As 2011 comes to a close, let’s take a look (or a listen) down memory lane with the quotes that, for better or worse, made it a year to remember.
Match the phrase below with the famous mouth that it came from. Good luck and Happy New Year from all of us at Melamed Riley!
1. “I have a different constitution. I have a different brain; I have a different heart; I got tiger blood, man.”
2. “As you may have recognized, it’s my mother’s engagement ring, so of course it’s very special to me and (my fiancé) is very special to me now as well, and it’s only right the two of them are put together.”
3. “How perfect is that? I love football, and I love Cleveland. I could easily live there – - easily.”
4. “It’s Friday, Friday. Gotta get down on Friday.”
5. “I wouldn’t have spent so much time on TV on something for just a TV show.” (In defense of her wedding.)
6. “Tonight, I can report to the American people and to the world that the United States has conducted an operation that killed Osama bin Laden, the leader of al Qaeda, and a terrorist who’s responsible for the murder of thousands of innocent men, women, and children.”
7. “Hannah Montana destroyed my life.”
8. “I thank you for being as much of a sweet inspiration for me as I’ve tried to be for you. I won’t say goodbye. I’ll just say, until we meet again. To God be the glory.”
9. “What so proudly we watched at the twilight’s last gleaming.”
10. “My wife’s nickname for me is ‘Red Alert.’ I sometimes check to see if the kids are breathing … I tend be a little overprotective without trying to be a helicopter parent.”
Americans have a give-and-take-back relationship with the holidays. We put a lot of thought into the gifts we’re going to give to one another, and then watch in horror as our heartfelt purchases are ripped open, tossed aside, and promptly exchanged for a Twilight throw blanket. No matter how well you think you know your recipients, you’re almost sure to fall victim to changes in tastes, wants and desires – especially when it comes to your ingrate children. Grab the last Tickle Me Elmo? Forget it. Little Johnny would rather feed Cookie Monster. Pick up a boatload of Bieber gear? Sorry. Young Susie’s fever has cooled – she’s moved on to Taylor Swift. The only way you might be avoiding the post-holiday gift receipt rush is if you took a chance on something so ridiculous and bizarre, that it was deemed return-proof, simply because it’s all kinds of awesome. Here are just some of the items that have been granted such immunity:
Air Swimmers Remote Control Flying Shark
Jaws gets airborne and proves that while pigs still can’t fly, sharks sure can. A must-keep.
Just one pair means you’ll never have to change your undergarments again. Who could ask for anything more?
Cat Scratch DJ Mixing Desk
Now, cats can’t technically return anything, but even if they could, Mr. Snuggles would never dream of parting with this super fly gift.
Retro 1980s Phone Case for the iPhone
This retro iPhone case lets your favorite 40-something embrace modern technology while reminding everyone that The Greatest Decade is alive and well. They’ll never part with it, just like the '80s.
The Awkward Family Photos® Board Game
Unlike your own awkward family photos, this game can be taken back, but that definitely doesn’t mean it will be.
The 50-Foot Snowball Launcher
No kid – or adult – would ever think of giving up such an advantage over an opposition that’s forced to “throw” their snowballs. A definite keeper.
People have a whole lot of everything these days, which is why you can’t go wrong with the gift of absolutely nothing. And last time I checked, to make a return you have to at least have something.
A few of us from the agency just returned from Philadelphia where we went to meet with one of our favorite clients, FMC Professional Solutions. After the meeting, we took them out for a fun, festive dinner at Morimoto. We were expecting the amazing sushi and other Japanese delights. We weren’t expecting the show: Light-emitting furniture that changed colors throughout the night. Very nifty.
Some people used to believe DVDs would never replace VHS, and that thousands of songs would never fit on MP3 players the size of a quarter! These same people are waiting for the Facebook bubble to burst and for the Twitter fad to pass. Well, whether you are a social media believer or just love technology, you will not be able to deny the cool factor these gadgets have. Although there are many people still holding out on adopting a social media, techno-geek lifestyle, it is slowly working its way into our everyday lives and the technology we use. These gadget prototypes (some of which are just concepts) are just a glimpse of what the future may hold.
1. The BlindSpot Cane:
This is no ordinary cane; it doubles as a smart phone that uses GPS and Bluetooth technology to create a seamless navigation and unique social experience for visually handicapped people. The unique feature the BlindSpot Cane has is its Foursquare check-in integration that verbally alerts the user when a friend is nearby. It even goes as far as telling the user how many steps away their friend is and the name of the specific location. This technology it not only awesome, but extremely beneficial for so many people.
