Saturday, December 26, 2009

Is it Time?

to hire an outsider?

From Small Fuel:

SmallFuel Marketing Blog

When Is It Time to Bring in a Marketing Professional?

Marketing professionals run the range from full-out marketing firms capable of every marketing technique under the sun down to freelance writers who just crank out copy from brochures. Marketing services are equally varied, as are marketing price tags. It’s that last one that leads many small business owners to do as much of their own marketing as possible: even when a business has the money to spare, it often seems more practical to upgrade equipment or improve the business in other ways than spend money on marketing. Just the same, though, there are several marketing situations when calling in a professional can have a tremendous result on your business — you can find opportunities where the cost of a little marketing help is completely out-weighed by the sales that marketing professional can bring in.

When Can A Marketing Professional Help?

  1. When you need production quality: To get the best quality brochures and other printed marketing materials, there are a whole list of printer specs you need to know. The same goes for getting the best website, the best advertising and so on. Becoming an expert in one of those fields can take time you’d be better off spending on running your business, especially when you can get quality results by paying a designer or other professional to handle the project for you.
  2. When something has to give: As your business grows, you’ll have to hand some task or another off to someone else, if only to keep up with the rest of your business. Depending on what kind of service or product you sell, marketing tasks are often the easiest to outsource. While turning production over to someone new guarantees headaches, sometimes marketing can be as simple as handing over a copy of your current marketing materials and letting your marketing professional go.
  3. When you have a specific problem: Most marketing is done with fairly general goals in mind, like getting a certain number of new customers by the end of the year. But if you’re looking at something specific, it may be time to call a specialist. From public relations issues to new product launches, there’s a specialist out there who has seen similar situations many times — and can guide you through it with relative ease.
  4. When you need help to reach your goals: No business owner can succeed without ambition, but reaching some goals can require some help. Bringing in a marketing professional to help you reach one of your goals can make sense, especially when meeting your goals will bring in more than enough income to cover the expense.
  5. When your time is more valuable elsewhere: In every small business, there are times when you have something you need to be doing besides marketing. You don’t want to throw marketing out the window, but you get a higher ROI by spending your time elsewhere. At that point, the best thing you can do is bring in someone to handle marketing tasks. You probably don’t need a full-fledged marketing team — instead, think about what marketing tasks you can outsource.
It’s worth your time and effort to do as much marketing as you can for your own business. If nothing else, that approach can guarantee that you’ll still have money in your marketing budget when you find yourself in need of some professional assistance. But when it’s time to call in a professional — and you’ll know when that time rolls around — it’s worthwhile to pay the costs and ensure you get the best marketing help you can. Once you’ve decided on what kind of help you need, it’s just a matter of finding the right professional — one who can complete your marketing projects on your timeline, within your budget and to your satisfaction.

SmallFuel Marketing, Inc. 126 E 2nd St, Suite A, Media, PA 19063
Copyright (C) 2008 SmallFuel Marketing, Inc. All rights reserved.

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Understanding the Power

of what you can control, and what you can't.

Seth Godin wrote this last week:

You don't have the power

A friend is building a skating rink. Unfortunately, he started with uneven ground and the water keeps ending up on one side of the rink. Water's like that, and you need a lot of time and power and money if you want to change it. One person, working as hard as he can, has little chance of persuading water to change.

Consider this quote from a high-ranking book publisher who should know better, "We must do everything in our power to uphold the value of our content against the downward pressures exerted by the marketplace and the perception that 'digital' means 'cheap.' ..."


You don't have the power. Maybe if every person who has ever published a book or is ever considering publishing a book got together and made a pact, then they'd have enough power to fight the market. But solo? Exhort all you want, it's not going to do anything but make you hoarse.

Movie execs thought they had the power to fight TV. Record execs thought they had the power to fight iTunes. Magazine execs thought they had the power to fight the web. Newspaper execs thought they had the power to fight Craigslist.

Here's a way to think about it, inspired by Merlin Mann: Imagine that next year your company is going to make 10 million dollars instead of a hundred million dollars in profit. What would you do knowing that your profits were going to be far less than they are today? Because that's exactly what the upstart with nothing to lose is going to do. Ten million in profit is a lot to someone starting with zero and trying to gain share. They don't care that you made a hundred million last year from the old model.

