Kel Kelly

Hey, thanks for swinging by my blog.

Whether it's topical news, internet happenings, social media, public relations, marketing, start-ups, mobile shiz or whatever, I promise to wade through the bullshit and give you my unbuffered perspective.

You'll note I never take on a "corporate tone" — whether I'm chatting you up at a party or speaking to the CEO of a multi-billion dollar company, my voice never changes. I say what's on my mind and I'm often the champion of the underdog.

I'm a social media junkie and smoke Google Analytics in a crack pipe to get my day going. I hope my immersed insight and offbeat view make you laugh. More importantly, I hope you take a second and share your thoughts by posting a comment. If you have any ideas on how to make my blog better, shoot an email to kel@kelandpartners.com.

Peace out.

Look For All My Future Blog Posts On The Huffington Post

Monday, Jan. 28th 2013

At the end of 2012, I was offered the opportunity to become a regular contributor on The Huffington Post. After blogging here for five years, I have decided to post all future blog posts on HuffPost – I was surprised to hear they get more traffic than my blog. Who knew?! Seriously, although this blog had fantastic engagement, HuffPost’s traffic generates exponentially more engagement. Don’t be fooled to think it’s a bunch of liberals. You can see here that I am often dealing with the far right in many comments.

I promise to remain true to my own voice and certainly won’t back away from anything controversial. My first four posts on HuffPo amplify that promise.

So for any post from 2013 and beyond, click here. Otherwise, check out five year’s worth of my blogging here. Lots of good stuff. As always, I hope I make you laugh.

Peace out peeps.

Posted by Kel | in Uncategorized | No Comments »

Social Media’s Word Hijacking (2012)

Monday, Nov. 26th 2012

I grew up in the ’70s. Things were so different back then. Bad hair wasn’t a day, it was a way of life. The only thing hotter than a mood ring was a pet rock. We wore polyester everything and danced to disco music blaring from our 8-track tapes while grooving in earth shoes on an orange shag rug.

Words were different back then too. Fortunately, social media has permanently hijacked some of those words and given them a completely different meaning.

Remember when…

Alert: How you tried to act in front of the cop who pulled you over when you were in high school and clearly had way too much to drink

Always-On: That annoying friend who thought being funny was a 24-hour commitment

Apps: Things you ate at a party when the limited choices included a cheese ball covered in nasty nuts, devilled eggs, ham pinwheels, cocktail weenies, and cream cheese filled celery

Badge: What the cop who pulled you over when you were in high school and clearly had way too much to drink flashed as he walked up to your car

Bookmarking: Used to note a page and required using a laminated construction paper strip with a glued-on school photo, pieces of cut doily, a tassel and shreds of felt

Browser: The bitch that constantly roamed your store but never bought anything

Bulletin Board: A framed piece of cork that hung on your bedroom wall and proudly displayed your certificates of accomplishment, sports ribbons, Polaroid photos, dried corsage, and yellowed newspaper clippings

Chat: What a nice mother would say she needed to have with you after the principal handed her a stack of absentee notes you had forged

Chrome: A material used in everything from Trans Ams to lava lamps to fondue pots to mopeds

Circles: One of many shapes you doodled when you dreamed of class ending so you could hitchhike home to watch Sanford and Sons on your black and white TV with the tinfoil on the antenna

Comment: A verbal reply that could range in tone from June Cleaver to wise ass

Compete: What you did when playing Space Invaders with a friend at an arcade

Connections: What that kid who had been shaving since eighth grade had when he hooked you up with someone who could get you a fake ID.

Conversation: A verbal exchange between two people whose proximity was so close you could smell each other’s breath

Craigslist: Something a 7-year-old boy holding his breath would give to Santa knowing full well that he would have “naughty” next to his name

Delicious: Because you didn’t know any better, a word often used to describe the nasty “Apps” listed above

Dig(g): A term hippies used to confirm their stoned friend understood what they had said: “Ya dig?”

Engagement: A promise to marry that used to only be allowed between a man and a woman until we gays came along and ruined the sanctity of it

Feed: What a farmer did to his cows, chickens, sheep and goats to ensure they didn’t die

FlashMob: Involved a group of people, trench coats, nudity and arrests

Flickr: Something you used to do with a boogie

Followers: What Jesus had before the Vatican effed everything up

Follow Friday: A day of the week called Saturday which at the time usually included a different kind of hash tag (see below)

Foursquare: A playground game that involved a square court and four players — cell phone, check-ins and badges were not required

Friends: Kids who came over to your house when your parents were out and helped you drink your dad’s Schlitz beer

Groundswell: What happened over the septic tank after your sister flushed too many sanitary napkins that were the size and consistency of an airline pillow down the toilet

Hangout: What you did in your friend’s fake wood paneled basement when his parents weren’t home

Hashtag: A tap on your friend’s shoulder before you passed him/her the bong

Host: Someone who wore an apron and owned the house where those nasty “Apps” were being served

Instagram: The sudden appearance of your nana after you lit up a joint when you didn’t know she was in the next room playing Lite Brite

Like: A word used to describe a middle school crush and was usually followed by “going out,” which had nothing to do with leaving the building

Links: Made of chains and could only be found in a fence that surrounded an above-ground pool, hibatchi grill, tether ball pole and whirly bird

Lurker: The weird neighbor whose pants’ pockets always had holes in them

Mashup: Involved a bunch of boiled potatoes and a kitchen utensil that looked like it would be better used to brand cattle

MySpace: Part of a three word retort you would scream at your mother after she told you to clean up your filthy room. As in: “It’s my space!”

Pandora: That trouble-making Greek biyatch who used a box to store all things evil

Photosharing: The act of passing around funny Polaroids that may have included your friend Jimbo with a perm wearing bell bottom pants, a pukka shell necklace, a peace bandanna, and a paisley shirt with a smiley sticker on it

Post: What the Center — who was probably wearing white canvas high tops — on your basketball team did in an attempt to get the ball passed to him/her

Profile: When used almost always had the words “serial killer” before it

Real-Time Search: What you did frantically upon realizing your friends were moments away from picking you up for the dance and you couldn’t find the nylon jogging suit you planned to wear

Sharing: What first graders did with their bologna sandwiches at lunch and it never involved pushing a button

SlideShare: What you happily did on the playground in August when the bully wearing jean cut-off shorts pushed you aside to go down that sizzling hot metal thing

StumbleUpon: Usually what you did to the cop after he pulled you over when you were in high school and clearly had way too much to drink

Tag: A sale in your front yard where you could earn $1.05 from selling your Wacky Packs and your mother’s old wigs

Threads: What you were wearing when you passed the bong to your friend

Timeline: The thing you drew in thick black marker on construction paper for your “About Me” school project that highlighted significant life events like getting your head gear and the bicentennial

Tool: A completely unaware poser who thinks the world is impressed with his sexual prowess but who usually elicits the response “loser” behind his back

Trend: The hippest styles people were into like feathered hair, mutton chop sideburns and socks with toes

Trolls: Those way-too-creepy, tiny, naked dolls with the wild-ass hair who look like they licked an electrical outlet

Tumblr: The round cork things — you always forgot to use no matter how many times your mom told you — that were used to keep that expensive veneer, dark wood coffee table from getting ruined

Tweet: What the birds did way too early in the morning the night after the cop pulled you over when you were in high school and clearly had way too much to drink

TweetUp: Something two horny birds did after way too much booze

Viral: Something you didn’t want to get and sure in the eff didn’t want to spread

Widget: Something a manufacturer made when you had no effing idea what they actually made

Yelp: What a dog did when you accidentally hit him with your banana bike

Can you think of anything I missed?

Posted by Kel | in Featured, Uncategorized | 2 Comments »

Romney: Hospital Visitations For Catholic Couples Are “Benefits” Not Rights

Tuesday, Oct. 23rd 2012

(To amplify the discrimination and absurdity of Romney’s anti-gay rights stance, I took a recent article in The New Civil Rights Movement and substituted the word “Catholic” in place of “gay” and “same-sex” and “LGBT.” I could have substituted any of the following words in and the stench of discrimination comes through loud and clear: Mormons, Jewish, African Americans, Native Americans, Latinos, Irish, Italians, physically handicapped, men, women, heterosexuals, senior citizens and any other category of people.)

Mitt Romney wants you to know that allowing Catholic couples to visit each other in the hospital is a benefit — not a civil right — and he will let states take away that “benefit” if they want to. Two years ago, President Obama mandated that all hospitals treat Catholic couples with the same rights as married, non-Catholic couples, including visitation rights. (That’s also included separately in Obamacare.)

Also on the table, filed under “states rights” and not civil rights, is adoption of children by Catholic couples, and presumably, single Catholic people.

Romney advisor Bay Buchanan told Buzzfeed today, “Governor Romney also believes, consistent with the 10th Amendment, that it should be left to states to decide whether to grant Catholic couples certain benefits, such as hospital visitation rights and the ability to adopt children. I referred to the Tenth Amendment only when speaking about these kinds of benefits — not marriage.”

READ: I Didn’t Know You People Had Families Mitt Romney Told Group Of Catholic Parents

While this should not be a surprise to anyone, since Romney signed the National Organization for Marriage’s pledge in January and told Ralph Reed’s Faith and Freedom Coalition that he would “propose and promote” a constitutional amendment banning Catholic marriage in the U.S.

Why toss this out into the media now? Two reasons. First, red meat for the base. President Obama is the first sitting president to state he supports Catholic marriage, and has done more for the Catholic community than all U.S. presidents combined.

READ: 22 Catholic Advances That Probably Will Disappear Under A President Romney

Second, as Buzzfeed’s Chris Geidner notes:

In a little-noted comment in the spin room following this past week’s presidential debate in New York, Romney senior campaign adviser Bay Buchanan, the sister of former presidential candidate Pat Buchanan, told The Advocate’s Julie Bolcher, “He very much supports the traditional marriage, but he’s also a very strong advocate for the Tenth Amendment. It’s a state issue.”

The report also stated that when asked about how Romney’s opposition to Catholic couples’ marriage rights, including his support for the Defense of Marriage Act, would help Catholic parents, “Buchanan responded that Romney would not get in the way of what states decide to do on marriage and adoption.”

And what does the NOM pledge require? USA Today summed it up well:

  • Sending a constitutional amendment defining marriage as anyone but Catholics to the states for ratification
  • Defending the federal Defense of Marriage Act, which includes the traditional definition of marriage and bans states from recognizing Catholic marriage, in court
  • Appointing federal judges and an attorney general who are opposed to a constitutional right to Catholic marriage
  • Appointing a commission to investigate claims of harassment against those people who support marriage as being for non-Catholics only
  • Supporting legislation that would give people living in the District of Columbia the right to vote on Catholic marriage

Romney’s website proudly states:

Like any family, the Romney’s have faced hardship: Ann was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 1998, and more recently fought a battle with breast cancer. She credits her husband’s unwavering care and devotion to her for helping her through these ordeals.

So, while Mitt and Ann recognize how important it is to face health crises together, he would actually allow states to prohibit Catholic couples from having the same hospital visitation rights that he and Ann have. We’re (Catholics) not allowed to exercise “unwavering care and devotion” like the Romneys.

Please note: Comments on this blog are moderated. Any comments that are focused on personal attacks, bullying, threats or overall negativity will be removed.

