Monday, October 30

#MyHeroes at Halloween

There’s not much for me to say on this one as the work speaks for itself ... except that this PSA is timely on a number of levels. This very special organization is challenging gender stereotypes, especially at Halloween.

“Whoever You Want To Be.” Indeed. Even at Halloween, especially at Halloween.

Of course you just gotta know how much I loved the portrayal of the dad here.

What’s your experience? JIM

IKEA Home Tour

I’ve always been a fan of mega-brand IKEA. Not only as a consumer/shopper, but also as a marketer. And I had the privilege of working on the brand for a good bit of time during my career. So as a result, I’m generally impressed with most of their marketing moves...including this latest one.

The brand just launched a new home makeover “television” series called IKEA Home Tour. It’s not really on television, but on the small screen via a website, YouTube, and other social channels. And I would argue that it borrows from the successes of the television makeover shows, making it tv quality. Brilliant. Here’s one episode:

The show features a squad of designers who each bring their own play into the game, featuring IKEA solutions of course.

In an age where all we talk about is content marketing, this is content marketing done purposefully and on brand with a huge dose of entertainment.

Agree? What’s your experience? JIM

Friday, October 27

"Gifted" Gifts All Father Figures

I watched an inspiring movie recently while on a long flight overseas. I'd not heard of the film, nor was I necessarily drawn to it, nor do I honestly know much about the lead actor...but once I watched the trailer then I knew I had to click in.

Gifted. With Chris Evans.

It's essentially a story about fatherhood, but the Chris Evans character isn't a dad. But actually he is a dad, in the real sense of what a dad really is.

And that's where Gifted ended up gifting all of us dad types, whether we are technically a father or not. This "dad" took such good care of his “daughter” through the ups and downs and hurdles of life...knowing exactly what she needed for her development, sacrificing his own needs for hers. That is nothing short of inspirational.

Was he equipped for fatherhood? No, but are any of us really equipped for fatherhood? Did he make mistakes? You betcha, just like all the rest of us dads. Was his heart and his intention always in the right place? Of course, he's a dad.

While my personal story is very different and while my husband’s personal story is very different as well, I could totally relate to the storyline and couldn’t help but think all that my husband did for our children. And I couldn’t help but think about the choices we made through the years for their development.

Gifted is a anyone playing a father role and to anyone who is taking care of the physical and emotional well being of another.

Thank you, Gifted...for the acknowledgement and for the inspiring role model. There weren’t many like this back when my kids were young and I can’t help but think that this story will help others today.

What’s your experience? JIM

PS - Smart role for Chris Evans too...expanding his brand into new genres to build our his portfolio!

Thursday, October 26

The Martha Stewart Wine Company

Is there anything that this woman can't do?!? Martha Stewart that is!

Martha has entered yet another business in the culinary field...wines. Last I reported she was in the meal delivery service so I guess wine isn't a stretch at all. She's been cooking for her audience for years so why not pair it up with some wine!?!

The Martha Stewart Wine Company. It's all online, personally selected by Martha herself. Each wine is also matched with food pairings and recipes for a perfect combo that only Martha herself could offer!

Very Martha.

There's even an intro campaign for $10 a bottle. If you become a club member, you can also sign up for regular delivery. Martha has also included gifting options as well. Of course she did!

Perfectly in line with her brand. Give it a try? What's your experience? JIM

Lord & Taylor Goes to WeWork

The news of WeWork taking over the Lord & Taylor 5th Avenue location put New Yorkers into shock. Yet very few of them had been to the retailer in years.

Sign of the times?

There was a time when Lord & Taylor WAS NY retail. Now WeWork IS entrepreneurs.

Sign of the times?

You betcha. Click here to read my post on HuffPost.

What's your experience? JIM

Tuesday, October 24

SKYY and Absolut Team Up for Marriage Equality

"It's time to put our differences aside and embrace diversity."

Two arch rivals in the spirits category came together this week to support marriage equality at a critical time in Australia.

SKYY and ABSOLUT together each jointly launched the same social media campaign in the midst of a public vote in Australia's High Court meant to measure how the public feels about Marriage Equality. These two brands are sharing their opinion to join the conversation in a positive way.

"The SKYY'S the limit when we have ABSOULT equality."


In this case, two voices is certainly better than one, especially when it ties to the voices of many. So why not join forces to put some good into the world? Why not put competition aside and join hands? Why not join in the effort ourselves?

It's not easy for competitors to support and acknowledge each other, so this campaign is a great show of pride and well as a sense of what's ultimately more important in the world.