If I'm an upstart publisher or a little-known author, you can bet I'm happy to sell my work at $5 and earn seventy cents a copy if I can sell a million.

Smart businesspeople focus on the things they have the power to change, not whining about the things they don't.

Existing publishers have the power to change the form of what they do, increase the value, increase the speed, segment the audience, create communities, lead tribes, generate breakthroughs that make us gasp. They don't have the power to demand that we pay more for the same stuff that others will sell for much less.

And if you think this is a post about the publishing business, I hope you'll re-read it and think about how digital will change your industry too.

Competition and the market are like water. They go where they want.

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Have a Conversation

from my email:

Daily Sales Tip: Involving Prospects in Presentations

One of the best ways to ensure that you connect and bond with your prospects is to make your presentations interactive. Try to turn your presentation into a conversation, including questions.

Good questions sustain your prospects' interest, stimulate their thinking and shift the focus from you to the prospect. In conversations, you set yourself apart by letting your prospects see how you can solve their problems and how well you understand their business.

Source: Adapted from How To Win A Pitch, by sales coach/consultant Joey Asher

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Friday, December 25, 2009

Sing Along

When you tire from singing Christmas Carrols today, here's another song you can sing:

Starbucks sets Guinness World Record for global singalong

LONDON - Starbucks has set a new Guinness World Record for the 'Most Nations in an Online Sing Along'.

Starbucks sets Guinness World Record for global singalong

On Monday, Starbucks organised a global ‘sing-along' to pop hit 'All You Need Is Love' to celebrate its partnership with charity scheme (Product) Red.

Representatives in 124 countries performed the hit. The performances were simultaneously streamed on the internet. The event can be viewed at

The coffee chain is now inviting people to add their own rendition of 'All You Need Is Love' to the site.

For every video submitted, Starbucks will make a contribution to the charity.

(Product) Red works with communities in Africa to help to improve the lives of people living with HIV and Aids.

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How about Internal Marketing?

First off, let me be one of the last to wish you a Merry Christmas today!

Next, consider the words of HarveyMackay:

Season of celebration should last all year

In this season of unlimited celebrations, and all the good feelings that accompany them, I often wonder why we limit our celebrations the rest of the year.

I like a good celebration—birthdays, anniversaries, weddings, births and graduations are all great occasions to celebrate. It's wonderful to gather family and friends and share the joy.

What about the people you work with—don't they like to celebrate too? We spend about a third of our time with these folks, yet most companies provide little time to celebrate small accomplishments or major victories. That's a big mistake in my opinion. Work shouldn't be a joyless part of life: it should be a place where we can be excited, enthusiastic and passionate about what we do.

Why celebrate at work? First, it creates camaraderie, and that is essential to teamwork. Second, a celebration recognizes and commemorates something worthwhile or important. Third, a celebration can reward an individual or team for the good work they've done. And fourth, it is just plain fun. Fun not only makes the workplace more enjoyable, it raises energy levels as well.

Most companies don't celebrate enough when times are good. They definitely don't celebrate enough when times are tough. With budget cuts and belt-tightening, lots of good things disappear. I can make a good case that celebrating during the difficult times might be even more important.

Celebrating individual success proves how much you value the person. I've yet to work with a company where employees told me the company celebrated them too much. More often I get the comment that " matter how hard we work, no one seems to notice."

Organizational success needs to be celebrated. Business is off 30 percent this year? Maybe you should celebrate that it isn't off 50 percent! I am pretty sure that the downturn your company is experiencing isn't your fault, or the fault of your employees, so why not celebrate that you're still standing?

Bolstering morale is even more important when the chips are down. It can't hurt for people to feel better about themselves and where they work. And they'll feel more optimistic about the challenges and travails of the times.

Here's a crash course in becoming a world-class celebrator:

1. Celebrate frequently. You're familiar with the old adage, "Life is short. Eat dessert first." I think we should also remember: "Life is short. Celebrate often."

2. Celebrate big and celebrate small. Most people are familiar with the expensive celebrations (off-sites, restaurants, sporting events, invite your spouse, etc.) How about the little celebrations? A Monday morning donut party can celebrate another week that you're open for business.

