Tuesday, August 31

Real Housewives on Daytime

A short while ago I wrote a blog post about how The Real Housewives franchise on Bravo has become the new soap opera. Little did I know how completely accurate that statement would soon become.

You may know that NBC owns Bravo. Beginning in September, for the new television season, NBC will begin airing its series of Real Housewives episodes from all our favorite cities. It's a fascinating move as we've seen the slow death of the daytime soap opera against the meteoric rise of reality tv and The Real Housewives. In fact, the Guiding Light is about to go under, if you can believe it.

It's quite brilliant because NBC has never been much of a daytime player, with the soaps on CBS and ABC dominating the ratings. These re-runs of The Real Housewives could seriously spark a whole series of reality shows during the day, which I have to imagine run at a fraction of the production costs. Heck, The Real Housewives series are all paid for already!

The drama is certainly there. Last night's part one of The Real Housewives of New Jersey Reunion was off the charts in drama, complete with confrontations, screaming, name calling, accusations -- even the host Andy Cohen got pushed into his chair. No need to save that for night time viewing only!

Let's watch what happens.

What's your experience? Jim

Monday, August 30

Temple Grandin

We may not have known her before Sunday night, but we sure know Temple Grandin now.

Temple Grandin stole the Emmys last night. Not for her performance on a television show, or for her red carpet look. But for a life dedicated to autism education that was celebrated on a made for tv movie that won 5 awards.

Although this is perhaps her biggest moment in the spotlight, it's not her first. She has won numerous awards in her field, and was even named one of Time Magazines "most influential" this year.

I had not heard of the movie about her life, to tell you the truth, but I am now fascinated by Temple Grandin. She has autism herself, diagnosed at a time when the medical community really knew nothing about it. She has worked through it her whole life, earning multiple degrees, writing several books, and completely dedicating her life to autism education as well as animal welfare.

I am quite positive that she will put this new found fame to good use, raising awareness for autism to new heights. She's an inspiration, truly.

To learn more about Temple Grandin and her work, visit her website.

What's your experience? Jim.

Friday, August 27

Emmys All A Twitter

This Sunday's Emmy Awards Show promises to be a whole lot more interactive, with the help of Twitter's fan base and celebrity guest list that is more connected than ever before.

E! will certainly be tweeting live from the Red Carpet. It's going to be virtually impossible to keep up with the volume and pace of activity as the celebrities arrive. But it is a blast to see what people are saying, and in many cases to see how the celebrities are responding as well. Many of them are very active on Twitter ... giving us a true insider's look into what they are thinking at that moment. Or at least what they want us to think they are thinking.

This year, there's a new twist during the show. Viewers will be able to directly tweet into the awards show, giving the host (Jimmy Fallon) suggestions on what to say. Like how to introduce the next celebrity presenter.

The hashtag is #imontheemmys -- and throughout the show Jimmy will be reading the tweets and using them as content. It's going to be fascinating to see how he uses the content and with any luck it'll work to keep him fresh for the entire four plus hours!

I personally was a bit skeptical about using Twitter/Facebook while watching a television show. I like to focus, watch, and maybe snack. But just recently I've been participating with live tweets on some of the Bravo shows and I have to say that it's a lot of fun.

It's a lot less "couch potato" in that you have to multi-task and you can't just relax, but it is a lot of fun.

Now as a marketer, it'll be amazing to see how many brands integrate into the action as well. Stay tuned and jump into the game too, but only if you can "handle" it.

What's your experience?

Thursday, August 26

Kashi Makes It Real


Health food has long had the reputation of being, well, difficult to digest. If you went to a health food store you were surely trading off great taste for something that was better for your body. We were just conditioned to thinking that if it's healthy, it can't be that tasty or satisfying. It never felt like real food, at least not to me.

We have certainly progressed as a food industry, with health food and health food stores really sparking a revolution in eating better and enjoying it. Just look at what places like Whole Foods have done for the industry. Shopping there, and then enjoying the food at home, is an incredible experience.