To see all of the other amazing features the Blindspot Cane has in action, watch this documentary exploring the creation of the prototype:
2. Social Media/Augmented Reality Mirrors:
Wake up, brush your teeth, wash your face, check last night’s Facebook status updates, comb your hair, and then tweet your fellow tweeps a good morning greeting — all with the help of one social savvy bathroom mirror. I first spotted this mirror on Keith Stoekeler’s Blog “All That Inspires Me” and thought “I need this!” After a little more digging I found this concept mirror that The New York Times’ R&D lab created using Microsoft Kinect technology. Their augmented reality mirror allows you to monitor your morning routine, check the weather, watch videos, scroll news headlines, monitor your health and even more! Sometimes a mirror is not a girl’s best friend; in this case I would make an exception.
To see how this mirror works watch this video from The New York Times’ R&D lab:
3. The Canine Twitterer:
Have you set-up a Twitter or Facebook account for any of your beloved pets? I am sad to say I personally know many people who have in fact done just that. Now if they went through the hassle of setting up the account, imagine the upkeep it must take to think like a four-legged fur ball when updating their witty status from “sleeping in a laundry basket” to “eating Kibbles ‘n Bits.” I must say Boo, Facebook’s most popular dog is actually quite entertaining and so darn cute, that I am actually one of his 2, 576,936 followers. The handy Canine Twitterer now lets the pets do the tweeting for themselves. The tag connected to your pet’s collar uses a motion sensor and microphone to interpret your pet’s activity or lack thereof. It then selects an appropriate four-legged message from one of the 500 pre-loaded tweets that are stored on a USB device connected to your computer. So no fear pet lovers, your furry friend can have a social life too!
4. The Little Printer:
If not only for the cute factor, you are going to love this little guy (or gal). The Little Printer by Berg Cloud is a one-stop source for all of your social media and news updates. You can set-up your favorite subscriptions, link your favorite social media platforms and even lifestyle apps to feed you daily news and updates in a mini-newspaper fashion. You can even directly link to your Little Printer from a smartphone app to send friends messages and much more! I already have the perfect spot picked out for my Little Printer, I may name him Bob.
To see all of the awesome features The Little Printer has be sure to watch this video:
The Park4U iPhone app developed by Valeo automatically parks your car for you. You can even activate the parking system on your smartphone from the exterior. Just think, you never have to parallel park again … a girl can dream. I am sure the Drive4U app is coming soon!
To see the app in action watch this video:
6. Interactive Draqie Table Top:
The Draqie interactive table top design is definitely a look into what future restaurants will all be implementing as technology continues to develop. These table tops give customers a quick ordering solution and an interactive outlet throughout their entire dining experience. We have seen the iPad menus, but these new table top design concepts offer maximum simplicity for every diner from the moment they sit down till the moment they pay via the table top checkout feature. Even though this is an example specific to the food industry, there is no limit to where this technology can be implemented in the future.
The New York Times’ R&D lab also has a pretty cool prototype of what the everyday household kitchen table of the future may look like. Check it out here:
If nothing else, I hope I have inspired those of you who are hesitant to embrace technology to rethink that decision. Technology is an exciting thing, but with all things it should come in moderation. I do not recommend nor condone anyone becoming a techno-zombie because obviously human interaction is and will always be a positive thing!
If you have any more innovative examples of technology to share, we would love to hear about them.
Huh? These aren’t the types of requests we made on Santa’s lap as children. Back then we knew exactly what we wanted. As adults, we want someone else to figure it out.
Let’s face it, asking someone for something specifically spoils all the fun. We want whatever’s inside the box to be a surprise (not a Se7en severed-head surprise, a good surprise). But that puts the pressure on the gift givers to be thoughtful, clever and creative in their gift giving. And gift cards are so easy.
There is good news. If you’re reading this, you obviously have access to the internet, where unique and creative gifts abound. So we’ve scoured the internet to bring you some gift ideas that will make that hard-to-please creative person on your list say “I didn’t even know I needed this!”, “You know what I like!” and “Holy crap, did you make this thing?”
Ultimate FX Lightsabers
$25 is a small price to pay for a chance to find out just how geeky your loved one’s inner child really is.
MacBook Air Pocket Mirror
Perfect for the Mac enthusiasts who want to check their teeth before using FaceTime.