3. Celebrate creatively. Don't just think dollars (cost), think different (creative). Throwing money into a celebration won't necessarily make it a success, and in times like these, that probably isn't an option anyway. Instead, consider what little things you can do to note, recognize and reward individual and team success. Start with the basic 3Fs: food, fellowship and fun. How can you enhance each when you celebrate?

4. Involve others. Rotate who is in charge of celebrations. Don't get caught in a "party committee" trap like the television show "The Office." Different people will bring different perspectives on how to celebrate.

5. Don't worry. Some celebrations will be silly, a little goofy or imperfect. So what? I'd rather be occasionally silly than permanently rigid. While I am a big believer in results, celebrations are a good example of how intentions can sometimes be as important as the outcomes they create. Most people will appreciate the intention behind a good celebration, even the imperfect and silly ones.

In his book TeamBuilt: Making Teamwork Work, my friend Mark Sanborn tells the story of a supervisor who threw a pizza party for her team after their company had hosted a huge recognition event for achieving outstanding results. He asked her why she had the smaller, informal party after the big gala. Her response was insightful. She said, "The big events won't keep happening. We'll keep doing great work that may or may not get recognized and celebrated in the future by upper management. It is my responsibility as a leader to always celebrate my team's success."

Mackay's Moral: Finding a reason to celebrate isn't hard work—hard work is a reason to celebrate!

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Holiday Thanks


A Holiday Gift-Giving Tip
by Tina Lo Sasso

By now you've run out of time to shop and ship customer gifts for the holidays. The solution? Get the cards in the mail and send an appropriate New Year's gift. Think pens, desk clocks, or paperweights, packaged with noisemakers and streamers. Timing your gift to arrive right before New Year's is a great way to stand apart from everyone else.

A carefully-selected gift shows your customers how much you appreciate them. Give your giving the time and effort it deserves, and you will impress your customers, and be fondly remembered when it is time to buy again.

This tip was excerpted from "Top Dog Sales Secrets", the bestselling book featuring advice from 50 renowned sales experts. When order your copy now you'll receive over $3,000 in bonus sales tools. Check out your goodies here. Good stuff!

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Thursday, December 24, 2009

Thursday Night Marketing News from Mediapost

Have a very, Merry Christmas!

by Karlene Lukovitz
Willis was chosen as the brand's ambassador because his personality and the brand's share much in common. "We are a brand with nothing to hide, and the confidence, and humor, to talk in simple, straightforward, black-and-white terms about our product," Imperial Brands CEO Chester Brandes commented. "Much like Sobieski, Bruce is authentic, likeable and doesn't get caught up in superficiality." ... Read the whole story > >
by Sarah Mahoney
That idea is to create plenty of motivational bargains for those storming the store with gift cards. Wal-Mart says 55% of moms who shop its stores like to receive gift cards over the holidays, because it allows them to pounce on post-holiday deals. And two out of five plan to redeem their gift cards right after Christmas, believing they will find the best prices. ... Read the whole story > >
Financial Services
by Karl Greenberg
Sue McManus, associate VP of Internet marketing at Nationwide, tells Marketing Daily that the app will be supported by an online ad campaign launching next week on auto shopping sites like Kelley Blue Book and The company is also running demo videos on YouTube and its own consumer Web site at ... Read the whole story > >
Financial Services
by Tanya Irwin
Taking a cue from credit card issuers, many banks have started offering rewards for daily purchases. "Consumers feel tapped out financially, so they want more bang for their buck," says Susan Wolfe, VP of financial services at Mintel Comperemedia. "Banking rewards programs are yet another deal for bargain-hunters to find." ... Read the whole story > >
AmEx, Weather Channel 'Countdown To Christmas'

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Did The Ads Work?

Tonight and tomorrow, all the gifts will be opened that were purchased for Christmas. Traditionally, it is a time of heavy advertising, but look at this survey from AdAge:

In Holiday Retail Sales, the Best Ad Doesn't Always Win

New Survey Says Favorite TV Campaigns Have Limited Influence on Consumer Spending

NEW YORK ( -- Retailers shell out big bucks on holiday ads. And while consumers like them, that doesn't mean they're influenced by them. A new survey has found that half of consumers say they're not inspired to shop at the retailer whose holiday TV commercial or online promotion they liked best.

