Wednesday, May 31

What's In Store for Gay Pride 2017?

It's now June, which means it's Pride Month. If you read my book Out and About Dad, then you know "it's the most wonderful time of the year."

Among the many festivities, I love watching all the brand activity that comes out during Pride Month, and there's more and more of it as each year goes by. Let's see what's in store, literally, for 2017!

Here's a shout-out to my favorite from last year...when Skittles literally "gave up" its rainbow in honor of Gay Pride LA and London with limited edition packaging.


We can also count on loyal supporter Target to make an appearance this year, and in fact the retailer has already, once again, installed its #TakePride Stores at many locations.


And LA Instagram favorite Paul Smith has already gotten into Pride this year by painting its infamous pink wall into the rainbow in celebration. Everyone, and I do mean "everyone" flocks to the pink wall to snap a pic, so now you can imagine the prideful traffic flow!


More to come this year...stay tuned.

What's your experience? JIM

A Tale of Two Commencement Speeches

It's graduation season, and the speeches are out in full force. Here's my take on two of the most famous...via HuffPost. Click here to give it a read.

What's your experience? JIM

Friday, May 26

Microsoft and STEM


STEM? That's a new one for me. At first glance, I thought it might be referring to stem cell research.

Nope.

Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math.

Oh.

In honor of International Women's Day this year, Microsoft is encouraging young women to pursue careers in STEM.

I see.

As the brand says...

"What if she could be the one to find the cure, crack the code, or invent something that has the potential to save lives? When we encourage girls to pursue science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM), we double the potential to solve problems. If she stays in STEM, she could be the one to change the world."

As a dad, I'd have to agree. As a human being, I sure hope it happens. And as a marketer, I know it's important for a brand to give back. To support something that will help our communities. And to stay true to what you are all about. Like in this case, STEM.

All a part of Microsoft's #MakeWhatsNext campaign. Click here to see more, and watch this...




What's your experience? JIM

Thursday, May 25

Belt and Suspenders

Our current climate has left most of us feeling, well, insecure. These times call for belt and suspenders. See what I mean in my post on Entrepreneur. Click here to give it a read.

Thanks! What's your experience? JIM

Tuesday, May 23

#MyOreoCreation


Iconic brand Oreo is running a new crowd sourcing program called #MyOreoCreation. It's a simple contest where consumers can send in new flavor or flavor combination ideas to the brand for consideration.


Not a new idea by any stretch, but with multiple ways of entering that reflect how people communicate today: you can enter via text or Twitter or Instagram or by responding to a social post or simply by registering on the contest site.

Couldn't be easier. We shall see what they come up with.

One of my fav ideas ever created via crowd sourcing was Sticky Toffee Pudding for Haagen-Dazs back in the day. It happened to be invented by a colleague at the time. It was fabulous.


Maybe this new Oreo will take the cake. Or the cookie. Or the ice cream.

What's your experience? JIM.

Gillette Encourages Guys to "Go Ask Dad"



As a continuation of its campaign from last year, Gillette is again honoring fathers and their relationships with their sons with round two of "Go Ask Dad," just in time for Father's Day. I say BRAVO.

I wrote about it on HuffPost, and you can read it there by clicking here.

What's your experience? JIM

Sunday, May 21

Graduation Shout Out!


If you've been to a graduation recently, then you know what I'm talking about. And I'm talking about it on HuffPost.  

What's your experience? JIM

Thursday, May 18

Monopoly Token


I will admit that when I first heard about this program back in March, I was kinda intrigued. But then it kinda fell off my radar. But that doesn't mean I don't kinda love it.

The iconic board game Monopoly from Hasbro decided to "refresh" its token pieces. Instead of just going about it themselves, they asked consumers to choose which ones to boot and which ones to add. Well along with the thimble and the wheelbarrow, the boot got the boot. But the brand added a rubber ducky, T-Rex, and a penguin. I guess the hashtag didn't get enough votes.

The pieces didn't go quietly though, as rabid fans worked hard to keep the classics alive. But alas, progress prevailed.

