And now, back to business…

Wow!  What an action-packed last couple of months!

First of all, we want to thank our sponsors for making this business possible.  Without them…well, we’d probably be eating pine bark and panhandling with the rest of our employees…but then again, isn’t that what most of my vegan staff does already, since, as we know, I don’t actually pay them anything?

Anyway, back to business.

Where were we?  Hmm…

How about we check in on our Creative Arts Department and see how the Kickstarter campaign is coming along.

I’ll get back to you as soon as I’ve been briefed, or debriefed?

If it tastes good…

As an industry consultant, I’ve seen just about every combination of cross-product marketing there is.

Until now!

A popular soft drink manufacturer, in order to increase its market share because of recent losses to niche products, asked me to look for inspiration that its vast advertising/marketing executives had not found.

So, in order to figure out just what makes a soft drink a soft drink, I bought 7 days of time to have a small, local, corner convenience store to myself for a week.

The first day we removed the labels from every product in the store.  Customers were left to decide what they wanted simply by looking at the foodstuff inside the container.

Most customers were perplexed.  They wanted to know if the shape of the bottle or bag indicated the product they were used to.

Using a hidden earbud system, I told the employees behind the counter to say yes.

The second day, we applied the labels of popular colognes and perfumes to the drink and food containers.

For instance:

  • The two most popular soft drink competitors we labeled Chanel and Dior.
  • The three most popular beer competitors we labeled Old Spice, Grey Flannel and English Leather.
  • The five most popular chip/cookie competitors we labeled Drakkar Noir, Stetson, Wild Musk, White Diamonds and Viva La Juicy.

The customers from the day before were a little confused but went ahead and bought the bottle shapes or bag sizes with which they were familiar.

New customers again were perplexed.  Some of them wanted to know if the shape of the bottle or bag indicated the product they were used to.

Again, using a hidden earbud system, I told the employees behind the counter to say yes.

That left a large group of customers who couldn’t remember the shapes or sizes of the products they thought they liked.

Their formerly favourite labeled can of energy drink looked like the can of beer labeled Brut and their formerly favourite labeled bag of cookies looked like the bag of cheese crisps labeled Nautica.

I told the employees behind the counter to assure the customers that their satisfaction was 100% guaranteed — if they didn’t like their mysteriously-labeled product, they could return it for a full refund.

Without prompting the employees to encourage the idea or coaxing the customers to think otherwise, within a couple of days, customers both old and new came into the store to get their more exciting product, which seemed more flavourful and nutritious despite the only change being a new label.

Our lip gloss section we left alone since it already contained liquids and waxes with names like Dunkin Donuts and Dr. Pepper.

Of course, in our small three-shelf section of fragrances, we applied labels like Coca-Cola, Pepsi, Budweiser, Coors, Doritos, Golden Flake, Twix and other foodstuff products.

Those few customers who bought their fragrances at our convenience store were surprised at how their usual cologne or perfume had a new aroma, a certain je ne sais quos that enhanced their dating prospects for the night.

By the end of the week, we had increased sales for the convenience store owner due mostly to the curiosity factor.

The following week, the proper labeled bottles and bags were returned to their respectful locations, disappointing a whole new customer base that complained the old labeled products just didn’t taste as delicious as the products with the switched labels from the week before.

I completed the research project report and gave a short presentation to the popular soft drink manufacturer.

Thus, I imagine, you will soon see new adverts promoting the carbonated beverages and processed foods you like, combining them with fragrance manufacturers to show how your whole lifestyle will change when you drink Dior’s favourite wine cooler or Fanta’s favourite cologne.

Cross-Market Products That Don’t Work

In an era of cross-market products, where politicians should wear jackets showing their list of highest campaign donors to help us figure who’s buying the legislation being shoved down our throats sold to us as a bill of goods good for us, there are some products that shouldn’t reach the market.

Example below:

A Terrorist Tower of Babble Rabble in Runes

Life is one long conversation with the universe, n’est pas?

In shocking news earlier today, the Government Subcommittee for the Management of Fear in the Masses announced that marketers, marketing departments, adverts, advertisers, advertising departments, public relations firms, newspaper/magazine/book publishers/editors/writers, film producers/makers/staff/actors, videographers, photographers, financial institutes, stock traders (human and electronic) who short shares, money lenders, librarians, museum curators and memorabilia/nostalgia collectors are officially labeled as traitorous terrorists — they should be considered extremely dangerous to the wellbeing of all persons, businesses and governments and reported to death squads without hesitation.

Any activity resembling the above, no matter how innocent, including geotagging your location at a place of business, writing a positive/negative review of a product/service you recently purchased, commenting about the news (weather, sports, politics, religion, arts, lifestyles, etc.), or using a product/service in public is deemed suspect.