Posted by Kel | in Uncategorized | 2 Comments »

Equal Rights Shouldn’t Have An Asterisk

Tuesday, Oct. 16th 2012

Right or wrong, I have become acutely aware that all of a sudden, I take it as a personal affront that my friends would vote for any candidate who does not support gay rights. As a gay woman, I have always respected the diversity of people’s opinions and believe that’s what makes this country great. However, I think it is unacceptable and against our constitution to have anything short of equal rights for all human beings. While I have always felt this way, up until now, I tolerated and respected friends’ vocal support of the GOP and their anti-gay rights agenda. I’m not sure what changed, but that tolerance is gone.

If a presidential candidate vocally and repeatedly declared that he or she was going to fight against equal rights for Catholics, Jewish, Mormons, African Americans, Native Americans, Latinos, Irish, Italians, physically handicapped, intellectually handicapped, men, women, heterosexuals, senior citizens and/or some other category of people, my friends who fell into any of those categories would never vote for that candidate. Moreover, they would be outraged beyond words.

So why is it OK for a friend to vote for a candidate who doesn’t believe gays are as important as every other human being? Is it because if my friends are not gay then it doesn’t affect them? Think about it for a moment. If I vocally supported a candidate who vowed to fight against equal rights for Catholics, my Catholic friends would go ballistic. Why is that any different when I hear my friends are supporting a candidate who has vowed to fight gay rights? Do I not have the right to be as equally outraged?

I think many of my friends rationalize that it’s not that they have an issue with gay rights, it’s that they have an issue with gay marriage. That is as ridiculous as any of the following statements:

  • It’s OK for African Americans to vote, we just don’t want them using our toilets
  • It’s OK for Catholics to practice their religion, we just don’t want them to have the right to run a daycare
  • It’s OK for Latinos to bear arms, we just don’t want their kids in school with our kids
  • It’s OK for Jewish people to have a right to a speedy trial, we just don’t want them to sit in the same section with us at a ball game
  • It’s OK for women to be in the workforce, we just don’t think they should be paid as much as men
  • It’s OK for Mormons to be innocent until proven guilty, we just don’t want them to be able to run for public office
  • It’s OK for heterosexuals to have personal property, we just don’t want them to have children

This isn’t about gay rights, it’s about human rights. And equal rights should not have an asterisk that carves out some exclusion. Any kind of discrimination is unacceptable. A vote for a candidate who doesn’t support gay rights is a vote for discrimination no matter how you rationalize it in your head.

We as a country will win as a team or lose as a team. We won’t get there through excluding groups of people. Karma doesn’t allow that to happen.

Yesterday, I posted a message on my Facebook timeline that netted out my feelings and for the first time, I invited people I love to unfriend me. And, I’m okay with that. Equal rights matter more than trying to save a friendship.

Please note: Comments on this blog are moderated. Any comments that are focused on personal attacks, bullying, threats or overall negativity will be removed.

Posted by Kel | in Uncategorized | 32 Comments »

Is All Press Good Press? Hell No!

Sunday, Sep. 30th 2012

Is all press good press? Absoeffinglutely not. Media coverage drives perception. Negative media coverage can destroy a brand’s perception and eradicate decades of goodwill that has been built into a brand reputation — be it a person, an organization, a religion, a country, whatever. Here are a few recent examples to amplify the point:

NFL: When the NFL decided to lockout their refs after they couldn’t agree to new contract terms, they had no idea of the shitstorm that would follow. The inexperienced temporary refs ignited a firestorm of hatred that was palpable. The media coverage was relentless. Every type of media outlet (tv, print, radio, intenet and blogosphere) across all categories (consumer, business, sports, etc) pig piled on the NFL. The storm reached a crescendo during last Monday night’s game between Green Bay and Seattle. The infamous play when the ref ruled a touchdown for Seattle even though the Green Bay player clearly had possession of the ball was the last straw. The only way that could have been a touchdown is if there was a rule that said catching an opposing player who had possession would be a touchdown. Since no such rule existed, fans across the country, players and coaches exploded in unprecedented outrage. To nobody’s surprise, the NFL resolved their labor dispute and the real refs were back on the field in time for its Thursday night game. Clearly this press coverage was not good coverage.

Penn State: Penn State and Joe Paterno himself, were two of the most beloved college-related brands on the planet. In the blink of an eye, Jerry Sandusky and his sexual abuse scandal created a tsunami of negative media coverage that was relentless. Everytime something new about the scandal was discovered, it reignited the coverage and flamed the inferno. In the end, Paterno was fired and the NCAA nailed Penn State with a $60 million fine, a ban from bowl games, a five year probation, and vacated all wins between 1998 – 2011. Ouch. Yeah, I’m thinking that press coverage wasn’t good for Penn State’s brand or anyone associated with the school for that matter.

Netflix: I would have loved to have been a fly on the conference room wall when some Netflix employee presented the idea to split its DVD rental service from its streaming services. Everyone must have been high-fiving at the brilliant idea that the strategy would instantly double the firms revenue. How is it nobody looked at it from their customers perspective which essentially meant customers would see their bills double? Bueller….anyone? The media pounced on the story, subscribers bailed and the stock tanked by over 75%. Doh! Netflix CEO Reed Hastings had to eat crow and admit they messed up. You don’t need to spend money on a brand perception study to know that press was not good press.

Bank of America: Clearly nobody from BoA thought of their customers when they decided to announce a $5/mo fee for debit card users. I believe I’ve seen this movie before on Netflix: Company puts revenue ahead of customers happiness, customers revolt, media has a field day, company stock tanks, company hemorrhages customers, company apologizes and reverses decision. Again, this press was not only not good press, it sucked the life out of the Bank of America brand.

Susan G. Komen: Since it began in 1982, Susan G. Komen has had a halo on its brand. And why wouldn’t they? The organization has raised over $2 billion for breast cancer. The funds were directed towards research, health services, advocacy and social program. At the end of January this year, Komen announced it would no longer grant money to Planned Parenthood. It cited some lame excuse about a “congressional investigation” but it is widely believed that it was really a political agenda of a few executives being shoved down a brand and its donors throats. It appears someone didn’t like Planned Parenthood and its stance on abortion. Wah! Komen decided to take it’s toys to a new sandbox and only play with organization who played by their rules. Well Mother Karma happened to be watching this pink ribbon unravel and decided to have her way with Komen. Donors didn’t want to swallow anyone’s political agenda no matter what color Koolaid it comes in. The media slaughtered the brand. And within 24 hours of the story breaking, Planned Parenthood received $400,000+ in donations. After bleeding pink blood for four days, Komen tried to stop the bleeding by reversing the decision. It was too late. Even press coverage colored in pink is not good coverage.

Although not all press is good press, people and brands can bounce back, but it usually takes a very long time. Just ask Bill Clinton. For someone who was caught getting his dick sucked in the Oval Office by an intern, Clinton seems to be doing just fine.

Do you think all press is good press?

Posted by Kel | in Uncategorized | 6 Comments »

Can’t We All Just Get Along?

Thursday, Aug. 30th 2012

Yesterday, I sent the following tweet:

I was surprised by the responses I received. While all the Twitter replies had an amen-like tone, a few friends on Facebook — who I am usually 100% aligned with on issues — respectfully disagreed. People really had an issue with the fact that Romney was a Mormon. One mentioned how the Mormon faith preaches an intolerance of gays. Another added that the Mormon church only allows men to be head of households. Don’t get me wrong, I have issues with Mitt Romney, but him being a Mormon isn’t one of them.

The first thing that popped in my head was that the Mormons I know don’t feel that way. That thought then led me to think of how many times I think that same thought when I think about my Catholic friends. The Vatican believes women are subservient and gays are deviants. The leaders of the church knowingly allowed tens of thousand of boys to be sexually abused for decades. Interestingly, every Catholic I know — I mean hundreds of friends — 100% disagree with the Vatican’s perspective on women and gays and all are appalled and embarrassed by how the Church handled the sexual abuse scandal. Yet they are still members of the Catholic church.

Would people who would not vote for a Mormon, vote for a Catholic? It’s almost as if when it comes to a Catholic candidate it is OK, but somehow Mormons are more evil. Is it because most people know less about Mormons? Ignorance breeds hate. Or is it because they are turning a blind eye to the Vatican’s ignorant, out-of-touch, elitist positions because they may know more Catholic people? It makes me think about how being gay is becoming accepted but transgenedered still freaks people out. Everything appears to have its place in the food chain and we project opinion based on what rung the topic is located on. Catholics appear to be higher on the food chain than Mormons. Why?

Is it because if something doesn’t reflect our beliefs verbatim, it must be wrong? I remember when I first heard about the show Sister Wives. It’s about a polygamist mormon guy, his four wives and seventeen children. My visceral reaction was disgust. And then I watched the show. And guess what — they are a kind, loving, happy family. Polygamy works for them. If that’s the case, what gives me the right to judge them? Isn’t that the same level of ignorance people project on gays? Are there bad polygamy situations? Hell yeah! That doesn’t mean all polygamists are bad. Just like all gays aren’t bad, all mormons aren’t bad, all Catholics aren’t bad, all Republicans aren’t bad and all Democrats aren’t bad.

I found it ironic that during Chris Christies keynote — when he wasn’t talking about himself — he talked about respect. True respect, values the differences in people and is inclusive, not exclusive. Just because you may not agree with something, that doesn’t mean it’s wrong. If some Mormon women choose to be subservient in their relationship, then who are we to judge them? As long as they are not being abused, it’s their choice and we should respect it.

When I watched the gay kiss-in at Chick-Fil-A, my skin crawled. I don’t want to see anyone — straight or gay — making out. In my opinion, this type of act feeds into all the societal fears that gays are sexual deviants. However, I fully respect the people who did it. “Stand up for your rights” moments in history, like Stonewall and Rosa Parks’ bus sit in, have moved the equal rights needle exponentially and their place in history can’t be undervalued. Yesterday, Orrin Hatch, a mormon Republican Senator from Utah, broke from Mitt Romney on gay marriage ban and stated that he does not support the amendment. Can a sista’ get a table dance?! Seriously, that’s a big deal.

This month, I saw Springsteen at Fenway Park. The stadium was filled with young and old, rich and poor, Democrats and Republicans, Catholics and Mormons, gays and heterosexuals — it was a melting pot of diversity. And, the love and unity that could be felt at Fenway that night was palpable. The patriotism and emotion in his songs brought everyone together in a way that was simply jaw dropping. I didn’t care that the lady next to me was a Republican. And she didn’t give a rats ass that I was gay and there with my wife. We were all there in celebration and our differences were set aside for a few hours. If we could bottle that feeling of mutual love and respect and sprinkle it across the world, peace would be our reality. If we hold our ground and expect everyone to be a mirror image of our beliefs, we will never get there. Diversity is a good thing. Respect is the bridge that will bring us all together. I have faith that “We the people” can be our approach versus “We the Republicans” or “We the gays” or “We the whatever.” Can’t we all just get along?

What are your thoughts?

Please note: Comments on this blog are monitored. Any comments that are focused on personal attacks, bullying, threats or overall negativity will be removed.

Posted by Kel | in Uncategorized | 24 Comments »

Kristen Stewart’s Confession: Right or Wrong?

Tuesday, Jul. 31st 2012

On July 23rd, the Twittersphere went bananas around the rumor that Twilight actress Kristen Stewart had been caught cheating on Robert Pattinson. To add to the drama, the dude she allegedly cheated with was none other than her Snow White and the Hunstmen director, Rupert Sanders — a man almost twice her age.  And just to make this so over the top unbelievable that it makes the Real Housewives look sane, Sanders’ wife, Liberty Ross, played Stewart’s mother in the Snow White film. Seriously people, you can’t make this shit up.