Coupons 45%
Word-of-mouth 27%
Advertising inserts 27%
Broadcast TV 23%
Newspaper 22%
Direct mail 21%
In-store promotion 18%
E-mail advertising 16%
Cable TV 12%
Magazines 11%
Internet advertising 11%
Radio 10%
Source: Retail Advertising and Marketing Association
"It goes along with the old adage that I know half my marketing dollars are wasted, I just don't know what half," said Mike Gatti, executive director at the Retail Advertising and Marketing Association survey, which was conducted by Big Research. "[Consumers] probably still get a kick out of the commercials, but there are a lot of brand loyalties out there. ... [But it] does position [retailers] in the minds of people whether they shop there or not."

When asked to choose their favorite holiday TV commercial, 26% of consumers chose one from Walmart, upsetting Target's holiday-ad dominance. Target had taken the top slot on the survey for the past three years, but this year it only garnered 16% of the vote. Perhaps that's not surprising, considering that consumers took to Facebook to complain about one commercial that seemed to cast doubt on the existence of Santa Claus and another that put a damper on Christmas morning with talk of finances.

The Martin Agency is Walmart's creative shop, while Wieden & Kennedy handled Target's holiday ads. Crispin Porter & Bogusky had the best showing of any agency, as it works with three of the retailers found on the Top 10 list: Best Buy, Gap and Old Navy.

Still, only 17% of consumers said their favorite ad motivated them to shop at a particular retailer, while 50% said it did not. One-third of consumers said their favorite ad didn't have an impact, because they already shop at that retailer.

Walmart again took top billing online, with 20% of consumers saying it had the best online holiday promotion. Amazon came in a close second, with 18% of the vote.

Again, half of consumers said the promotions didn't influence their shopping, while 22% said the promotion they deemed best caused them to shop at that retailer. About 28% of consumers said they weren't affected, because they regularly shop at a particular retailer.

When it came to what does influence holiday shoppers, coupons emerged as the most influential, with 45% of consumers citing them. Word of mouth and advertising inserts influence 27% of consumers, while broadcast TV and newspapers influence 23% and 22% of shoppers, respectively.

"Shoppers aren't only relying on traditional advertising to find the best deals," said Phil Rist, exec VP-strategic initiatives at Big Research. "Whether they were saving on shipping or using an in-store coupon, shoppers dug through every avenue of potential savings before choosing to commit."

Top ten holiday commercials

Walmart Martin Agency
Target Wieden & Kennedy
Best Buy Crispin Porter & Bogusky
Gap Crispin Porter & Bogusky
Macy's JWT
Old Navy Crispin Porter & Bogusky
Kmart DraftFCB
Sears Y&R
Hallmark Leo Burnett
Kohl's McCann Erickson
Source: Retail Advertising and Marketing Association
Direct mail, radio and outdoor billboards were all deemed more influential this holiday season, while newspapers, advertising inserts, broadcast TV, word of mouth and in-store promotions were less influential with shoppers.

"There's so much more out there to decide from," said Mr. Gatti, explaining why more areas fell in influence than gained. "This could also be due to the shift over the last year away from some traditional media into a lot of the new media."

In terms of the rise in direct mail's influence, Mr. Gatti suggested that retailers could be doing a better job of targeting consumers or they could be offering attractive pricing incentives and promotions through direct mail.

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5 Lessons from Drew & Rudolph

Yesterday, once I realized I had done everything I could before the Christmas break, I checked my emails and found this from Drew:

5 marketing lessons from Rudolph

by Drew McLellan

We've sung the song, teared up at the movie...but have we really considered what marketing messages are woven into the classic Christmas story -- Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer?

I think not. So let's correct that mistake right now. (And enjoy the film's original trailer)

Marketing lesson #1: You can't hide the truth.

Rudolph did not embrace the fact that he was different from all the other reindeer. He just wanted to have a cute little black nose and the chance to play some reindeer games.

You can fool people for a little while, but if you cannot walk the talk...don't say it in the first place. Your consumers know you're not perfect. They just want you to be straight about it.