I am a big fan of Kashi. I am fairly familiar with it because I was doing a lot of work for Kellogg's when the company bought the brand. The food, particularly the cereals, are so delicious that you look forward to the bowl of goodness first thing in the morning. Go Lean Crunch is a staple for me. It delivers an incredible burst of flavor and a crunch that satisfies.

What I admire even more is the brand's positioning and its advertising. They have done a wonderful job of making healthy food accessible, relateable, and friendly. The advertising features company employees living their own healthy lifestyle, talking about their work.

This is not the first brand to showcase its employees, but I dare say it's one of the most successful. At least in terms of creating a image of the brand as wholesome and welcoming. It makes health food seem like just a natural thing to do. And it all looks so tasty and quite honestly ... real.

Seven Whole Grains on a Mission. Here's a little article that I'm quoted in if you'd like to read a little more (told you I was a fan!).

What's your experience? Jim

Wednesday, August 25

Zappos and Customer Service

It may sound obvious, but customer service should be just as important to a brand's marketing plan as the advertising. Maybe more so.

We tend to think of marketing as just the advertising and promotion, but truthfully a strategic customer service plan is probably more important. Nothing shapes perceptions around a brand more than the real interactions with company personnel.

Zappos knows this only too well. Customer service is at the heart of its brand proposition, and in fact it was their commitment to best-in-class customer service that put them on the e-commerce map.

This year's advertising campaign, the first for the brand in a very long time, highlights Zappos customer service as its key brand differentiator.

With puppets created to look like real company representatives, actual customer service conversations are re-enacted to prove the brand's commitment. Of course only the most dramatic and entertaining are featured, but that's part of the allure. If the brand is able to handle these customer service requests, then surely they will be able to handle the simpler issues.

So smart of the brand to put customer service at the center of the brand's promise, and to communicate it loud and clear. Particularly when it competes in a category of sameness (consumers can pretty much get this merchandise at loads of places online).

If you'd like to see one of the spots, click here.

What's your experience? Jim

Tuesday, August 24

Express Yourself with Sharpie

A critical part of good marketing is uncovering the emotional benefit of your brand. Every category and every brand can have an emotional benefit, even the most functional of products.

Take pens for example. On the surface, it would seem like there couldn't possibly be an emotional benefit to a ball point pen -- it's all functional.

Take Uniball. The brand claims to help prevent identity theft, because the ink is specially formulated to prevent check washing. Security and safety is the emotional benefit.

Sharpie. Its new advertising campaign, timed perfectly for back-to-school, has a tagline that reads "uncap what's inside." The emotional benefit of the brand? Self expression that can only be conveyed by the colors and styles of the Sharpie line of markers. A true emotional benefit.

Who knew a pen could bring out so many emotions? Also, check out the new Sharpie liquid pencil: "No breaking lead, no breaking your flow." Really good uncovering of an emotional benefit for what might otherwise seem pretty standard fare.

BTW, full disclosure here: I love using Sharpies. They are fun and truly expressive.

What's your experience? Jim.

Monday, August 23

I Got It Wrong

I'm not afraid to say when I am wrong, and I was way off base on this one.

Several weeks ago I predicted the box office explosion and resulting come-back of Julia Roberts with "Eat Pray Love." Who could blame me? We all love a come back, and the marketing machine had kicked in big time with partnerships, sponsorships, gaming, products ... the whole gamut. It was a given in my mind. Not to mention Julia's coincidental gig for Lancome (did I ever tell you that there are no coincidences in marketing?).

Maybe I was I just too personally obsessed with the pretty woman? Was my vision blurred?

But I really did think that pop culture was going to work in favor of "Eat Pray Love." This woman has had her soul beaten down, like many of us, and is taking the time she needs to rediscover herself. We're all there, we need some time to ourselves. We need to reinvent. I thought we would all relate.