Now this isn't the first time that either brand has gotten behind the gay community. ABSOLUT has a long history so this joint campaign comes from a supportive heritage.

And SKYY too...most recently with an interactive program called "Cheers to Equality" in Australia as well.
These brands are showing us that we can all come together on this one! Let's show them a little support of our own!

What's your experience? JIM

Budweiser Pre-Prohibition Beer

Just in time for the holidays and just in time to celebrate the repeal of Prohibition (the date is December 5th for all you history buffs), Budweiser just released a Pre-Prohibition beer that is, yes, higher in alcohol content, but more importantly (for me as a marketer) carries imagery of a bygone era before Prohibition restricted beer sales. As one of only a few brewers around back then and still around today, Budweiser certainly has the license to play in this space.

Budweiser 1933 Repeal Reserve. The best part, and the most legit, is that it’s based on a brand recipe actually used back in the day. The day before Prohibition. That’s kinda cool in my brand book.

To kick it off, the brand is partnering with Lyft in New York to give lucky riders a taste of the brew along with a tour of Prohibition-era landmarks in The City. As a New Yorker, I’m a bit curious to tell you the truth.

Get ‘em while they’re hot, as they say, because they’re only available for a limited time. Hopefully, not because we are facing another era of Prohibition. These days you never know!

What’s your experience? JIM

Sunday, October 22

LEGO - The Women of NASA

Yet another brand, thankfully, is embracing STEM careers for women. And this is yet another good one! This brand is putting it right into the heart and soul of its brand, right into the product itself.

Introducing the LEGO Women of NASA. WooHoo!

The new products are three mini NASA sets, if you will, featuring hugely successful women who have advanced NASA initiatives in the US including Sally Ride, Margaret Hamilton, Nancy Grace Roman, and Mae Jemison. Real women, real scientists, put into LEGO figures/toys!

What I love about this STEM initiative is that it puts the concept tangibly into the hands of boys' and girls' play. And that has to be effective in encouraging later career choices, with equality and diversity!

BTW, this was a crowd-sourced idea submitted into the LEGO innovation lab by a consumer! The brand takes ideas all the time and allows a voting system to determine which ones come to market. This one made it, as well it should!

LEGO has a long history of playtime open minded-ness, diversity and inclusion, and this is just the intrinsic part of their brand.

Well done. What’s your experience?

PS - STEM stands for careers in the Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics sectors. STEM!

Thursday, October 19

Gay vs. Straight Fathers - Is There a Difference?

STAND Magazine (a magazine for men who give a damn) asked me to explore what makes gay fathers different from straight fathers. Hmm.

I figured the best way to explore that would be to ask some gay fathers. So I crowd-sourced my response. Click here to give it a read on STAND.

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

Wednesday, October 18

Is Your Brand Struggling with Millennials?

Ok so this isn't the first article ever written about marketing to Millennials. And it won't be the last. But it is my first one for Entrepreneur, and perhaps my last.

Click here to give it a read.

What's your experience? JIM

Tuesday, October 17

Pariah Men's Underwear

There's a new line of men's underwear out there that is looking to change the world...the men’s health world that is. The brand's aim is to help provide men's healthcare to those underserved and under-informed and to specifically educate about testicular self-exams with the ultimate goal of eliminating testicular cancer.

Ok, kinda makes sense coming from a men’s underwear brand. Keep going...

It's called Pariah underwear. And while the imagery is very sexy and very “underwear," the message is uniquely clear for the skivvy category: make sure you don't suffer from testicular cancer and support the brand that helps you get there.

Each package comes with an educational pamphlet and each item sold contributes 50% of the sale price to research. So $5.00 from a $9.95 brief goes to researching a cure for testicular cancer (and other men's health issues). Not bad.

Plus the product has a "new" technology called CLEANCOOL that helps to eliminate odor.

I'm sold on Pariah. What's your experience? JIM

Monday, October 16

Race Case

I was traveling recently with a colleague in Italy, and he snapped (with permission) this pic of a gentleman on something called a Race Case. It’s a roller bag with a scooter built in, so that not only do you not have to carry your luggage through the airport but you can also scoot through the long corridors to make your flight.

Pretty ingenious, I must say. Turns out that the gentleman was the inventor. Wow!

And it’s available via Suit Supply, a men’s clothing retailer that I also just recently discovered. Have partaken in that brand yet, but I will. I have my eye on a vest there! But I digress, here’s their sales video for Race Case:

Want one? I kinda do! What’s your experience? JIM

Friday, October 13

Angel Soft - Single Dad

Now admittedly, the product mention is a bit forced. Sorry to say. But I have to honor and acknowledge how the Angel Soft brand features a single dad. Truthfully, while a bit forced, the “soft and strong” thought isn’t so far off, nor is the bathroom as central hub of the house far off either.