Marketing lesson #2: Never make assumptions about how your consumers feel. Far better to ask directly.

One of the main reasons Rudolph took a hike was because he assumed Clarice wouldn't love him now that his nose so bright was common knowledge. Think of the grief he could have saved everyone if he had just checked in with her.

You are going to be hard pressed to find a more insightful marketing tool than a customer survey. Sometimes the news is tough to hear, but I guarantee you -- you can make some simple changes to significantly increase your customer loyalty and retention.

Marketing lesson #3: Your worst enemy can turn into your greatest ally.

Sure...the Abominable SnowMonster (or The Bumble as Yukon Cornelius called him) tried to eat his girlfriend but Rudolph came to see him as a buddy -- even letting him put the star atop the Christmas tree. All it took was someone (Hermey the elf) listening to the Bumble and finding his pain (tooth ache) to turn the grumbling beast into a helpful and happy pal.

When someone clearly dislikes or even hates your company, product or services' shortcomings, listen. If you really work towards understanding their perspective -- you can not only save the relationship but you can turn that negative word of mouth risk into an advocate.

Marketing lesson #4: Create raving fans and a community by giving first.

Rudolph didn't have to promise the Misfit Toys anything. At that moment, they couldn't help him. But with a generous heart, he promised them he'd try to find them good homes with children who would love them.

When you do something without regard for "re-payment" of any kind, you create value. When you create value...people keep coming back. When they do that, you begin to build a relationship and a sense of loyalty and no one has even tried to buy or sell yet. Which makes the selling a whole lot easier.

Marketing lesson #5: When you find what makes you unique, it can be your ticket to new heights.

When Rudolph began to see his nose as an asset and recognized it was what set him apart from all the other reindeer, he suddenly got asked by Santa to take a leadership position. From then on, it was his calling card. People told others about his nose and pretty soon, he was known from coast to coast. That's branding!

Companies like Apple and Disney rise to the top because they are proud of what makes them different. They don't try to be everything to everyone. They recognize that having a niche means you can create brand loyalty as opposed to being lost in a sea of sameness.

(A fond repeat of a post I wrote in 2007)

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Spread the Goodness

I have some out of town clients in places such as Portland, Maine; Cincinnati, Ohio; Indianapolis, Indiana; Milwaukee, Wisconsin and other places and this year I included a gift certificate in a Christmas card to a local restaurant.

Most were very pleasantly surprised as these were people whom I've never met face to face, only by phone and email. ( I know this because of the thank you notes all of them sent!)

As it may be too late to give Christmas gifts, it's never too late to follow the advice of Jim Meisenheimer:

Leave People Feeling Good

Don't tailgate because it annoys the crap out of some people and doesn't make them feel good.

Don't do any texting while you're driving because you could end up killing someone - including yourself - not a good idea.

For Pete's sake use your directional signals when making turns. It's just plain rude and inconsiderate of other people. And it doesn't make anyone feel good about you.

Leave cyclists feeling good by giving them some extra space on the roadways.

Long before cell phones became popular, you could always find a public telephone near the bathrooms away from the dining area. Take a guess why restaurants didn't place these phones in the middle of the restaurants. Don't be a rude dude - take your cell phone out of the main dining area.

Smile as you're talking with people. Most people like people who are smiling - it makes them feel good.

Ask questions to show you're interested in the other person.

Every time someone helps you, go out of your way to say a sincere, "Thank you." Tell them specifically what you appreciated. It's high touch in the high tech world we live in. Always makes people feel good.

Form the habit of writing handwritten thank you notes - it won't get deleted like your emails will, and it makes people feel good. Use a fountain pen with blue ink for best results.

Avoid double dipping. People who know better, don't feel good when you take your shrimp and dip it into cocktail sauce and then take a bite. And then dip the rest of your shrimp back into the sauce. Makes me want to scream GERMS!

Avoid over-using the word "I" in your letters and emails. Use the word "You" as often as possible.

Mario Andretti says you should seize the opportunity and step up - it's up to you to earn the business. And when you do earn it, everyone will feel good.

Everyone has a FAX machine and few people ever use it. When you walk by your FAX machine and see some paper face down - makes your curious to see what it is. Write your FAX so it makes people feeling good.