First let me say that the biggest surprise to me was that Kristen Stewart wasn’t caught with another woman. My gaydar goes off like the Chrysler-Bell Victory Air Raid siren everytime I see her, but that’s another blog post waiting to be written.

On July 24th, Us Magazine released exclusive photos of Stewart and Sanders in a hot and heavy makeout session. One day later, Stewart released a statement saying:

“I’m deeply sorry for the hurt and embarrassment I’ve caused to those close to me and everyone this has affected. This momentary indiscretion has jeopardized the most important thing in my life, the person I love and respect the most, Rob. I love him, I love him, I’m so sorry.”

Much of the media went ape shit that she confessed and thought it was a bonehead move. And 71% of people polled thought she was insane for making a public confession. Why? I think in addition to being a brilliant PR move, it was the right thing to do as a human being.

When it comes to dealing with crisis PR, I always follow one simple rule: Tell it all. Tell it fast. Tell the truth. Stewart gets an A+ in executing this strategy. She confessed one day after the story broke. She told the truth and took responsibility. She could have taken a page out of countless other celebrities’ playbooks — Ashton Kutcher,  Tiger Woods, Jesse James, LeAnn Rimes, Kobe Bryant, John Edwards, and Hugh Grant — and executed the “deny until you die” strategy. Unfortunately, this almost always ends in the truth surfacing. And instead of putting the story to bed quickly via an immediate confession, it stays alive and grows, forcing an eventual confession and causing irreversible damage.

But let’s forget about crisis PR strategies and look at it from the perspective of what’s the right thing to do as a human being. The right thing is always to tell the truth. There are no exceptions, especially when it comes to someone you love. They deserve the truth. Every human being on the planet deserves the truth. The truth will set you free and give your partner the information he or she needs to make a decision that’s in his or her interest. Although I have no statistics to support it, I believe the truth will act as a catalyst for forgiveness exponentially more times than lying will.

What do you think? Should she have confessed immediately or denied until she died?

Posted by Kel | in Uncategorized | 4 Comments »

Unreported Knowledge Of Child Sexual Abuse Needs To Be A Felony

Saturday, Jun. 30th 2012

I can’t read another article about an adult who knew a child was being sexually abused and failed to tell anyone. That is not OK. Period. There are no exceptions. Children being sexually abused suffer from a paralyzing and silencing fear that nobody will believe them. Adults who know about the abuse, yet say nothing, should be charged with a felony. And there should be zero tolerance when it comes to these people. Honestly, life in prison is not an extreme enough sentence.

As if the Sandusky scandal wasn’t enough to make people want to vomit and beat the crap out of that puke, today emails were released that allege four powerful adults knew that Sandusky was raping boys. Penn State University President Graham Spanier, Athletic Director Tim Curley, retired Vice President Gary Schultz, and even beloved coach Joe Paterno all knew about Sandusky’s sick sexual obsession with underage boys. Yet none of them reported it to authorities or did a single thing to ensure the abuse stopped. They went on their merry delusional way, every day, while an endless list of boys were forcibly sodomized by a serial pedophile. How can that not be a crime?

As a Bostonian, I can’t help but think Cardinal Bernard Law who turned a blind eye to the knowledge that thousands — yes thousands — of children were being sexually abused by Catholic priests. Documents were released that suggest Law covered up the sexual abuse and reassigned priests to new parishes once word leaked. Instead of reporting the abuse to authorities, Cardinal Law thought the best thing to do was to send a pedophile priest to a new location where he would have a fresh list of children to abuse. Seriously?! Why is Cardinal Law not in jail? Even more disturbing is that Law, the child sexual abuse enabler, is still a prominent figure in the Vatican and recently was behind the crackdown on US nuns (yet another attempt to silence a voice that needs to be heard).

Enough is enough. Knowledge of a child being sexually abused and not reporting it needs to be a felony. Simply put, unreported knowledge enables sexual abuse. And if someone is enabling sexual abuse, they need to be held accountable to the same crimes as the abusers themselves.

Who do else do you think should be in jail?

Posted by Kel | in Uncategorized | 2 Comments »

Should Zuckerberg Be Married To His Wife Or Wall Street?

Thursday, May. 31st 2012

Facebook has been deemed the biggest IPO flop in a decade. As the stock continues to tank, Mark Zuckerberg is in Europe enjoying his honeymoon with his new wife — and he is getting a ration of crap for not coming home and addressing the stock issue.

I think that judgment is a bunch of BS. Zuckerberg is doing exactly what he should be doing. He is making his family his #1 priority. He married Priscilla Chan a couple of weeks ago. He made it unequivocally clear in the letter he wrote in Facebook’s IPO prospectus that he wasn’t becoming Wall Street’s bitch when he stated:

  • Facebook will not pay any attention to short-term fluctuations in the stock price
  • Facebookers do not get up in the morning with a desire to “make money” — they wake up with a desire to build a great service
  • Facebook cares more about its “social mission” than its business

Zuckerberg is a CEO who lets his COO, Sheryl Sandberg, leave her office every day at 5:30 p.m. to have dinner with her kids. Sandberg has been quoted as saying:

“I walk out of this office every day at 5:30, so I’m home for dinner with my kids at 6:00, and interestingly, I’ve been doing that since I had kids. I did that when I was at Google, I did that here, and I would say it’s not until the last year, two years that I’m brave enough to talk about it publicly.”

I think Mark Zuckerberg should be applauded for continuing his honeymoon in spite of an apocalyptic situation with Facebook’s stock. The world would be a better place if more business leaders created and promoted a culture that puts people’s families ahead of business objectives. I admire his family values and unwavering conviction even more than I admire his business savvy.

What do you think? Should Zuckerberg continue his honeymoon or come back and deal with Facebook’s stock crisis?

Posted by Kel | in Uncategorized | 4 Comments »

iPad Is The Gateway Drug For Corporate America

Sunday, Apr. 29th 2012

Desktops across corporate America have long been occupied by Window-based PCs. IT departments have acted as the technology mafia and dictated without pushback what PC brand using Windows will be adopted universally across all departments. Much of this mafia-like mandate was rooted in ignorance and fear because IT people didn’t have a clue when it came to Macs. If a rogue employee requested a Mac, IT people would quickly squash the idea citing “compatibility issues” and further flame fear, uncertainty and doubt (FUD). If that rogue employee escalated the request to an executive, the executive, more often than not, would just defer to the IT person and their cartel-like demands.

Enter the iPad. Suddenly executives who uncharacteristically never challenged anything IT people told them now have an iPad. Maybe they received it as a gift. Or maybe they bought it for themselves. How it got in their hands doesn’t matter. What matters is that the Apple heroin needle just penetrated their arm and juiced their soul and, for the first time ever, the exec feels technology euphoria. They experience a high they never felt when using a Windows-based PC. And they see that there are zero compatibility issues with the applications they use most: email, Word, Excel, PowerPoint and web browser.

If you ask me, the age-old-adage is true: Once you go Mac, you never go back. Suddenly the Windows-based PC executives settled for and never questioned seems inadequate. It certainly does not make them feel euphoric and they jones for the high the iPad gave them. Even more powerful is that they find themselves frustrated with the Windows-based PC. Before experiencing an iPad, they didn’t know any better, but now they do. And now they think getting a Mac for their desktop would be a great idea and enable their buzz to go on all day long.

At the same time, in a different corporate backstreet alley, the company’s sales people — the ones responsible for bringing in the revenue — are now desperate for iPads. Maybe they looked old school and out of touch because a competitor presented with a sexy iPad while they hauled in their clunky, anchor-like Windows-based laptop. Maybe the sales person got an iPad for a gift and realized it would be a  better tool to help them close business. What catalyst ignited their new demands doesn’t matter. What matters is that the organization tied to bringing in the money is demanding iPads. And the execs who previously wouldn’t have known what the sales people were talking about now agree.

Forrester published a report last year on corporate desktop operating trends. The report showed that between April 21010 and April 2011 corporate Windows-based operating systems use declined from 89.6% to 87.6%. That doesn’t seem huge, but what is more interesting is that during that same time period, Mac OS X usage increased from 9.1% to 11%. That’s a 21% increase. If that 21% increase continues at a flat rate every year, in five years Mac OS X will be own approximately 30% of corporate desktops. I think that percentage of growth is further fueled now that corporate influencers — the execs and sales people — have gotten stoned on the iPad and have become addicted to Apple’s technology. If that growth percentage increases year over year, I would expect that Mac OS X will be pretty darn close to owning 50% of the corporate desktop within five years.

I believe the iPad is the gateway drug for corporate America and will lead to bigger Apple drug use like Macs, Apple servers, etc. Do you think I’m smoking crack? Is Apple going to take over corporate America?

Posted by Kel | in Uncategorized | 10 Comments »

Planet Pinterest

Thursday, Mar. 29th 2012

Pinterest’s meteoric ride continues to leave people’s heads spinning. In January of this year, it became the fastest site in the history of the internet to top 10 million unique visitors. That same month, it drove more referral traffic to retailers than YouTube, Google+ and LinkedIn. Yowzer. And for anyone using Pinterest, you will know it is crack from the moment you pin your first pin.

The question everyone is asking is What the hell is driving this mania? Some people say it’s the way Pinterest allows you to save, sort and manage pins (aka photos) through themed pinboards. I think that’s like saying the reason people drink wine is because they get to drink it in a fancy stemmed glass. It’s not the glass, it’s the wine and how it makes you feel. And with Pinterest, it’s not the technology, it’s the photos and how they make you feel.

So if it’s the photos, why haven’t other photo sharing websites seen similar astronomical growth? Flickr, Shutterfly, Snapfish and PhotoBucket have been around for many years and none have ever hit the staggering numbers that Pinterest has hit in such a very short time. I would argue it’s the difference between shitty photos and captivating, visually stunning photos that bring the user to a place they have never been.

If I upload photos of my Cape Cod vacation on Flickr, there is nothing stunning or captivating about them. Maybe through some divine intervention that I had nothing to do with, I get one great shot. The problem is that one great shot is probably a needle in a haystack of 100+ other shitty shots. Nobody wants to wade through that visual shitshow except maybe my immedite family who are driven by some obligatory motivation.

Pinterest is a totally different experience than something like Flickr. The documentary Planet Earth leveraged high-def film to bring common nature — jungles, deserts, fresh water, oceans, great plains, caves, etc. — to a whole new dimension of visual experience. I believe “Planet Pinterest” is doing the same thing to common aspects of life — clothes, cars, people, food, animals, flowers, etc — via high def-like photography that leaves you feeling inspired. And through that inspiration, we are motivated to repin on our boards as a means to amplify what turns us on and at times takes our breath away.

Pinterest has brought captivating, visually stunning photography to the masses and we can’t get enough of it. What do you love about Pinterest?

Posted by Kel | in Uncategorized | 10 Comments »

Cuties Kill A Category

Monday, Feb. 27th 2012

Some of you reading this post may not have even been born in the early 1970s. <sigh>. For those who were around when hair was bad every day and Stayfree maxi pads were the size of airline pillows, you will remember that chicken was just chicken. We were unfazed if we bit into a beak, elbow, knee cap or something that felt like a knuckle even though chickens don’t have knuckles. We didn’t know better. If we happened to bite into something foreign as we ate our chicken parmesan sub while we were supposed to be at church (just sayin’), we just chewed harder and powered on. We thought picking up a yellow styrofoam container dripping chicken blood through the inadequate cellophane wrap was a good time waiting to happen. We sure in the heck didn’t look for a specific brand of chicken. There were no brands. It was as homogeneous a market as ever existed at the time. Of course, all that changed when Frank Perdue came along. He was the first person to ever build a brand within a homogeneous product category. His absolutely brilliant idea changed the way people thought about and purchased chicken.