The opening weekend was not as hoped, and this past weekend was pretty sad. "The Expendables" beat it twice in a row, even among women. There's been no buzz, no chatter, no interest, despite all the marketing effort. Imagine how all those marketing partners feel?

I guess it turns out that this movie just isn't relateable. None of us can take a year off to find ourselves. So to watch that on screen just feels way too self indulgent and spoiled. And she left a really good guy! Whoops.

"Eat Pray Love": the making of a brand that just never made it. I got it wrong, I'll admit it. And now I guess I also have to admit that I didn't go see it -- it's been a crazy busy summer. Whoops.

What's your experience? Jim.

Friday, August 20

Playtex Bra Makeover Series

It's been said that 80% of women wear the wrong size bra -- Oprah even did a segment on it. Now you may be wondering why a boy like me is writing a post about this ...

Enter the Playtex Bra Makeover Series. Brilliant marketing.

The Bra Makeover is a series of webisodes featuring 10 totally ordinary, completely different women who win a trip to New York for a bra fitting with stylist Alison Deyette. We watch the transformations, so to speak, as Alison determines the right bra type, style, and size for each woman.

Sounds simple, and it really is. You get to hear real women, ordinary women, talking about very personal issues about their bodies and how their clothing fits. The videos make it oddly ok to talk about really personal stuff, which is exactly the point.

And the extensions are endless. Alison then did an entire segment on "The View" where she took audience members on stage for a series of bra makeovers. There's even a dedicated website at playtexbramakeover.com where women can determine the correct bra for themselves.

This whole series just makes the brand feel so real and contemporary, much like the Dove campaign for real beauty. And probably most importantly, the brand feels like it's on your side.

You can watch one of the videos on YouTube here.

What's your experience? Jim

Thursday, August 19

Target Fashion Event

I witnessed a WOW moment last night in New York, quite by accident.

Target (the retailer) hosted a huge fashion event to promote its new fall line up, using The Highline park as well as The Standard Hotel in the Meatpacking District of the city. Basically, the brand bought out the entire side of the hotel, 155 rooms, and staged a provocative show using each window -- for all of New York to see and enjoy.

If you are familiar with the hotel, the rooms are quite visible from The Highline, causing quite a stir when the hotel first opened. Last night, Target took full advantage of the view with a spectacular light, dance, and fashion show. The place was packed as the lights moved from room to room, exposing dancers all moving to an original beat, creating a kaleidoscope feel. It was almost hypnotic.

Like fireworks on the 4th of July!

Luckily, the event started with a runway walk down Little West 12th Street so that you could actually see the fashions, and it streamed live on the website.

How did I find out about it? You'll never guess - it's my parents' 75th birthdays and they were in town to celebrate. I put them up at The Standard Hotel -- big mistake. Not that it wasn't fabulous, but it was right in the middle of this fashion extravaganza. Note to self: check the event schedule before booking rooms for family.

What's your experience? Jim

Wednesday, August 18

4Food: You Are What You Tweet

File this under "oh so cool", at least as it relates to social media.

A new fast food restaurant concept in NYC that combines social media with DIY with locally-grown healthy food choices.

Here's how it works. You create your own burger combination online (from tons of ingredient choices) via the website or social media. The burger you've created then gets posted to a leader board for others to choose from as well. The more your burger gets ordered, the higher on the leader board it gets posted, and the more food credits you get.

Everything funnels through the restaurant's website as well as through Facebook, Twitter, and Foursquare.

The first restaurant is in Bryant Park in New York, with future expansion plans. The look is "oh-so-Apple." I personally can't wait to try it.

You can read more about it here.

What's your experience? Jim

Tuesday, August 17

Women at the Box Office

A funny thing happened at the weekend box office -- more women went to see Sylvester Stallone in "The Expendables" than went to see Julia Roberts in "Eat Pray Love." How could that be? I really thought that "Eat Pray Love" was a shoo-in, certainly a stiletto shoe-in. 40% of "The Expendables" viewers were women.

Why?

