April 6, 2008

“Dance With the Tiger,” a Sunday Meditation

Filed under: Environment,Inspiration,Lifestyle — Tony @ 12:43 pm
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Its Sunday and its a good time to take time out and meditate on life, inspiration and how to grab it. Often that is not easy. My advice is try an article thats in this weekends Sunday New York times written by Johnny Cash’s daughter Rosanne Cash ” Measure for Measure” how to write songs and other mysteries”.

Its a story of her own loss and pain, which she like her father has had in spades. In January she experienced the loss of her friend John Stewart (”Daydream Believer,” “Gold,” “California Bloodlines”).

She recounts John Stewart “used to say to me, upon hearing a new song of mine that he thought might be too perfect or careful or contrived, either lyrically or structurally, “But where’s the madness, Rose?” His belief in songs, and his sense of liberation and expansion when he approached writing, was deeply inspiring. John showed me that songs were the expression of the essential language that all other languages hinged upon. When I first began to know him, I felt that I had been speaking with a vocabulary of 200 words, and in a few months he taught me 10,000 more.

Rosanne Cash took John Stewart’s advice  and let a little madness,  paradox and uncertainty into her life  and the result was  “Dance with the Tiger” (1990) . Read her article first and see what takeaways you will get for drawing inspiration in the lifelong “Dance with the Tiger of Life”


April 2, 2008

Kids 8-11 flock to Social Networks

Social media and kids

In the United Kingdom its is reported by BBC that more than a quarter of eight to 11-year-olds who are online in the UK have a profile on a social network .

Do you know what your Kids are doing on Social Networks?

BBC reports that most sites, such as Bebo, MySpace and Facebook, set a minimum age of between 13 and 14 to create a profile but none actively enforce the age limit.

It really seems as if the adoption of social networks is happening at a faster rate than nearly all other forms of communication.

For the full report go to Ofcom which is the independent regulator and competition authority for the UK communications industries, with responsibilities across television, radio, telecommunications and wireless communications services.

April 1, 2008

Persepolis and Understanding Iran

Filed under: Lifestyle,Marketing,Social Justice — Tony @ 5:10 pm
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I will get nothing from Google ranking for this post but yesterday I got myself down to to a theater to see Persepolis. Right there is a classic in the making. Its a movie with a great story and production techniques that hearken back to the early and glorious Disney days. Sadly the new Disney probably would not have the courage to produce it. Its a revealing movie about Iran and very well told. Everything is seen from the point of view of the main character who brings forth her memories as a little girl in Iran, as a teenager in exile and as a married woman back in Iran. The story is always interesting, heart-felt, funny, sarcastic at times, nostalgic, cruel and absurd at some points but very very convincing. I highly recommend it.

I love stories and that speak from the heart and show character. Read Marjane Satrapi’s two books and rush off and see her movie Persepolis.

Make sure you check out the Persepolis website. That website is so bang on to the topic. Well done to whoever produced it.

The biggest asset of the Persepolis is that it doesn’t preach, it leaves everything to the viewer’s judgment, and this is something to be appreciated because we all know that cartoons can be very effective propaganda devices.


And make sure you read Marjane Satrapi’s two autobiographical graphic novel (comics) that describes her childhood in Iran after the revolution. They are brilliantly told and illustrated.

March 30, 2008

Advertising on Webkinz ????

According to the highly respected Campaign For “A commercial Free CHildhood, the most visited virtual world for children in the United States, has quietly begun targeting children with outside advertising.

The site is already commercial – in order to subscribe to it, children must buy a Webkinz toy that comes with a special code. But apparently this wasn’t enough for Ganz (the makers of Webkinz) Ganz is now selling their young users to advertisers. According to the “CAMPAIGN FOR A COMMERCIAL FREE CHILDHOOD Ganz didn’t bother to inform parents, many of whom purchase Webkinz toys for their children expecting that the website will be free of outside advertising and links. These are serious allegations that Ganz is choosing to maximize profits at the expense of parents’ trust and children’s wellbeing.




On Tuesday Google will launch a parent’s resource for kids’ safety online which is called Family Safety Guide . Its reported that Google with the media-awareness group Common Sense Media to produce an online video called “A common sense approach to Internet safety.” You will be able to find it on the guide page, on YouTube, and throughout the video-on-demand services provided by Comcast, Time Warner Cable, and Cox (which are partners of Common Sense.) This new action by Google is on top of Google’s “safe search,”which filters out inappropriate material for kids from its list of search results; and the Google directory lists kid-safe sites. Google is stepping up to the plate and matching what it’s rivals Yahoo, AOL, and Microsoft have done. The educational video is also a big gesture. Watch Google on Tuesday when it is rumored they will post a blog about the site

March 29, 2008


campaign-for-a-cemmercial-free-cvhildhood.jpgAs a marketer with a long track record I find marketing to children is questionable to say the least. To keep up with the debate and keep myself balanced in my marketing and advertising practice I rely on the” Campaign For A Commercial-Free Childhood”. The Campaign For A Commercial-Free Childhood is the result of an innovative conference which was held in 1999 at Howard University. The conference brought together a diverse and interdisciplinary group of activists, academics, educators and health care providers concerned about the corporate influences on children. One year later, a number of conference attendees gathered in New York City to protest the Golden Marble Awards, the af1.jpgadvertising industry’s celebration of marketing to children. No surprise with ads like this being placed in the market A year later the
Campaign For A Commercial-Free Childhood was born as a national coalition of health care professionals, educators, advocacy groups and concerned parents who counter the harmful effects of marketing to children through action, advocacy, education, research, and collaboration.

