The Business of Life is sometimes about … the minuses that go with the pluses of life.
My friend Kate once said she wanted to be like Mariah Carey– it’s rumored she has her own personal “lighting crew” to make sure that she always looks her best. Wherever she goes. Ladies, we all know what she’s talking about — one trip to try on bathing suits at Macy’s and you come face-to-face with the damn fluorescents that add a 10 lbs and, how to do we say this? , a few more ripples where we were once smooth. It’s enough to make you throw swear off Lycra and don the free-flowing freedom of a Mrs. Roper (oh, go Google “Three’s Company” if you don’t know) miu miu!
And now there’s Apple’s Facetime…
Oh My God. Say hello to Facetime?
Oh, I think not.
I can tell you, unless you’re 25 or a man, Facetime is not kind.
In fact I’d prefer the Macy’s cubicle of self-loathing. The hubby usually likes to Facetime me to say “good-night” to the kids. It’s usually 6pm, and I’ve been kid-wrangling for at least 8 hours. The make-up has melted off, the hair disheveled, I feel more Medusa than the Hot, Haute Missus at this point.
Facetime doesn’t have good light.
So crappy I look, and that little picture-in-picture? A confidence-maker it is not.
Consider this a plea, or outright begging, for the rest of us that are not super-models or 20, for Apple to make some decent lighting to go with their HD Facetime.
Oh I forgot! Yes, you read that right, Facetime is in HIGH DEFINITION. Large pore, crow-feet lovin’ zit-tastic High-Def!
So perhaps I should add the addendum to my request — in addition to better lighting, how about some sort of Auto-Photoshopping/air-brushing?
Shave off some years, clean up the racoon-eyes, freshen up the skin.
I AM the hot, haute Missus again!
Apple- Give me the Face to go with the Time!
The Business of Life loves Super-Bowl Commercials. Loves them. (Did I say love them?) Loves them!
I love Super-Bowl Sunday (yes, you freakin’ jerks TM’d the phrase “Super Bowl” but noticed I’m talking about the day not the… umm, “Big Game.”)
Oh, honesty time: What I love are the parties. The crappy half-time shows (Making fun of bad production values, oh I’m so your girl) but the game? Whatever. Sure, you’re heart-broken of elated your team lost or won just wait 364 more days and you’ll be over it.
But the commercials… oh for a marketing, creative and business-centric gal like myself…it’s… heaven. It’s a “shut-up-and-drink yer-Bud-and-leave-me-alone” because I’m transfixed. And folks, it would seem Christmas came early as I think I’ve found the winner a whole 24+ hours a head of the game. This is good news for me, as some of you might know, I’ll be flying to California on game day.
IMHO, VW’s “The Force” Passat commercial is the one to beat tomorrow.
My prediction we’re going to remember this spot long after we forget who won tomorrow.
“The Force” has broad-appeal: it’s nostaligic, sweet, funny and charming, it touches a potential consumer on all levels. It also clever- it actively involves the car (and it’s special features) into the storyline versus being just an accessory. More memorable tie-in (and buy-in).
For advertisers it’s all about impressions, they get that by paying millions during the “Big Game” for the eyeballs watching — but it’s harder to finesse the quality of impression made. And VW did quality — because if you’re in the market for a new car — you’ll probably add Passat (or at least think about it) to your potential list, even if you weren’t entertaining the idea of a four-door.
That’s why it get’s my vote today as the best in show for tomorrow.
And just to prove “The Force” (I couldn’t help myself, that spot is so freak’n charming) of a good commercial, here’s another “best in show” that did wonders for the brand Reebok. Here’s Reebok’s “Terry Tate: Office Linebacker”. But (super-bonus brownie points, no Googling) can you tell me who the hell was in the game? My favorite part? Terry Tate saying “Heeeeeeeeey Janice!”
The Business of Life adores clever.
So I had to share what my classmate Julie posted on FB … something her team put together and it’s simply charmingly clever.
And J’adore il!