“The Kit” by Field Notes
Know someone who is always thinking of great ideas while out and about and forgetting them before they get to their computer? Field Notes are a great, aesthetically-pleasing way to capture these fleeting thoughts before they can get away.
Global Rescue Protection Plan
Know someone who seems to get in a jam every time they travel? You do if you know me. I’m like Murphy’s Law incarnate when I leave the state. Anyway, give that special, ill-fated person the gift of evacuation, medical care and protection from grievous bodily harm. It’s the gift that says “I love you, but you have the street smarts of a baby deer.”
For the music aficionado, try a home sound system that’s as easy to install as a light bulb — because it is one. These ingenious little light bulbs also feature wireless speakers that work with your iPod or iPhone.
“Closed” Eye Mask
For your snarky friend who could use a good night’s sleep, how about this clever eye mask from MoMA?
Who says print is dead? Every month, T-post puts out a magazine article, printed inside a t-shirt. A new designer brings the story to life graphically on the front of the shirt. It’s like giving someone the Jelly of the Month club, except they’ll actually enjoy this.
It’s a mug with a place for cookies. What more do you want?
Mix Tape USB Drive
Remember how awesome it was to make/receive mix tapes? These cassettes feature a hidden USB drive, so you can give your loved one that warm, fuzzy nostalgia of a handpicked playlist without all of the things we used to hate about cassettes, whatever those were.
Don’t panic! There are still 12 shopping days left, and plenty of internet we couldn’t cover here. Good luck and happy shopping!
I’ll never forget the first time I saw it. I was staying in my wife’s hometown around the holidays. When it came on the television, she quickly grabbed my attention and shifted my gaze to the TV. It was animated, lacked an over-abundance of dialogue, and felt like a replay of something from my childhood. It was the famous Eat’n Park holiday ad – the best seasonal commercial ever.
The ad speaks for itself – and manages to say so much without actually saying much at all. It’s almost elementary in its simplicity: The star wants to get to the top of the tree, but can’t make it up itself. So the tree bends over and lifts it up, helping itself by helping someone else. It was enough to get me choked up then, and it still does now.
If you’re from the Pittsburgh area, chances are you agree. Though Eat’n Park is now a large regional chain, it was only starting to explode in 1982. Then, the restaurant’s top brass wanted to create what amounted to a holiday card to thank Pittsburgh for their support.
So, as legend goes, the chain went to its then-agency, Ketchum, to craft a message that would “last for 20 years.” I can only imagine the reaction of the young art director/copywriter team of Craig Otto and Cathy Bowen when they heard that at the start-of-work meeting. Here’s what happened next:
The pair worked for 3 weeks to generate over 30 ideas, none of which were met with approval. Eventually, they hit upon the idea of an animated commercial, but they still weren’t sure where they were going with it.
One Sunday shortly thereafter, Craig decided to come into the office. He sketched out a star, a traditional holiday image, and then stopped. “How does the star get to the top of the tree?” He played around with a few ideas until deciding that, of course, the star would need some help from the tree itself. In a fateful coincidence, Cathy had also decided to come in to the office that Sunday. So, while Craig worked out the illustrations, Cathy devised a simple, yet perfect sentiment to wrap up the commercial.
The rest – and when does this ever happen – is actually history. The restaurant loved the spot. And I can think of no better testament to the power of the commercial that it has aired unchanged every year since 1982 – now nearly 10 years past the chain’s hope. In fact, it’s so beloved by people in the region that the chain actually announces on its blog the runtimes for the commercial each holiday season.
Here’s why I consider it the best holiday commercial ever: It sells an emotion, not a product. It champions caring for those around you, as opposed to championing showy greed (like slapping a bow on a car worth a multiple of the average American’s yearly pay). It’s also unabashedly old-school – here’s to Eat’n Park for not updating the look with the latest computer animation. And in that it instantly brings me back to feelings from my childhood, when the holidays felt a lot more magical and a lot less jaded.
Don’t just take my word for it. Here’s what some others feel about it:
Of course, this is just one guy’s opinion. What about you? What’s your favorite holiday commercial?
The reason I watch television is to stimulate my brain or be entertained. Or to spend an hour or so with people who are more interesting than I am (or at least get shot at more often). I have sincere and redoubtable apathy for the Kardashians, the Housewives of any geography or social set or anyone open to the possibility of mixing their gene pool with Bret Michaels’.