Start your own Philanthropic Foundation and write checks to people in need - that will certainly make them feel good. The check doesn't have to be big to make someone feel good.

Every once in a while leave a 50% tip in a restaurant when you experience exceptional service - that will make your server feel very good.

When you read an exceptional book, buy a few extra copies, autograph and date them and give copies to family, friends, and customers.

Don't treat people the way you want to be treated. Treat people the way they want to be treated - they'll feel good about you.

If you're going to be late for a meeting, even just 2 minutes, call to say you're going to be late. It shows respect and makes people feel good about you.

Deliver the WOW experience every chance you get.

Go buy 6 "Oscar" statuettes and give them to people who go out of their way for you. Everyone wants an "Oscar." It's a memorable way to recognize somebody. They'll never forget who gave it to them!

Offer two compliments every day. Keep looking until your can compliment two people for two different things - now everyone is feeling good.

Don't overlook your spouse. He / she doesn't live your life but he / she is a huge part of it. Surprise your spouse with surprises. It will make him / her feeling good - for long time.

Don't ignore your pets. A little extra attention will make them feel good too!

Jim Meisenheimer. 13506 Blythefield. Lakewood Ranch. FL. 34202

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Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Wednesday Night Marketing News from Mediapost

Clickable Headlines:

by Sarah Mahoney
Experts expect to see more marketers work the "Random Acts" thinking into their cause-related efforts. "It's a natural extension of the trend we've seen among companies to offer consumers choice through their cause programs," says Cone Inc.'s Sarah Kerkian. "It helps shift the consumer cause relationship from passive to active." ... Read the whole story > >
by Aaron Baar
According to comScore, 17% of consumers who said they were in the market for a smartphone said they were considering purchasing an Android-powered device in the next three months, compared with 20% who said they planned to purchase an iPhone. ... Read the whole story > >
by Sarah Mahoney
Penney says it will open its doors at 5 a.m. on Dec. 26 -- the earliest in its history -- offering more than 100 doorbusters and 99-cent shipping on Sales circulars will feature "instant money" coupons for use in-store or online, shaving $10 off a $50 purchase. ... Read the whole story > >
Financial Services
by Tanya Irwin
"Home claims are typically far more complex than auto claims, and homeowners insurance claimants tend to have less knowledge of the specifics of their policy coverage than do auto claimants," said Jeremy Bowler, senior director of the insurance practice at J.D. Power & Associates. ... Read the whole story > >
by Karl Greenberg
"Sears Virtual Gifts," running through Dec. 28, lets people send holiday gifts through an application on Facebook. When one sends a Sears Virtual Gift, both sender and recipient can enter to win the actual gift from Sears. Ten pairs of prizes valued at over $24,000 will be given away, per the company. ... Read the whole story > >
by Karlene Lukovitz
Family chain concepts have tended to become "tired" over the years, few of the 18- to-34-year-olds who are the heaviest patronizers of restaurants choose family formats, and these restaurants were not a part of the growing-up experience for growing Baby Boomer segments within the population, according to NPD's Bonnie Briggs. ... Read the whole story > >
Activision Debuts Guitar Hero Van Halen

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New Ad Campaigns

A day early in case you have Thursday off:

Holiday ads. Think: 12 Days of Squatchmas and 12 Apps of Christmas. Let's launch!

Oregon Lottery launched a TV and interactive campaign for its "Life of the Holiday Party" Scratch-it game. Tickets feature illustrations of quirky party guests like "Uninvited Neighbor," "Ugly Sweater Wearer" and "Tasteless Joke Teller." Two animated TV spots place these, and other peculiar characters, under one roof, taking part in holiday festivities. The first spot features "The 5,000 Watt Sweater Lady," a woman wearing a sweater covered in light bulbs. Eat your heart out, Clark Griswold. I enjoyed the "Cheese Log Michelangelo," a man not afraid to play with his food who sculpts "David" out of a cheese log. Watch the ad here. The "Mistletoe Opportunist" is my favorite character in the second ad, seen here. How can you strike out when you're wearing mistletoe above your head? Both ads conclude with an easier way to become the life of any party: give the host scratch-offs. There's also a microsite where users can read party stories, take a character quiz (I'm the Mistletoe Opportunist) and enter a sweepstakes to win money. Borders Perrin Norrander and Pollinate Media created the campaign.