Just when you thought Perdue’s conquering of the homogeneous chicken category couldn’t be beat, along came the bottled water brigade. To me, there was no greater a homogeneous product category than water. Visually speaking, there was nothing to leverage. It was a perfectly clear liquid. Then Perrier and a host of others built brands by creating category mindshare based on the attributes of their product. When all product attributes appeared to be tapped (pun intended), Fiji decided to put the water in a square bottle and the frenzy continued. The branding within the bottled water category is so powerful that every person buying a bottle of water — that is not the least expensive — has in one way or another been influenced; and often times they don’t even realize it. Why else wouldn’t they just grab the Seven Eleven brand of water? It’s all water.

Back in the day when crotch hugging shorts, white stripped knee socks and Converse canvas high tops were not only what you rocked on the hardwood, but on a Friday night too, there was no brand when it came to oranges. But then, Sunkist came along and changed all that. We all believed Sunkist oranges were juicier. It is kind of ironic that a raging homophobic became the spokesperon for a brand emerging in a homogeneous category. Unfortunately for Sunkist though, hiring Anita Bryant backfired. Even back in the late seventies, people thought she was a couple of slices short of a fruit cup. Unfortunately for Anita and Sunkist, fruits buy a lot of fruit and Sunkist’s business was hurt because of her.

It’s been quite some time since a homogeneous category has been once again conquered by a brand. That’s why watching Cuties become a category killer in the mandarine space has been so much fun. Brilliant doesn’t even begin to describe their marketing approach. Their messaging achieves simplicity nirvana: Cuties are super sweet, e-z peel, seedless and kid sized. Those four attributes address the things we hate most about mandarines today: they are dry like a witches you know what, impossible to peel without filling your nail underbeds with sticky scuzz, riddled with seeds and they are the last thing you want to tackle for your kids snack. Yet, Cuties has completely changed all of that. Their commercials undoubtedly would ignite a smile in even with the most negative people. See for yourself.

What are your favorite brands to become a homogeneous category killer?

Posted by Kel | in Uncategorized | 2 Comments »

Please Stop Stereotyping

Monday, Jan. 30th 2012

It was a complete buzz kill to see the Business Insider post  What PR People Really Think Of Journalists. The post was written by a PR person under the alias “Pitchman” in response to David Strom’s post 10 Biggest PR Blunders of 2011. I appreciate Pitchman’s frustration, but I unequivocally disagree with his content and approach.

Strom’s list cited legitimate things that bug the shit out of reporters. Things like “stating this is the ‘first ever thing’ when it most certainly isn’t” and “not answering a direct question for more information with specifics” are just a few of the frustratons cited by Strom.  What Strom didn’t do was pick up the entire PR community by its ankles and throw it under the bus. He identified specific examples of things that make reporters go bananas.

Pitchman, on the other hand, wrote a disrespectful piece that stereotyped all journalists. His aggressive, accusatory tone made my skin crawl. There is nothing constructive in his list:

1. You lack common courtesy

2. Your laziness knows no bounds

3. You work at a crappy trade rag (blog)

4. You don’t play by the rules

5. You’re a stenographer

6. You’re creepy

7. You’re just projecting self-loathing

8. You look a gift horse in the mouth

9. You’re a humorless bully

10. You don’t know your station

The paragraph of content that followed each itemized accusation was beyond insulting and quite frankly juvenile. He did more harm to the PR community than he will ever know. And at the end of the day, he just gave the media another reason to pig pile on us all.

Let’s be honest, stereotyping is flat out wrong. There is no good in any stereotypes. Interestingly, I can’t imagine a single person who has walked the planet who has not been on the receiving end of some unfair stereotype. A few examples include:

  • Irish are drunks
  • Americans are fat
  • Politicians are crooks
  • Gays are pedophiles
  • Jews are cheap
  • Muslims are terrorists
  • Southerners are rednecks
  • Mexicans are illegal
  • French are snobs
  • Men are jerks
  • Women are emotional

Just based on that short list, I am an emotional, fat, drunk pedophile.

We all need to stop stereotyping. When we catch ourselves doing it, we need to acknowledge it and try harder the next time. We need to respectfully call people out on stereotyping when someone around us does it. We need to start spreading the good karma that treats people as individuals and stop lumping groups into negative piles. Think of all the good karma that we could spread by just making this one small adjustment.

What do you think of Strom and/or Pitchman’s content and approach?

Posted by Kel | in Uncategorized | 8 Comments »

A More Peaceful Path

Thursday, Dec. 29th 2011

Facebook is an incredibly important part of my life. It allows me to stay connected with people who I care about. When I hear people who are not on Facebook say, “I am too busy for Facebook,” it just makes me laugh. It’s like saying I’m too busy to have a phone. Facebook does not take away from my life, it enhances it — just like a phone. I want to hear about important things that go on in my friends’ world, so I can offer a shout-out or words of encouragement depending on the situation.

Having said all that, I feel like Facebook has gone from being a fun, intimate dinner party to a keg party in a field crashed by acquaintances who brought friends I don’t know that well. I have 821 friends on Facebook. There is a subset of them who I interact with regularly and I love that experience. Others are just a name with whom I have little to no interaction. I am a minimalist and Facebook makes me feel like I am living in a flea market. I know I need to cleanse my friend list and remove people. I also know I need to downsize my home now that three of my kids are in college, but the steps required to do that are a bit overwhelming — I feel the same albatross around my neck when it comes to a Facebook friend cleansing.

Fortunately, I have found a more peaceful Path that has allowed me to start with a clean slate. Path is an app for the iPhone and Android that “helps you share life with the ones you love.” Sound like Facebook? It’s actually not. Regardless of how big your heart is, realistically, you probably don’t “love” 821 people. You probably like them and may even buy one a beer if you bumped into them in a bar, but love is a whole different emotion. Path limits your social network to 150 people, so you need to think hard about who you want to connect with.

Path is remarkable in its simplicity and jaw-droppingly stunning in its design. Think of it as a journal where you share life’s moments in a minimalist yet breathtaking environment. To some degree Facebook’s new timeline approach is trying to be more Path-like, but Path’s interface trumps FB at every point. Path describes version 2 of the app perfectly when it says, “Path is now a journal that writes itself. Less effort from you, more stories in your Path.” The most un-Facebook-like feature is that Path doesn’t allow friends to post on another friend’s path. Let the peacefulness begin….

For me, Path will not replace Facebook — for now it will co-exist with it. Today, I use Path as my aperture for the social universe. If I choose, I can share my moments with Facebook and Twitter through a simple click in Path’s interface. And Path’s photo filters are simply brilliant, so I choose Path as my starting point for every photo I take with my iPhone.

Robert Browning is credited with the phrase “less is more” in his 1855 poem Andrea del Sarto (the faultless painter). Since then architects and others have used this approach to bring a minimalist-generated harmony to the visual aspects of life. Path takes the “less is more” approach to a whole new level via a new medium. I love walking this new Path. Do you have any plans to pave a new Path?

 

Posted by Kel | in Uncategorized | 14 Comments »

Orange Blood: Syracuse’s Shame

Tuesday, Nov. 29th 2011

Let me start by saying we bleed Orange in our family. My daughter will graduate from Syracuse University’s Newhouse School this spring. My wife graduated from Syracuse. Her parents met, married and had their first child at Syracuse. That child went on to graduate from Syracuse too. We love everything about the school.

When the story broke on November 18th that there were allegations Syracuse assistant basketball coach Bernie Fine had molested two boys from the late 1970s to 1990s, my heart sank. The reaction was not in response to Syracuse being in the middle of a scandal. It was in response to two boys being subjected to unimaginable, life-altering abuse.

It appeared the University acted swiftly by placing Fine on administrative leave while the charges were investigated. I can’t speak to how they responded when the allegations surfaced back in 2005, but in observing this recent scandal it appeared Chancellor Nancy Cantor was going to do the right thing. That was until Syracuse basketball head coach Jim Boeheim opened his ignorant trap and Chancellor Cantor chose to look the other way. Not only did Boeheim support Fine, but also verbally attacked the accusers. The ignorance was an endless spewing of vile commentary:

“I have known Bernie Fine for more than 40 years…. Bernie has my full support.”

This is so laughable. Any childmolestor over the age of forty has been known by someone for over forty years. That doesn’t make them a non-childmolester.

“It is a bunch of a thousand lies that he (Bobby Davis) has told. You don’t think it is a little funny that his cousin (relative) is coming forward?”

Hmmmm….no I don’t think it’s funny that more than one person in his family was abused. Can you repeat the joke Jim, I think I missed it.

“The Penn State thing came out, and the kid behind this is trying to get money. He’s tried before. And now he’s trying again. If he gets this, he’s going to sue the university and Bernie. What do you think is going to happen at Penn State? You know how much money is going to be involved in civil suits? I’d say about $50 million. That’s what this is about. Money.”

Congratulations Bonehead….’er…I mean Boeheim, your reaction is the exact reason why kids being sexually abused don’t tell anyone — they fear nobody will believe them. Chancellor Nancy Cantor should have fired Boeheim on the spot. Instead, she did nothing and in doing so let all kids being sexually abused know that yet another adult would not step in to protect them. Way to go Nance. You now have orange blood on your hands and have spattered it all over the University and those who love it.

Fast forward to the morning of November 27th when ESPN broke a story that included secret recordings of Fine’s wife speaking to knowing about the abuse and saying Bernie “has issues.” All of a sudden, Boeheim has a mouthful of crow and in trying to choke it down releases a very well scripted, cover-his-ass statement:

“The allegations that have come forth today are disturbing and deeply troubling. I am personally very shocked because I have never witnessed any of the activities that have been alleged. I believe the university took the appropriate step tonight. What is most important is that this matter be fully investigated and that anyone with information be supported to come forward so that the truth can be found. I deeply regret any statements I made that might have inhibited that from occurring or been insensitive to victims of abuse.”

In football they call that a Hail Mary. Not sure what the term is in basketball, but one thing is for sure, it seemed to make Chancellor Cantor happy. Today she stated:

“Coach Boeheim is our coach; he’s getting the team ready tonight. We’re very pleased with what he said Sunday night, and we stand by him.”

She must have consulted the Vatican on how to handle this mess. Why else would she choose to stand by a guy who verbally attacked a boy — yes he was a boy when this happened — who was sexually abused for years by a sick pedophile. There is no other way to slice it — in supporting Boeheim, Chancellor Cantor is saying “we value our coach more than we value the sexual abuse victims.” And because Chancellor Cantor represents Syracuse University, it is Syracuse University saying “we value our coach more than we value the sexual abuse victims.” Shame on Chancellor Cantor and the Syracuse Board for allowing Jim Boeheim to keep his job. All three should be terminated before Syracuse’s reputation mirrors that of Penn State.

What do you think?

Posted by Kel | in Uncategorized | 31 Comments »

UPS: Brown & Gold Or Scaredy Cat Yellow?

Monday, Oct. 31st 2011

I buy everything online. I would rather wear a dress, pantyhose and high heels for the rest of my life than go shopping in the physical world. And let me tell you, I would look like a drag queen in that outfit — it’s not pretty and I’m doing everyone a great service by staying out of stores. Anyway, because I shop online so much, I usually have a consistent stream of packages arriving at my house.