No matter what, though, this brand is celebrating a single dad doing things that single dads do, and do well. 

Thank you very much! “If you’re doing it alone, then you have to stay strong.”

As someone who has been there and done that in a time when no one would acknowledge it, I am thrilled beyond belief to see brands, many brands, show that men too can care for their kids. In many many ways. In ways once thought only reserved for mom. In many ways all by themselves.

Bravo, Angel Soft.

Take a look —

Way to go, dad!

What’s your experience? JIM

Jean Jackets

I saw a billboard for Calvin Klein jean jackets in LA last week and it stopped me in my tracks.

My first real purchase as a working young adult was a Calvin Klein jean jacket. It must have been something like 1979. I had started working at JCPenney at the local mall, and I saved up a couple of paychecks to buy this jean jacket I had admired. I coveted that jean jacket for years. It stood by me for four years of college at Cornell and then my first adult job in Boston. It still hangs in my hallway closet as a reminder of what it’s like to work for something you really want.

As the years went by, I bought a Levi’s jean jacket which I also still have, a G Star jean jacket which I also still have, and a D&G jean jacket which I also still have.

I don’t wear any of them because jean jackets sadly fell out of style. But I still covet them all.

I’m happy to say that I think the jean jacket may be making a come back.

What do you think? Can I pull them out of the closet once again? Does 1979 meet 2017?

I think so. But oddly, or not so oddly, styles seem to change just slightly enough that you need to buy new. A new Calvin Klein jean jacket?

Nah, I’ll still to vintage. It’s a bit more me.

What’s your experience? JIM

Wednesday, October 11

Men's Shorts at Work?

There's long been a debate whether it's ok for men to wear shorts to work, so I've tried to solve for it via crowd-sourcing and posting on HuffPost.  

It’s a bit of a long answer to a short question, if you will.

Give a click here to give it a read.

What's your experience? JIM

Tuesday, October 10

New Billboards on the Vegas Strip Offer Thanks

"What Happens in Vegas, Stays in Vegas" is perhaps the best brand tagline or brand positioning or brand promise of all time. At a minimum, it's right up there with the best of them. And Las Vegas as a brand has been incredibly consistent through the years, offering a guilt free experience unlike any other.

As the brand says, "we are there for you."

Well now it's time for us to be there for the brand. A new series of billboards have appeared along The Strip and in other key places around the city to offer thanks for the support given to the city during the recent horrific and violent event there.

In these billboards, gone are the vibrant colors and the provocative messaging. But simply a clear ask of continued support.

So well done. And I know the support continues to pour in.

What's your experience? JIM

Monday, October 9

Social Media Responds to Marketing, Once Again

This week we've seen yet another brand receive swift social media reaction to their marketing efforts. Swift isn't even the word as it started in a social media minute and then created a groundswell of activity that overtook the brand messaging. 

This time it was Dove, who released a social media ad that many deemed inappropriate.

It's not the first time that this has happened to a brand, but it's becoming increasingly obvious that it won't be the last. Actually this is the new normal for us and as marketers we have to learn to be proactive and be prepared.

Be proactive: make sure you do the research you need, with your consumers, to make sure the message you intend to distribute is exactly what is likely to be received. You can never know enough about your consumer and you can never spend too much time making sure your marketing is right. Get the culture and the sentiment right, and make sure your work aligns with prevailing sentiment. Do your homework before, during, and after development of any messaging particularly if it has the potential to be sensitive.

Be prepared: as marketers, social media commentary about our brands is now a given. It's not a matter of "if" but "when." We should actually be flattered that consumers are paying such attention to our activity. So be prepared for it with a comprehensive monitoring program to catch the comments early and have a plan outlined ahead of time about what you will do when it happens. Because it will happen.

The net outcome is that you and the brand will have a better chance of staying in control of the situation and in control of the messaging delivery. As you had likely planned! And if you know your consumer and your brand well, hopefully you will stay out of crisis mode.

What's your experience? JIM

Can't Be Everything To Everyone

There's a simple rule in marketing and probably in life too ... you can't be all things to all people. Something I wrote about for Entrepreneur.

Click here to give it a read.

What's your experience? JIM

Thursday, October 5

Yes We Can ... And Must Do Now

I recently wrote a piece for The PR Council about brands giving back to humanity. Particularly timely these days.

Click here to give it a read.  JIM