Friday, September 30

Mom's The Word On Dinner

There's a new "campaign" out from Ragu that is causing quite the online stir.  I myself have joined the conversation, and asked some of my Twitter friends for their opinion too.

Mom's The Word on Dinner (cute title) is a video conversation that Ragu started with some Mommy bloggers to talk about different aspects of cooking and eating dinner.  It's quite interesting, actually, that the brand is highlighting bloggers --- they're a group that we've seen grown in influence in a very short amount of time.  In many areas, they've become thought leaders and trend setters.  Food happens to be one of them.  We work with a lot of bloggers across a lot of different categories.

Well one of the segments focuses on Dads in the kitchen, and this is where the emotions heated up just a bit.  On first blush, the videos seem to be dissing Dad.  When I actually looked at them a couple times, they actually are not as bad as I first thought.  But at first glance, they appear to be accentuating outdated  stereotypes about Dad not being so great in the kitchen.  Dad being kind of dumb ... bumbly fumbly Dad when it comes to anything in the house.

I will admit that it's a sore subject for me.  Most Dads I know are as involved with their kids as the Moms, and so many Dads I know are amazing cooks.  Some of them even better than their wives, who have no problem with that.  I have a few friends that are stay-at-home Dads and I was once a single Dad myself.  I made career choices that kept me close to home, and even worked from home at one point so that I could take care of my kids.

So I don't like it when I even remotely see old stereotypes of Dads.  I don't blame Ragu necessarily, they put together an engaging campaign but I don't think they were thinking out of the box enough.  P&G also got some commentary about leaving Dads out of their "Celebrating Moms" campaign during the Olympics. so this isn't really anything new.  It would have been so cool for Ragu to also feature Daddy bloggers, because they are out there in mass too!

Let's celebrate parenthood, Dads and Moms, and put these folks on a pedestal.  It's a hard job, particularly now as the economy has us all so stretched.

Enough of the dissing of Dads.  Now go buy some sauce.

What's your experience?  Jim.

Jim Joseph
President of Lippe Taylor
Author of The Experience Effect

Thursday, September 29

Where There's Pepsi, There's Music

Guess I've been living under a rock, because it took one of my NYU students to turn me onto this new campaign from Pepsi.  I can't believe it because I am infatuated with the cola wars and have yet to miss a turn or twist.  And this is a good one.

You may know that Coca Cola has been a sponsor of American Idol for eleven years now, right from day one.  The brand crafted a very innovative product placement deal including "the red room" and on-air "gulps" from Simon Cowell.

Well now here comes The X Factor, the new kid on the block also from Simon Cowell, suddenly sponsored by Pepsi.  A huge turn of events (and a right hook) for a brand which has walked away from celebrity in the last few years.  But no one can take away the heritage of music that Pepsi has supported from Michael Jackson to Britney Spears to Ray Charles to Mariah Carey ... hey, come to think of it, even Madonna (at least until "Like A Prayer").

The cool part:  Pepsi is reliving its musical history with us through this partnership ... with a recap of its musical superstars through the years and a nod to the next one ... to be identified by The X Factor when the finalist is announced.  Love how they showed off the packaging.

Wonderfully entertaining, beautifully nostalgic, and captivatingly suspenseful ... all that you want in a soft drink, right?  And by the way, a really nice nod to Michael Jackson during a week where he could use it!

The cola wars are far from over.

What's your experience?  Jim.

Jim Joseph
President of Lippe Taylor
Author of The Experience Effect
What's your experience?  Jim.

Jim Joseph
President of Lippe Taylor
Author of The Experience Effect

Wednesday, September 28

Every Presenter's Nightmare

I guess I should consider myself lucky that I lasted all these years without it ever happening to me.  But yesterday it did.  The moment I have dreaded for years ... the moment that all public speakers dread.

I was speaking at the MDPA marketing conference just outside Washington, DC ... talking about the evolution of social media especially as it relates to wellness.  The MC of the conference makes a very articulate introduction for me and I confidently walk up onto stage.  I say "Good Morning" with all the gusto I've got and hit the button to advance the next slide ...

Nothing happens.

I click again, I point it at the screen, I click again ...  Nothing happens.  Thinking that maybe something will save me I click again ... Nothing happens.

I decide to give an intro to the slides while the IT folks figure out what's going on -- to buy myself some time ...  Nothing happens.

By the look on the IT guy's face, I quickly realize that I am hanging out there on my own.  Forty-five minutes of content and I've got no slides.  So I just start talking ... and something really cool happens.

I connect with the audience!

I pretty succinctly convey the message I want to make without a single slide.  I proceed to tell a story of what I want people to hear from me.  I put all my attention into the audience, rather than on the slides.  And although I may not have hit every bullet point from every slide, I certainly did deliver the message.  And because everyone felt so bad for me (and afraid for when it's their turn), they actually paid attention.  Nothing like sympathy to draw in a crowd!!

