• Is Political Correctness Coming to a Brand near You?

    by  • February 17, 2013 • 1 Comment

    rhinoEarls Restaurants is a very popular casual dining chain with 64 outlets in Canada, Arizona, Washington and Colorado. Twenty-five years ago, they launched a whimsical brand of beer called Albino Rhino. I don’t know why they chose that name – maybe it had something to do with the white rhino’s keen sense of smell or the fact that the species is endangered. One thing’s for sure; Earls didn’t intend to demean or humiliate people with albinism. Yet, someone with albinism launched a human-rights complaint. Now Earl’s is pulling the Albino Rhino brand and considering a new name.

    Read more →

    Blonde Joke on Starbucks

    by  • February 4, 2013 • 0 Comments

    blonde3Last week I slammed Kellogg’s for maligning the good reputation of their Special K brand. Special K has always stood for a nutritious breakfast. This brand name is now on a new flatbread sandwich of egg, cheese and sausage that contains fewer calories than fast food restaurant versions. The entry isn’t my idea of a nutritious breakfast.

    Read more →

    Kellogg’s Special K: On a Slippery Slope

    by  • January 28, 2013 • 0 Comments

    sausage-egg-cheeseI have been a big fan of Kellogg’s since my days at the Leo Burnett Advertising Agency in the early 1970’s. Here was an organization whose brand and company name stood for healthy breakfasts. The marketers of the day and those of the next twenty-five years worked hard to fortify that stellar reputation.

    Read more →

    A Canadian’s Tribute to US Thanksgiving

    by  • December 20, 2012

    State-of-America1-150x150A few years ago, I came out of retirement to take an assignment in southern California. I moved from British Columbia to Ventura for the better part of a year, arriving a week before Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving in America is a much bigger deal than it is above the 49th parallel. Families and friends come together to give thanks. Strangers wish you a Happy Thanksgiving. Americans believe no one should be alone on this special day. I’m certain that’s the reason my wife and I were invited to Thanksgiving dinner by people we barely knew. 

    Read more →

    Why Price Fixing Continues

    by  • December 11, 2012 • 0 Comments

    handcuffs_suit4Last year, EU regulators fined P&G and Unilever to the tune of $456 million for price fixing laundry detergents in eight European countries. Henkel, their competitor blew the whistle on the cartel. This begs several questions.

    Read more →

    The Human Capital Advantage

    by  • December 5, 2012 • 0 Comments

    human capitalWithout leadership, a business enterprise will eventually fail. Survival is possible without a strategy but seldom over the long haul. Great strategy with lousy execution isn’t worth the piece of paper it is written on. The consequence of these proclamations is obvious. Get it right, bring it all together and you have commercial magic.

    Read more →

    In Praise of Average Joes

    by  • November 13, 2012

    MVPThe times have changed, but the business tools that determine success or failure have not. Companies, large and small, cannot survive without great leadership, sound strategy and flawless execution. Those that thrive go a step further; they breathe culture. And what, in a nutshell, is culture? Culture is meaningful work, well done.

    Read more →

    Linds Redding’s Short Lesson in Perspective

    by  • November 4, 2012

    LindsIn an Advertising Age editorial, Mathew Creamer said Linds Redding’s ‘Short Lesson in Perspective’ was the best piece of advertising writing you’ll ever read. As an ex-ad man and a lifelong aficionado of great creative, whether it is art or copy, I could not resist the urge to check it out. I’m glad I did.

    Read more →

    3 Small Steps for a CEO, One Giant Leap for a Leader

    by  • September 24, 2012

    Man jumpCEOs by nature are time-starved species.  Critical to their success and the success of their organization is how they carve up the hours on the clock. Those who invest their time advancing their company’s business model or seeking a new one are adding value to their organizations. 

    Read more →

    What Not to Do When Business Sours

    by  • September 3, 2012

    Don'tPanicMost of you have heard the saying, “Don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater,” or something to that effect. Basically, the idiom advises us not to discard something valuable in our eagerness to get rid of some useless thing associated with it. If you are not careful, this can happen to businesses going through a rough patch.

    Read more →