I think we all want a little fantasy, especially women. The economy has kicked our collective butts for sure, and we have the scars to prove in (just check our bank accounts and our resumes). Nothing wrong with a little escapism for a few hours. I think women chose the movie that allowed them to escape, rather than face, their lives.

And what's wrong with a little action/adventure, it's not just for boys. The gender lines are blurring, at least in entertainment. It's just not as clean cut where romantic comedies are for women and adventure films are for men. We just all go to the best entertainment, that's it.

BTW, a lot of men went to see "Eat Pray Love". Only reason I didn't was because of the "Keeping Up With The Kardashians" marathon on Bravo. (did I just write that?)

Some say it's because women really want men like Sylvester Stallone but I don't think that's the case. They want fantasy, and that's what Hollywood provides. Their real partners are at home, or sitting next to them in the theater.

There was a good article yesterday in the Christian Science Monitor yesterday, where I'm also quoted on this very topic. You can read it here.

What's your experience? Jim.

Monday, August 16

Back-to-School

We're in the midst of the second biggest retail season of the year, back-to-school -- second only to the December holidays. So what's that mean for people like us? Usually some great marketing to observe, enjoy, and learn.

Every year I look forward to great back-to-school advertising, and I have to say that this year I've been disappointed. Nothing sticks out. We can usually rely on Staples to entertain and motivate us, but there really has been nothing remarkable this year. Bit of a marketing bummer.

I will still of course take great pleasure in trolling the aisles, stocking up on supplies for my two teens, but it's not quite the same without the entertainment. :(

As with many things "these days", we need to look online. Twitter and Facebook is packed with back-to-school offerings for friends and followers, so make sure you check out the action. One cool item to note: a Twitter party sponsored by Frito Lay.

Next Thursday August 19th at 8:00pm, Frito Lay is getting moms together on Twitter to talk about school lunches with a TweetUp hosted by two nutritionists. Great use of the vehicle and the timing is perfect.

How did I find out about it? On a mommy blog!

One other interesting thing to note as well: a new line of clothing at Macy's from Glee (the television show that we've all fallen in love with). Not the most innovative clothing line in the world, but a sign of the show becoming a brand and getting more involved in our lives. It just debuted this past weekend at Macy's around the country, and next weekend members of the cast are doing store appearances in Southern California.

Stop by and pick up your Cheerio top!

What's your experience? Jim.

Friday, August 13

Pretzel M&M's

My colleague Andy Levy takes a page from my book and comments here on the new advertising for Pretzel M&M's. Personally, I've just discovered the coconut flavor, and I'm crazy for it. Either way, the brand consistently delivers.

What's your experience, Andy? Jim.

In his book “The Experience Effect”, Jim so deftly describes M&M's as a brand with a unique but concrete personality. M&M’s is a total experience in and of itself, from that iconic little black (or yellow if it’s peanut) bag to its full-on retail fantasy experience. But how about their commercials? Does the experience translate to the small screen?

Sure does!

I don’t watch too much television, primetime or otherwise. I know I’m going to sound like a caveman, but I don't have a DVR yet, so when I do watch I have to sit through the advertising. Most commercials go in one ear and out the other, however there are a few that stick and when they do, I know they are good.

One of those is the new M&M Pretzel campaign - probably one of the funniest commercials this year. For me, the chocolate and pretzel combination is not an obvious one, especially for M&M's. I have had chocolate pretzels before and they are heavy and filling. Not my cup of tea. The thought of a pretzel in a very small candy like M&M's seemed off at first – they're so small, how's it going to work?

Then I saw the commercial and every time I think about it I giggle, the response I'm sure every brand would like.

It goes like this – the official M&M's spokescandy is not happy that he has been tapped to be the guinea pig for the first pretzel surgical insertion. In comes the pretzel with a plumber’s disposition saying, “Listen buddy, I’m not too thrilled about this either.” Then with backs to the camera, they look at a surgical blueprint on how this is going to happen. Knuckles cracking, the pretzel says, “All right, let’s get this over with!"

