Friday, June 30


"Socks are the #1 requested item in homeless shelters."

This mostly unknown fact became the inspiration behind the company Bombas. Two friends/colleagues started a sock company with a simple formula: for every pair of socks bought they would donate a specially-created, highly-functional pair of socks to homeless shelters. Their goal: donate one million pairs of socks within 10 years. It only took 2.5, and they're already over 3.5 million pairs.

They called the company Bombas, the Latin word for bees. Bees live in hives and work as a team. Bees are unbelievably productive and they give back to the community. Bees are good for planet earth.

The name is a perfect fit. Just like the socks.

I always say that a brand should deliver an emotional benefit, and Bombas clearly delivers on that front. But when it comes to function, there's no stopping the products either.

Here's a video that explains the entire concept:

So inspiring. The perfect formula...function, emotion, purpose, community, sharing, giving back. Bombas.

What's your experience? JIM

Thursday, June 29

Special K Own It

Perfectly imperfect.

A brand new campaign from Special K gets right at how we are living our lives "these days." It's built from the kind of thoughtful insights I try to teach my students at NYU.

We live our lives "perfectly imperfect." We can't possibly do everything perfect all at once all of the time, but we do a pretty good job of trying. And we should be proud of that!

Take a look:

And then n this 30 second video, the brand addresses the role of food in the mix:

I've long been a fan of Special K and even worked on it at one point in my career. I always thought the brand did a breakthrough job of talking about "dieting" in the context of health and wellness and at the same time indulgence. No small feat.

There are of course social elements to this as well, so that women can "join the conversation."

And some great visual representations of the campaign and the insight.

This campaign continues that original attempt from the brand, IMHO, and it has owned it for quite some time.

What's your experience? JIM

Wednesday, June 28

Adidas Originals

This is a follow up post to yesterdays Adidas Odds, a fabulous idea to support para-athletes.
Upon seeing the film, a friend reminded me of another Adidas campaign that stole some of the limelight at this year's Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity awards...Adidas Originals.

Original is never finished.

I love the film technique, the use of a vintage song, and most importantly the message that we should continually be creating and striving to be original. Something I try to aspire to personally. And when you are in marketing and creativity, your work is certainly never finished.

Not to mention the iconic, classic original Adidas sneaker.

What about you? What's your experience? JIM

Tuesday, June 27

Adidas Odds

Coming out of the Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity awards last week, we're seeing loads and loads of inspiring creative work. I don't want to duplicate what others have written, there are many a recap post highlighting the big winners.

So here's a campaign that hasn't gotten much wordage, but I think is so incredibly inspiring and smart. I saw it first when I was judging The One Show, and it hit my radar again this week. Just have to write about it.

Adidas Odds. Two odds...two matching left or right foot sneakers for "those who run against the odds" in honor and in support of para-athletes who have to do with one foot what most of us can't even attempt with two.

Simple: these folks don't need a matching left and right foot sneaker, they need two odds.

Wow. Take a look:

Leadership. Community. Support. What's your experience? JIM.

Friday, June 23

The Most Interesting Tequila?

We know him as "The Most Interesting Man in the World," the recently retired spokesperson for Dos Equis beer.

"I don't always drink beer, but when I do it's Dos Equis." Pretty legendary at this point.

Well now he's back...drinking...tequila. Astral Tequila to be specific.

Pretty interesting take on using another's spokesperson, and altering their copy/messaging...taking a page from Sprint, when their current and once iconic spokesperson Paul switched from Verizon.

I guess the question is if it's effective (and cool) to take another brand's spokesperson and make it your own?!? That, my friends, is in the eyes of the consumer.

So what's your take? What's your experience? JIM.

Thursday, June 22

Cheetos Online Museum

A student from my NYU class this week shared something very cool...The Cheetos Museum.

You gotta love the dinosaur on the home page.

It's an entire online gallery of all the interesting, funky, and random shapes that come out of a Cheetos bag. Consumers can upload their "finds" and become a part of the museum. Each submission gets a chance to win a big prize.

There are different galleries depending on the type of Cheetos...

