Monthly Archives: February 2010

feel the tweet, luke – feel the tweet

toyota's vaunted brand image was trashed by twitterAccording to Indian website TopNews, Toyota’s PR department discovered early on that within hours of the historic sales embargo and accompanying recall, following right on the heels of steering, floor mat and gas pedal recalls, social media site twitter was responsible for painting a picture of a crippled giant. Twitter members generated an exponentially catastrophic message rate that at one point measured over 30 new tweets a minute, unleashing a torrent of negative publicity impossible to counter or control.

The metric that emerges as a result? There is no PR antidote that can stop or slow the viral nature of a global, near instantaneous stampede for the exits. In a time of widespread acceptance of crisis management by top corporations, the options for damage control are for significantly reduced, and in Toyota’s case, zero.

In Toyota’s case, where the problems are cumulative, the results in some cases fatal, and a definitive cure nowhere in site, the problem for successfully surviving the fallout becomes even more difficult. Previous worst case crisis’, like the Tylenol poisoning scare in 1982 that generated the template for PR intervention, would probably have been controllable even in today’s unfiltered social media atmosphere by the twin decisions of immediate recall and the suspension of product sales until tamper-proof packaging – and a sure fix – could be instituted.

fgm: don’t even plead ignorance

When you add up the all the ways humans have of inflicting pain, suffering and cruelty for no reason whatsoever this monstrously vile indulgence is at the top of the list. My words fail to get it across – so go here first and then here to fully realize to what extent female genital mutilation continues to be practiced.

goodbye, occ – good riddance

in 2002 occ crashed the v-twin party

tlc ends the grotesque run of occ – sort of

In 2010, February 11th came four days after Cincinnati’s V-Twin Expo and fell on the eve of Dealernews Dealer Expo. It’s appropriate that we remember the airing on that date of The Learning Channel’s final episode of American Chopper, a Frankenstein-esque money-maker for cable “reality” whose success in years to come will be impossible to explain.

In 2002, only eight years earlier, the clan from Orange County, New York wheeled a trailer load of rollers and a few customer bikes into Indy and onto a 40×40 island off the main floor of a then still growing Dealer Expo. My recollection, from an advertising perspective, was of feeling faintly woozy at the woefully amateurish marketing, even by powersports’ minimal standards, of a nondescript collection of clones. Continue reading

taking a break from dealer expo

dealer expo: the early yearsIt’s been 15 years since I took a time out from the annual powersports trade show pilgrammage. Fifteen years of slogging north (why?) into the snow, sleet and slush, usually followed by a bike week encore, first in the mid ’60s but later abandoned as full on lifestyle turned 100-percent commercial. This year, I’m giving it a rest and using the time to concentrate instead on overdue hardware and software upgrades while dedicating a serious investment in time to integrate the latest high tech applications into a leaner, more efficient production and marketing workflow.

What’s changed? Plenty. Before the web, annual trade shows were the only opportunity for new product, catalogs, trends and personalities to converge. Schedules were built around catalog production deadlines. Business publications targeted show issues to preview a limited number of the latest products selected months in advance, and dealers learned about what they’d be selling during the coming year only after they got to the show. Life was orderly and well behaved. Marketplace control was top down and ironfisted in a traditional analog way. That was then. Continue reading

tabasco sauces it up

clever marketing - live mardi gras as it happenstwitter-er Tom Martin hooked up with sponsor Tabasco to bring live guerilla cam Mardi Gras action direct to screen at his microsite MyMardiGras Experience. Tom’s a NOLA agency guy who this day busied himself cam-corder-ing a live stream of the Mystic Krewe of Barkus or some such promenading down the side streets by dozens of the city’s finest pooches.

toyota’s new brand – too soon to discuss?

time to start thinking about a replacementThere’s talk over in LinkedIn’s public relations groups about Toyota’s handling – or mishandling – of their disasterous recall performance. I posted the following comment earlier in the week on the subject, surprised that nearly two weeks after first announcing a recall there’d been so little actual hard reporting on the massive problem.

As of today, I don’t think it’s too soon to begin speculating on their eventual rebranding. That’s if they survive the other shoes waiting to drop. But first, time to rethink the rush to dismiss the importance of brand in the oceanic swell of social media first. If you’re a marketeer, it will always be about brand.

After the surprising – from a Western perspective – initial non-response, followed by the tepid release announcing Sunday’s ad that was itself the sound of one hand clapping, I’m wondering if… Continue reading

shine a light – green the ghetto

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

When you think about obstacles in life, you usually don’t start out considering a young black woman who wants to turn urban ghettos into pastoral parkland. But it sure works. This is a story about vision, determination, competence and confidence.

mmm, med. rare creative hits the spot

great creative from a steak house includes the hilarious expense report generatorSomehow the hilariously effective Expense Report Generator from NYC steakhouse Maloney & Porcelli escaped mention on our blog. Until now, thanks to Ad Age’s Bob Garfield’s sharp eye.

We’ve never eaten there, but will at the drop of a hat if we’re ever in the same zip code. This is the kind of all around professional creative that separates ROI from DIY.

Clever, original, funny. Served with a satisfyingly snarky attitude, both the clean and functional web site and the technically over the top flash driven report generator easily make our list of neat-O stuff done really well.