The voiceover casting is genius. You can sense the trepidation and eventual resignation. It’s hilarious! It just shows that the M&M's brand personality is original, engaging and always an experience.

The best part? That little commercial got me to try that new candy and I like them quite a bit.

- Andy Levy from Lippe Taylor Brand Communications

Thursday, August 12

Print Magazine Innovations

Although a lot of it is flying under the radar of everyone claiming "magazines are dead", there really is a lot of innovation going on in the print magazine world. I'd like to point out two examples.

Vanity Fair just launched their publication on the iPad. It's fabulous. Always known for great photography, amazing articles, and of course engaging advertising (at least for me anyway), the magazine really comes to life on the iPad. So much more interactive and colorful and completely on your own terms. Really worth checking out.

Traditional Home. Don't let the name fool you, there's a lot of new world "goings on" in this magazine. For many of the feature stories, there's a bar code that you can snap a picture of with a mobile device (aka smart phone). Once scanned it, the bar code gives you access to web content with more room views, designer commentary, and even videos -- basically the ability to scope around the featured home like never before. Pretty amazing.

So don't count the magazine out of the game just yet. Stay tuned for more and more innovations that will make them even more valuable to consumers, and advertisers too for that matter.

What's your experience? Jim

Wednesday, August 11

Steven Slater, Instant Celebrity

The digital revolution has an unforeseen side effect -- the ability to create an instant celebrity.

Steven Slater, the JetBlue flight attendant who ceremoniously "lost it" on Monday, has been gaining friends and followers at lightening speed.

Quite incredible, really. The water cooler chatter is second only to the tweets and Facebook likes. The man already has over 95,000 fans on Facebook. He instantly became a celebrity before he even hit the bottom of the plane's emergency slide.

Why? Partly because we now have the ability to spread the word instantaneously online. It was a mere minutes before we all knew Steven Slater.

And, he did what we'd all like to do. He flipped out. On an airplane. Because someone was being incredibly rude to him, and to the others onboard that flight.

I don't know what it is about airplanes, but it brings out the worst in people. Actually I do know what it is, we all hate to fly now and the airline employees are so undervalued that they get cranky. Can't blame them.

As a result, Steven's become an instant cult hero. I swear that there's probably an endorsement deal coming down the pike, and maybe a made-for-tv movie. Who knows.

Anyway, the point here is that social media and online news has given us all the ability to become an overnight sensation, at the click of a mouse. Although I would personally suggest a less dangerous route.

Congratulations???

What's your experience? Jim.

Monday, August 9

Martha Stewart at PetSmart


She's at it again ... launching a new line of products. This time aimed at pets and exclusively at PetSmart. Martha Stewart Pets at PetSmart is a line of accessories for dogs including bowls, collars, toys, and clean up products.

In true Martha fashion, she has personally selected and tested each item, even the beds. And the website is all Martha too, with advice on dog care and recipes for biscuits. Check it out here. Her two french bulldogs even have a blog, The Daily Wag, where you can follow their adventures. Trust me, they have an adventurous life!

The line is also beautifully merchandised at retail as well.

Whether or not you like Martha Stewart the person or Martha Stewart the celebrity, you have to respect her as a business woman. And although she seems a bit over exposed, this new pet line and partnership with PetSmart is brilliant. Just as brilliant as her line of crafting products at Michaels, her cookware at Macy's, her furniture with Bernhardt, and her holiday line at KMart.

All of it Martha, all of it very high quality, and all of it with an educational component so that we do it all just a little bit better. As only Martha would do.

What's your experience? Jim.

West Elm

The folks at West Elm (the furniture and accessories retailer) really get it. They understand retail therapy and the shopping experience. And they understand locals because they give those of us who live nearby a reason to keep coming back.