It’s fun take on the usual “Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon” and it’s for Torani Bacon Syrup.
Yep, Bacon Syrup.
Thanks for sharing Julie!
Every once in a while, The Business of Life finds you in … a recession-free zone.
Current economic strife need not apply…
First off, I hope you had one hell of a great Thanksgiving! Turkey, carbs, refined sugar… nap… repeat. Also hoping that a) you followed my lead or b) you kept your sanity intact whilst the thrifty bargain hunter in you celebrated what just might prove to be the blackest of Black Fridays!
I missed the brunt, and on Sunday took my daughter, The Toaster, on a little mommy-daughter jaunt to one of the strongest recession-free zones in the U.S. — The American Girl Store. Mine was located at the Natick Collection (née Natick Mall) in Natick, MA. It’s a two-story megaplex to pink fabulous chick-dom.
And absolutely fascinating.
Sure there’s a recession going on, but to the hoards of Moms, Dads, Grandparent and caregivers that were stocking up on every conceivable item that a doll could need, it could as well been the go-go fab Internet 90′s! Don’t know American Girl? You can read more HERE, but basically it’s a phenom in the same vein as the pet rock, beanie babies and Zsu-Zsu pets, but with longer longevity and a pricier entry point.
For $95 you buy a basic doll, but (and here’s a very big BUT) it’s the lifestyle you’re going to end of paying for. Clothes, furniture, pets for the dolls (both historically accurate and modern, depending on the doll); the stores that sell the dolls, clothing, accessories, child “me too” clothing, that house the salon (hair, ear piercing (!)), restaurant and shows; and, finally, the online innerstaru social-media component, where the girls can attend an American Girl University (yoga!)
Whew! (Say that in one breath)
Don’t get me wrong– I’m not a hater. I hate only the fact that I was born a decade or two too late to be a part of American Girls demos. The dolls are adorable, the message they share (girls being empowered, responsible, strength, etc.) is absolutely compelling. The historical dolls are educational. The clothes, accessories and “me too” outfits are nothing short of fab (“Does this come in a size 8?… No?… You sure?”)
What is shocking, worrying, fascinating, and impressive all at the same time is how much parents are spending so their daughters can be a part of the A.G. culture. It is a business lesson every single time I go (I’ve been 3 times thus far, for full disclosure.) Personally, I’ve purchased hair-dos (averaging $15 a pop), clothing ($30-$45 for a boxed outfit, and a pet ($20 for something the size Barbie would play with) but I’ve got restraint. I’ve seen truck drivers leave with bags and bags of accessories and a doll or two (or four) under arm. My measly $45 bill was nothing to the $1576, $346 and $780 bills before me.
I felt like I had to apologize to the shopgirl for wasting the register tape.
It’s also so in your face. From selling to pink EVERYTHING. It’s like commerce, Viva Las Vegas style. And efficient. Super-efficient. They’ve pretty much figured how to part you from your wallet quickly, conveniently and in the most ways possible.
Ok, now that being said, Toaster and I had a fantastic time. We got Molly’s (that’s the American Girl from the 40′s) hair done, bought an early Christmas present outfit and had lunch at the cafe. They provided a seat for Molly with some lemonade for her to drink, while I and Toaster dined on prix fixe salmon and mini-burgers. We were there celebrating Molly’s birthday (whose actual birthday is Dec 25th) and each other. Girl talk, ice cream and fun. And the Toaster loved it all. And I loved her loving it.
It one image still sticks with me:
On our way out, a father barreled into the store… his response to the A.G. greeter asking if he needed assistance was
“No….I’m embarrassed to say this, but I know exactly where I’m going!”
And about 4 other parents around us died laughing.
The Business of Life should include… kissing off crappy advertisers (and products).
This was brought to you by my friend Tyson and his most fabulous Social Media firm Dialogue (see at 0:40sec mark for his company plug) …. and not by the letter “H.” (I love Sesame Street… so allow me the occasional random reference.)