Anyone caught not reporting such suspicious activities and/or persons are accessories to traitorous terrorism and will receive extra punishment as a reward.

Every violator may be eliminated on sight, no questions asked by the authorities.

If this does not generate sufficient fear in the masses, private/government spying will increase exponentially until you look forward to dying and meeting your Maker/Great One(s), the omniscient/omnipotent Being(s) who knows all your thoughts/lusts/desires/sins/mistakes and will punish you lovingly for them, Heaven/Nirvana having been filled with the first 100,000 worshippers millennia ago as promised, no room for the rest of us, who are now merely playthings of the Maker/Great One(s).

Those who are able to create their own Maker/Great One(s) are exempt from the above law and may proceed without fear throughout society unscathed.

Confessions of a news junkie gaming the system

[Cryptic Teasing Headline inserted here]

[Byline of over/underpaid author added here]

[Headquarters of news agency/geographical source of news added here]

[Sensationalised lede added here]

[Supporting paragraphs added here]

[Unimportant filler paragraphs/charts/photos added here]

[Sensationalised summary paragraph added here]

Rinse and repeat

= = = = =

You, too, can become a news publisher/editor/reporter by following the simple steps above.

For more details on turning this into an exciting yet profitable career, buy my new book which details the secrets of creating the creative empire based on nothing but convincing people I am a convincing person whose wealth accumulation became its own source for more wealth accumulation — alchemy with mere words, I tell you!

Ethics at the local level

Here I have a whole universe to consider and yet the gnat in the ointment is nagging me.  Hope it ain’t a mosquito with West Nile virus.

This is the story so far:

  • My next-door neighbour, Ann, died recently.
  • Within a short period of time after Ann’s death, her husband contracted with a real estate agent, put their house up for sale at $10k less than its appraised value (historically, the appraised value, set by our local (county) government, is less than market value), an incredibly low $80k.  Keep in mind that the house on the other side of us sold for $437,500 on 13th August 13 2010, but its appraised value that year was $309,800.
  • The real estate agency was Keller Williams.
  • The house sold in three days, according to another neighbour down the street.
  • The buyer, I discover, is also a real estate agent for Keller Williams, named Alice Battle.
  • Today, my wife and I paid a courtesy visit to meet our new neighbour.
  • A building contractor greeted us, told us Alice doesn’t live there but, instead, is having the place remodeled because Alice, who lives in the city, plans to use the house as a weekend retreat for her and her friends.
  • The building contractor said he wished Alice had been there [to justify her reasons for buying the house] but, and he didn’t want to speak for her, told us anyway that Alice “just fell in love with the house right away” and had to have it.

Well, who wouldn’t at that price?  Is it even ethical to buy from a “friend” working for the same real estate agency who low-balled the price of the house?

I’m collecting more information.  Having been a newspaper reporter, the investigative side of me wants to get to the bottom of this.

Questions I have to answer are:

  • Are there ethical implications here?
  • Is this a common practice in real estate?
  • Is this a violation of any laws?
  • Is this a “tip of the iceberg” moment that might reveal more about why the real estate business was such a disastrous financial bomb dropped in the middle of the global economy?
  • Are we setting ourselves up nationally for another real estate catastrophe?

I guess I need to consult my friends in the legal department to see how I should pursue this matter.  We might have a situation that is worth calling in the big dogs of the newspaper business and coordinating our investigations across the country.

I can’t wait to hear what Alice has to say for herself because she represents not only herself here but also Keller Williams and the real estate business in general, as well as potentially putting Huntsville in national news and Huntsville needs more newspaper exposure like UAH needs another Amy Bishop on their professorial staff.

I feel like a hound dog that’s found a strong scent and wants to tree a varmint.

More as it develops…

A Virtual Nation Hidden Amongst You

For years now, with the near-ubiquity of the Internet, our virtual nation has collected the company charters and business contracts to make a legitimate alternative to land-based countries.

In addition, our advantages allow us to circumvent the usual necessities — a standing army, a bloated government, etc. — that hinder real progress.

The zombie computer in your technology-illiterate relative’s spare bedroom may well be one of our minions, processing bank transactions, serving B2B support roles and generally keeping our network of millionaires and billionaires off the books of cash-strapped governments looking to leech onto successes.

You are well aware that some of our businesses are [in]directly subsidised by the goverments to which you swear loyalty and, naturally, you expect us to share our wealth.

You are wrong.

Just because you have been suckered into giving away your hard-earned income/investments for the social good, don’t think we are like you.  We competed for those subsidies fair and square, just like all our other secret business deals you aren’t aware of.

