So, here’s Thought Experiment #10

Philly’s favorite son John Wanamaker is one of the fathers of modern advertising. He was the first to buy a half-page newspaper ad, the first to buy a full-page newspaper ad, and — more near and dear to my heart as someone who thinks writing is an art, dammit — the first to hire a full time copywriter.

But maybe most famously, he’s the cat that said, “Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted. The trouble is, I don’t know which half.”

So here’s your task, my little tater tot. Let’s say your marketing budget gets slashed in half. Boom! 50% gone like Gone Girl. Pop quiz, hot shot. What do you do? What do you do?

Do you pull a stunt and try to go viral? Skywriting? Maybe a street campaign with clever flyers optimized for Instagram and reaching out to influencers on social media? Or do you whittle down and dig into data and try to figure out where each of your dollars really does the most good? Maybe both?

Why would I ask this?

Because you, buddy, should be considering how to blow past setbacks.

Wrap your brain around it. See what you get.

So, what are your competitors doing right?

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I know, pumpkin. I know. You don’t want to think about those big meanies. Or hey, maybe you work in one of those cool market segments where friendly competition is the norm, and you don’t need to dwell on those folks. But on the off chance you have competitors, and you want to make sure you’re meeting or exceeding their efforts, how do you do that voodoo you need to do so well?

I think it is time, padawan. I think you are ready. This is an elegant weapon for a more civilized age. This…is close reading.   Continue reading

So you wanna set the mood, baby? Part 3

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Have you done something different with your hair? It looks nice. Touchable. And that color really brings out your eyes. Here, let me top off your drink, darlin’. Time to talk about mood again.

Mood happens. Whether you are conscious of it or not. So it makes sense to be aware of it, mm? So you don’t, say, write a really chipper blog post about cremation, or melancholy web copy for a party planner. And we establish mood with setting, diction, and now tone.

Setting was pretty straightforward, diction a little less so, and tone is the most elusive. We’ve sort of been building up to the biggie.

“But Steph,” you say, because you are a smart little tomato, “Isn’t tone the same thing as mood?” Kinda. But no. But yeah. But not really.   Continue reading

So, got time for a rant about creepiness?

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Let’s talk Ello.

In case you’ve been living in a pineapple under the sea, far from news-y goodness, you know about Ello. The invite-only social network exploded in popularity, at one point processing 30,000 sign-up requests an hour.

30,000 people. An hour. Begging to sign up.

Why?  Continue reading

So you wanna set the mood, baby? Part 2

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Why don’t you have another glass of wine, mm? I’ll light these candles. Because we’re all about mood again today, angel pants. Awwww yeah.

Last time we got together, we talked about the role played by setting in determining mood. In a way, setting is the easiest of these techniques to use — the most common sense. But today we’re talking diction, and that’s a bit trickier.   Continue reading

So you wanna set the mood, baby?

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Working at home = distractions. ‘S just a fact. Laundry or housekeeping if you’re feeling virtuous. Junk food and daytime TV if you’re not. And if you don’t live alone? Someone else’s robot sweeper or reality show gets added to the mix.

Enter RainyMood. With over 800 thousand shares and likes and pins, this site clearly fills a need. For me, it blocks out Matlock. But folks use it while reading, for sleeping, and for discovering new music with the swanky “add cool tunes to your rain-drenched experience” option.

There’s Coffitivity, too. For when you want to be in a coffee shop but don’t want to wear pants.   Continue reading

So, let’s get honest about tech and narrative conflict

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If you’re in tech or online spaces at all, I’m sure you’ve seen The Video.

A few tech fellas, newcomers to San Francisco, had a…let’s call it a difference of opinion with some long-time local kids about who got to use a public soccer field.

The techies didn’t come out looking too great.   Continue reading