Marshall McLuhan, What Are You Doin’?

Marketing lives somewhere at the intersection of commerce and art, science and inspiration. The first person who made me understand that, some 40 years ago, was Andy Warhol. The second was Marshall McLuhan and Images
his wonderful book “The Mechanical Bride.” It was published in 1951, and came out in paperback in 1967, which is shortly before I read it. it now sells for $35. The price on the cover of my thoroughly underlined edition is $2.95, which gives you some idea of just how long it has been since I bought my copy. I recently pulled it off my bookshelf and was amazed again about how insightful McLuhan had been in this collection of ruminations on advertisements, book covers, news stories, movie posters, and cartoons. Even a table of contents from a 1947 Reader’s Digest (or as McLuhan calls it Pollyanna Digest). In aiming at our subconscious, the advertising of any given era reveals much about the society that spawned it. Looking at the images and reading the copy, is a bit like looking through an old photo album and thinking, my God, what was I thinking with that hairstyle?

Continue reading

Because That’s Where The Money Is?

    We had a bank robbery right around the corner from our office a couple of days ago. Somebody walked into the bank, brandished a gun, and walked out with a bagful of money. Our office is in a sleepy little town, Naples, Florida, where it sometimes seems that the most serious crime is drinking your beer at the beach, which will get you busted, dude (See Naples city ordinance Sec. 78-106 (d)).
    However, what really caught my eye was this description of the robber from the story in the Naples Daily News:

"The robber is described as 50 to 60 years old, 5 feet, 8 inches tall
and about 200 pounds. He has light-colored hair and a salt-and-pepper
mustache and was wearing beige shorts, a Hawaiian-type shirt, shower
sandals and a baseball cap."

    Now, you might not know Naples, but this description, including clothing, fits roughly half the male population. Hell, this description fits me, if you overlook the light-colored hair and the mustache — both of which could be store-bought. I need to change the photo on this blog.
    Still, this is not the typical description of a bank robber in, say, Detroit. It got me to thinking of why he might have done it. And so, with a nod to David Letterman, I composed my Top Ten Reasons a middle aged man in a Hawaiian shirt and shower sandals would rob a bank in Naples, Florida. Drum roll, please…

10. Mercedes mechanic now getting $125 hour
9. Still ten more years until Social Security kicks in
8. Gassing up the boat for an hour of water skiing now requires $250
7. Wife has been watching "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition" on ABC
6. Prices on Tommy Bahama clothing skyrocketing
5. Daughter has announced engagement, wants $75,000 wedding — with ice sculptures.
4. Estate Planning lawyer now charging $475 hour
3. Twenty-five-year-old girlfriend said the words "Manolo Blahnik"
2. Titleist Pro V-1’s cost $55 a dozen

And the number one reason a middle aged man in a Hawaiian shirt and shower sandals would rob a bank in Naples, Florida:

1. Medicare Part D doesn’t cover Viagra

<Flipping card to audience>

Michelle Buckley, R.I.P.

     It is with great sadness that I announce the death last night of Michelle Buckley, who served as Director of Business Development at Smart Marketing for the past 11 months. Michelle had been in a serious auto accident within the past few years, and her health was a continuing concern ever since. She had been hospitalized several times in the past year.
    As part of her job, Michelle traveled with me and other Smart Marketing employees to shows and conventions, where many of you got to know her. She was both knowledgeable and outgoing, and never missed any of the social occasions connected with the events.

Continue reading