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.

Archive for September, 2008

The Marketing Whipping Post

Sep. 30th 2008

I don’t go through life with eyes that see actuality. Everything I see is instinctively filtered through a marketing and public relations lens because those two things are part of my DNA. As an example, when I see the Aflac duck, I can’t help but think about a bunch of stiff insurance execs in a conference room listening to a bunch of creatives from an ad agency explain why they should build the Aflac brand around a hapless duck. Two snaps and a circle to the insurance execs who actually took the risk and went with the concept. It is brilliant and remains one of the most effective evergreen campaigns of all time. Or, when I see a story in the media, I can’t stop myself from wondering what the PR pitch was behind the story and whether it played out in favor of the PR person or became a train wreck completely derailing the pitch’s intentions. Some may view my lens as a curse, but I actually enjoy it. I feel like I always have an additional dimension to the world around me.

Yesterday, I was driving on the highway and a Christmas Tree Shop truck went barreling past me. OK, chances are I went barreling past it, but the details aren’t germane to the story. Christmas Tree Shops are an east coast phenomenon today, but I expect a national expansion is in the plans. They position themselves as  “your favorite, fun place to shop that has the stuff you need and use everyday at the low prices you expect.” For those of you that have never been to a Christmas Tree Shop it is a place to get all the everyday crap you need at ridiculously cheap prices. People swarm to the stores, however, please note: Do not go to a Christmas Tree Shop if you are claustrophobic or looking for feng shui. Contrary to what the name may invoke, these stores are open all year round. The brand jingle “Don’t you just love a bargain” can probably be identified by more east coasters than those who can correctly identify the capital of Oregon. I am not kidding.

When I saw the Christmas Tree Shop truck, my visceral response was holy shit, they violated every major best practice associated with naming and branding. Think about it. If someone came to me and said they wanted to build their brand around a religion, a holiday AND a short seasonal window, I would have told them to take their lips off the crack pipe and step away. Imagine if someone started a company called Rosh Hashanah Fourth of July Stores. Something tells me that just wouldn’t fly. However, what I love is that often times we are wrong. I would have been 100% wrong if I told them Christmas Tree Shop was a bad idea for a brand name. As it turns out it is a fantastic idea for a brand name. It’s almost as unbelievable as a guy named Barack Obama being the Democratic nominee for President.

I love the fact that everyone is wrong and makes mistakes at some point. For some reason Marketing people are often the whipping post for mistakes whether they were responsible or not. If the product doesn’t sell, it’s marketing’s fault. Nobody ever thinks the product is a piece of crap and is probably something nobody wanted to begin with. You can almost hear the tone when someone says, “it is Marketing’s fault.” Think of a whining five year old with a runny nose. Here is the dirty little secret — Marketing peeps don’t make any more mistakes than anyone else. When software developers make a mistake, they call it a “bug.” When  accountants make a mistake, they call it something that needs “reconciliation.” When the VP candidates’ daughter makes a mistake they call it “a family matter.” We’re all human. Do people really believe that people who are genetically predisposed to making the absolute highest level of mistakes end up in Marketing? Homey don’t think so. To those who disagree, get over your big, bad self. Nobody is perfect and if you think you’re more perfect than anyone else, particularly people in Marketing, then on behalf of Marketing people around the world I want to tell you to f**k off. Hehe. I love blogging. You can say anything.

What do you think?

Posted by Kel | in Uncategorized | 13 Comments »

Twitter: An Irreconcilable Difference?

Sep. 21st 2008

You’ve heard the old expression, “Couples that pray together stay together.” Kinda meaningless to an agnostic like me, but I agree with it’s core tenent: couples who have shared interests have better relationships. That’s not to say you can’t do things outside of a relationship and maintain your individuality — so simmer down if that’s what you thought I was saying. I have just seen way too many relationships deteriorate because of unshared interests. Think golf widow.

So, what about the Twitter widow? I can’t help but wonder how “significant others” who don’t twitter, feel about his or her spouse who twitters all day long. Twitter is impossible to explain verbally with any real level of understanding. You might as well be trying to explain the Big Bang Theory to a bunch of five year olds…or to me for that matter. Usually the big “WTF are you talking about?” balloon inflates over a person’s head as you try to explain it. You can really only “get” twitter once you actually try twitter. The non-twittering spouse must get so annoyed by the spouse who is genetically attached to his or her PDA twittering throughout the day and laughing as he or she posts a funny tweet and/or reads something funny by someone he or she is following. I can’t imagine the non-twittering spouse is standing there saying, “It makes him so happy and I am here to support him by giving him his space to do whatever he wants.” Think Stepford wife. What I visualize is more like, “What the f**k are you doing? If you don’t stop flittering or pittering or whatever, I am so oughtta here!” Think VH1′s reality show star New York. I’m sure we are not too far away from the first divorce filing where Twitter is cited as an irreconcilable difference. Remember, you heard it here first.