Everytime I pop into a West Elm store, which is a lot, it always feels just a little bit different. Same core items are always there, but everything is just mixed up a little bit differently than the last time I was in. New items, sale items, innovative merchandising ... it always looks fresh. Not sure how they do it, but I do know that the staff is wonderfully attentive and talented.

Right now the store is in a '60's mood, perhaps inspired by Mad Men and other pop culture entertainment du jour. Worth a look.

Antique dealer and artist Mike Miller is also featuring a line of "silhouette" artwork and pillows that are just to die for. Only for a limited time, and only available at West Elm. But surely a reason to stop by, browse, and purchase.

West Elm has the brick and mortar retail shopping experience down ... right when everyone is saying that retail is dying. Not here.

Think I'll stop by on my way home!

What's your experience? Jim.

Friday, August 6

BlogHer

New York City is all a Twitter (literally) this week over the BlogHer conference. The hashtag is #blogher10 if you want to follow.

If you are not familiar, BlogHer is a network of female bloggers that have amassed quite a voice in the digital space and now in the marketing world too. BlogHer is a publishing platform, if you will, for bloggers to get their writing more exposure and more collective readership.

They are all meeting this week in New York for their annual conference, to learn and share in person. I had the chance to meet one of the founders to see how we might work together. One of our clients even threw a big party to welcome them all.

There are TONS of bloggers at the conference, who write on virtually every topic close to women's hearts. A lot write about being a mom, but also career, home, relationships, gardening ... you name it.

From a marketing perspective, they've become quite a powerhouse. Brands are tapping into their influence to help spread the word on new products, interesting uses of products, special promotions, etc. Just like any other media channel. In many cases, these bloggers are becoming the first to know about new items, and perhaps even trying them out before they hit the market.

All in the hopes that they spread the word, if they choose to, to their audience. And some of them have huge audiences!

I find it all quite fascinating, as a blogger myself. It's amazing to get our voice out there, and to have a vehicle to share our point of view. The fact that marketers are embracing it as a collective media channel brings it even more exposure and legitimacy.

I hope all the bloggers at BlogHer learn a lot this week ... keep on honing your craft and doing your thing! I salute (and join) you. Can't wait to hear what you say about the whole thing.

What's your experience? Jim.

Thursday, August 5

Best Buy Geek Squad

If customer service is a part of your brand proposition, then I've got a little "best in class" to share with you, IMHO.

"Buy a Laptop, Get a Geek.": the new campaign from Best Buy that offers ongoing technical support with every laptop purchase.

What a great way to alleviate the fears of every new computer buyer ... that fear that once you get home, you won't be able to figure out how to use all this cool stuff.

Best Buy really revolutionized itself a few years back by re-inventing its customer service, and continues to do so. Like many big box electronics retailers, it was languishing for being just so "me-too". Couldn't tell one retailer apart from another. But their management nailed it by starting a subsidiary called "Geek Squad", an on-demand service arm that comes to your home and help you address any technical issues. They amped up their customer service, and not just in store, but post purchase too.

I used the Geek Squad once or twice myself, and I have to say that it was really good. You can even use the Geek Squad on items not purchased at Best Buy. I had them install a tv! What a great way to lure in new consumers.

But Best Buy didn't stop there. Then came Twelpforce, customer service using Twitter. As a customer, you can tweet in your questions when you get home and your customer service rep helps you. Such a great idea for all those little questions that come up. The best part? Instant gratification at the speed of 140 characters. You can even tweet in questions before you buy.

(As a side note, Twelpforce will be getting a special mention in a book that a friend of mine is writing, profiling brands that go "above and beyond". You can read some other examples, and his whole concept, here -- it's pretty fascinating.)

The latest "Get a Geek" promotion isn't necessarily a new idea for Best Buy, but just a carefully crafted way of serving up customer service and adding value to a big ticket purchase. You can see the television commercial here.

So if customer service is a part of your mix, which I'm sure it is on some level, consider how to amp it up. It can quickly become an important part of your marketing plan and a vital way to differentiate from competition.