Still not sure why the hashtag didn't win.

Clever. Not only to refresh the classics, but to ask folks to contribute. Great engagement. Got me thinking about playing again, which is exactly the point.

Have you played lately? What's your experience? JIM

A Resurgence of Crowd Sourcing


We're seeing a resurgence of brands using crowd sourcing to co-create ideas...something I explored on Entrepreneur. Click here to give it a read.  What's your experience?  JIM

Tuesday, May 16

Will & Grace Returns!

To say that the television show Will & Grace had a profound effect on my adult life would be a huge understatement. The show was a breakout and a breakthrough at the time, shortly after I had myself come out as a gay man...in my 30's!


I chronicled it all in my book Out and About Dad. This was really the first television show (or really any pop culture venue) that portrayed gay people as normal, if that's a word that ever really applies to anything. Will was someone we could finally aspire to be like. He was a successful, happy, loyal, and yes normal man...who happened to be gay. With great, normal relationships with interesting "characters" in his life. A breakthrough! And Grace was the person you always wanted to be around because she accepted you for who you are, and vice versa.

And the show, I believe as a result, was an instant hit. It was part of the then "must see tv" from NBC. A breakout!

Will & Grace gave me permission to tell people that I too am gay. That was huge for me, you have no idea. Especially at that time in our culture. Perhaps we need it again in our culture.

Yes I came out as an adult before Will & Grace, and even before Ellen for that matter, but I hadn't told everyone. So their adventures certainly opened me to accept and embrace my own. And for that I am eternally grateful to all involved.

Well the good news is that the revolutionary show is coming back.


I for one can't wait...not only for the nostalgia but also for the cultural impact I know is about to happen again. Yes, history can repeat itself, although I'm betting it'll do so differently.

Here's the new trailer to get us all excited:


Yes, it's as if they never said goodbye.

I have a profound feeling that all those involved will be helping a lot more people, again. After all, laughter is the best medicine. And healer. And channel to acceptance.

Must see television all over again?!?

Thank you!  What's your experience? JIM.

Amazon Echo Look


We knew when Amazon Echo and Google Home hit the market sphere that we were gearing up for a paradigm shift of epic proportions. The minute I saw it, I knew the possibilities were endless...as seen in this April Fool's joke from Amazon "PetLexa:"


But honestly, this is no joke. The possibilities for how this technology can enhance our lives is endless. This one is for real...Echo Look for picking our fashionable outfits every day:



But the really cool part is that Echo Look has a bunch of other features like 360 fashion views, storing of outfits so you don't wear the same thing twice, and instant Instagram photo perfection. There's also a "Style Check" feature where using data and stylists, you can compare two outfits and Echo Look will tell you which is better on you. And of course you can buy outfits via Amazon too.

Incredible. This will only go as far as our imagination will take us.

Like this parody from SNL this week:


Let's watch this all explode! What's your experience? JIM

Sunday, May 14

Thursday, May 11

New Dove Body-Type Bottles



For years now, Dove has stood for "real beauty" as told by their enduring and highly successful marketing campaign. It's everyone's "case study" and it comes up in my class at NYU semester after semester after semester. It made headlines at launch, and continues to make headlines at each major step of its rollout.

This week was no exception, when Dove launched a new line of packaging to represent various female body types. Beyond retail displays, I believe this is the first time the brand has used its packaging as part of the "real beauty" campaign.

Let's just say the reaction was swift and definitive. No go. I'm a big fan of the brand...the entire line. I'm sure they had no idea the reaction would be so fast.

Here's just one that was shared over and over again:


I can see where the brand was going...apparently women didn't want to follow. At least if the initial social reaction is any indication.

What's your experience? JIM

Volkswagen Atlas "Luv Bug"


I remember when the Volkswagen "Beetle" first came to the states...it was a sensation. I immediately marveled at the novelty. This new film from Volkswagen Atlas (the latest Bettle aka Luv Bug) just makes me smile.