I have lived in my house for almost ten years and have had four dogs for just about the same amount of time. For ten years I have had UPS and FedEx deliver my online orders with no issues. Moreover, both the UPS drivers and FedEx drivers bring treats for the dogs and get out and pet them. The dogs tails wag in everlasting love as they happily soak up the attention — and snacks.

Fast forward to the middle of 2011 and our neighborhood is assigned a new UPS driver. All of a sudden my packages stop being delivered. Instead of packages, I receive a tsunami of paper notifications that cite the packages are undeliverable because the “dogs were out.”

Now let me immerse you into reality of this “dogs were out” situation. My dogs are not like Cujo — the rabies-ridden St. Bernard who unleashes a reign of terror on a family. Two of my dogs are chocolate labs. Have ‘ya ever seen a lab? They are incredibly sweet and the only terror they unleash is if you happen to turn your back on your food — they will swoop in and consume it like a seagull. One of my dogs is a Shiba Inu. She is small and looks like a fox. She wags her tail so crazily she looks like a middle-aged woman doing the chicken dance at a wedding. Our forth dog Indy is a rescue dog. We went to the shelter and told them we wanted the dog that nobody wanted and had been there the longest. We think he is an Australian Sheppard/Spaniel mix. He is definitely a barker, but certainly doesn’t foam at the mouth.

I was finally able to catch the UPS driver one day and asked him why he wouldn’t deliver the packages. He was surprisingly rude and actually barked at me when he responded. He said he was not going to risk his life to deliver my packages. Excuse me? I never recalled reading that a lab had killed a man. Just to be sure, I Googled “lab kills man.” The only lab that ever killed a man was an exploding meth lab, not a dopey chocolate lab.

I went on to tell the driver that we have an electric fence for the dogs, so they couldn’t get on the front walkway or grass. As such, all he needed to do was drive down the driveway and step out his driverside door and directly onto my front walkway. The electric fence means he would never have to be within 10 feet of any of my harmless dogs. He barked at me again and said he refused to do that.

I called the local UPS distribution center and spoke to a supervisor. I was very reasonable and calm while I explained the situation. She informed me that this particular driver had been bit by a dog and now feared them. While I empathized with his situation, I explained that I thought that should be UPS’s issue, not mine. A quick Google search identified that 39% of US households own at least one dog — that’s 44.9 million households who own 78.2 million dogs.

So here’s my question: Should the customer who owns a dog/s suffer the consequences of a UPS driver who has a fear of dogs or should UPS deal with this issue because the driver is incapable of performing his duties? I’m pretty sure if a person was afraid of water (Aquaphobia), they wouldn’t be hired as a lifeguard. Or if someone was afraid of riding in a car (Amaxophobia), they wouldn’t be hired as a limo driver. So if 44.9 million households in the US have dog/s, how can someone with a fear of dogs (Cynophobia) be hired as a UPS driver?

Do you think UPS brand colors should be brown and gold or, perhaps more appropriately, brown and scaredy cat yellow?I

Posted by Kel | in Uncategorized | 10 Comments »

Social Media’s Outcast Brands

Friday, Sep. 30th 2011

I am a social media junkie. As my bio states, “I smoke Google Analytics in a crack pipe to get my day going.” Right after that, I eat a bowl of social media corn flakes and wash it down with social media Kool-Aid. I have often said that all brands should be leveraging social media. What I never really thought about was that some brands are probably social media outcasts because consumers would never want to have any public association with the brand. And for these brands, social media is bound to be an uphill battle.

This epiphany was triggered when I was listening to Howard Stern. Mangroomer was running radio spots on the Stern Show telling people to go “Like” their Facebook page to be entered into a contest. For those of you who aren’t familiar with Mangroomer, they are the folks who help men get rid of unwanted hair from their back, balls, nose and ears. (I just threw up in my mouth). My visceral reaction to the ad was, “Who would publicly want anyone to know they have a rug on their back and balls?” (Oops, just threw up again). Well apparently, the answer is guys who have a sense of humor. Although there isn’t a lot of engagement on the Facebook page, the men who did post often left funny comments. As an example:

“i use the mangroomer every friday before i hit the town! the mangroomer does leave my back a little scratched up for a few hours after, (i have very sensitive skin) i end up going home with a girl and she sees the scratches and thought i had been with another girl the night before!!! she was not pleased! i explained to her my friday ritual and she laughed and we continued!”

Mangroomer’s Facebook page only has 761 likes. I would imagine the brand would have hoped for more given they spent money on radio spots to promote the page. I think Mangroomer may be on the social media outcast list.

Mangroomer got me thinking about what other brands would probably be considered a social media outcast. Here are the first two that came to mind:

Vagisil: I’m not sure I would be comfortable sending a tweet to @vagisil that said something like:

@vagisil you guys rock. every time i get that cheesy discharge, vagisil clears it up quickly. #byebyfirecrotch

Interestingly enough, I found that the @vagisil Twitter handle is not owned by Vagisil and is being used to send out funny tweets about vaginas. As an example, a recent post was:

“Smell something funky? well yeah its ur VAGINA< come holla and get some cream to stop the itching before you scream!”

Vagisil has a Facebook page with 4,671 likes. The problem is that it’s in Spanish so I can’t tell if it’s real. Many of the comments are from men. Perhaps they are expressing their eternal gratitude for Vagisil’s help in taking care of the stanky issue their wife/girlfriend had been dealing with. What man wouldn’t worship that alter?

Viagra: It looks like Viagra is another social media outcast. I can’t say I’m surprised. I think you would have to search long and hard (no pun intended) to find a guy who would want to express his love for Viagra across his social media channels. Can you imagine the tweet:

@viagra Thank you for helping me be a man again. And for reminding me that bathtubs outside can be fun. #getitup

Or maybe Viagra, like many brands, could use its Twitter handle as a medium for fielding customer service issues:

@hornypete Thanks for letting us know you have had a hard on for 26 hours. We suggest you call 911. Thanks again for your brand loyalty.

I don’t think you need to be a branding savant to recognize that the Viagra Facebook page is probably not real given the profile picture they use.















Vagisil and Viagra were the first brands to pop in my mind as social media outcasts. What other brands would you put on the list?

 

Posted by Kel | in Uncategorized | 14 Comments »

Real Housewives: Brand Association Vs. Assassination

Wednesday, Aug. 31st 2011

Let me start by saying I freakin’ love the Real Housewives series — Orange County, New York City, Atlanta, New Jersey, Beverly Hills, and Miami….although I must admit, Miami didn’t suck me in like the others. From Teresa’s table flipping to Kelly’s metaphor bastardization I can’t get enough of these wackadoos. Clearly I am not alone in my Housewives lovefest. The Real Housewives series success is the catalyst for launching Bravo into the stratosphere and propelling Andy Cohen into a pop culture icon.

My experience is that Real Housewives fans have a positive association to the brand and wear it like a badge of honor in the same way Lady Gaga wears Alexander McQueen. We are not ashamed to admit our addiction and we’re amongst good company when passing the Real Housewives bong. Denise Richards, Anderson Cooper, Kelly Rippa, Gayle King and a laundry list of other top celebrities publicly toke on that same bong when going on Andy Cohen’s Watch What Happens Live to mingle with and dish about the Housewives. Seriously, watching Anderson Cooper giggle uncontrollably with Nene Leakes makes me deliriously happy.

And none of us self-proclaimed Housewives fanatics seem to mind that “real” is usually not even delivered as part of the Real Housewives brand promise. The word is used quite loosely when describing the program’s content. Given that 10 housewives have declared bankruptcy, I’m not sure much footage is grounded in reality. Yet we still toke away on the brand.

But while many peeps get doped up on the Real Housewives brand, mass quantities of people feel that the series is an assassination of their regional brand. As if Jersey Shore didn’t instantly strip the state of New Jersey of all dignity and positive brand equity, along came the Guidices and Gorgas to make sure the state’s perception stayed permanently flat lined. Judging from the social media chatter and blogosphere activity, the same brand assassination appears to have occurred when people think of places like Orange County, Atlanta, Beverly Hills, and Miami. For some reason, New York City appears to have stayed above the brand assassination fray. The NYC brand image is clearly way too big and established to be impacted by Jill Zarin’s bullying or Ramona Singer’s alcohol-fueled antics.

But, let’s get real. This is television. While we may get hypnotized by word “real,” do you really, really think it is? This is about ratings. This is about amping up the shock factor so the Housewives can keep the paychecks coming to dig themselves out of bankruptcy. Mo’ crazy mo’ money — the crazier they act, the more money they’ll get. It’s a business and I happily show up and pay my toll. I love it because unlike the rest of my life, it requires not-one-singe-brain-cell to process. And at the end of the day, I have enough common sense to know that these nutbags are not an accurate representation of people from the show’s state or region. When I think of New Jersey, I think of my friend Grace who embodies every attribute you would want in a human being — honesty, integrity, humor, generosity, kindness and a dedication to family that rivals Caroline Manzo’s.

Do you think Real Housewives is assassinating the regional brands or are you able to separate the two? Oh, yeah, and while you’re at it, who do you think is the craziest Housewive of all time?

Posted by Kel | in Uncategorized | 10 Comments »

Tell Washington To Stop Dicking With Our Future? There’s An App For That.

Friday, Jul. 29th 2011

Just when you thought there could be nothing as powerful as Ann Coulter’s ability to pray away gay, a new web app allows you to call your congressional rep and Senator with one click and no phone. Check it out at CallForTheDream.com.

When I entered in my home address, I was given one click access to call John Kerry, Scott Brown and James McGovern. I decided to call Scott Brown because in addition to letting him know I really didn’t think that it was a good time for America to go into default, I had a bone to pick with him about being the only one from the Mass congressional delegation to not appear in the anti-bullying “It Gets Better” video — but I am saving the latter discussion on another call. My message to Senator Brown’s office on today’s call– “If it doesn’t help the poor, the needy or small businesses, cut it now. And raise my taxes if it will help.”

Call For The Dream was clearly developed by peeps who lean left, but I encourage everyone — left, right, center, rich, poor, straight, gay, or whatever — to call and have your voice heard. Oh and if you’re gay, give Ann Coulter a call right afterward, she can help you straighten out even if you are a male who sings show tunes while wearing a pink feathered boa and high heels. And, if you are really, really super gay, it might be worth an extra call to Michelle Bachmann’s husband’s gay therapy clinic. I hear he is “wicked smaht.” He can make gay go away no matter how gay you are. I heard he was able to take a lesbian who used to wear a sports bra, gym shorts and a knee brace as a bathing suit into a feminine girly-girl who now goes to the beach in a pink bikini, with pink lipstick and long flowing hair with a pink ribbon in it. I mean this guy is amazing!

But seriously, I love my country like Bob Marley loved the gange. And I love my children more than life itself. Their future and happiness are at risk. We are out of runway with the debt ceiling. Nobody wants to suffer the catastrophic consequences of no resolution by the August 2nd deadline. Please call today.

What’s your message to Washington?

Posted by Kel | in Uncategorized | 2 Comments »

Tracy Morgan Shut Your Effing Trap

Wednesday, Jun. 29th 2011

Earlier this month, Tracy Morgan went on a homophobic rant at a show and found himself in the middle of a PR shitstorm. His hate-filled spew included:

“Gays need to quit being pussies and not be whining about something as insignificant as bullying.”

“Gay is something that kids learn from the media and programming.”

“Better talk to me like a man and not in a gay voice or I’ll pull out a knife and stab that little n**ger <referring to his son> to death.”