Outside of Tyson’s awesomeness (and he is, so hire him if SocMed guidance is what you need,) this little video does a fair showing of how today’s “advertisers” (and retailers/companies) have their work cut out for them.
Social media has not only made the advertising experience two-way, it’s also encompasses the entire life-cycle of consumption: researching/initial impression, purchase, review & customer relations — and at all points there’s a potential feedback loop, good or bad. What do I mean? Well, for example, you’re not feeling the love from a recent purchasing experience? You could post a bad review, FB your frustration, blog it or tweet it — all of which have the very real potential of negatively influencing others who were contemplating buying that item or service. Another great example at play right now? One word: TSA. Blogged, tweeted, Youtube’d, FB’ed, etc, it’s all over the Net. My guess is as we approach the high-holidays of travel this is only going to get worse, because it’s viral and emotion and mob-mentality all rolled into one. Folks, patting down a 5 year old or a nun never plays well. (Good luck with that Homeland Security!)
So back to the raison d’etre — this little video does a fair job showing why company’s marketing departments (and the advertisers they employ) are quaking in their boots. Not only do they need great creative but they have to be on top of it (message and positioning) from a product’s conception to death.
It’s not easy to get it right and very, very easy to get wrong.
The Business of Life is… finding shortcuts, saving time, saving your sanity above all.
Can you feel it?
By God, I say batten down the hatches kiddies, as the Holidays (Xmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, and I’ll throw in Festivus) are upon us even before their… um…err… suppose to be.
This economy has brought out the gauche in retailers looking at the all mighty bottom line, and this week, two weeks before Thanksgiving, I saw… brace yourselves… Christmas decorations up. It was a huge OMG! because they were obnoxiously in your face. Actually, it was embarrassing. For them. For me.
I mean, there is an unwritten treatise between us and retailers — you know the drill, they know the drill. It would seem this year they’ve lost their composure and let’er rip and threw up (in more ways than one) the holiday decor before the unofficial treatise date of Friday. Black Friday to be specific. As if somehow I’d spend more money, earlier, because they are that much more in the Christmas (or Hanukkah, or Kwanzaa or Festivus) spirit (but I really mean Christmas because you no matter how they disguise it that what they mean too) than other less holy establishments.
I’m going online, shopping before (can anyone say June?) and I’m 80% done by this Friday. I shop local small shops and boutiques, or Amazon.com (thank GOD for PRIME) and it’s done. No panic, no stress.
Thank you very much and I’ll take my martini straight up with a twist of smug.
I’m also going for the novel approach of giving less this year. My children usually ask for 3 things and maybe get 1 or 2, this year they’re asking for one less and donating their other “wish” to a solider in fighting abroad. They don’t need it, and if they’re going to get far more by sending that soldier a gift than ANYTHING I could have bought.
So Black Friday what?
I’ll be playing with my kids.
So Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows Part 1, otherwise known as HP7.5, has officially opened. But is it worth the wait? The price? The time?
I, along with 25 other super-nerds, hit the 9:30am showing this morning. It a blink of an eye it was light up and 12 noon. You know it’s a good flick when you lose your sense of time, having been dragged under by the the story, characters and ambiance. And I was. Completely.
I’m also a willing victim. I’ve read all the books and deeply love the premise and adventures of Harry Potter. I think that this is not something you can just waltz in on, or you will be disappointed. So please read the book before you bash this movie, it’s not for the uninitiated. It’s also surely the darkest of the series and far, far more scary than the rest. It also isn’t for small children and kids probably under 10. I’d say, depending on your child, if they’ve read the books and don’t scare that easily (I jumped out of my seat a couple of times) keep them home for this movie.
If I can to play the “like” game I’d say this: as a sequel, it’s like Empire Strikes Back or Aliens because it is just as good as the first installment, a rare thing. I’d also is like “Return of the King” (another great sequel) in feeling and execution. Both dark and suspenseful– you feel the desperation of our protagonists and tension/interplay of good and evil in a very palpable way. References to Nazi jackbooted fascism and persecution abound. But what I found unique and fresh is that these are children as heroes, in a very real adult tale, with the almost 17 y.o. Harry as the Jesus-like “Chosen One”. A weight felt by Harry at every turn — and especially so here — when the savior is at a lost as how to save himself, let alone the world.