The UPS Store launched a holiday TV ad that takes a closer look inside a cardboard version of a UPS Store. Everything is eco-friendly, brown and streamlined. The ad also places emphasis on the multiple tasks the UPS Store handles, aside from the obvious, shipping packages. Translated: the store gets consumers in and out painlessly, tracks packages and ensures gifts arrive safely. See the ad here. Doner created the spot, produced by Psyop, New York.

British department store John Lewis launched a very sweet holiday TV spot that uses a tender remake of Guns N' Roses' "Sweet Child O Mine" as background music. Children excitedly unwrap and use Christmas presents all clearly made for adults, like a necklace, laptop, slippers, a coffee maker and Sony E-Reader. The children's faces light up with sheer happiness when unwrapping and using their gifts. "Remember how Christmas used to feel?" asks the ad. "Give someone that feeling" closes the ad, as a young girl playing with a camera morphs into an adult woman. Click here to watch "The Feeling." Adam and Eve created the spot, edited by Cut+Run.

Apple proves there's truly an app for everything in a holiday-themed iPhone ad called "12 Apps of Christmas." There's an app for holiday cookie recipes, for checking ski conditions, booking flights, buying five golden rings and lighting up your Christmas tree. I wonder how that last app works. Extra equipment is needed for that feat, according to the ad, shown here. TBWA/Media Arts Lab created the ad and handled the media buy.

If you want to see a different version of five golden rings, look no further than a microsite for Jack Link's Beef Jerky. The "12 Days of Squatchmas" plays off the brand's ongoing "Messin' With Sasquatch" campaign, and this time around Sasquatch is mocked using a holiday theme. Poor Sasquatch gets a snowball to the face, steps on a shovel, receives a flaming bag of poop, drinks rotten eggnog, teaches users the real definition of five golden rings (hint: they're drawn in the snow), and gets his tongue stuck to a light pole. After one play-through, visitors can open the advent calendar-style doors and create their own version of the 12 Days of Squatchmas. Xylem Digital created the site.

Random iPhone App of the week: Parents Magazine and released an app called iPlay n' Learn. The app features quizzes, tracing programs, and flash cards for babies, toddlers and kids. IPlay n' Learn is divided into three levels: flash cards that teach letters, shapes and colors; quizzes that make a game out of identifying letters, shapes and colors; and kids tracing letters and numbers with their fingers. The app, developed by Resolute Digital, sells for 99 cents at the App Store.

I hope everyone has a safe and happy holiday season. Out to Launch will return with its regularly scheduled snark next year.

Amy Corr is managing editor, online newsletters for MediaPost. She can be reached at

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The Tiger Post

I am sick and tired of hearing about Tiger Woods. I think I've refrained from talking about Tigers Troubles on this site, but today I want to share with you what is probably one of the most important lessons to learn from all of this for businesses.

From the THINKing Blog:

Of Spokesmen & Sluts

Posted: 15 Dec 2009 08:23 AM PST

I would never recommend that a client select a celebrity to be a spokesman for its products. Period. End of story. I know the potential benefits of using the right celebrity to draw attention to your company, product or service. I just don’t think it is worth the possible problems.

Celebrities often seem to have more than their share of moral failings. So, when they fall off the straight and narrow path, the accompanying crash is louder than it would be for you or I.

Whether it’s a pro golfer running around with porn stars and sluts, an angelic faced Ivory Snow pitchwoman who turns out to be a porn star or the world’s best swimmer taking hits off a bong, if you align your brand too closely with a celebrity, you are asking for trouble. You are ceding the brand to someone over whom you have no control.

I’d rather tie my brand to a brand promise - the statement I make to customers that spells out what they should expect in interactions with me, my people, as well as my products and services. Here, I have some control.

Then, there’s the whole question of whether the celebrity overshadows the brand. Can you name a celebrity and correctly identify the companies for which he or she speaks? It’s like beer commercials that rely on humor to get your attention but once they are over, you can’t name the brand because the commercial didn’t tether the humor to the brand promise.

What do you think about the value of celebrity spokesmen?

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