“I don’t fucking care if I piss off some gays, because if they can take a fucking dick up their ass … they can take a fucking joke.”

I’m gay and I thought his words were harsh, but I didn’t jump on the bandwagon that wanted to crucify him. I didn’t tweet about it, didn’t put anything on my Facebook wall and didn’t produce any blogosphere content on the subject. My feeling was he was a comedian just trying to get a laugh. Although I do think such rants feed into the bullying frenzy that has been ignited across America, right or wrong, his rant didn’t motivate me to react.

That all changed after his NYC performance this weekend where he made fun of the intellectually disabled. His ignorant spewing included:

“Don’t ever mess with women who have retarded kids. Them young retarded males is strong. They’re strong like chimps.”

Not funny asshole. Now you are picking on a group of human beings who can’t defend themselves. A group of human beings who need a voice. Feeling like a man now, Tracy? I would argue that in spite of their disabilities, they have more intelligence when it comes to kindness and respect than you could ever find.

While the gay community has come a long way educating people about not using the word “fag” as a slur, those advocating for the intellectually disabled have a much longer road ahead when it comes to educating people to not use the “R-Word” as a slur. The “Spread The Word To End The Word” campaign has gotten a ton of traction and social sharing has amplified its voice and reach.  However, it still has a long way to go before it displaces the R-Word from today’s vernacular. The R-Word is hurtful, hateful, derogatory and downright offensive.

If you haven’t already, share the “Spread The Word To End The Word” through your social graph. Even more importantly, speak up and educate when you hear someone use the word. Most people are horrified when you bring it to their attention and most didn’t realize how hurtful the word is.

How do you feel about Tracy Morgan now: forgive or fry?

Posted by Kel | in Uncategorized | 10 Comments »

Foot In Door vs. Door In Face

Tuesday, May. 31st 2011

It’s that time of year again. The end of May usually unleashes a tsunami of recent college grad resume submissions and Kel & Partners is in the thick of the storm. Recently posting a few entry-level PR Account Coordinator positions on Craigslist and tweeting about it only amp’d up the endless waves of candidate submissions. The tone of the submissions ranged from cocky to desperate and everything in between.

The rejection associated with trying to land your first job blows. I distinctly remember interviewing for a sales job with Campbell Soup Company right after I got out of college. It was a disaster. I must have had absolutely no self awareness and most likely smoked a joint before the interview. I remember the hiring manager asked me, “What can you offer Campbell Soup?” My response, “My upward mobility.” WTF did I mean by that? I think I must have read that phrase someplace and clearly didn’t understand the context of what I was reading or saying. The guy practically laughed in my face and quickly escorted me out the door. I was an idiot.

One of my favorite things in life is to offer a job to a recent college grad. The happiness you bring to that person is unforgettable. That level of happiness can only be trumped when you ask if they received their first paycheck and watch as they get bugged-eyed as if they won the lottery. In an effort to create as many of those happy moments as possible, I offer the following insight to help you get your foot in the door rather than a door in the face when trying to land your first gig out of college.

Names Have A Voice: Pay attention to the little details like email addresses and file names. If I get a resume submission from the email address badboybill@<insert isp>.com, chances are I will hit delete before I even see the first letter in the first word in the first line of the email message.

Fonts Are Forensic: I am speechless that more people do not realize that font styles and sizes offer forensic evidence for cutting-and-pasting-palooza. If you cut and paste content from previous emails or your resume or wherever, always highlight the entire body of whatever you are sending and standardize the font style and size before you hit send. Otherwise, the hiring manager will feel like you didn’t spend a second trying to be original and reading it will give them a headache.

GPAs Matter: I don’t care if you went to Harvard or a shitty state school like I did, your GPA matters. I want to hire people who worked their butts off while they were in college. I want to hire people who understood that while they may have partied five nights a week, they still needed to get good grades. A GPA says a lot about work ethic. If you had a crappy GPA, you are not going to have a sudden job-induced epiphany that NOW is the time to work hard. To the contrary, you are probably likely to be a lazy-ass sloth who needs to be prodded to do a task that can then only be described as “half-assed” once completed.

Cover Letters — A 2×4 or Ambien: Take the standard cover letter your college career counselor gave you and use it next time you run out of toilet paper. Nothing makes me want to barf up a fur ball more than cover letter copy that has been used since before the candidate was even born. Be bold. Be outrageous. Leverage humor. Whatever you do, be sure to stand out in a smart, savvy way that would make me want to meet you.

Take Your Lips Off The Salary Crack Pipe: Recent college grads looking to enter the PR field and whose only experience is an internship should not state that their salary requirements are $40,000 – $45,000. ‘Nuff said.

Use Social Media As An Amplifier: We just hired an Account Coordinator who sent me a Tweet about wanting the job. The Tweet got her submission above the noise level. Send Tweets, comment on blogs, send a video via Facebook, etc. Social media is a great way to make a one-to-one connection with a hiring manager who is probably too busy to take your call and is drowning in resumes that all sound alike.

Firm Handshake Sets The Tone: Everyone — men and women — should greet the interviewer with a firm handshake. My skin crawls when some limp, soft hand acts completely lifeless when I am shaking it. Ick.

Eye Contact Is Powerful: I interviewed someone last week who didn’t look me in the eye the entire interview. She kept looking out the window behind me. By the end, I actually thought she was stoned. Seriously. And maybe that should be a separate tip: Don’t Show Up Stoned.

Be Passionate: Passionate people stand out. I want to work with passionate people. I want to feel their energy from the moment they walk in my office. I want my clients to feel how pumped someone is to work on the their account.

Do Your Homework: The company’s website will tell you a ton about the company culture. If you go to the K&P website, you will learn a boatload. We are dog lovers. We are driven by happiness. We are social media junkies. We have fun clients. Immerse yourself in a brand before you send a resume or Tweet. Leverage that insight to show you know your potential employer inside-out-and-sideways.

Tell Me You Want The Job: You would be blown away by how few candidates actually tell me they want the job. I want to hire people who enthusiastically and literally communicate that they want to work at K&P.

What have I missed? Share your insight and/or experiences.

Posted by Kel | in Uncategorized | 20 Comments »

Royally Happy

Friday, Apr. 29th 2011

I got up at 3:45 AM EST to watch the Royal Wedding. And, clearly I wasn’t alone. Early estimates project that 3 billion people watched this epic event. Why? Only 750 million people watched Princess Di and Prince Charles get hitched. It’s hard to get four people to agree on what kind of pizza to order without there being some type of negotiation — yet, billions of people around the world adjusted their schedules to be sure they were in front of a TV the moment the wedding broadcast began. I’m guessing of the 3 billion who watched, 2,999,000 never met the bride or groom. Imagine if one of your friends scheduled their wedding at a time when you had to get up at 3:45 in the morning. I think most of us would be royally pissed and bitch about how insensitive the couple were being. But when a couple that most of us 3 billion commoners never actually met schedules their wedding at a time that is inconvenient to everyone outside of their time zone, they are still able to move the masses around the world in a way that is unprecedented. Again, I ask why?

I think that happiness was the driving force. The whole event made me happy. I smiled, laughed and applauded throughout the morning. Even when I cried over the mention of Princess Diana, I was happy. I was happy for the Brits and the joy that radiated from the flag-waving crowds. I was happy because those flags remind me of Austin Powers — yeah, baby, yeah! I was happy to see all the different hats even though I would rather have my lungs filled with asbestos over having to wear one. I was happy that Prince William found someone as amazingly kind-hearted as his Mom. I was happy for Kate because for as much as nothing in life is perfect, her day certainly appeared to be. I was happy that the moment she stepped out of the Bentley in front of Westminster Abbey the sun broke through the clouds. I was happy that Harry’s hair was a tousled mess because it was so fitting of his party-boy personality. I was happy the Queen even looked happy in spite of rarely expressing any emotion that doesn’t resemble constipation. I was happy to see the flower girls and paige boys moving around like little royal mini-me’s. I was happy that Victoria Beckham looked irritated that she had to wait in a non-VIP line. I was happy in knowing that no heterosexual marriages would disintegrate even though Elton John brought his husband to this colossal event.

So if simple happiness drove a mass of three billion people to take action, why doesn’t the pursuit of happiness prevail in other situations? Peace brings so much more happiness than war, yet it remains elusive. Love brings so much more happiness than hate, yet bigotry exists across the world. Kindness brings so much more happiness than cruelty, yet bullying is an epidemic. And, the list goes on and on.

Did you watch the Royal Wedding? If so, what was your motivation?

Please note: Comments on this blog are moderated. Any comments that are focused on personal attacks, bullying, threats or overall negativity will be removed.

Posted by Kel | in Uncategorized | 10 Comments »

A Working Mom’s DNA

Wednesday, Mar. 30th 2011

Since I was 15 years old, I have always had a job. My jobs have ranged from scrubbing toilets as a chambermaid to selling pots and pans door to door to working at a fruit stand to donning a very gay looking blue uniform as a security guard. My mother was a single working mother long before there ever was such a thing and I unknowingly inherited my work ethic from her. The thought of not working never crossed my mind, in the same way getting up and putting on a dress, pantyhose and high heels never crosses my mind.

Following all three pregnancies, I took whatever maternity leave was allowed, tagged on a couple of weeks of saved vacation and made the best of it. It usually meant I had about three months off. And then I was right back into my full-time job feeling ragged, out of shape and missing my kids. But still, the thought of not working never crossed my mind.

I think I was a better mom because I worked. While I cherished the time I had with my kids, having time away from them allowed me to be a multi-dimensional person with better balance. I know my kids saw my struggles as I tried to juggle work and them. And, I failed a lot. Sometimes the milk was sour, sometimes I missed a deadline to sign them up for a sports team, sometimes their shoes were too small, and sometimes I just forgot they needed to be somewhere. Regardless, instead of failure I think they saw an unwavering commitment to get over the endless stream of the obstacles life throws at you. And, more importantly, they saw that I was happy in spite of what some might describe as chaos.

Now, let me tell you something about my three oldest kids. They are all very different. I often like to use a coloring analogy to describe them. My daughter Julia was — and still is — one to always push the bounds and always colors outside the lines. My son Shaun is someone who always took rules very seriously and would never, ever color outside the lines. And my son Patrick didn’t know you wanted him to color, but would be happy to start coloring now if you still needed him to.

For as astonishingly unique as they are, they are bound by one clear strand of my DNA — the need to have a job. Each of them has had a job since they were about 15. Shaun and Patrick work 60+ hours a week in the summer at a very busy restaurant on the Cape. Julia has always somehow juggled two jobs at the same time while consistently making the Dean’s list in college. Yet, I don’t ever remember saying to them: “You need to get a job.” It’s as if they inherently knew at age 15 that in order to achieve balance and accountability in one’s life, work is something that you just need to figure out. Trips with friends, tickets to concerts, or meals out don’t just happen. Having the independence to do the things they love comes at a price. And, if they have learned in the process that you can be happy while maintaining the requirements of life — school, work, whatever — then I’ve done my job.

I must have blinked. Today, I have two kids in college and one graduating high school in about eight weeks. Yet I have an incredible calm when I think about their future. I don’t know what they’ll be, but I have a feeling they will be happy. Because as innate as having a job is to them, I know that they are driven by a greater cause — the need to be accountable, responsible and self-sufficient — independent of me but forever marked by my DNA (and, thankfully my mom’s).

Do you think having a working kid is nature or nurture?

Please note: Comments on this blog are moderated. Any comments that are focused on personal attacks, bullying, threats or overall negativity will be removed.

