Make it happen

There’s a lot of “woulda, coulda, shoulda,” in the world. If you really want to do something, find a way to do it.  I read an article today about an old friend and his wife who did. What did they do? They bought a letterpress from 1903 on eBay and have created a business that fuses her knowledge and skill with art and design and a desire to balance creating great work with a great life.

Image from Chico News & Review

They were recently featured in the Chico News & Review or you can check them out at The balance is a big reason we moved to El Dorado Hills seven years ago, and why Matt & Rebekah moved back to Chico.


Agency Lessons from Mad Men Episode 401 – “Public Relations”

Image from

Over the past few years, I’ve been writing about real agency lessons from Mad Men episodes.  Season four continues to include real issues faced by advertising (and yes PR firms) in an incredible show. If I wasn’t in this industry, I’m sure I would still be a fan of the show, but for me I get a bonus. I get to watch situations I encounter all the time dealt with by others.

Tonight’s episode, “Public Relations,” kicked off season four starting a full year after Sterling, Cooper, Draper, Pryce (SCDP) opened their “temporary” doors in The Pierre Hotel and now taking up a portion of a floor in the Time-Life Building.  The “Public Relations,” refers to Don’s need to be more of a “face,” for the firm according to his partners and they set him up with a reporter from Ad Age for a profile, which Don seemingly somewhat deliberately tanks.

So what were tonight’s lessons for people working at PR and advertising agencies?

  • Choose the right spokesperson for your agency and make sure everyone knows the story
  • Ad agencies have a problem with how to charge for PR (read this as social media)
  • Listen to your prospective clients

Choose the right spokesperson for your agency

Don Draper is serving as the “face,” of the agency. He’s out doing interviews with trade publications and isn’t happy about it. The best spokesperson isn’t always the first pick.  If someone isn’t up to the task, find a better face.  Roger Sterling has incredible one-liners, but I don’t think he’s the face you want, and Bert Cooper isn’t exactly friendly.  Lane Pryce might be the man here.  No matter what, don’t always go with you the “obvious,” pick for your spokesperson. Ask yourself if they’re up for it and if you trust them to speak for you.

A second piece to this is the story, or lack of a story, that Don tells the reporter.  When the article comes out and is less than flattering there are consequences. One of these is that their jai-alai client is angry they weren’t mentioned. Draper responds with “I didn’t mention anyone. That’s the reporters’ job.” If you don’t talk about the story, you can’t be angry when they don’t include what you were hoping was going to be included.

Ad agencies have trouble with PR

Sugarberry Ham is a small but somewhat important account for SCDP.  They are important in that they make up some small part of the 29% of revenue that does not come from Lucky Strike.  Peggy Olson comes up with an idea to have two women “fight,” over the last Sugarberry Ham in a store, and have an article written about it.

Pete Campbell says, “It’s a PR stunt. We don’t do that?”

When asked why not, he replies,”Because we can’t charge for it.”  Ad agencies then, and largely now, make their money off of ad buys.  They don’t make very much money off of account service or tactics.  This is a problem I’ve run into with several ad agencies when they work in social media.  They don’t make very much money off it.  PR agencies are set up to make money by billing for their employees’ time.  That’s a big part of social media work. Time.  I’m not saying ad agencies can’t do this, but their economic models are set up for those big ad buys.  This might be a foreshadowing to the need for SCDP to need to change their thinking as the times change from “Camelot,” to the world where music is more like “Tobacco Road,” by the Nashville Teens that ends the episode. (side note – Jimmy Page plays guitar on the studio version of that track).

Listen to your prospective clients

The agency team is pitching Jantzen, a “family company,” that makes bathing suits. They are concerned that they are going to lose business in the “two piece (not bikini),” market as their competitors are selling a sexier image than they are comfortable with.  Draper responds with a creative concept that is significantly sexier than they were comfortable with and he blows up when they don’t respond positively.  It’s a good thing to push the envelope, but it’s not a good thing to only have one idea, that prospects might not go for.  Take chances, but be ready to follow up with something else.

There was a lot more in this episode, but the core to me might be the line from Peggy Olson to Don,”We are all here because of you. All we want to do is please you.”  A successful agency requires a team. Until Don starts playing on that team, SCDP is in big trouble.

Sacamento’s Chrometa in The Economist

In a 1994 interview, when asked, “What do you read?” Bill Gates replied, “The Economist, every page.”  If Bill is still reading every page of The Economist he would see Sacramento-based Chrometa in an article about lawyers and billable time.

