roast!  This was extremely funny… but forced if you know what I mean.  While Howard’s use of profanity was pretty casual, this profanity mixed with an occasional respite of the King’s English was, how shall I say, too f’ing much?  I’m no prude, but it made me think…

Every company wants to be ‘edgy’ and ‘push the envelope’ these days when it comes to strategy and stockholder meetings but what do they actually do??? The same old safe creative used for the last 20 years.  Not that this is always a bad thing… if you’re Allstate, the last thing you need is a Snooki driving around Italy touting the responsiveness of her agent.  Or if you’re Charles Schwab utilizing a scene from “Wall Street” touting “greed is good”.  But let’s take a lesson from DirecTV:  Disclaimer, I’m a customer – and they are NOT a client – and I generally hate the choke hold they have on me due to my addiction to the NFL (i.e. the ONLY reason I use their service).  But those Deion Sanders spots are priceless.  And how about the balls they have to brazenly announce the “free NFL ticket”???  It took me all of 2.2 seconds to call and discover that it’s for new customers only and complain why a customer of 10+ years has to pay $350… when I learned that my call was 95% of their total.  But it didn’t matter… I threatened to cancel but never did.  That’s some balls.  Juxtapose to Netflix who thought they had a stranglehold on their customers and forced them to choose between streaming  movies OR DVD delivery and subsequently saw a 30% drop in stock price.  That was foolish.  There are a plethora of other options for movies… namely HBO and their answer to ‘movies on demand’, HBO-GO.

So the lesson here, before you show a set of f’ing b*alls, better make sure your f’ing product/service can’t be replaced!



I don’t know how to feel about last night.  Best summarized as Low – High – Low – High – Neutral – Low – Great.  Allow me to explain: 

  • Stay at the office a little late – home at 7:30. <LOW>
  • Excited as the wonderful Washington Post shows the Phillies/Diamondbacks as being on the MLB Network! <HIGH>
  • Pissed when I throw on the TV to see the G-damn Giants/Braves game pre-empted my beloved Phightins’!  That cross-dresser Lincecum screws me again!!!!! <LOW>
  • Figured there’s NO CHANCE the Eagles/Steelers game would be on here in the land of cluelessness when it comes to fiscal policy (hello double-dip recession – love the ‘hope and change’ Barack – keep it up!).  On a whim, I hit the DirecTV guide button… what’s scheduled to be on Fox at 8:00???  Birds/Steelers – officially psyched at this point! <HIGH>
  • Temper my enthusiasm by thinking that I just got d*ck teased in the same manner by the Phillies/Diamondbacks listing… could I possibly fall for it twice in the same night???? <Neutral>
  • The Eagles game is on- YES!  They proceed to get taken to the woodshed after I talk a ton of sh*t on Twitter – NO! <REALLY LOW!>
  • I eat dinner with my gorgeous wife – thinking this would lift my spirits (it did!)… but lo and behold, did I posssibly forget it’s JERSDAY????  Hello ‘Jersey Shore Does Italy’!  I don my inner Pauli D, grab a shot of Sambuca and settle into my fave couch/position (see yesterday’s blog) for an hour of complete brain cell destruction! <GREAT>

I bet you’re wondering how I tie this to marketing… me too… I hope I figure it out by the time I get to the next paragraph.  Wait, got it!

So The Situation thinks he has a 3some in the works with a set of twins when next thing you know, his housemate Deena steps in and starts making out with one of them!  Poor Situation, right?  That”s what I’m thinking.  Well let me tell you… expecting something and getting something completely different (he’s now fighting with Snooki vs. ‘smushing’ with two blonde twins)  is where we’ll draw the parallel, il mio amico!

Expecting a certain list for a mail/email acquisition campaign and deploying to something completely different is an unfortunate bi-product of the direct marketing industry.  Fortunately, I can count on one hand the number of instances this occured in my 10+ years in the business covering thousands of campaigns.  But to say that there aren’t bad eggs in the basket would be a wild mis-statement.  I have been through some horrific experiences of major brands in search of very niche data to which to send offers.  I won’t name names, but there are vultures out there waiting to feed.  For starters, PLEASE adhere to the following red flags… and if you have questions, you need to comment here… I’ll call you… and we’ll go directly to Dr. Drew because you’re clearly addicted to sniffing glue:

  1. IF you are looking for niche data (e.g. a list of left handed Somali pirates who graduated from MIT) and the number of reputable list sources you’ve utilized over the years has like 5 records, but one list you never heard of has 500,000… probably a good idea to punt and live to fight another day.
  2. IF you have a client who even after warning them of ‘what’s available’ includes a few sources with which you have little/no history (in the spirit of due diligence) … and they still desire to utilize this ‘magical list’… and you remind them that you have limited experience with this source and recommend a VERY small test, if any at all… (next bullet as I’m exceeding the purpose of bullets…)
  3. and IF they still demand with wanting to use such list… even after your protestations…
  4. Recommend they order it from your worst enemy!!!!!!  Or if you are the client, sign a note to yourself saying ‘Self, I do not blame my data broker!’ (signed in blood).

See, the thing is that we all want the ‘big deal’ everytime the phone rings.  And the reality is that I probably have had as many of these types of deals, executed without incident, as I have had problems with what should have been great orders.  Net result = push.  That’s right.  If you factor my company’s and my personal income relative to the stress, time, and money spent on martinis to get beyond the problems, I might even say that I”ve lost money on such opportunities. 

Now for you marketers, listen to your damn brokers!  And if your broker isn’t strong enough to tell you ‘no, I won’t allow you to rent that list’, call me.  I’ve done it.  After suffering one of these experiences with a client who still wanted to rent a list of ‘one legged wide receivers who play for the Patriots’ from that same list source, I said ‘NO” (like the Situation should have said to those slores).  I gave the client my biggest competitor’s name/number and told her to order the list through him.  Guess what, she ordered the list… and she’s still my client today.

Thank goodness for Jersday!