My significant other, Ginny Pitcher, and I tweet together all day long. It is such a huge part of our daily routine. We often have “tweet offs,” by trying to tweet something before the other does. We tweet something funny about each other without telling the other and wait for each other’s reaction once she or I sees the tweet. We verbally share out loud a funny tweet to make sure the other has seen it. Our four kids think we’re freaks, but it’s a great shared interest and we love it. When BusinessWeek cited me in an article of CEO’s Who Twitter, Ginny was thrilled unlike the non-twittering spouse who would have viewed the recognition as something dysfuntional and vile like “CEOs Who Use Crack.” Our daily lives are very intertwined anyhoot. We started Kel & Partners together seven years ago and run the company together. Twitter has given us another medium to communicate and share what goes on in our world — and almost always by using humor. As I type this I can see the big “WTF?” balloon inflating over the heads of readers of my blog who don’t twitter.

What about you? What does your spouse think of twitter? Feel free to let it all hang out. If they’re not twittering they are probably not reading a blog. This may be a great therapy platform for you.

Posted by Kel | in Uncategorized | 17 Comments »

Nortel’s Release Yells

Sep. 9th 2008

I am watching CNN. In the last fifteen minutes, Nortel’s commercial, The Cisco Energy Tax, has played four times. I’ve seen the commercial before, but I didn’t really understand it so I initially zoned out. However, seeing a media flight that includes the same spot four times in fifteen minutes is somewhat unusual, so it grabbed my attention.

I did a quick Google search on ”The Cisco Energy Tax” and pulled up a Marketwire press release on the subject. The headline was somewhat scandalous and exclaimed “Cisco Energy Tax” Costs Companies an Estimated $6.1 Billion Over Five Years. I quickly scanned the release and noticed a lot of exclamation marks, as if someone was yelling to make the point. Exclamation marks are not something used in a typical press release. Most media would not take an exclamation ridden release seriously. Then I noticed there were two YouTube videos embedded in the release. While I thought this was totally cool, I couldn’t imagine that a publicly traded company like Nortel [NYSE/TSX: NT] would issue such a controversial, in-your-face (Cisco) release. I thought it must have been a joke or something. I was wrong. When I went to News section of Nortel’s website and there is was for all to see. Holy crap, Nortel actually issued this release. Wow!

Just to make sure the release screams Web 2.0′s power to the people like no other publicly traded company has screamed before, Nortel encourages people to visit the Nortel blog Buzzboard to vote for the video they like best and the winning video will be featured in an online advertisement in October. Shazaam!  A press release with two YouTube videos and a contest based on user-generated voting that’s hosted on a blog is a Web 2.0 trifecta. Yeah baby, yeah!

While Nortel wraps the premise of the release around announcing the expansion of the ad campaign, make no mistake, this is an in-your-face bitch slap on Cisco. I kinda love it.

What do you think of the release?

Posted by Kel | in Uncategorized | 10 Comments »

Facebook Reality Slap

Sep. 8th 2008

I have Facebook set as my browser home page, so it’s almost always launched on my desktop. With rare exception, I’m generally on Facebook at a minimum of a dozen time a day. Like most internet users, I have been able to mentally block out the vast majority of advertising to the point where it becomes white noise and I don’t even notice it. My ability to do this is amplified by the fact that I am allergic to details and can successfully ignore this kind of minutia as easily as I breathe air.

Yesterday, in a moment of weakness, an advertisement actually stopped me in my tracks. It was an ad for surfing, something I love to do. I was thinking about how powerful it is that based on profile information and other content, Facebook can serve its ads with such relevance. They have truly raised the bar when it comes to reaching a highly-defined target audience based on granular, real-time demographic and psychographic data. For a fleeting moment I was feeling very young and contemporary because mostly young people surf…right?

Thwack! Yeah…not so much. I decided to hit the refresh button a few times to see what other targeted advertising they would serve up to this obviously hip, way cool, 45-year-old woman. Bad idea. According to Facebook, here is a list of things that I could use:

  • Rachel Ray’s Diet. How do they know I need to diet? Do they monitor my status bar and see all the stuff I eat? Remember, just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean they are not out to get you. It couldn’t possibly have to do with the fact that a woman’s metabolism slows down when they they turn 40, and disappears all together at 45.
  • 4 Different Oprah Diets. Ummmm….that’s like offering me Artie Lange’s favorite diet. The point is that she’s not that thin and the fact that she has had to try four different diets mean that they are not working.
  • Epila Personal Laser Hair Removal. Apparently I will never have to shave again. Amazingly enough, this product allows me to permanently remove unwanted hair at home. The problem is it cites body locations that I don’t currently shave and I didn’t even know had hair. OK…ick!
  • Exfoliating Skin Product. Will make me feel sexy and “will have you feeling like 20 again”. Notice they don’t say “look 20 again.” Wouldn’t want to over-promise because at 45 the fact of the matter is nothing short of surgery will help get rid of wrinkles.

So basically Facebook thinks I am a fat, wrinkly, hairy woman on a surfboard. Maybe they should have served me an ad for razorblades, so I can put myself out of my misery.

Have you been served any reality slapping ads from Facebook?

Posted by Kel | in Featured, Uncategorized | 27 Comments »