If these people had any actual talent or charismatic appeal they would be on good old-fashioned non-reality TV, am I right? It seems as though the proliferation of channels combined with the need to fill the associated hours of programming, and low bar for what passes as entertainment anymore has set in motion a maelstrom of lowest-common-denominator personalities that are seemingly everywhere all at once.
On the other hand, I love ABC’s “Dancing with the Stars.”
For those of you who haven’t seen it, the premise is simple enough. A group of 12 dancing-amateur-“stars” are each paired with a professional dancer and compete for judges scoring (1-10 from a three-judge panel) during each episode and then receive phone/text/website votes from the fans of the show. Through some algorithmic combination of the judges scores and fan votes (which mysteriously are never revealed) the lowest scoring contestant is eliminated during each of the first nine weeks — leaving three competitors to face off in the Week 10 Finals.
The Judges: Carrie Ann Inaba/Len Goodman/Bruno Tonioli
Though a somewhat recent convert (only the past couple of seasons) I am fully on the bandwagon and never miss an episode. However, it’s fair to say that my interest lies more in the brand management and social psychology aspects of the show than the actual hoofing. As much as I am attracted to the idea of eventually being able to contribute to meaningful dinner party discussions about the artistic merits of the Cha-Cha-Cha versus the Paso Doble, what’s really great is that this program is essentially a microcosm of the basic principles of branding and marketing that resets twice a year.
You can argue that many of the participants are not, in fact. actual “stars” (points in case: Steve Wozniak? Mike Catherwood? Bristol Palin? Jake Pavelka?) but what you can’t argue is that it is the ultimate market-driven joyride where you can closely examine a product’s entire life cycle from introduction through elimination, er, discontinuation. At the beginning of the season, we’re shown 12 distinct “brands” and over the course of the next 10 weeks serve as the world’s largest focus group for which one ultimately grabs the most market share.
And to continue the analogy to brand management, the professional dancer with whom each “brand” is paired serves as their “marketing communications agency” to help choreograph their product rollout and shape their image and performance. So, while it shares a common ancestry and shallow superficiality with the reality TV that I hate, DWTS rises above due to the fact that we can learn a lot about the general Zeitgeist of our country by closely monitoring the proceedings.
Further, the process and execution functions along the same “Steps to a Sale” as any Consumer product category — and here’s how that process worked for this past season:
Step 1: Awareness (brand credibility)
Elisabetta Canalis: Looks like a Ferrari, dances like a Fiat.
Brand — Product Description — Agency
Ron Artest — NBA Player — Peta Murgatroyd
Elisabetta Canalis — Model/Actress — Valentin Chmerkovskiy
Kristin Cavallari — Reality star — Mark Ballas
Chynna Phillips — Singer — Tony Dovolani
Carson Kressley — Fashionista/TV Host — Anna Trebunskaya
Chaz Bono — Activist/Author — Lacey Schwimmer
David Arquette — Actor/Producer — Kym Johnson
Nancy Grace — TV Host/Former Prosecutor — Tristan MacManus
Hope Solo — US Women’s Soccer Goalie — Maksim Chmerkovskiy
Ricki Lake — TV Host/Actress — Derek Hough
Rob Kardashian — Reality TV Star — Cheryl Burke
JR Martinez — US Army Veteran/Actor — Karina Smirnoff
Step 2: Understanding (what the brand stands for)
Lacey Schwimmer/Chaz Bono: Trans-dancered.
Brand — Brand Message
Ron Artest — Petulance undercut by new name “Metta World Peace.”
Elisabetta Canalis — Hot, Italian, former Clooney arm candy.
Kristin Cavallari — Poster child for MTV’s low ratings; occasional Jay Cutler fiancé.
Chynna Phillips — Member of Wilson Phillips who seemed to have the best haircut.
Carson Kressley — Unquashable enthusiasm for his complete lack of dancing game.
Chaz Bono — Youngest, formerly-female cast member of the “Sonny & Cher Show.”
David Arquette — Unaccountably married to Courtney Cox.
Nancy Grace — Self-righteous indignation toward high-profile criminals.
Hope Solo — Enormous gloves but sort of attractive in a soccer-y kind of way.
Ricki Lake — Didn’t she used to have a show?
Rob Kardashian — Collateral popularity attributed to inexplicable appeal of his sister’s hindquarters.
JR Martinez — Everything that’s great about America; could be the next Oprah.
Step 3: Interest (seek more information)
Nancy Grace: Not so much so.
Brand — Call to Action
Ron Artest — Act fast, he won’t be here next week.