What's your experience? Jim

Wednesday, August 4

Mad Men Advertising


We are in the midst of a Man Men craze. Social media circles and water coolers are all a buzz about Don's behavior, the new office, the clothing, even the pace of the show. We are all in '60's adland heaven.

I have not heard many people comment, however, on the advertising. I've noticed a huge shift towards advertising that has been specially created to run during Mad Men. Now if you are time shifting, then you might not notice but you really should check it out.

Clorox, BMW, and Dove (among others) have made television advertising executions that fit directly with the Mad Men concept. Great examples of tailoring the marketing message for a specific touchpoint, to put the touchpoint to its maximum value.

Dove and BMW show retrospectives of their product lines through the years, starting with the Mad Men period. Clorox simply shows a white collar shirt with a lipstick stain with copy that talks about "saving ad men for years".

A brilliant use of television advertising to appeal directly to a targeted audience in a specific medium. To me, it makes the show even more enjoyable to watch -- after all it is about advertising!

What's your experience? Jim.

Tuesday, August 3

VH-1 Do Something Awards

I can't even tell you how many times I have presented this idea to clients. "Let's put together an awards show to honor people who do charity and community service work."

Maybe I didn't have it fleshed out enough or maybe I just didn't present it very well, but I could not for the life of me get a client to do it.

Enter VH-1 and their "Do Something" awards.

So inspirational, I was in tears at each story -- by the end, I felt like a total schmuck. Here are all of these twenty-somethings that have done more for people in need than I could ever dream of. These people deserve special recognition, and they got it! Right at a time when the world is certainly in need, and charity work (and cause marketing) is in fact at an all time high.

From an awards show perspective, what made this special so special was how celebrities and their work was intertwined with "real" people and their own work, where they have dedicated their lives to help others.

Plus musical entertainment (it is a music channel!). The flow from celebrity to "real" was just so engaging and inspirational. I'm glad that someone has finally done an awards show highlighting the charity work being done by these great people.

So well done. Wish I had thought of it. :) It's still in rotation on VH-1, so be sure to support it.

What's your experience? Jim.

Monday, August 2

Jersey Shore

Trust me, I love my reality television show as much as the next guy. I have to say, though, that I really don't get "Jersey Shore". Every time I try to watch it, I end up shaking my head. As my colleague Laura Claps reports here, maybe that's the point.

What's your experience, Laura? Jim.

"Jersey Shore" scored 5.3 million viewers for its season two premiere last Thursday, almost a 300% increase from last season. Even if you pretend you don’t watch the show, we now have proof that you do! I can admit I am a loyal fan. I love the fighting, the fist-pumping and most of all, the ridiculous things these people say -- which then supplies you with quotable material for the next day at work.

Some classic examples in the event you actually had something better to do during the Season 2 premiere:

Snooki: I don't go tanning tanning anymore because Obama put a 10 percent tax on tanning. McCain would never put a 10 percent tax on tanning. Because he's pale and would probably want to be tan. Obama doesn't have that problem. Obviously.

The Situation: Ron is at the club hooking up with grenades, which is a bigger ugly chick, and land mines, which is a thinner ugly chick… (note from Jim: holy cow!)

The exciting news is that our witty Jersey Shore friends have now been immortalized as action figures and thanks to Funko you can have your very own Situation, Snooki or DJ Pauly D for the mere price of $12.99!

That’s right kids – the Situation Talking Wacky Wobbler says things like "I check out the mirror and I’m like...Wooh, today's gonna be a good day."

Then there’s the ever so popular Snooki which reminds you that "Pickles is my thing."

Or, if you’re a fan of DJ Pauly D (he’s the one with the Gotti hair) you’ll never forget "Nooo way I'm goin' to Jersey without my hair gel; can't leave without my gel."

After you GTL, you can pick up your very own piece of Jersey (Staten Island, Long Island) here
.

Classic and fun for the whole family … LOL

- Laura Claps, Beauty Media Supervisor at Lippe Taylor Brand Communications