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January 29, 2010

Powerful, positive, brilliant spot — about using your seatbelt

Filed under: advertising,Uncategorized — Laurie Morrow, Ph.D., Chartered Advisor in Philanthropy @ 8:20 pm
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A beautiful, brilliant spot for Sussex Safer Roads, on wearing a seatbelt.  This is not the same tired guts-and-gore message.  Far more powerful.  Wonderful creative work in every respect.  If this were a
movie, it would win Best Picture.

I’ll never look at a seatbelt the same way again.

Thanks to


January 27, 2010

Newsday Learns the High Cost of Charging for Content

Filed under: Newspapers — Laurie Morrow, Ph.D., Chartered Advisor in Philanthropy @ 4:56 am
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John Koblin of the New York Observer reports that, in October 2009, Long Island Newsday decided to start charging non-subscribers $5 a week to read Newsday online.  Three months later, according to publisher Terry Jiminez, exactly 35 people have taken Newsday up on this offer.  According to Koblin,

The web site redesign and relaunch cost the Dolans $4 million, according to Mr. Jimenez. With those 35 people, they’ve grossed about $9,000.

In that time, without question, web traffic has begun to plummet, and, certainly, advertising will follow as well.

Jimenez defended this jaw-droppingly poor performance, insisting that the website was not intended to generate revenue.

If not generating revenue was Jimenez’ goal, he certainly achieved it.  How not generating revenue is a good business tactic, may escape cruder minds.

January 25, 2010

Funny British Ad for Hula Hoops Candy

Filed under: advertising,Food,Uncategorized — Laurie Morrow, Ph.D., Chartered Advisor in Philanthropy @ 11:25 pm

Funny British Ad, for Hula Hoops Candy.

January 22, 2010

Why Air America Failed: Superb Assessment by RBR

Filed under: Business expertise,Entertainment — Laurie Morrow, Ph.D., Chartered Advisor in Philanthropy @ 9:48 pm
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Radio Business Report offers a superb assessment of why Air America failed:  they had a terrible business plan.

In the wake of Air America Media shutting down, there has been much gnashing of teeth over the loss of a “progressive” counter to the allegedly entrenched “right-wing” control of talk radio. But the real reason Air America failed has nothing to do with politics – at least not with politics as content.

Quite simply, Air America failed in the radio BUSINESS because it was never run by radio people. From the very beginning the venture was run by liberal ideologues who were on a quest to rescue America from Rush Limbaugh and prevent a return to Reaganism. Oddly enough, Ronald Reagan Jr. actually ended up being on their side and was one of the hosts who lost his job in the shutdown.

We angered the original founders in 2004 by declaring that their business plan was flawed and couldn’t work. As it turned out, it was even more flawed than we realized, since the actual cash committed to the project was a tiny fraction of what had been publicly claimed.

Over the years, Air America has careened from financial crisis to financial crisis, from owner to owner and even one Chapter 11 bankruptcy before the current Chapter 7 liquidation. Through it all one thing was consistent – the political ideologues were running the show and the broadcasters involved were merely hired hands.

You can read the rest of this column here.

Ordinary American Moms Help Haitian Kids

Filed under: Philanthropy/nonprofits — Laurie Morrow, Ph.D., Chartered Advisor in Philanthropy @ 12:11 am
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When Katrina stuck, ordinary people rushed to help — including two Moms from Alabama, who realized that parents waiting for hours in long lines for food, water, and medical treament would have no one to watch their children.  Frightened, bored, restless children would have no safe place to play, to burn off energy and regain a sense of normalcy.

The two moms both have extensive nonprofit and childcare experience.  They tried to work within the system.  And when met with red tape, they went around it.

The two Moms — Lenore Ealy and Paige Ellison — did a rapid filing for their new nonprofit, which they called PROJECT KID.  They got a truck, filled it with donated supplies, and drove to MS. They set up a “Playcare Center,” getting more and more supplies and volunteer staff.

Their first Playcare center was up & running 5 days after Katrina struck. Over the next weeks, they replicated their model across several sites and served 5600 children who were Katrina victims.  Project KID went on to assist parents in need in other disasters.

And now, PROJECT KID will be in Haiti.  Co-founder Paige Ellison arrives there January 27th.

This is an amazing organization.  These two ordinary American mothers run this charity by themselves.  Yet, the media hasn’t covered this fascinating story of ordinary women who use their individual initiative to help others, rather than wait for the government or some existing charity to do so.    I only know about this because Lenore is a dear friend mine.

