Supersonic Mike

August 17th, 2011

 I’m a big fan of brands that find a way to let users personalize an experience. JibJab lets you upload photos of you and your friends and star in hilarious music videos. M&Ms lets you create your own M&M avatar online. Now Sonic has gotten into the game with an easy online tool that generates a movie trailer starring…you. It also allows you to choose your co-stars from a lineup of offbeat characters.

I’ve never even been to a Sonic, but had a fun time watching the final movie trailer starring moi. Here are a couple of stills from the opening credits, the closing credits, and the suspenseful, pivotal, riveting scene wherein I get abducted by aliens via a mysterious green light. Oooooh, spooky. Silly fun, but the bigger point is I will more than likely give Sonic a try the next time I have the opportunity. Just please don’t tell my nutrition coach. She’s not the boss of me, anyway.

 

Do girls have a brand?

August 14th, 2011

Perhaps a bit surprisingly, I’ve been thinking about girls a good bit over the past few days.

It started with recent stories in the news about girls in China. I remember when the one-child policy was put into effect there, and the fears that the world at large held for female babies. Much of those dire predictions, unfortunately, bear out in the statistics. But that aside, I did find it interesting to read about the repercussions of the questionable policy.

 

 

 

 

 

Not too long after reading up on that topic, I logged onto Facebook and saw this hilarious picture on my 25-year-old nephew Jon’s wall.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Even funnier, and more intriguing/interesting, was the conversation Jon had with a buddy of his, also captured on his Facebook wall.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The girls brand: it seems to change [in the East], yet it seems to stay the same [in the West].

I’m no authority, but it makes me smile. Not the situation in China; the situation in Brooksville, Fla.

Maybe girls should band together and hire a good agency.

Here comes the judge

August 6th, 2011

Yours truly has been asked to judge the 15th Annual eHealthcare Leadership Awards. This is the fourth year in a row I’ve participated in this event and it’s always nice to be asked back. The show received over 1,100 entries this year, in 13 categories. Thankfully, I won’t be judging them all myself.

There are a lot of awards shows in this business. This one focuses exclusively on the best websites of healthcare organizations, health companies, medical equipment firms, suppliers, and others – of all sizes. So during the judging process I can be looking at Aetna or Kaiser Permanente sites, as well as sites from companies most people don’t know, like Hopeful Circle or Sepsis Alliance.

What I like about doing this is seeing the vast spectrum of designs, interfaces, and messages that the variety of entrants display. It’s a great education for me to see how designers, information architects and copywriters are implementing their craft. At the same time, I learn about a host of healthcare initiatives that I otherwise wouldn’t even know about.

I’ll let you know how the judging goes, and who ends up earning the honors. Winners will be announced in Orlando this November.

A good day

August 1st, 2011

Today I talked to clients and colleagues and/or had business to conduct on five different accounts: a professional organizer, an event venue scout, a matchmaker, a chiropractor, and a company that develops workforce management software. I may get tired, but I never get bored.

Reading rocks

July 29th, 2011

Everyone who knows me knows how much I love to read. There’s just nothing like escaping into a good book. I have many favorites, and could talk about books ad nauseum. When I’m feeling stressed or anxious or overwhelmed, I visit a bookstore. The smell of the books, their interesting covers, the way they feel in my hand, their millions of pages full of possibility – the combined effect is a calming influence that recharges me and makes me glad to be alive.

My mother is a voracious reader too, and that’s likely where I got it from. So I had to share the high points from an article I saw online recently, extolling the virtues of introducing kids to books early in life. There have been studies that show the amazing effects books have on kids as young as ten months old. Kids who read, or are read to develop larger vocabularies, learn to pay attention and focus [critical to success in school], and develop a greater sense of intimacy [when read to, at any age].

Here are a few favorites I highly recommend:

 

 

When is bad writing good?

July 26th, 2011

 

I always look forward to reading the winning entries in the annual Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest. You may have heard of this — every year, hopeful winners submit the worst possible sentence to an imaginary novel that they can think up. [Bulwer-Lytton is the guy who wrote the famously cheesy line Snoopy is typing, so the contest is named after him.] This year’s winners are good for a few laughs.

Top prize went to this doozy: “Cheryl’s mind turned like the vanes of a wind-powered turbine, chopping her sparrow-like thoughts into bloody pieces that fell onto a growing pile of forgotten memories.” Eww.

In the historical fiction category, the winner was: “Napoleon’s ship tossed and turned as the emperor, listening while his generals squabbled as they always did, splashed the tepid waters in his bathtub.” Again, eww. I’ve seen pictures of Napoleon and the image of him naked, soaking in a bathtub, is not a pleasant one.

Other categories include crime, adventure, romance, sci fi, and western. Another of my favorites: “Maggie said they were birthmarks and they very well could be, but the three very small black moles in a horizontal line just above her right eyebrow looked like an ellipsis to some, but to others who did not know what an ellipsis was, they looked like three very small black moles in a horizontal line just above Maggie’s right eyebrow.”

And this gem struck a little close to home: “After five years as a freelance writer, Greg finally managed to double his income, letting him add a processed cheese product slice to the baloney sandwiches he had for breakfast, lunch and dinner.”

I saved the best for last. The winner in the “purple prose” category is, thankfully, devoid of any “Eww” factor. But the LOL factor is pretty high. I love this so much it makes me jealous that I didn’t think of it: “As his small boat scudded before a brisk breeze under a sapphire sky dappled with cerulean clouds with indigo bases, through cobalt seas that deepened to navy nearer the boat and faded to azure at the horizon, Ian was at a loss as to why he felt blue.”

I encourage you to read through the entries and have a couple of laughs. There really are some hilarious ones. They inspire me to submit my own entry next year.

This guy could be me.

July 18th, 2011

Except for the hair. And the pipe. But when this landed in my inbox a few weeks ago I thought it was hysterical.

I even stuck it on my fridge for a while.

Brand new website

May 25th, 2011

This is me, smirking. That's what I do. I smirk. I'm a smirker.

Welcome to my brand new website. It has enhanced navigation, an updated portfolio section, a new case studies section and finally this blog.

Explore. Discuss.

Then call. Email. Text. Like. Friend.