What a concept.  A story that people paid attention to ... at a marketing conference!  I got pushed out of "slide land" and was forced just to talk and to tell a story.  And by the sound of all the Q&A that happened afterwards, I'd say it went really well.  Without a single slide.

Five lessons learned from this "experience":
- Be prepared for the worst case scenario ... always
- Tell a story ... in the moment
- Pay attention to your audience ... and they will pay attention to you
- Give 'em just enough content to spark engagement ... and they will ask questions
- Smile the whole time :) ... and they will smile back!!

Now that was an experience!!  Ever happen to you?  Jim.

Jim Joseph
President of Lippe Taylor
Author of The Experience Effect

Tuesday, September 27

A Lesson in Customer Service

I just got a text the other day that many of us hope never happens:  the guy who has cut my hair for years is leaving the salon.  Oh no!

Not to over exaggerate, but it really is a big deal.  I love my salon, but I also love my stylist.  Walking into the salon is such a great experience, and David really knows my hair.  They get me and he gets my hair.  The problem is that David's new salon is pretty far away, and I'm not sure I'm ready to give up the experience that I've grown to enjoy.

So I decided to call the salon and ask them what to do.  The receptionist is always so nice (part of the great experience), so I asked her who I should go to.  She immediately remembered me on the phone (awesome), and proceeded to tell me that they were trying to get a hold of me.

She then told me that she had already picked out a new stylist for me and that the salon is offering a 35% discount for the next three cuts if I stay with them.  The next three cuts!

Very clever.  They are going to continue the great experience that I have always had with them, and then give me an incentive to stick with them for three more cuts.  Enough to establish a new relationship and habit.

I love this example because people are always asking me if the principles in my book and in marketing in general apply to small business.  I say absolutely, and this is a case in point.  The salon has created a wonderful brand experience that has made me loyal and then created a promotional program to make sure they keep my loyalty.  That is the Experience Effect for a small business!  And it works, they are keeping me and just last night I had another amazing cut!

What's your experience?  Jim.

Jim Joseph
President of Lippe Taylor
Author of The Experience Effect

Monday, September 26

Around the Family Table

My friends all know that Sunday night is spaghetti and meatballs night with my family -- where ever we are that night and who ever is with us.  It's a tradition that we started years ago, one that brings us all together no matter what we are up to.  Last night was no exception.

That's why I so fell in love with Family Foodie (an amazing cook and food blogger).  I love her take on not just meatballs, but the family table in general.  And that's why I was so excited when Isabel agreed to be a guest blogger today.  You've got to try her Portugese meatballs, we made them last night and they are fantastic!

Family Foodie, what's your experience?  Jim. (and thanks for the recipe!)

The table has been set for our family...

Before my oldest left for college,  I asked her, "How did I get so lucky to get such a great kid?  I just hope I get as lucky three more times."  She said the words that every mother could only hope to hear: "Mom, you don't have to worry. Our family is so close because of all the time we spend Around the Family Table.  All our talks, great meals, card games and even lectures have all taken place in our kitchen.  This is what I will miss the most when I am away at college."

We all have those moments in our family life that seem so routine but say so much.  When my daughter said these words to me, it took some time for it to sink in but I realized how precious our time Around the Family Table has been over the last 18 years.

The Family Table is the heart of the home and the time we spend together will ultimately shape the future of our children.  I realized that day that my children are listening ... even when they say "Oh Mom, don't be ridiculous" ... time with great food and family had become as important to my daughter as it is to me.

My four children, will tell you that  I am the best Cook in the World!  I kid you not.  Not only do they think so, but so do all their friends!  I did not attend culinary school, I am not a trained chef, believe it or not, I've never even worked in a restaurant.

I am a Mom who loves to cook for her family and nurtures a love for Food and Conversation in our home.  Somehow, I have brainwashed my family into believing that I AM the best cook in the world!

Being a great cook is not about the most expensive ingredients or the most complicated recipes.  The only ingredient that you need to create a memorable meal is Love!  Food is Love and there is no better way to show it than to spend time Around the Family Table.