Here’s an excerpt that includes Chrometa:

Experts and surveys estimate that between 10% and 30% of hours are never billed by tired and overworked attorneys who cannot keep track of every piece of work they do. A firm called Chrometa addresses this problem by producing a software programme that automatically tracks a lawyer’s computer usage, showing how much time she has spent on which e-mail, document or spreadsheet. These can easily be filed by case and client, so the client gets a more detailed invoice. This may not result in many more hours billed, but it saves strain on both lawyer and client in keeping track. Both sides can then focus on the case at hand, rather than the bill.

I would love to say that this article was a result of diligent PR work by the PR team at Morgan/Dorado, but it wasn’t. This was a result of diligent work by the CEO of Chrometa to be actively involved in online conversations about law billing by writing their own blog and participating in conversations on many others.

What’s your workout music?

For the past few years I’ve been running more.  I try and run a few times per week.  I used to never run with music, now I’ll probably be listening to music three out of five times when I run.

I’ve played around with a few different play lists over the years. Below is my current one.

There were two things that served as the impetus for this post. The first was last weekend when my wife and I were looking for something to watch and stumbled onto Vision Quest. Yes, Lunatic Fringe did it. Then today Peter Shankman posted his current mix. We didn’t have any overlap although I might have to take a look at including Hearts on Fire from Rocky IV as I do have one John Cafferty song below already.

All Nightmare Long    Metallica    Death Magnetic
All Summer Long    Kid Rock    Rock N Roll Jesus
Shout    Otis Day
Are You Sure Waylon Done It This Way    Clint Black
Atomic Dog    George Clinton
Bad Medicine    Bon Jovi    Cross Road
Ball and Chain    Social Distortion    Social Distortion
Ballad Of Cowboy Mouth    Cowboy Mouth    All You Need Is Live
Bawitdaba    Kid Rock    Devil Without A Cause
Big Dumb Sex    Soundgarden    Louder Than Love
Born in the USA    Bruce Springsteen
Boulevard Of Broken Dreams    Green Day    American Idiot
Brain Stew    Green Day
Burning Love       Travis Tritt    Honeymoon In Vegas
Callin’ Baton Rouge    Garth Brooks    The Hits
Can’t You See    Marshall Tucker Band    The Marshall Tucker band
Caught In A Mosh    Anthrax
Chicken Fried    Zac Brown Band    The Foundation (Deluxe Version)
China Grove    The Doobie Brothers    The Doobie Brothers: Best of the Doobies
Cocky    Kid Rock
Country Heroes    Hank Williams III    Straight to Hell
Courtesy Of The Red White & Blue (The Angry American)    Toby Keith    Unleashed
The Dark Side    John Cafferty & the Beaver Brown Band
Dead Leaves And The Dirty Ground    The White Stripes    White Blood Cells
Don’t Drink The Water    Dave Matthews Band    Live In Chicago – 12.19.98
Down On The Farm    Tim McGraw
F… Black Days    Soundgarden
Feel Like Makin Love (Album Version)    Kid Rock
Fever Dog    Stillwater    Almost Famous
Fire Up The Shoesaw (LP Version)    Lionrock    Go
Gimme Some Water    Eddie Money
Hard To Handle    Black Crowes
Here I Sit In Prison    Cowboy Mouth    All You Need Is Live
Highway to Hell    ACDC
Hillbilly Deluxe    Brooks & Dunn    Hillbilly Deluxe
Holiday    Green Day    American Idiot
I Fought The Law    Mike Ness    Under The Influences
I Love Rock and Roll              Joan Jet & the Blackhearts
I’m Bad Like Jesse James     John Lee Hooker & Muddy Waters
I’m Finding It Harder To Be A Gentleman    The White Stripes    White Blood Cells
I’m Shipping Up to Boston    Dropkick Murphys    The Warrior’s Code
In God’s Country    U2    The Joshua Tree (Deluxe Edition) [Remastered]
Jealous Again    Black Crowes    title
Jump around    Everlast & Limp Bizkit
Keep On Rockin’… Free World    Pearl Jam w/ Neil Young    (live)
Killin’ Time    Clint Black    The Greatest Hits
Land of 1000 Dances    Wilson Pickett
Lay Your Hands on Me    Bon Jovi    Cross Road
Live And Let Die    Guns N’ Roses
Lose Yourself     Eminem    8 Miles Soundtrack
Lunatic Fringe    Red Rider    Vision Quest
Lust For Life    Iggy pop
Many Shades of Black    The Raconteurs    Consolers of the Lonely
Master of Puppets    Metallica    S&M (Live With the SFSO)
Matthew, Mark Luke, and Earnhardt
Mother    Danzig
Mustang Sally    The Commitments
Need a Little Time Off for Bad Behavior    David Allan Coe    16 Biggest Hits: David Allan Coe
Nice Guys Finish Last    Green Day
No Leaf Clover    Metallica    S&M (Live With the SFSO)
No Sleep Till Brooklyn    Beastie Boys    Licensed to Ill
Paint it Black    Rolling Stones
Paradise By The Dashboard Light    Meat Loaf    Bat Out of Hell
Paradise City    Guns and Roses
Paul Revere    Beastie Boys
Pick Up the Tempo    Jerry Jeff Walker    Great Gonzos
Piece Of My Heart    Janis Joplin
Portland, Oregon    Jack White
Pour Some Sugar On Me    Def Leppard
The Ride    David Allen Coe    Country Super Hits
Rock N Roll Jesus    Kid Rock    Rock N Roll Jesus
The Rodeo Life    Chris Ledoux
Sgt. Pepper’s Paradise (Extended Edition)    Jimmi Jammes
Shake A Tail Feather    Ray Charles    The Blues Brothers Soundtrack
She Caught The Katy    The Blues Brothers    The Blues Brothers Soundtrack
Shotgun    Junior Walker & The All Stars    20th Century Masters – The Millennium Collection: The Best of Junior Walker & The All Stars
Simple Man    Charlie Daniels Band
Six Pack of Beer    Hank Williams III    Damn Right Rebel Proud
So Far Away    Social Distortion    Social Distortion
Somebody Told Me    The Killers    Hot Fuss
Southbound 35    Pat Green
Southern Cross (Live)    Jimmy Buffett    Live in Cincinnati, OH
Steady As She Goes    The Raconteurs    Broken Boy Soldiers
Summer Nights    Van Halen
Sunshine Highway    Dropkick Murphys    The Warrior’s Code
Sweet Home Chicago    The Blues Brothers    The Blues Brothers Soundtrack
Sympathy For The Devil    Guns N’ Roses    Greatest Hits
Take Me Back To New Orleans    Cowboy Mouth    All You Need Is Live
Thunderstruck    ACDC
Toes    Zac Brown Band    The Foundation (Deluxe Version)
Tuff Enuff    The Fabulous Thunderbirds    Tuff Enuff
Walk Of Life    Dire Straits    Brothers In Arms
The Warrior’s Code    Dropkick Murphys    The Warrior’s Code
We Want The Funk    George Clinton
Welcome to Paradise    Green Day
Werewolves of London    Warren Zevon    A Quiet Normal Life – The Best of Warren Zevon
Willie, Waylon and Me    David Allen Coe
Woke Up This Morning    Alabama 3

