Thursday, September 21, 2006

Would you sell this?

A little Vegas based soft drink company is offering a new flavor called "Cocaine," and specifically marketing it as a "legal alternative" to actual cocaine.
I thought it was interesting since I just mentioned marketing morality a couple days ago.

If sales of this stuff were to somehow result in an increase in sales of actual cocaine by increasing the acceptability of cocaine use or raising the awareness of the effects of cocaine use on the body, do the marketers and retailers bear some culpability?

David Raynes, of the UK National Drug Prevention Alliance, said: "It is people exploiting drugs. It is a pretty cynical tactic exploiting illegal drugs for their own benefit...The fact is that subliminally, it is making the image of drug use cool and that's what kids what to be, cool.
Kids will be drinking Cocaine and will inevitably link the two. The drink is relatively innocuous, but they will be linking it with cocaine use and the market, which is far from innocuous."

So would you sell this stuff, either directly to consumers or as a rep for the company selling to retailers? Tell me why, or why not...

It turns out money does buy happiness

At least up to a certain point...

Just like the EverClear front man said in that song:
“I hate those people who love to tell you
Money is the root of all that kills
They have never been poor
They have never had the joy of a welfare Christmas”

A recent Pew survey found that happiness does increase with income; those who said they were "very happy" increased consistently with income, from 24% in the under-$30,000 income category to 49% in the $100,000-plus category. There was a “diminishing marginal return” over a certain point on the income level where there was not a significant increase in happiness with increased income—(right around the 100k mark)….but just like everyone has instinctively known all along, if you are barely making ends meet struggling to pay bills and keep food on the table, you might not be as “happy” as the guy down the street making 100k. (Surprise!)

What is really frustrating is that this study was presented to confirm that in fact, “Money can’t buy happiness.” How can the researchers take the clear data that show the percentage of people reporting that they are “very happy,” increased in direct proportion with income to mean that money doesn’t buy happiness?

Life isn't about money, and I certainly cannot claim to have a unique and authentic poverty story, but just like we all have instinctively known, there is a certain amount of happiness that comes with living without fear of starvation or collection calls with a comfortable roof over head, a bit financial freedom buys a bit of happiness...

Friday, September 15, 2006

Marketing Morality

I went to a small state school that is regularly recognized for being one of the best buys in American secondary education.
I had a marketing professor for a couple of classes that always questioned the morality of what we would be willing to market. It was an interesting thought experiment, and at that time in my life I was completely open to the idea of marketing any product or service, a sort of laissez faire approach to marketing, where the marketer couldn’t be held responsible for what the market wants to buy. The prime example he used were "Serial Killer Trading Cards," and I argued that while they may be vile, it is not my job to cast judgement on what people want to buy, if I am paid to sell them, then I should do my best to sell them.

Seth Godin flips that on it’s ear in this post, arguing that if you are a really good marketer, or even a great one, then you have to accept the responsibility that your efforts actually result in an increase in sales of a particular good or service and therefore you must be accountable for what you market.

I have to agree. I have held one position that I didn’t feel comfortable selling the service I was paid to sell. Granted, I wasn’t making the marketing decisions for the entire company---I was simply ONE representative selling as much of the service as possible to as many people as possible, but I knew that I was responsible for what I was selling and I didn’t like it—so I left.

I wonder if I should have stayed, I might have made a lot of money (my boss was making 6 figures), might have been promoted up the sales force by now and possibly learned to rationalize away my doubts about the service, but I think I made the right decision.

It's really hard to park this thing

Here is an impressive photo forwarded to me of a pilot landing the tail end of a chinook on a shack in the mountains of Afghanistan to pick up wounded.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

it's not a contradiction; it's nuance....

I cannot figure out how google ads figure out what to put at the top of my blog, it’s a mystery.

Other recent mysteries: why does it take SOOO much ice cream to make a very big milk shake? Why does a bathroom scale say you weigh more if you put it on carpet, instead of a hard surface?

And how ‘bout some political mysteries…how can people honestly reconcile these ideas:
The terrorist threat is caused by our actions in Iraq and our foreign policy positions, when we were attacked in ‘01 (actually we have been continuously attacked since 1979) and invaded Iraq in ’03? (and in '91)

The terrorist threat is not real, it’s just “Bush’s war” and fear mongering but at the same time we should get out of Iraq because there are a bunch of terrorists killing our service people and we aren't spending our resources focusing on the terrorists threat (which isn't real--it's just fear mongering).

And the last one---Iraq has nothing to do with Al Qaeda and Al Qaeda has nothing to do with Iraq but at the same time we keep catching and killing dudes from an organization called, “al qaeda in Iraq.” (which has nothing to do with Iraq)

(I bet google ads will change my ad to be either conservative or liberal T-shirts for sale)

Happy Birthday Ella-Bella

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

That Nancy Grace is a class act

I will suspend judgement on the woman that killed herself after being interviewed by that paragon of even-handed judicial reporting, Nancy Grace.
I will assume that she had no direct involvement in her son's disappearance.

It's a tragedy, a child is missing without a trace. A young mother has cut her own life short. But Nancy Grace will ride it to higher ratings, and consequently better advertising rates, with zero culpability, she can't even cop to the possibility that her interview might have had something to do with it...plausible deniability and limited liability being the modus operandi of anyone who could be held responsible for anything.

It's sad, but it will be over in a news cycle.

Clooney to single handedly save Africa

George Clooney---former handy man for Mrs. G before later becoming an ER doctor at the gritty Chicago County General hospital--- has hung up his stethoscope in order to solve the significant humanitarian problems in Africa. No word on whether he will bring his Oscar to Darfur, but I am certain it will help. He plans on addressing the UN Security Council, to use his celebrity to bring the crisis to an end.

No word yet on why President Bush and his advisor's hadn't thought of this before....

Monday, September 11, 2006

thanks for the new look

Special thanks to Pagereader, (if that is your real name) for hooking me up with a cool new masthead image. She is able to do almost anything with photos.

I took the photo while paddling down the Maries River with a couple of friends.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

R.I.P., Steve Irwin—Wildlife Warrior

His program was one of the highlights of my relationship with my sons. We watched it together; they have learned and continue to learn so much from him and others on Animal Planet about the amazing creatures all around us.

On Sunday, my boys were actually outside catching the biggest skink I have ever seen when I heard the news. Jess and I waited to tell the boys until later that night and they were devastated. They have lost one of their heroes.

His enthusiasm for conservation was awesome, and his impact on the planet is immeasurable. My thoughts and prayers go out to Terri, Bindi and Bob. I appreciate that they allowed me and my family to participate in their adventure. Here is a great link to some memorial photos.