Look at yourselves.  You talk about freedom yet you easily give up your freedoms for job security.

It’s the same thing here.

You talk about openness and honesty yet you readily buy your goods from our companies when you know we required nondisclosure agreements, secret R&D labs, and security guards to protect us from the openness and honesty you want that would put us out of business in a heartbeat.

Talk about a schizophrenic, shortsighted subculture!

Look at the companies you give your personal data for free: Google, Amazon, Facebook, and the like.

Every single one of those companies run their businesses out of view of the public eye, earning gazillions from the sale of your personal data, yet you know next to nothing about them.

We just took that concept to the next level.

We millionaires and billionaires have been cooking books since our ancestors discovered fire.

We’ll keep feeding you ledgers and financial spreadsheets from which we’ll pay our pittance of a tax burden to lead your eyes away from our virtual nation and its coffers.

The Chinese are some of our best customers.  In fact, they have insisted that we keep our current U.S. president on board because he and his staff are easiest to manipulate into toeing the line and pretending to serve the people although their secret stashes are larger than most.

That is why I take no salary for my work here because I know I am taken care of.

We do this for your own good.

How? You continue to show us you don’t know what’s good for you by buying the frivolous products we manufacture that are dangerous for your health.

Until the day comes when the majority of you realise your unhealthy lifestyles and do something to stop supporting us, who are employing you to desire, design, manufacture and buy the goods that are destroying you (a great feedback loop if we ever saw one), we’re going to keep profiting on your ignorance from now until time immemorial.

Our virtual nation will continue to fund the ultimate project — getting some of us and/or our biotech representatives off this planet  — because we know you, collectively, just aren’t smart and disciplined enough to stay focused on such a longterm goal.

This blog entry may seem like a reverse method for encouraging you to listen to our hypnotists but it has worked for thousands of years and will continue to do so.  Just in case, let’s reword it — repeat after me:

  • I am important.
  • There’s a unique place in society for my quirky personality.
  • My talents are not always obvious but my subculture depends on my contributions, anyway.
  • Some days it feels like unseen hands guide me — I will let my elders tell me what that means.
  • These instant food packets that contain nothing which resembles the animals or plants from whom they are supposed to have been derived are good for me.

Please ignore the last one — we have assigned that statement to our staff of advertising/marketing hypnotists to make it much more appealing to the false sense of personal tastes and preferences we ingrained in you during your formative years.

Another gem in the rough

Sophomoric humour of the day — reminds me of an advert for 7 Up cola — see highlighted paragraph below:

A T-shirt advert a few years ago was split across front and back.  Front of the T-shirt stated “Make 7”.  The back of the T-shirt stated “Up Yours!”

Congrats to “Lucky” for her years of dedicated service.  Congrats to the local newspaper for making her commendation announcement memorable!

You Can’t Satisfy Everyone

How many times has my agent told me, “Stop trying to write for a worldwide audience!  Pick a niche.  Any niche.  And make me bloody rich.  Why do I have to get writers who want to save the world?  Why not just save my home mortgage and children’s holidays to the Swiss Alps for once?”

That’s why I love pseudonyms.  I can write books that make me, and only me, “bloody rich,” while my agent is trying to scrape by on my novels, essays, screenplays and films that have no target audience in mind.

More like out of my mind when I write those for his cut off the top.

Life’s not fair but we can show a sense of fair play when being kind is acceptable and taught at a young age.

Not me and my agent, though.

We go way back to our youthful misadventures when school assignments were tediously simple and boring, leaving us the rest of our day to fill with torturing our fellow students, intent as they were on completing homework with difficulty.

If college is not for everyone, general primary/secondary education isn’t, either!

Do you know how much fun we had “borrowing” schoolbooks from student lockers, removing pages and substituting facsimiles with totally different questions, math equations and essay topics?

Why do you think I and my band of merry cohorts took a bookbinding class at a local print shop?  We got easy, permanent access to bookbinding and digital lithography equipment that allowed us to create awesome reproductions of schoolbooks we randomly inserted into a pile at the end of semester for the next year’s kids to mull over and get confused about.

The assistant principal at school, who was constantly reprimanding, paddling or scolding me, told me he was surprised that a good boy like me had such a mean streak.

I didn’t see myself as mean. I saw myself as trying to enlighten students to separate themselves from the indoctrination/brainwashing they were receiving.

There are more questions about life than what you’ll answer in those books.  Infinitely more!

Like the motivational speaker will often say, “If I reach out and influence only one person today, my job is done.”  Not a very efficient job, mind you, but if that’s what the market will bear, so be it…

There’re ways to increase your website traffic that have nothing to do with your target audience, but do you really want to?