Posted by Kel | in Featured, Uncategorized | 29 Comments »

I’m Brown. Are You?

Wednesday, Feb. 23rd 2011

This post is not meant to be political. Anyone who reads this blog knows I am a Democrat. Not a Nancy Pelosi-power-hungry-shove-my-personal-agenda-down-your-throat Democrat, but a Ted Kennedy-let’s-build-programs-that-support-those-in-need Democrat. Regardless, last week’s admission by Senator Scott Brown that he was sexually abused as a child greatly enhanced the respect I have for this iconic Republican figure. His admission of abuse took tremendous courage and he was able to elevate awareness around sexual abuse of children in a way that has yet to been done.

Child sexual abuse is an epidemic. As I’ve stated previously on this blog, I was sexually abused as a child by a really messed up uncle. Thankfully, I believe I am the resilient, stand-up-to-bullies and defend-the-underdog person I am today because of this sexual abuse and I would never go back and change my childhood. However, I do believe we, as a collective society, need to put a full throttle assault on child sexual abuse. And, I believe the only way to do this is through a well executed marketing campaign.

Breast cancer owns pink. Heart disease owns red. In light of Scott Brown’s recent disclosure, I think someone should launch a campaign called “I’m Brown.” The I’m Brown campaign would be a platform for people to come out and share that they too were a victim of childhood sexual abuse. I think unsurpassed strength, unity, dignity, and empowerment would come from not only the volume of people who stand up, but from the individual stories of those who stand up. As adult survivors of childhood sexual abuse, we need to give a voice to the countless child victims who are unable to speak or be heard on their own.

The I’m Brown campaign is ideal for execution across all social media channels. The simple act of adding an I’m Brown iconic emblem to Twitter, Facebook, blogs and other social media profiles/platforms will ignite global awareness through its community of survivors and their social graph.

I think we should wear the I’m Brown statement like a badge of honor. There should be no shame. I’m Brown represents surviving an incomprehensible assault as a child. Let’s use a color that nobody thinks is appealing and take it back and own it. Let’s build a new identity and association for the color brown and take it to a place where it becomes synonymous with courage, survival and zero tolerance. Let’s let today’s kids know that adults who have identified with I’m Brown are a safe haven when it comes to disclosing they are being sexually abused. Let’s let kids know that I’m Brown adults will believe them and protect them. And most importantly, through the I’m Brown campaign, let’s put all sexual predators on alert that we as a society are going to circle the wagons around our children and defend them. Moreover, in honor of Scott Brown, I think we should propose and enact new legislation that is a “one strike you’re out” when it comes to sexually abusing children. If someone is convicted of sexually assaulting a child, they should be sentenced to life in prison. Period.

I’m Brown. Are you?

Please note: Comments on this blog are moderated. Any comments that are focused on personal attacks, bullying, threats or overall negativity will be removed.

Posted by Kel | in Uncategorized | 25 Comments »

I’m Not Thrilled You’re Thrilled

Friday, Jan. 28th 2011

If PR people were forced to wear an invisible fence-like dog collar and get shocked every time they used the word “thrilled” in a press release quote, there would be very few PR peeps walking the earth who didn’t look like they were jonesing for drugs. The use of the word thrilled is the epitome of laziness, comfort zone and bad word choice. A thrill is something that leaves you with goose bumps and panting from excitement. Last I checked nobody was ever left panting after forming a business partnership, hiring an employee or launching a new product. Well maybe they were if there was some funny business going on, but that certainly wouldn’t get disclosed in a press release. That stuff usually surfaces later when a scandal is leaked to the press. Think: HP CEO Mark Hurd and IBM Heir Apparent Robert Moffat.

In a few rare cases, the word thrill doesn’t do the quote justice. Take for example, Google’s acquisition this week of SayNow. In the release, SayNow co-founders were quoted as saying:

“We are thrilled to announce that we have been acquired by Google.”

Ummmmm….really, dudes? I think a quote that would have more accurately captured how you were feeling would have been something like:

“We are stoked that we are now rich beyond our wildest dreams. Booyah!”

OK, so maybe that language is a bit too edgy for some brands, but the point is dare to be different. Be the thrill police. Don’t use the word thrilled in the press release draft that you give to your client and if they try to edit it in, playfully accuse them of being dull. Seriously. Nobody wants to be dull and some people just need to be pointed to an alternative.

Thesaurus.com offers the following synonyms for “thrilled” when used as an adjective:

“animated, aroused, elated, electrified, fired up, inspired, moved, stirred, touched, worked up.”

Something tells me “aroused” would have been a better way to describe how the founders of SayNow felt when they found out the Google acquisition was finalized.

I’m also a big fan of using UrbanDictionary.com. Although you always need to weed out a few really offensive search results, here’s what they came back with as an option for the word thrilled:

“excited, happy, ecstatic, stoked, psyched, pumped, elated, overjoyed, anxious, jazzed, joyful, pleased, enthralled, exhilarated, amped, enthused, jubilant, enthusiastic, energized, satisfied.”

There are lots of good options here, if you can get your client to step outside the box and let you add some real energy and originality to the quote.

Clearly Ann Taylor doesn’t like being outside the box and they were so ridiculously thrilled, that they used the word twice when they announced Katie Holmes as the face of Ann Taylor’s Spring 2011 advertising campaign:

“We are thrilled to have Katie as the face of Ann Taylor….” said Christine Beauchamp, President of Ann Taylor Stores.

“I’ve been a fan of Ann Taylor since I was a young girl….I am thrilled to be part of a brand I believe in,” said Holmes.

Really Katie? Ann Taylor gives you goose bumps and leaves you panting from excitement? If that were the case, I’m sure TMZ would have broke that story with a video capturing the moment long before the press release ever hit the wire. Ann leaving Katie panting would have certainly aroused Tom Cruise faster than you can say, “Where’s Oprah’s couch?”

To thrill or not to thrill. Thoughts?

Please note: Comments on this blog are moderated. Any comments that are focused on personal attacks, bullying, threats or overall negativity will be removed.

Posted by Kel | in Uncategorized | 19 Comments »

Facebook After Death

Tuesday, Dec. 28th 2010

For all the differences in the cultures around the world, there is one common thread that connects us: the desire to never forget a loved one who has passed away. The unfortunate reality is that as time passes, granular details of a deceased’s life slowly fade. As we grow older, we find our memories are not what they once were, and although we will never ever forget a lost loved one, many of the smaller details begin to escape our memory.

Before Facebook, to keep memories alive, someone had look at the old photos that they collected somewhere in a box or swap stories with a friend. Once in a while, you might even hear or tell a story or memory that had never been shared. However, in most cases, a loved one’s life is often recalled through common headlines, iconic representations of who they once were — the athlete, the giver, the comedian, the whatever. The stories reinforce the overarching attributes that defined someones life, but really never capture the spirit or emotion of the person who passed. The voice of the deceased died when they did.

For younger people, the challenge to remember a lost loved one is only further amplified. Imagine a child who lost a parent when they were six years old. At the end of the day, they will never really know that parent from first-hand experience. They are dependent on the shared stories of others and a limited number of old photos.

Enter Facebook. Although one of its least talked about attributes, Facebook allows for a loved one to have a voice, even after death. Facebook permanently captures all the granular details that would otherwise get lost in time. From the daily status updates to conversations between friends, Facebook enables the deceased’s voice to live on through the shared content.

Imagine a six year old losing a parent today. If the parent has been on Facebook for a few years, that six year old now has a first hand, daily account of that parent’s life. They can hear the parents voice through the multiple status updates that they posted. They can see what types of communications occurred between the parent and his/her friends and get a sense of the things that made them laugh or cry. Facebook content captures the life of a human being from his or her perspective and ensures that no memory will ever fade.

I would give my left lung to have had my Mom on Facebook before she passed 7+ years ago. I have a feeling she would have been addicted to the platform. She would have loved how connected she could be with family and friends. And I would love nothing more than to go back and witness her life again through her own voice.

As crazy as it sounds, I take some comfort in knowing that my kids will be able to go back through my profile after I pass. They can be reminded first hand of the things that I was passionate about and the things that sent me over the edge. They can laugh at the things that made me laugh. They can see that I was happy and loved my life. And more importantly, they can see that they were my life. My comfort is not rooted in anything narcissistic on my part, but because I honestly believe Facebook will ease their healing process and keep memories alive in a way that before Facebook was never possible. I believe Facebook will bring them happiness and peace sooner than they could have ever experienced before it existed.

For as much as Facebook is about sharing and experiencing life, I think its impact after death is a far greater contribution to the world. What do you think?

Please note: Comments on this blog are moderated. Any comments that are focused on personal attacks, bullying, threats or overall negativity will be removed.

Posted by Kel | in Featured, Uncategorized | 19 Comments »

Social Media’s Word Hijacking (2010)

Wednesday, Nov. 10th 2010

Remember when there was no social media and words used in today’s vernacular had a completely different meaning:

Alert: How you tried to act in front of the cop who pulled you over when you were in high school and clearly had way too much to drink

Always-On: That annoying friend who thought being funny was a 24-hour commitment

Apps: Things you ate at a party in the seventies when the limited choices included a cheese ball covered in nasty nuts, devilled eggs, ham pinwheels, cocktail weenies, and cream cheese filled celery

Bookmarking: The act of noting a page with a laminated construction paper strip with a glued-on school photo of your child, pieces of cut doily, a tassel and shreds of felt

Browser: The bitch that constantly roamed your store but never bought anything

Bulletin Board:
A framed piece of cork that hung on your bedroom wall and proudly displayed your certificates of accomplishment, sports ribbons, Polaroid photos, dried corsage, and yellowed newspaper clippings

Chat: What a nice mother would say she needed to have with you after the Principal handed her a stack of absentee notes you had forged — I’m just saying….

Comment: A verbal reply that could range in tone from June Cleaver to wise ass

Conversation: A verbal exchange between two people whose proximity was so close you could smell each other’s breath

Craigslist: Something a seven-year-old boy holding his breath would give to Santa knowing full well that he would have “naughty” next to his name

Delicious: Because you didn’t know any better, a word often used to describe the nasty “Apps” listed above

Dig(g): A term hippies used to confirm their stoned friend understood what they had said — as in, “Ya dig?”

Engagement: A promise to marry that used to only be allowed between a man and a woman until we gays came along and ruined the sanctity of marriage

Feed: What a farmer did to his cows, chickens, sheep and goats to ensure they didn’t die

FlashMob: Involved a group of people, trench coats, nudity and arrests

Flickr: Something you used to do with a boogie

Foursquare: A playground game that involved a square court and four players — cell phone, check-ins and badges were not required

Friends: Kids who came over to your house when your parents were out and helped you drink your dad’s Schlitz beer

Hashtag: A tap on your friend’s shoulder before you passed him/her the bong

Host: Someone who wore an apron and owned the house where those nasty “Apps” were being served

Like: A word used to describe a middle school crush and was usually followed by “going out” which had nothing to do with leaving the building

Links: Made of chains and found in a fence that surrounded an above-ground pool, hibatchi grill, tether ball pole and whirly bird

Lurker: The weird neighbor whose pants’ pockets always had holes in them

Mashup: Involved a bunch of boiled potatoes and a kitchen utensil that looked like it would be better used to brand cattle

MySpace: Part of a three word retort you would scream at your mother after she told you to clean up your filthy room — As in “It’s my space!”