...and there's even a gift shop!

The photos are hysterical! And of course the social engagement is off the charts!

Really smart marketing to engage your audience with a behavior that they're already just making it more fun and more shareable and more rewarding!

What's your experience? JIM

UPDATE: A friend just told me that this campaign won a Cannes Lion this year at the Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity! I can see why!

Wednesday, June 21

Ken Joins the Party

This is a perfect follow up to many a post that I've written about brand Barbie, including her take on diversity, body types, and fashion. The brand generates fanfare with every move.

Well now her boyfriend Ken is joining the party with an expanded line that shows much more diversity in terms of ethnic background, body types, and yes also fashion. Including a man bun.

There are now fifteen different adaptations of Ken including seven skin tones (with hair styles to boot), three body types (slim, broad, original), and styles that range from business casual to street

I've always been a big fan of the brand...and it's wonderful to see it expand its diversity voice to men too.

What's your experience? JIM

Seven Million Nutella Bottles ...

... not no two are alike!

What say what?!?

This is probably the coolest, most colorful, over-the-top packaging promotion ever...from Nutella.

I'll let the video speak for itself. Bravo!

Makes me want to buy several...which I'm sure is the point!

What's your experience? JIM

Tuesday, June 20

The Art of @BarbieStyle

Barbie has long been a fashion icon...right up there with the biggest of the brightest fashionistas.

Well now she's going to finally get the credit she deserves with a new Instagram feed, a coffee table book, and a partnership with another high-style brand.

@BarbieStyle  on Instagram will feature Barbie's many looks and collaborations with designers. She's already got 1.8million followers.

And now there's a coffee table book from Assouline that also captures her classic looks.

Evidently she's been on a book tour to promote the Instagram feed and the book.

To round out the big launch, Barbie also partnered with famed French macaroon brand Laduree for a special edition box of macaroons that resembles the new book. Pink and all. I happened to see a huge display at the Laduree in Manhattan this past weekend. Fab.

Pretty amazing. Pretty in pink.

Truly iconic and such a smart move to continue to propel brand Barbie.

What's your experience? JIM

Friday, June 16

Equinox Adds an A to Pride

June is Pride Month so of course we are seeing all sorts of celebrations as each major city holds its festivities weekend after weekend. And of course we are seeing brands jump in and show their support and their, well, pride.

There's been much discussion of late on the addition of "Q" in LGBTQ. And while this brand, Equinox, isn't necessarily addressing that discussion they are adding another element of inclusion that I kinda like. The brand has long been known for taking an edge, and this time they are doing it with the ultimate in pride.

See for yourself in this short film:

Very bold, very inclusive, very "A."

What's your experience? JIM

Wednesday, June 14

Take Me Out to the Ballpark - For Father's Day

File this under...creative.

A baseball team in Florida (The Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp) is running an interesting promotion for Father's Day. At Thursday night's game (the Thursday before Father's Day), the stadium is "giving away" free pregnancy tests so that the guys in attendance can see if they'll be a father on Sunday's Father's Day.

Oh, that and $1.00 beers. Evidently Thursday is normally "Thirsty Thursday," but this week they've added in "You Might Be The Father's Day."

Certainly creative, that's for sure.

If you want to hear the inside baseball on this one, click here for more information.

What's your experience? JIM

Dove Men + Care is "There to Care"

Here's a post I wrote for HuffPost about the latest from Dove Men + Care. You'll see how much I was inspired by the brand's work. Click here to give it a read.

What's your experience? JIM

Tuesday, June 13

Functional Benefits at Work

I just started teaching a new semester at NYU again this summer...always a joy to spend time with the next generation.

One of the early topics in each semester is functional benefits, with the premise that a product is rarely differentiated by its functional benefits alone. Typically most brands in a given category offer very similar if not exact functions. Take a look at laundry detergent, pain relievers, or beverages and you'll see what I mean.

It's generally the emotional benefits that make a brand and that build brand loyalty. Take a look at Tide, Tylenol, or Coca-Cola and you'll see what I mean.