The work of individual Americans outside government and the usual, large charities should be encouraged, and their story is just the kind of positive story with a Haiti tie that people want to hear about.

In case you’d like to reach them, please let me know, and I’ll be happy to forward you the contact information.

January 17, 2010

FBI Turns Spanish Politician into “Older” Osama, via Digital Imaging

Filed under: Politics,Uncategorized — Laurie Morrow, Ph.D., Chartered Advisor in Philanthropy @ 3:00 pm
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Perhaps your day hasn’t gone so well:  the dog woke you up two hours early, to alert you to the presence of a robin on the lawn.  You’ve been drafted into the army of the “Downsized.”  Your daughter switched her major from Computer Science to Fine Art.

But no matter how bad a day you’re having, chances are that Gaspar Llamazares is having a worse one.  A politician in Spain, Llamazares awoke one morning to find that the FBI had used his photo to illustrate what an “older”  Osama bin Laden might look like.

Bad enough for the FBI to officially pronounce you “older”-looking.   Geometrically worse to find your face identified as bin Laden’s and plastered across the globe.

Pete Cashmore tells the story of how this happened at Mashable.  Rather than start with an image of bin Laden or with a blank sheet of paper and a pencil, the FBI’s forensic artist found a photo on the internet of a man he/she did not recognize and digitally altered the image.  Suddenly, Llamazares is transformed from a politician hoping to be recognized by his constituents into America’s Most Wanted.  Llamazares now fears, quite reasonably, for his safety.

“Using photos from an image search to create a most wanted poster is surely putting the subject at risk, is it not?” Cashmore asks.

One also wonders whether this errant FBI employee also violated the law:  did he/she check the copyright of the image and obtain permission to make use of it?   How likely would the person holding the copyright be to grant such a request, if they knew the use to which their work would be put, and if they wished to continue doing business with Llamazares?

So maybe your day isn’t such a bad one, after all.  Maybe that robin your dog greeted was a harbinger of spring.  And you were home to enjoy it, after years of rushing out in the darkness to do a job you didn’t enjoy any more.  And maybe your fears are groundless, about your daughter being unemployable because she’s switched from Computer Science to Fine Art.  Looks like there’s going to be at least one opening for a forensic artist with computer skills — at the FBI.

Brilliant Coakley/Scott Brown Parody Ad

Filed under: advertising — Laurie Morrow, Ph.D., Chartered Advisor in Philanthropy @ 2:57 am
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Coakley’s World Trade Center Ad

Filed under: Uncategorized — Laurie Morrow, Ph.D., Chartered Advisor in Philanthropy @ 2:27 am
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Just when you think Coakley’s ads can’t get any worse, her campaign launches an attack ad using the World Trade Center — not in the context of attacking Brown’s position re: terrorism, but as a symbol of Wall Street corruption: 

The campaign yanked this version, once it started attracting negative comment, and removed that photo.

I wonder if the choice of photo might have been accidental.  Perhaps some intern was rummaging through the files for an upward shot of a group of buildings around Wall Street, and just didn’t recognize the building.  Improbable as this may seem, it helps to remember that today’s 21-year-old intern would have been 12 or 13 years old in 2001, and thus unlikely to remember what these buildings looked like.  It’s not the kind of mistake apt to be made by someone who’d visited  the WTC as an adult or who was an adult when the towers came down.

We’ve discussed before the problem of clients cutting costs by using interns rather than top talent.  I don’t know whether that happened here, but that’s the most charitable explanation I can come up with for so gross an error.

January 12, 2010

New Music Industry Business Model

Filed under: Uncategorized — Laurie Morrow, Ph.D., Chartered Advisor in Philanthropy @ 3:36 pm

From Clark Howard comes a new approach to selling music — rather than pay $1 per download, you listen to advertising.

Here’s Clark’s video, describing this.

What a great solution:  for a small investment of time, the audience gets free music.  Because there’s no cost, listeners have no disincentive to listen to new music.  New musicians should thus find it easier to get their performances in front of wider audiences.

Best of all:  more work for those of us in advertising.

What’s the down side here?

January 8, 2010

Estonian TV Parody of The Simpsons

Filed under: advertising,Entertainment,Television,Uncategorized — Laurie Morrow, Ph.D., Chartered Advisor in Philanthropy @ 6:13 pm
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This advertisement for Estonia’s Channel 3 is a charming parody of The Simpsons.

Thanks to Karl Altau of JBANC!

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