An outrageous insult to fathers everywhere

1 Mar

Banned image of Piri Weepu bottle feedingThe image on the right, part of an anti-smoking TV ad in New Zealand, has been removed from the commercial after protests by a pro-breastfeeding lobby.

La Leche League pressured the New Zealand government into censoring the image, which they felt would weaken the argument for breast-feeding. Story here.

The dad in the spot is Kiwi rugby player Piri Weepu. He is doing what any dad would do…assisting with the feeding of his baby. It’s entirely possible that he is feeding pre-pumped breast milk, something fathers routinely do to allow mom some sleep time. But this was not material to the position taken by La Leche League.

It’s not mom’s breast, so it’s not acceptable.

I am anxiously waiting to see how this one plays out. A Facebook page has sprung up to bring back the images of Piri feeding his baby. They already have 3,300 Likes.

It’s bad enough that fathers have to sit through innumerable “Moms know best” positionings for children’s products (Vicks for example, which we blogged about here).

But the idea that an image of a loving father bottle-feeding his child should be deemed inappropriate should not go unchallenged.

 

Every Dog has its (bad) day

27 Feb

Gender identity, obesity, fidelity, and well, stumbling into one of your parents more intimate moments are issues that people face every day. The “Dogs have issues too” print campaign from Ireland/Davenport in Johannesburg, South Africa imagines our best friends in some of our worst nightmares with heartbreaking results.

Cesar Milan, The Dog Whisperer’s host, uses behaviour modification techniques to rehabilitate dogs with problems ranging from minor inconveniences to excessive barking, carpet urination, and aggression.

The need for help and support through emotional and behavioral issues is not a uniquely human one. This campaign does a great job of using some uniquely human issues to bring a sense of connection to these canines that I’m sure we can all relate to on some level.

Concept-wise, it doesn’t feel like we’re being sold the same idea four times. It’s nice to see a series use repetition with such a nice amount of variation though-out. This feels like a robust little campaign.

And you can’t deny the creative on these ads is great: each is a simple scene with a perfectly subtle amount of content. I bet you had fun scanning each one to find the issue at hand. Kudos to the art directors on this one – it’s hard not to feel sympathetic for these little guys.

It isn’t obvious whether they were able to achieve the dog’s expressions naturally or through the help of some clever photoshopping (although I suspect this is the case), but either way, the heart-breaking emotion on their little dog faces is the finishing, personifying touch on these bittersweet ads.

Post by: Christie Burns & Danny Prew

Which of The Walking Dead characters would you want on your business crisis team?

21 Feb

Daryl is the coolest character in The Walking Dead

There’s always a lively discussion around the Copeland boardroom table on Monday mornings concerning the previous night’s episode of The Walking Dead.

Now that the TV series seems to be taking a welcome turn down a darker alley, the deeper natures of the main characters are coming to light.

Naturally that got me thinking how each would function in a crisis on your business team.

Who are the keepers and which ones should you best leave outside without a key?

Glen in IT

Glen is a survivor on The Walking DeadHe’s resourceful, ingenious and honest to a fault. But during the bar scene with Rick and Herschel – a quiet crisis that took maturity to spot – Glen was all set to give away the farm. His honesty and trusting nature would have spelled disaster for our castaways if Rick had not been there to moderate the discussion. Glen will panic. Yes he brings some interesting resources to the table, but he will bring disaster to you. Chuck him.

Rick, Managing Director

Rick is a survivor from The Walking DeadLike Glen, our Head Boy Scout is honest to the core. He is also growing a pair as the series matures. Does he make some woolly-headed decisions? He sure does. Leading those swamp zombies around like pets on a leash to appease Herschel? Poor strategy and no evidence of being quick on his feet. He wants to do the right thing and is ethical to a fault. But the business world is changing and he has finally realized he needs to change right along with it. Keep him.

Shane in Sales

Shane is a survivor from The Walking DeadAmbitious, unorthodox, disrespectful of authority (unless its his own) and a classic whack-a-doodle. He will do what no one else in your company will do to keep the business alive. He is the G. Gordon Liddy of the team. You turn him loose at your own peril. On the flip side, he will see the crisis coming while the rest of your team is playing kerplunk over chips and salsa around the boardroom table. He’s a survivor, but he will survive over your dead body. Your call.