There are of course exceptions when a product has a truly distinct functional benefit that brings innovation to a category or truly solves a problem before anyone else has.

Sometimes we see this in unusual places. Like t-shirts.

The Duluth Trading Company has a few things up its sleeves, providing functional benefits that solve age-old problems.

Like the Men's Long Sleeve Longtail T-Shirt Crack Spackle designed with a longer back to help cover up plumber's crack.

Or the Women's No-Yank Tank designed with a longer body to stay in place and not crawl up the tummy exposing, well, the tummy.

Sure, these are functional benefits that probably any other product could match. But this brand is doing it first, with a little emotional sense of humor added in.

Function that attracts for sure.  What's your experience? JIM

Sunday, June 11

Predictions for This Year's Cannes Lions

The Cannes Lions are just 'round the corner. I wrote my predictions on HuffPost. Click here to find out what mine are.

I was also recently quoted in an article in PRWeek where a few of us gave our thoughts as well.

What's your experience? JIM

Friday, June 9

212, Not! #332

File this under frivolous, but sometimes we need a little levity. Especially these days.

For those of us who live in NYC, you know how coveted the 212 area code is. And for mobile, 917. I remember the day when new numbers were getting thrown into 646. The drama! Then 347.

"Where's my 212? Why can't I have 917? I'm a New Yorker!"

Carrie Bradshaw in Sex and the City was devastated when she moved and got stuck with 347. "The haarrar!"

Well now there's a new area code getting established because again the city is running out of options.


"#332?!? No Way!!"

I'm sure people are freaking out. It's a New York thing!

What's your experience? JIM

Wednesday, June 7

A Review of "Rich20Something"

I recently read this amazing business book that really taught me a lot. So I took to HuffPost to share it.

Click here to give it a read. What's your experience?  JIM

Cayuga's Watchers

This is a pretty brilliant idea.

I remember fondly my days "on the hill" at Cornell University which was "far above Cayuga's waters." Cayuga being one of the Finger Lakes. And of course I remember fondly the fraternity parties we hosted and also attended weekend after weekend. It was the stuff of college memories.

This is a pretty brilliant idea spreading across college campuses, including Cornell, to help keep students safe at these college parties. Designated "watchers" attend parties just to watch over people and make sure they stay safe.

At Cornell, they're called "Cayuga Watchers" as in "far above..." There is also a very popular glee club on campus called "Cayuga's Waiters." Just gotta love the branding. Brilliant. Makes it all so sincere and integrated into campus life.

But they're not spies. They are actually hired by the party host and in known attendance, just merely watching over the festivities and safely calling out behaviors that could lead to trouble. I can tell you that if we had this kind of "service" when I was in college then I would have not have minded at all. And as a father now, I wish the schools that my two kids attended had put this in place.

This is a pretty brilliant idea. Click here to read more about it.

What do you think? What's your experience? JIM

Sunday, June 4

Graduation: Relief!

Both of my kids graduated this son from college and my daughter from graduate school.

Such relief!

Here's a post I wrote for Gays with Kids to describe the experience.

Congratulations to all the grads!  JIM.

Two Classics Start Delivery

It's been no secret that Millennials have changed how we all shop and have changed our expectations of what good customer service is all about. Hence we've seen the rise of upstarts giving traditional market leaders a run for their money, and new consumer demands change the retail game.

And many of these classic brands are pushing right back. You just love good marketing!

Like Gillette, a brand I've written quite a bit about on my blog. I assume in response to brands like Dollar Shave Club, the brand started Gillette On Demand which is an easy-to-order replacement service/subscription. For just $1.00 a blade.

Like Walmart, a brand I've worked on quite a bit in my career. I assume in response to brands like Amazon, the brand started an associate delivery service where Walmart employees drop off consumer purchases on their way home. It's a great way to get delivery and a great way for employees to make some extra cash...all being a part of the community.

As we continue to see the retail landscape dramatically change due to our shifting shopping behaviors, we know we'll see more and more classic brands changing their models as well. Marketing is a spectator sport after all!

What's your experience? JIM