We find ourselves still setting our table for six and realizing how much we miss Alexandra.  The morning before her first visit back home, I got a text that said:  "I can't wait for a Family Foodie meal!"  And that's when I realized, the more things change, the more they stay the same ... the girl we still think of as our baby is figuring out the world on her own but her heart remains Around the Family Table!
Family Foodie Portuguese Meatballs 

2 lbs. Ground Pork
1 Small Onion 
1 tsp Paprika
1/2 cup Flour
1/2 cup Olive Oil (Portuguese if you can get it)
3 oz. Chorizo (2 small links)
2 small garlic cloves finely chopped
2 Bay leaves
2 Cups Red Wine
2 TBS butter
Sea Salt to taste

-Finely chop the onion in a food processor
-Finely chop the the chorizo in a food processor
-Combine the Pork, Onion, Paprika, 2 eggs and half of the chopped chorizo
-Form into balls
-Add Olive Oil to large frying pan on medium heat
-Dip meatballs into beaten eggs
-Flour the Meatballs
-Brown Meatballs on all sides in batches
-When all Meatballs are well browned, don't worry about them being cooked all the way, remove from frying pan and sprinkle lightly with Sea Salt
-Remove Olive Oil from pan but do not wipe clean
-Add garlic and chorizo and brown
-Add Bay Leaves, Meatballs and wine
-Simmer on low until sauce is reduced in half
-Remove Bay leaf 
Cook Portuguese Rice and serve Meatball and Chorizo Sauce over the Rice
A Green Salad is perfect with this meal

Wait till you see how amazing your house smells...

Portuguese Sangria or Vinho Verde is the perfect wine for this meal

Family Foodie Kids Ratings: Alexandra 10, Ronnie 8.5, Reis 9.5, Riley 10

- Isabel aka Family Foodie

Saturday, September 24

Good Week for Television

It's been a good week for television, don't you think?  Sunday night was The Emmys, which although predictable and not the best ever, they did kick off a week of new Fall television programming.

Glee came back, Two And A Half Men (with Ashton), The Office (not to mention the new shows) ... there was a lot of buzz.  And although truthfully I didn't have the time to catch a single episode, this week did get me thinking.  As I heard everyone chatting about the shows, I didn't hear one comment about reality shows.  Usually all the buzz is about Real Housewives or Flipping Out or Top Chef.  Not a peep.

So I am wondering ... is scripted tv coming back?  I have to say that I do love scripted tv.  And while I jumped on the bandwagon of the Real Housewives, there's nothing like a well written story line.  Look at Modern Family - the writing is stupendous.  Character development is inspiring.  Chemistry is explosive.

OK, I'm going overboard but hopefully you get where I am going.  I think, maybe, just maybe, scripted tv is going to shine this year over reality tv.  I am certainly going to tune in.

What do you think ... what's your experience?  Jim

Jim Joseph
President of Lippe Taylor
Author of The Experience Effect

Thursday, September 22

Just Be Facebook

I accept change pretty easily, I have to say.  So when social media platforms change their formats, I pretty much roll along with it.  I see others get kind of upset, and just think to myself, "they'll get used to it."

But I have to say that yesterday Facebook threw me for a loop. The "brand" (note I said brand) pretty radically changed how it interfaces with its "friends" and pretty radically changed how we all "manage" our lists.

I don't like it.

Not because I can't accept change, but because I feel like Facebook is trying to be all things to all people.  A little Google+ and a little Twitter and a little a this and a little of that.  Now we can sort and analyze and prioritize and functionalize ... I don't want to do that with Facebook.  As my friend Abbey says, "I don't want Twoogle+!"

I know and appreciate the Facebook brand, and want it to be Facebook.  So many people joined Facebook because of its simplicity.  Facebook's brand is to be user friendly and simple.  Go ahead and improve, but stay to the brand.

Now admitedly, I have not spent a lot of time with it, and maybe (just maybe) I will grow to love it.  But at first glance I just want Facebook to be Facebook.  Stick true to what it is, and give us what we've grown to need (and love) in our lives.

Just be Facebook.  Sure, go ahead and evolve, but don't try to be other brands.  I'm not even sure that Google+ is working yet, so why follow them?  Although I do admire the confidence that came with the press release ... changing the face of social media again.

Nice language, nice try, but just be your brand please.  I'm a big fan.

What's your experience?  Jim.

Jim Joseph
President of Lippe Taylor
Author of The Experience Effect

Wednesday, September 21

FedEx vs. Hollywood

I am not one of those people who says that television advertising is dead.  Changing, yes.  Losing its dominance, yes.  Dead, no.

It's been a good week for television advertising.  Sure, a lot of the new fall line up is starting so that's always a big boost.  But also it just feels like the creativity and storytelling and insights are ramped up again.  Maybe it's just me, but television advertising seems to have gotten its mojo back again.

First I reported on Sofia Vergara for Kmart, and the incredibly insightful and creative television advertising launch.  Then yesterday, I admired Dior's spot with Charlize Theron where the brand aligns with some of Hollywood's biggest icons.

Today I am featuring a spot for FedEx, which does what really good advertising should do:  make you think differently about the brand.  Elevate it in your mind.  Make you realize that it's even more important than you ever thought before.