Lori, Head of Marketing

Lori is a survivor from The Walking DeadYou can decry the lack of solid female characters until your throat is bleeding, but the smell will only attract the walkers. Lori – memorably nicked Olive Oyl by Daryl – has a big department to look after and often can’t see the forest for the trees. And she’s a mess behind the wheel. Yes, she’s loyal and has the MD’s back, but she also slept with Shane in Sales, so she’s not a pivotal person on your crisis team. Send her out to buy sandwiches. Don’t let her back in.

Dale in Accounting

Dale is a survivor in The Walking DeadHe’ll be tut-tutting everything that doesn’t line up with his own personal moral code, which makes him a bit of a negative-nelly-I-told-you-so irritant. He also has a smug satisfaction in being old school. The thing is, Dale has experience. He manages to keep his wits about him when all hell’s breaking loose and keeps his eye on the guns. He also knows a rat in the woodpile when he sees one: that kind of insight could prove useful. I say keep Dale, but keep him quiet.

Andrea, Research and Development

Andrea is a survivor in The Walking DeadShe sees that Shane in Sales is ambitious and gravitates to him as the future of the company, which has alienated others on the team. On the other hand, she is one of your superstars, growing by leaps and bounds, and crisis invigorates her. She is best utilized in a supporting role for now. Turn her loose on crisis management best practices and have her deliver a white paper to the entire team. Give her some responsibility that recognizes her forward progress – but mind her blinders when it comes to backing the wrong horse.

Daryl the general contractor

Daryl is a survivor in  The Walking DeadJust because he’s under the sink hooking up the dishwasher hose again for the hundredth time doesn’t mean he isn’t listening. Or learning. Who cares right? He’s not even on the team! He’s just some contractor who’s always there fixing things. Well pay attention to the working class guy. This redneck sees past the business bullshit to the true nature of a crisis. Is it a lack of intestinal heft on the team? Are you over-thinking the problem or over-reacting to it? Daryl’s your guy. He’s not a people person, but he’s a problem solver. He’s handy with a Bowie knife too and doesn’t suffer Shane’s ambitions. Just don’t expect him to hang around if a better job comes along.

Herschel, the Chairman

Herschel is a survivor in The Walking DeadCrisis does one of two things to people: convinces them they are not up to the task, in which case they turn to drink, or forces them to change and grow. Your old Chairman has been doing things his way for so long, it’s hard to imagine him changing at this stage. The technology scares him, he hates social media and doesn’t know what the hell you mean by cross-analyzing the data sets. But he didn’t get to where he is without entrepreneurial skills and a willingness to roll up his sleeves. Since Dale is such a wet tea bag, put Hershel front and centre on your crisis team as the voice of experience. Just make sure Daryl is standing behind him with a loaded crossbow.

Carol in Human Resources

Carol is a survivor in The Walking DeadAsk her to go outside and pick some flowers for the boardroom table. Lock the door behind her.

 

 

 

 

Ok great – the team is in place. Now throw open those boardroom doors and meet the crisis head on!

zombie hands coming through the door

(Daryl photo courtesy of tvfanatic.com)

Tunnel tourism: the next big thing for Victoria?

19 Feb

Victoria’s entrepreneurial management of its historical assets lies at the heart of the city’s success as a tourist destination. We do a lot with a little.

Tourists tend to move from the Inner Harbour down Government St. to Chinatown, then back. Small strip, but there’s a ton of history packed into those 6 or 7 blocks.

Of course that’s only the history you can see. There’s a whole different level of intrigue going on below the surface. Literally.

The Tunnels.

Tunnel tours

Whether coal chutes from the harbour up through Market Square, escape routes for opium users in Chinatown, or discreet connections between the Empress Hotel and the Union Club, everyone’s heard a story about the tunnels – and there is plenty of fanatical interest. Yet no one really knows the entire network for certain and the City sure isn’t telling.

I was personally introduced to one by the owner of the Pacific Design Academy on Wharf Street who stumbled upon it in his basement while doing renos.

Imagine the financial potential of upgrading those tunnels and creating under-city guided tours: Victoria’ amazing history told through the city’s original town planning.

People love tunnels. Think of the success of the Catacombs in Paris, or the Cu Chi tunnel systems in Vietnam. When managed well, tunnel tourism can be huge business. Seattle has been exploiting its own tunnel history since 1965 thanks to the efforts of legendary historian and promoter Bill Speidel. So the model is already there.

Victory’s history could be even more sensationally brought to life via an Augmented Reality app that you use when you’re on the tour.