Elisabetta Canalis — Who cares if I can’t dance, I look great in this dress!
Kristin Cavallari — Vote for me because no one’s 100% sure who I am!
Chynna Phillips — “Hold On” until I completely forget my routine in Week #3.
Carson Kressley — You love everything about me except my dancing!
Chaz Bono — You’ve embraced my transgender-ness; but Cher will kill everyone if I get hurt.
David Arquette — Maybe Courtney Cox didn’t just marry me to be the smartest person in the family!
Nancy Grace — The irony of my last name is becoming more evident every second!
Hope Solo — Yes, we all know I should be a better dancer than this, so vote that way!
Ricki Lake — I sang and danced in “Hairspray,” so that ought to count for something.
Rob Kardashian — That’s not bad plastic surgery; Bruce Jenner really can’t believe I can dance!
JR Martinez — If you don’t vote for me, the terrorists win.
Step 4: Inspiration (brand preference)
Ron Artest/“Metta World Peace”
Brand — Purchase Decision Driver
Ron Artest — Even shirtless, he’s a lifetime 41% from the field.
Elisabetta Canalis — Sometimes, even the flashiest packaging can’t make up for a bad product.
Kristin Cavallari — Skinny and blonde can’t compensate for a complete lack of charisma.
Chynna Phillips — Could have been Jennifer Grey; instead she was Ione Skye.
Carson Kressley — In spite of his spot-on “Depp as Captain Jack Sparrow,” couldn’t make the sale.
Chaz Bono — The only person happier that he was eliminated than we were, was him.
David Arquette — Like Courtney: We all liked him more than we thought we would, just not enough.
Nancy Grace — Bad dancing + strangely malevolent grin + wardrobe malfunction = adios.
Hope Solo — We can’t vote against you, you just can’t win. Kind of like the World Cup vs. Japan.
Ricki Lake — The judges’ favorite for all 10 weeks, must have been the Derek Hough Agency.
Rob Kardashian — Eerily analogous to the show he’s on, inexplicably dances into the Finals.
JR Martinez — Inspirational, charismatic, self-effacing, loveable. Oh by the way, great dancer.
Step 5: Purchase
In the end, the combination of brand appeal and market forces carried JR Martinez to victory. He’s the classic synergy among a solid product concept introduced by a consistent and efficient marketing campaign, supported by engaging mass and social media combined with intrusive positioning at the point of sale. In the end, it was one of the few examples of a can’t-miss brand launch that actually achieved market acceptance in proportion to its value.
And, while I can’t guarantee that every season of “Dancing with the Stars” will work that way, it’s still nice to see that in this age of superficiality and hyper-communication a great idea can prevail.
If you’ve spent any time on Facebook then you have probably noticed the terrifying ads in the sidebar. If not and you enjoy a good scare, you might want to start paying attention.
The images are straight out of The Twilight Zone and they rarely have anything to do with the copy. To say they are strange would be an understatement. Despite being totally bizarre, I imagine the clickthrough rate has to be astronomical considering the millions of impressions.
To illustrate my point, I have devised a little quiz for your entertainment. See if you can match the image with the correct headline.
A. Klingon Meet Up
B. Missing Link Found
C. Refinance At 2.9%
D. Side Effects Of The Tanning Booth
A. Cat Marries Woman
C. Elephantitis of the Cat
D. Cat Eats Great Dane
A. “Big Trouble In Little China 2” Opens In Theaters
B. Baby Found Growing In Chernobyl
C. Surprise Your Boyfriend With What Your Baby Will Look Like
D. Baby Described By Mother As “Very Envious”
A. HairDo by Jessica Simpson Highlights the Growing Need for Baby Hair Extensions
B. Want To Teach Preschool?
C. Geppetto Hard At Work
D. Baby is More Hair Than Water
A. Recession Relief
B. The Real Benjamin Button
C. Dinosaurs TV Show Makes Comeback!
D. Bat Boy Marries Pig Girl, Has Baby
A. Sister of Chucky Part 1
B. Rosemary’s Baby’s Baby
C. You, A Social Worker
D. Can Zombies Procreate? Yes.
A. Become A Librarian
B. “That’s A Woman’s Wig!” “I Was Told It Was A Bob.”
C. The 5th Element Follows the White Rabbit
D. Am I From The Future or The Past?
A. Meet the Next Generation Of Littles
B. Peanuts The Size Of Peanuts
C. Nativity Scene Comes With Multiple Figurines
D. Ultrasound Techs