What’s in your list?

The Wrong Message from LeBron

Way too many people, yes including me, watched LeBron James announce his decision to join the Miami Heat today.  It was all part of a scripted hour on ESPN.  I’m a basketball fan, not a fan of NBA basketball though. Why?  Watch the first few seconds of the video below:

LeBron announced his decision by saying, “This fall I’m going to take my talents to South Beach and join the Miami Heat.”  Over the last few years, I’ve read several articles about “Team LeBron,” or “LeBron Inc.,” as Fortune wrote in 2007. The article was all about how LeBron was talking to people like Warren Buffett and Steve Greenberg from Allen & Co.  Apparently on his team of people, no one spent the time to give him a quick rundown on how to talk about joining a team.

Instead of “I’m taking my talents to South Beach,” think it might have been a little better if LeBron had said something along the lines of “The Miami Heat have put together an incredible team and I look forward to working hard with my new teammates and bringing an NBA Championship to Miami.”

The missing point was “team.” LeBron led with “I.”  The NBA is full of a lot of “I’s.”  As long as they stay that way, I’ll steer clear of the ‘I’s’ and get my basketball fix from the NCAA.

Like a Rock? Kid Rock and Nissan? (UPDATED)

In the early 90’s Michigan native Bob Seger allowed his iconic song “Like a Rock,” to be used in commercials for Chevy trucks. The ads ran through 2004, here’s one from 1992 to jog your memory:

Seger licensed the song because he said he wanted to help a company in his home state and the people who worked for Chevrolet. He also spoke in support of Ford as well.

Another native of Rock City who has spoken about supporting Michigan businesses and people is Kid Rock. I have to say, I have several Kid Rock albums and for a time even owned the domain  That being said, I was really surprised when I saw a commercial tonight for a Nissan Rogue that if I’m not mistaken has Bawitdaba by Kid Rock as the backing track starting at about 20 seconds in.  Take a listen and let me know what you think. If I’m right, given his past statements about supporting Michigan, I hope Bob has a good reason for letting it be used here.

UPDATED – See the helpful comment below. The song is “Cobra Style” by the Teddy Bears, and yes it appears to sample Kid Rock, but Bob Ritchie is off the hook here. Sorry Kid.