Tunnel tourism would make a heck of a viability study for the Entrepreneurial majors in U Vic’s Gustavson School of Business, don’t you think?

Tunnel tours

People for the Ethical Treatment of Advertising

17 Feb

The latest advertising campaign for PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) is a classic case of the idea drowning out the message.

In this love-it-or-loathe-it TV spot, a woman in a neck-brace walks gingerly home while a voice over tells us she suffers from a case of BWVAKTBOOM – Boyfriend Went Vegan And Knocked The Bottom Out Of Me. Watch the video and then let’s talk…

 

If you’re in the mood for more advertising hijinks, there is an associated website with tips on how to manage all this new-found virilty.

Meanwhile, the Internet is rife with opinions, supporters and haters.

Does anyone believe that becoming a vegan turns you into a coke-fuelled porn star in the sack? Of course not, but sexual guffaws is a strategic direction PETA has been steering down of late.

The critics are pounding PETA for a perceived cavalier attitude towards the physical abuse of women, and the proponents want everyone to just freakin’ lighten up.

They both miss the point here. The problem is that the campaign won’t have any impact on peoples’ attitudes towards animals.

It is a tale, told by an idiot, full of sound and fury. Signifying nothing.

 

The sound of music

16 Feb

 

Fingernails on chalkboardThe fact that music elicits emotion is old news. Massive investments in research time and dollars have explored both the therapeutic and consumer behavior applications of music.

If you work for a large company you might have little or no control over the music that pumps through your commercial spaces. In some cases, it may be so bland that you’re only aware of it around Christmas (the day after Halloween) when it becomes insufferable. Small businesses have all the music choices in the world. Some people shouldn’t have that kind of power.

Last week, I experienced three hours of pure auditory hell. The owner of the shop I was in had their personal iPod on shuffle. By “shuffle” I mean it was in the throws of an identity crisis and was committed to taking everyone down with it. No one in the room, including the long-suffering staff, knew how they were supposed to feel – other than incredibly anxious. The owner didn’t see that there was a problem and refused to change it or turn it off.

Consumer’s emotions are affected by their environment, and they evaluate their environment with their emotions. It makes sense strategically to understand what creates and sustains pleasant emotional reactions.

Pre-made playlists are out there. Grooveshark is a good place to start. Users can build their own play lists or combine pre-made playlists to make larger ones quickly. YouTube is another great resource.

The auditory experience of the customer often feels like an after-thought, but it deserves some more attention. How often have you left a space because of their awful aural environment?

Or how it smelled?

(Next Up: What’s your first impression of a retail environment?)

(Photo courtesy of thedailydecibel.com)

Are you sleeping with too many people?

15 Feb

Awake to the warming glow of technology

I sleep with too many people at night.

I am guilty. I text, respond to emails, check out Facebook, read endless streams of tweets, and sometimes even play Angry Birds.

I often have trouble sleeping. Sometimes I can’t get to sleep for hours. Other times, like last Sunday, I wake up at 4am for no reason, completely unable to get back to sleep.

I have no idea what the problem could be.

Yes, I am delusional. Of course messing around with my phone in bed is the problem. I should stop but it is just so tempting. When I set my alarm those little alert icons are too much for me to ignore.

Too many of us take our smart phone, laptop, iPad, and whatever else to bed, but it is atrocious sleep hygiene. You might also be sleep-texting, which I assume is much like “drunk-dialing” but less coherent, and more unnerving. The theory is that we are so plugged-in during the day that we can’t separate ourselves from it at night.

The 2011 iPass Global Mobile Workforce Report found that 52% of mobile workers felt that their mobile work habits affected their sleep. Terrifyingly, the report also concluded that getting fewer than six hours of sleep a night makes you 12% more likely to die before the age of 65, compared to your friend who gets six to eight hours of sleep a night.

Apps that track your sleep patterns are out there, but I wonder if they aren’t the original problem repackaged and rebranded. The fact that we eat, sleep, and breathe our devices presents enormous opportunity for the industrious among us. Even so, the dependency probably shouldn’t be encouraged.

As of tonight I am challenging myself to keep my phone and laptop out of the bedroom. I’ll plug in my forgotten alarm clock and draw some much-needed personal boundaries. If the American Sleep Association says that the bed is for sleep and sex only, then who am I to argue?

(Photo courtesy of trendhunter.com)