Essential Reading

March 27, 2008

Hijacking Childrens Space

hockey2.jpegCryptic as that may sound I am referring to a report in the New York times about a new venture,, which is creating a social networking site for youth sports which is expected to start in mid-April. It is aspiring to be like Facebook for youth athletes, parents and coaches — a vast audience. The value proposition or soft sell of is that young athletes will be able to set up a profile, post pictures, communicate with friends and share videos of games. Of course the coaches and parents are included. Coaches will able to communicate with their players and parents and parents will be able to get practice schedules, coordinate car pools and find out which equipment to purchase.

Youth sports are huge. It involves parents a huge audience and the 52 million children who participated in organized children’s sports leagues. (National Council of Youth Sports.) It’s a massive audience into which to project brands and products- but is it right?

Remember that Madison Avenue has for eons used professional sports teams as a way to promote and market brands products and services. What followed was the push to sell brands and services to the college level and then high schools with Takkle, a social-networking site for high school athletes which are partially owned by Sports Illustrated.

Now with the “WePlay” model , Madison Avenue and advertisers will have the chance to present brands and products to even younger and younger audiences.

An that is not the end of it. Potentially as Rick Heitzmann, managing director at Pequot Ventures, the venture arm of Pequot Capital Management has been reported to say “There’s no reason to believe that the organizing principles that are applied here ( to sports can’t be applied elsewhere, such as to religious organizations,”

Everything is going commercial Play and Prey. Is that a good thing???????

My vote is no.

Managing Risk for Children – a British view


March 26, 2008

How a marketing guy bought the hype on bio fuels

Filed under: Environment,Lifestyle,Social Justice — Tony @ 11:56 am
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corn.jpgMarch 24 The UN’s Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) warned about the risks posed by agro fuel production What a shock when today Bloomberg reported that Robert Watson, the U.K.’s chief environment scientist is calling for a delay in policies to increase the use of the biofuels pending tests into the sustainability of the alternative fuels.

It seems with all my experience in marketing I had bought the hype. I started to change my mind on biofuels when I read articles about global basic food price rises and saw the price rises it in my supermarket. What finally changed my mind was the recent debates in the UN Assembly debate on Climate Change in New York. There the debate about  biofuel food vs. fuel was framed starkly as   “people literally will starve to death in parts of the world, it always happens when food prices go up.

He is right.

Even Richard Branson of Virgin Atlantic the the man who has a great deal to lose since he is so vested in the idea of biofuels (see links below) now says he regrets investing in ethanol for financial and environmental reasons. Time to go Hydrogen?

See Below:

All of that criticism comes just weeks after a Science magazine study says biofuels can be twice as harmful as gasoline .


March 24, 2008

Less Private Space-Is it good?

Filed under: Lifestyle,Marketing — Tony @ 10:11 am
Tags: ,

The advertising giant Leo Burnett has posted a You Tube video titled “Future Trends in Advertising. No surprise but Ben Hourahine, Futures Editor at Leo Burnett in London sees a world even more cluttered with visual stimulus where there will be screens everywhere and ads are going to follow you around like a bad memory. So according to Leo Burnett, you can look forward to even more urban spam and a lot less time to appreciate things not pasted with a logo.

Seems to me Ben Hourahine vision and predictions are upon us already. I see a backlash and protest movement coming.

Send me an email

March 22, 2008

Hillary Clinton vs Barack Obama

Filed under: politics. — Tony @ 6:36 pm


The Democratic battle between Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton is a classic marketing “Ding Dong Battle ” I say marketing because thats exactly what it is happening right now. What we are witnessing is a crafted media battle and political strategy . Don’t miss the point at this stage in a long battle we the citizens are excluded. Right now the facts have been shoved into the background. I don’t think you will disagree!

Can you hear what Hilary Clinton or Barack Obama is saying above the medias chatter.? These are two bright people with huge ideas and once again the media and political process has been trivialized by the media and political process that we are addicted to.

Pray tell me. How can one reduce this classic Clinton and Obama battle to ” Here comes Barrack and here cames Hillary”. In the name of all the Gods (fill in your religion) what happened to declaring ideas.

Its sound bites folks.  Lets demand more. Lets demand debates that are not media orchestrated. Lets chose the moderator. Lets chose the questions. Let the panel of experts be elected online, by phone and  by the listeners. Lets see how democracy is supposed to work.

PS:  Hillary Clinton is home in New York. Barack Obamais also on holiday. R est up and come out swinging with ideas… We the citizens demand it

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