A Good Job in the City

A Big Life (in Advertising)
Mary Wells Lawrence

big-lifeFall, it seems, exists so I can renew myself. I know, the light is dying, the sky is more likely to be gray than blue and the nip in the air will soon turn to unwelcome arctic blasts. Why that seems to turn me back to the literature of my trade will have to remain a mystery.

Enough about me, let’s talk about Mary. Continue reading

Food for the Thinkers

Young_A-TECHNIQUEA Technique for Producing Ideas
James Webb Young

Like everyone, okay, like many people I know, there are days when I doubt the choices I’ve made. I’m talking about the big choices and among the biggest is what I’ve chosen to do to earn my bread.

On the best of days–and oh how I wish there were more of those–I’m pretty certain I could have made another choice. But I’m also pretty certain that the Continue reading

When the Sun Goes Down on Austin Town

whole-foods-market-logo-2008My cognitive dissonance meter started to peg about the time I reached the fish counter.

In Austin, Texas for a conference (working, not attending), and a retail marketer from way back, I had to visit the flagship store of Whole Foods, the behemoth ($14.2 BB in 2014 annual revenue) organic grocery chain that calls that burg home. I’m glad I did if only to have had an experience that Continue reading

It’s Not Art, It’s Commerce

The Art of Writing Advertising:  Conversations
with Masters of the Craft
Denis Higgins

art-adWhen the going gets tough, I turn to the masters. Surely I didn’t  make up what I’ve spent a working lifetime learning.

That this volume, which first appeared in 1965, is still in print is testimony to the high regard in which  the conversationalists are held even at the remove of a half-century or so. You might not know that from the advertising we see. And some of these are less loved than others. But they’re the giants of mid-20th century advertising.

This quick read originally appeared as a series in Advertising Age. My agency career began when Adweek was ascendant. By contrast, Ad Age (and don’t you Continue reading

Another Zyman? Yes!

I love dichotomies. Black/white, buyer/non-buyer, responded/did not respond. You can argue that such categorizing is an oversimplifcation of reality. And you might be right.

The defining question of my marketing career has been, “What are we getting for the money?” I first heard it in the mid-1980s as the most junior member of a corporate ad team. After all the talk of impressions and rating points and reach and frequency and the Continue reading

Numbers and Words

As a response marketer, I’ve been up to my ears in numbers since I got into the business. Math has become so important to what I do  that I went back to school to ladle on more.

That’s why I’m particularly attuned to what people do with numbers. If you read my last post you know I don’t agree with Rio Longacre. Our philosophical and executional differences aside, his post provides a beautiful illustration of what happens when you take the easier way out with numbers.

I’m a big believer in stating one’s biases upfront. Here’s one: when speaking Continue reading

Words and Numbers

In the beginning, there was the word. And if Einstein’s right and mathematics was the language used to  create the universe, then numbers, too, function as words. So let’s spend some time with a post by Rio Longacre over at Target Marketing and look at words and numbers that just don’t add up for me.

The post ‘s subject is the coming transition of marketing leadership from Baby Continue reading