In the spot, FedEx shows us some of the most important work it can possibly do (save lives) ... but the brand is poised against the superficial CGI world of Hollywood, showing that FedEx does the work of super action adventure heroes ... but it's real life.  It's an amazing story.

Brilliant.  Totally makes me realize the true value of FedEx, something that advertising was always meant to do.  Keep up the great work, advertisers!

BTW -- it's not just on appointment television that we are exposed to these spots.  On-demand, online, movie theater, and certainly Youtube (just to name a few).  Not just for television anymore!

What's your experience?  Jim.

Jim Joseph
President of Lippe Taylor
Author of The Experience Effect

Tuesday, September 20

Dior J'Adore Perfume

Yesterday I reported on the new collection from Sofia Vergara at Kmart -- she was the big winner at the Emmys Sunday night IMHO.  And that blog post became my highest readership day so far!  I guess a lot of people enjoyed the insights and creativity coming out of that advertising.

But there was another brand that made a huge statement at the Emmys that is also worth a shout out.  Dior J'Adore Perfume with Charlize Theron.  This is not a new advertising campaign, but boy the brand is breeding new life into it with this new execution.

The television commercial is actually a cut of a more extended piece of film, where Charlize is prepping for a runway show with other Hollywood female icons through the ages.  I'll let you count how many, there are quite a few.  Take a look here.

It's film making at its finest, especially when for commercial purposes.  And so befitting the Dior brand and the Charlize Theron brand as well.  Putting both brands up on par with the best of the best.  Quite appropriate I would say.  And quite a show stopper for sure.

Perhaps very different from Sofia Vergara for Kmart, but both equally impressive pieces of marketing.  Although both arguably very sexy in their own way -- one old classic Hollywood and one very modern woman.

What's your experience?  Jim.

Jim Joseph
President of Lippe Taylor
Author of The Experience Effect

Monday, September 19

Sofia Vergara for Kmart

Last night was The Emmy Awards, and although she didn't win, the big winner was Sofia Vergara.

First of all, she is part of the ensemble cast of the best show on television (IMHO), the winner of best comedy series again.  Second of all, she was wearing the "it" color (a shade of red) and looked amazing as always.

But most importantly, she launched her new clothing line which debuts at Kmart this week.  Timing is everything.

It's the week after New York Fashion Week and a week after the whole Missoni "thing" (let's just call it a "thing") ... we still want more but want to hear from some new folks.  It's also the Emmys which is really just as much about women's fashion as it is about television.

The line looks great, but her "line" is even better:  "You are a woman, so dress like a woman".

I work in fashion and beauty, and I've seen a lot.  It's hard to break through the clutter, especially with mass fashion.  Target is so "on it" along with H&M and the others including Walmart.  How on earth does a brand break through?

Kmart did!  The new television commercial nails it!  Shows how any woman of any size or ethnicity can carry the Sofia Vergara sexiness -- show your style, show your curves -- you are a woman, so dress like a woman.  I love it!

I know it's hard to think of Kmart as a fashion destination (although I do love my Jaclyn Smith from back in the day) ... but I also think that this messaging and "designer" just might do the trick.

What's your experience?  Jim.

Jim Joseph
President of Lippe Taylor
Author of The Experience Effect

BTW -- the "pageant" for the best comedy actress stole the Emmys show!

Friday, September 16

Schweddy Balls

I got so caught up in Target Tuesday this week, that I forgot all about last week's social media buzz ... Schweddy Balls ... Ben & Jerry's latest ice cream flavor.  Talk about having a sense of humor!

Remember the classic Saturday Night Live sketch with Alec Baldwin? OMG, I still crack up!

Well now these Schweddy Balls are here for our pleasure .... it's vanilla ice cream with rum and fudge along with milk chocolate malt balls.

Now Schweddy Balls may not last forever.  It's a limited edition, pints only, and an exclusive to Ben & Jerry's stores.  But we can all get our hands on the social media promotion and send a Schweddy Balls greeting card to our online friends.  Kills me!

I am so impressed how the brand just went for it.  Can you just hear the debate in the conference room about this being too risky?  It'll offend people, it'll destroy the brand ... what about the kids?  The brand went for it.  The social media buzz was over the top last week, almost all positive (if that's any indication).  The move is also completely on character for the brand, so why not?

Sure, some may be offended.  But I have a feeling that the brand loyalists love it, and given the fact that it's only available in Ben & Jerry's stores, I think this was a gift to their consumers.  A wink and a nod to say thanks.  And a nice little breather in an otherwise chaotic world right now.  We could all use a little giggle, that's for sure.

Thank you Ben & Jerry's.  What's your experience?  Jim

Jim Joseph
President of Lippe Taylor
Author of The Experience Effect