Category: Media commentary
November 26th, 2012

Honesty is Hard. It’s Also Mandatory.

We’ve been accused of taking too long to get to the point. ⬆ This is the point. ⬆ Read the post anyway.

So we’ve spoken before about brands and Radical Honesty. We’re going to speak about it again, as this is a lot for marketers to get used to. Remember, we’re the same people who used to go home and sleep like babies after a hard day of telling the world about Camels satisfying your T-zone. But so many nice folks sent us links to this Daniel Baylis article in Fast Company, that we figured we’d better pipe up once again.

It’s a good little article with a couple important takeaways. Like this one:

“The biggest misconception is that brand perfection is necessary before honesty is a valid brand strategy.”

That’s nice, right there. It reminds us that people, for the most part, want to like you. They’re not only looking for a reason to buy, they’ll even help you make your case. “But baby, we need that 75,000 BTU grill! For the children! Won’t you think of the children!?

This one, too:

“In a recent report on transparency in corporate reporting among the 105 largest publicly listed multinational companies, it’s surprising to see that oil companies such as BP and ExxonMobil (also far from perfect) rank much higher in transparency than popular tech companies such as Google and Apple. And in terms of integrity, public perception of Google and Apple continue to fluctuate. If I were a PR executive at these tech companies, my palms would be sweaty.”

Excellent point. Say what you want about BP and ExxonMobil – they’re evil, but they’re reasonably on the up-and-up about it. Meanwhile, Google and Apple, two brands that once possessed halos as bright as supernovaas, now battle it out to see who can embrace the dark side of the Force more quickly.

Our point? We go on and on about Conversation Marketing because we believe your brand is part of a conversation. Moreover, we think you ought to be a good conversationalist. You already have impeccable etiquette – we’ve seen your posture and your Latin declination – don’t forget to use it. Be honest about yourself – customers have highly-developed bullshit radar systems. Have a sense of humor about yourself – better to beat the world to the punch. In general, be someone you wouldn’t mind being stuck in the corner at a party with.

The big finish? This – Mr. Baylis spent a whole lot of column-inches full of words telling you the following: Be honest. Be nice.

Thanks for reading.


August 6th, 2012

Save Your Balls. Save Yourselves.

We’re longtime supporters of balls. But there’s one breed of ball in particular that inspires us like no other. If you don’t know what Buckyballs are, you may not even want to find out. These Rare Earth magnets attract and repel each other with a seemingly supernatural force, which makes them more addictive than bubble wrap and Bejeweled combined.

Buckyballs come with a big fat warning saying they’re not appropriate for children. But thanks to a couple bright kids who decided it’d be a good idea to swallow them anyway, the Consumer Product & Safety Commission is now avidly fighting to get these heaven-sent balls banned for good.

What does this say about our country? That we’re a valiant, vigilant people, dedicated to protecting our vulnerable youth? No. It reveals that we’re much too eager to latch on to the next cause for fear, without stopping to question whether that fear is rational or not. A mere 22 children have been injured from Buckyballs, out of 2.2 million Buckyball sets sold. As the Huffington Post astutely points out, dog bites, tennis, and household chemicals are all significantly more dangerous than our beloved magnetic balls. What’s next, banning tennis balls from every American home? Before we know it, we’ll be completely ball-less, in every sense of the word.

We mustn’t give in to the irrational demands of a mindless few. If we all did that, we’d find ourselves trapped in a world full of moronic ads like this one:

…instead of smart ads like this one:

And that’s a scary thought.

Thankfully, Buckyballs is nowhere close to backing down. We’re pleased to see that they’ve cleverly used PR to make balls a national topic of conversation. They’ve garnered visible support, from Congress to Fox News.

Parents, we know you’re scared. But instead of trying to keep adult toys out of adult hands, why not be adult enough to keep your kids away from them in the first place? So that the rest of us may enjoy rare beauty like this.


Untitled #4, by Alexa Leung, Account Coordinator at Mortar. Of course it’s work-related. We’re a “creative agency.”

August 3rd, 2012

Find Your Greatness. (And Some Chips. We’re Gonna Need Chips.)

You kids seen this Nike spot? Thoughtful. Believable. Wonderful. Just about the best thing we’ve seen all week. Except this, of course:


How did Sylvie’s dog Cody make the Fluffington Post?  By knowing that greatness requires discipline. And tortilla chips. Happy Friday.


June 22nd, 2012

The Bird Is The Word. (Yes, Again.)

We get a little verklempt when we see brands managing conversations intelligently. They grow up so fast!


Listen to your customers? Check.

Respond in an Actual, Human Voice? Check.

Gently bip your critics upside the head while promoting product benefits? Chiggidy-check.

Very nicely done, SmartCar.


Let’s see how our young padawans at Eat24 are coming along…


Strong in this one, the Force is. See more, we should.



Thanks, P.J. Did you mean this laziness? The one that’s airing all over Comcast San Francisco right now?


Ohhhh, sorry. You meant this laziness. (That’s airing all over Comcast San Francisco right now.)



Unless you meant this laziness. (Which is also airing all over the You-Get-The-Idea right now.)


So, yes. We’re proud of our clients. Proud when they demonstrate their Conversation-fu. Proud when they put the tools we give them to good use. Proud when they remember that underwear goes on the inside of their pants.
And proud when they think up great ideas like this:



Which reminds us – Eat24’s app is live. De-bugged. And delicious. Happy Friday!




June 8th, 2012

Orange Friday!

What’s good, y’all?

This is: Eat24’s app is finally available for free downloadage! Now not only do you not have to cook or shop or even get up…you don’t even have to go over to the computer. USA! USA! USA!

Feel free to make merry and feast upon the lambs and sloths and carp and anchovies and orangutans and breakfast cereals, and fruit bats and… you get the idea.

…and there was much rejoicing.


In other news: It’s now more illegal to carry 16 ounces of soda in New York City than 25 grams of marijuana.
Pardon us, Mayor Bloomberg, but between the reverse-weed-crackdown and Eat24’s new app, your iron-fisted soda sanctions aren’t gonna do much about obesity. That horse has left the proverbial barn. (And was delicious.)

In other-other news: Canada! Still weird. But in a good way.

And finally, if you found it even more difficult than usual to hold Mark’s attention this week, cut the lad some slack. His mind was on Her Majesty’s Diamond Jubilee, and who can blame him?



Right, we’re off to Mays Field. Between our drunken spirited exhortations, Barry Zito’s curveball and Siri’s wise counsel we hope the local nine have what they need to smite their enemies. (Who hath been naughty in our sight.)  Go Giants!