Well it looks like we've all grown up since then, even the "Luv Bug!"



C'mon, admit it, that made you smile! What's your experience? JIM

Wednesday, May 10

Share a Coke Continues


Coca-Coa is continuing it's now epic effort of including names on its packaging. The brand has been breathing new life into this campaign since it first launched in 2011 when it first started with first names. So shareable...not only the bottle but the social content. Share a Coke!

This year it's launching common last names. I guess I'm covered either way!


And in the UK, it's also introducing popular vacation destinations. Will this ever end? Hope not!


Epic. Yo quiero Miami.  What's your experience? JIM

Sunday, May 7

Kraft Mac & Cheese - Swear Like a Mother


These days more than ever, it's important for a brand to show that it understands what its consumers are going through. If a brand wants engagement, then it has to show empathy and authenticity.

Which is exactly what Kraft Mac & Cheese is doing with this Mother's Day spot. It's based on a stat that 74% of moms admit to swearing in front of their kids. And it poses a question: What are the other 26% doing?

Indeed.


Another stat...moms swear more than dads. Hmm. So the brand is offering some advice, from a well known influencer (and author) in the space.

But there's more...Moms (and I guess their kids) can go to swearlikeamother.com to download a free Mother's Day card, with creative curse words ala the video I suppose.

Was this a risk? Linking swearing with motherhood? Sure was, but hey, parenting is a risk so why not show what life is really like! Can't you just hear the critique as you read this?!? But for me, it's real life and real engagement.

What's your experience? JIM

Marketing New York State


The "I Love New York" campaign is, to me, best in class. When I saw the latest film from the State, I just had to write about it. On HuffPost. Click here to give it a read.

What's your experience? JIM

Friday, May 5

Doritos and Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2

Movie promotions are not necessarily new...nor our big brand partnerships with said movie promotions. We've probably seen it all. Or have we?

I'm totally intrigued by the co-promote between Doritos and the new Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2.

You can literally buy a bag of Doritos with a built in cassette player (yes, cassette player as in 1980's and as in the movie) to listen to the full movie soundtrack? Cool or what?

This just part of an entire campaign linking the brand with the new movie that includes product codes you can pull from bags of Doritos to enter an online contest. 

This isn't the first time this category or Frito Lay (who makes Doritos) has used their packaging to add a great consumer experience. For the Super Bowl this year, sister brand Tostitos added a breathalyser to its bag so that consumers could see if it was safe for them to drive. If not, they can tap the bag with their mobile phone to call an Uber. Pretty brilliant.


All in a bag of chips. Limited edition bags of chips. And I'm sure there's more to come where that came from! What's your experience?  JIM

Thursday, May 4

IKEA Hat

Just a fashion trend minute ago, we witnessed prestige brand Balenciaga's reinterpretation of the classic IKEA blue bag...turned into a runway piece. Pretty fab.


Well now another re-imagination is hitting the street...in the form of head ware.


Yes, a LA-based company has brought this hat to life, albeit at a much more affordable price point of under $50 (compared to $2,000+ for the Balenciaga bag).

This one is more overtly branded, and literally uses the same material as our IKEA fav.

To my knowledge, the brand has yet to respond to this one although quite honestly I am quite sure it's quite flattered. To reach such iconic status that classic elements of your brand reach such devotion is hard to complain about. I am sure there are legal issues abound, but from a branding perspective it doesn't get much better than this. Especially when retail is hitting an all time low. Perhaps not for IKEA!

Well I'm off to work, IKEA bag in tow.  What's your experience? JIM

Wednesday, May 3

How to Avoid Being Tone Deaf


Tone deaf is a word that's been popping up a lot lately. I decided to explore it via HuffPost. Click here to give it a read.  

What's your experience? JIM

Tuesday, May 2

Taking on a Social Issue, Authentically, in "Open Your World"

The new campaign from Heineken has folks talking about whether or not a brand should take on a social issue. Click here to read my POV via HuffPost. 

What's your experience? JIM