This gets a very highly recommendation by me for adults and older kids.
Let me know what you think….
Here is the official trailer:
Sometimes the Business of Life is… pursuing new interests.
Ahh. I just put together a Girl Scout event, with 14 little girls to visit a bakery. I’ve already planned a school Fall Fair. I’ve volunteered sorting cans, at the dump (!), to raise money for the the school. I’ve read to Baby Lug’s preschool class. Helped at one of the twin’s class Halloween party. I’ve got another holiday party for the Toaster (as yet unscheduled, but I’m thinking Valentine’s) and a docent art (Expressionism!) to do in May. And I’m DONE. So I consider myself on sabbatical until after the New Year.
So what’s LeBetsy to do?
The Mob. Well not “do” the mob (how would one do that, and, really, what does it mean?) but start researching it.
You see I’ve a germ of a story and I’d like to see if it could be fleshed out. Could it be a good story? Something I’d post here for y’all to read and revile? Jeepers, I’d never even thought I’d do a blog, so who knows? I think I became a mathematics major in college to get out of writing. I usually had too many ideas to pare down to a well-honed argument. Lack of discipline perhaps.
But a couple of things have changed since college to help me out:
Ok, so back to the Mob.
So I’m starting slowly and locally. Whitey Bulger. Book called Brutal: The Untold Story of My Life Inside Whitey Bulger’s Irish Mob. Don’t know how it will fit into my germ-of-a-story but what I love about following random tangents like this is the prospect of the new. I know nothing about the Irish mob, or Whitey Bulger. Sure I’ve seen the movies, heard the stories but nothing close to the real story. And even if it’s a huge blow-out, I usually get a door-prize of it jump-starting another idea or tangent that is more on the mark.
Life’s a journey, not a destination, and the (personally) less-traveled road is often the most interesting. Challenging. Fun.
Whatever happens, I’ll keep you apprised.
Ok I love Entourage. Don’t hate me. I was once Lloyd in real life, minus the gay and about 40 lbs lighter. And a girl. It’s definitely a heightened version of Hollywood, so don’t go asking me “is it really really like that?” It is, but not all the time, and certainly not for everyone. You hear the good stories, you know who the people some of the characters are based on and yes they are that mean, nasty, psychotic, yada, yada, yada.
But I still like watching it.
So I guess a sanitized version is coming to SPIKE TV. And the usual “Hey Entourage is coming to SPIKE TV” marketing is probably happening: print, commercials placed on cable, billboards. But they also did this little gem of a viral video and it’s damn clever. DAMN CLEVER. It’s “The Sexy Women of Entourage” and they’ve managed to hunt down all the bit-part pole dancers, one night stands and hook-ups our merry men entangled with. Built from their perspective — land the role on Entourage (yay!) to actual part ( “girl who blows Drama” –boo!) and it’s done as a rap video. They actually sourced some of real Entourage girls to sing, or at least be background (again) — they’re in on the joke and that’s why it works so well. It’s smart, cheeky, funny and totally re-tweetable, post-able (I am) and forward-able.
And that’s great viral marketing.
Totally not NSFW. Got it? TOTALLY not safe for work, or in front of the kids.
Sometimes The Business of LIfe is … contemplating the forks in the road.
Boy I expected to have this written by last night but I totally sacked out on my couch at 9pm. Unbelievable, but true.
I am confounded at this point by the choices. To stay awake. Do the work. To sleep. To take a break. The opportunity costs of choosing something different to focus on another. To lose time with my children. Time with my husband. Time with my friends. Time for myself. Losing opportunities with new ventures and adventures.
With but one person and 24 hours there is always the need to choose.
Forks in the road present themselves on a daily, often hourly basis.
How can we chose wisely?