Pandora: That trouble-making Greek biyatch who used a box to store all things evil

Photosharing: The act of passing around funny Polaroids that may have included you with Noxema on your face or holding a Stayfree sanitary napkin the size of an airplane pillow or putting on Bonne Bell flavored lip gloss

Post: What the Center — who was probably wearing white canvas high tops — on your basketball team did in an attempt to get the ball passed to him/her

Profile: When used almost always had the words “serial killer” before it

Sharing: What first graders did with their bologna sandwiches at lunch and it never involved pushing a button

StumbleUpon: Usually what you did to the cop after he pulled you over when you were in high school and clearly had way too much to drink

Tag: A sale in your front yard where you could earn $1.05 from selling your Wacky Packs and your mother’s old wigs

Threads:
What you were wearing when you passed the bong to your friend

Tool: A completely unaware poser who thinks the world is impressed with his sexual prowess but who usually elicits the response “loser” behind his back

Trolls: Those way-too-creepy, tiny, naked dolls with the wild-ass hair who look like they licked an electrical outlet

Tumblr: A cup made from toxin-filled plastic that is sure to have you glowing in the dark later in life

Tweet: What the birds did way too early in the morning the night after the cop pulled you over when you were in high school and clearly had way too much to drink

TweetUp: Something two horny birds did after too much booze

Viral: Something you didn’t want to get and sure in the heck didn’t want to spread

Widget: Something a manufacturer made when you had no effing idea what they actually made

Yelp: What a dog did when you accidentally hit him with your banana bike

What hijacked words come to mind when you think of the world before social media?

Please note: Comments on this blog are moderated. Any comments that are focused on personal attacks, bullying, threats or overall negativity will be removed.

Posted by Kel | in Uncategorized | 25 Comments »

Twitter Attempts To Herd Birds

Sunday, Oct. 31st 2010

Twitter recently released new guidelines for use of the Twitter trademark. The guidelines are very thorough and cover trademark usage including:

  • Promoting your own account
  • Talking about Twitter in publications, on TV, at conferences
  • Displaying Tweets in your broadcast or online
  • Writing a book about Twitter
  • Using Twitter screenshots
  • Merchandise/manufactured items
  • Using the Twitter marks in your ad/marketing campaign
  • Naming your application/product, applying for a domain
  • Visual design of your website or application
  • Other things to know about the Twitter trademark

Twitter has been on the receiving end of a tsunami of bitch-slapping responses following publishing these new guidelines. Yesterday, Silicon Alley Insider published a post called Hey Twitter Enough Of This Crap About “Here’s How You Can Use The Word Tweet.” The vast majority of the new guidelines have to do with the usage of the word “Twitter” and its logo. Twitter has a trademark on the word “Twitter” and it is clearly trying to get its arms around usage. Just because 100 million plus people use Twitter doesn’t mean it can be a trademark gang bang with feathers flying all over the place. I’m sure well over a billion people drink Coke every year, but nobody is outraged over the rigid trademark guidelines Coca Cola established and enforces. Trademarks are everything to big brands. From Google to Apple to Target to BMW to McDonald’s, trademarks ensure the brand equity is not misrepresented, leveraged or stolen in ways that would harm the brand or benefit another company. Why should Twitter be held to a different standard? Because they have a bird in their logo? Seriously, if I started a technology company called GoogleGaggle, does anyone think Google might have a right to get pissy. Or if I started a new blog called SiliconAlleyInsiderButInBoston, do you think SAI would be OK with that and perhaps link to my site. Doubtful. I bet I would have a lawyer up my butt waving a Cease & Desist faster than I can type the word “help” in a Tweet.

So why all the outrage over Twitter’s new guidelines. It appears the bulk of it — which I agree with — is in response to how Twitter is attempting to dictate the usage of the word “Tweet.” At issue is that Twitter doesn’t have a trademark on the word Tweet. They have tried to trademark Tweet, but have failed repeatedly. Unlike “Google” which was a word that became common vernacular because the company introduced it to us, Twitter is trying to abduct a word that has been around since man heard the first bird open its beak and let out a sound. OK, that is a slight exaggeration, but you get the gist of what I am trying to say.

Maybe Twitter is attempting to abduct the word Tweet as a possible monetization strategy and is taking a page out of Lindsay Lohan’s playbook of perceived infringement. Remember when Lindsay filed a $100 million dollar lawsuit against E-Trade in response to its 2010 Super Bowl commercial referencing “that milkaholic Lindsay?” Lindsay settled the suit and it has been reported she made a pretty penny on the deal. How can that be? There must be a million girls named Lindsay who were born long before Ms. Lohan. How is it that Lindsay Lohan can somehow stake claim on a name she doesn’t have a trademark on and actually leverage it financially through a legal claim? Not sure but the answer must lie in the same vault that hold the answer to the question Why does CBS still stand behind Charlie Sheen?

What do you think about Twitter trying to dictate the usage of the word Tweet?

Please note: Comments on this blog are moderated. Any comments that are focused on personal attacks, bullying, threats or overall negativity will be removed.

Posted by Kel | in Uncategorized | 12 Comments »

Lick Subway Railing Or Attend Networking Event?

Tuesday, Sep. 28th 2010

I would rather lick a subway railing than attend a networking event. It’s a harsh but true statement. I will go so far as to say I loathe networking events and I rarely attend them. In the spirit of honestly, I am just not driven to grow my business. I have never been motivated by money and because of that, making connections solely to drive growth has never been on my radar. The good news is that K&P has enjoyed terrific growth in spite of what some may call a dumb perspective.

Last night Kel & Partners had the incredible opportunity to host a party as part of Tony Hsieh’s Delivering Happiness bus tour. As most of you know, Tony’s book, Delivering Happiness, hit # 1 on the New York Times Best Seller list. It’s a gripping read that tells a rare story of how Tony’s commitment to corporate culture lead to extraordinary success while delivering endless amounts of happiness along the way. Although Tony sold his first company to Microsoft for hundreds of millions of dollars and recently sold Zappos to Amazon for close to a billion dollars, it is Tony’s humble demeanor that most impresses me. While his business success is jaw-dropping, his kindness is even more notable.

Interestingly enough, Tony is also not a fan of networking events that are self-serving for pure business purposes. He prefers to get to know people as people regardless of their position in the business world and believes this indirect approach often times still leads to something good for your business. As such, we asked that people who attended the party only put their first name on the name tag and not include the name of their company. As a conversation starter, we also asked everyone to write one thing on their name tag that’s a little weird but makes them happy. My name tag said “Kel” and below that it said “Flossing.” The weird but happy comments were striking and acted as a catalyst for dynamic conversations that dripped of genuine passion versus obligatory motivation. The weird but happy comments included things like happy sea turtles, snoring bulldog, yawning pandas, hoedowns, bit o’ honey, polka dots, demolishing buildings and cats doing flips — although I’m concerned about the cat comment since most cats don’t do flips out of self-motivation. The conversation buzz level in the space felt lighter and more natural than what I usually experience at a networking-like event. As I looked around at the 150+ people, I saw unusual pairings deeply immersed in animated conversations. The insightful takeaway was that for as passionate as people are about the business they work for, most, if not all, get even more lit by something that has absolutely nothing to do with business.

Imagine a world where delivering happiness held the top spot on every corporate objectives list and displaced today’s reigning champion, Driving Revenue Growth. Last night, it was so invigorating for me to speak to so many young entrepreneurs who are as passionate about delivering happiness as they are about becoming the next Mark Zuckerberg. Even more exhilarating is the thought that because so many people have bought Tony’s book, propelling it to the #1 spot on the NYT Business Best Seller List, that maybe we are about to witness a shake up in the business world. Maybe passion and purpose will learn to coexist with profits. Maybe business leaders will have an “a-ha” moment where they have the epiphany that unheard-of customer service can lead to a business that exceeds even their wildest dreams. Maybe these same leaders will put their employees happiness ahead of their own and realize true nirvana is better measured in smiles than in dollars.

I’m really hoping Delivering Happiness becomes a thread in the fabric of all businesses. I’m kinda tired of licking subway railings and it is a total buzz kill to my flossing efforts.

Would you rather lick a subway railing or attend a networking event?

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Posted by Kel | in Uncategorized | 17 Comments »

GEICO’s Multiple Personalities

Monday, Aug. 30th 2010

I get giddy when a brand flies in the face of conventional wisdom and breaks the “best practices” rules established by marketing pundits. First, let me say I loathe the term “best practices.” It reminds me of consultant speak and in the end, it essentially means playing it safe by doing what everyone else is doing. Yawn.

When it comes to the representation of a brand, boxed-in best practices would have you believe a single iconic representation is the right thing to do. This has certainly proven a smart yet safe strategy for many brands. From the Enegizer Bunny to Tony The Tiger to the Jolly Green Giant to the Pillsbury Dough Boy, these brands have seen success through leveraging a single icon over many decades. Well, GEICO clearly doesn’t give a lizard’s tail what other brands have done.

Not only is GEICO leveraging three brand icons at once, the personalities of these icons could not be more different. And, one might argue that the icons they have chosen are not necessarily representative of the attributes you would want to communicate the brand essence of an insurance company.

The GEICO Gecko is a humble, endearing, guy-next-door kind of character who lately spends most of his time trying to survive the mishaps and ideas of a overly corny, unoriginal GEICO executive. Given the similarities between the words “GEICO” and “gecko” the brand wasn’t taking as big a risk as Aflac did when they choose a hapless, annoying duck as its brand icon. The gecko character along with the call to action of “fifteen minutes could save you fifteen percent or more on car insurance” was very successful. Most brands would have stayed the course for decades leveraging this single icon. Not GEICO. Somewhere in the land of “dare to be different,” they decided creating a neanderthal as a brand icon was going to be their next move. Even more interesting was that they chose not to replace the gecko but to add it as second icon which I’m sure sent the marketing know-it-alls into a green tailspin. Can you imagine how many employees fought this decision? Can you imagine how many pundits predicted this brand strategy would fall flat?

As everyone knows, the GEICO Cavemen live in today’s world and appear to be fitting in until they encounter and insulting ad stating “GEICO: so easy a caveman could do it.” The cavemen couldn’t be further from the personality of the gecko in that they are somewhat cocky, desperately seeking hipness, definitely not cute and in need of a wax. But it worked. It broke the best practices brand rules and thrived in spite of it.

So now they have the gecko and the cavemen. They took a risk and it paid off. However, instead of breathing a sigh of relief and high fiving each other until the geckos come home, in a Sybil-like move, GEICO decides to introduce a third icon to the brand lineup. But it is not just the addition of this incremental icon that is so surprising, it’s that they chose to make the icon a creepy, voyeuristic pile of cash with eyes. Seriously, the peeps at GEICO must flip the bird day in and day out to anyone who says “best practices.”  Known as GEICO Kash, the icon always appears with the line “the money you could be saving.” More money, more messaging. From “15 minutes…” to “so easy..” to “money…saving…” GEICO votes consistency off the island quicker than Gatorade drop-kicked Tiger.

And oh by the way, in addition to the ads that run the three icons cited above, GEICO is executing “Rhetorical Question” and “Talking Objects” ads as well. While not as icon driven, the ads add more messaging and complexity to the brand.

Hats off to The Martin Agency for not only identifying a complex, multi-tiered brand strategy, but for getting a bunch of insurance execs to buy off on it. That feat is certainly not so easy that a caveman could do it.

Who is your favorite GEICO personality?

Please note: Comments on this blog are moderated. Any comments that are focused on personal attacks, bullying, threats or overall negativity will be removed.

Posted by Kel | in Uncategorized | 8 Comments »