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Don’t Market Your Product Like this, Denis Leary

Leary's career - soon to be up in flames?

Leary's career soon to be up in flames?

C’mon Denis!  Is your confidence in your abilities and “talents” so low that you have to pick on children with autism?

For those not in the know, Denis Leary has a new book due next month, “Why We Suck.”  In the meantime, his pre-press release includes some snippets where one chapter in his book called Autism Schmautism says, “There is a huge boom in autism right now because inattentive mothers and competitive dads want an explanation for why their dumb-ass kids can’t compete academically, so they throw money into the happy laps of shrinks . . . to get back diagnoses that help explain away the deficiencies of their junior morons. I don’t give a [bleep] what these crackerjack whack jobs tell you – yer kid is NOT autistic. He’s just stupid. Or lazy. Or both.”

Leary is also cited in Vanity Fair where he hopes that people like Jenny McCarthy, famed autism mother, will organize people to picket his book tour because that will only help his book sales.  Say it with me – “PUBLICITY STUNT.”

Seriously, this blogger doesn’t get on his soap box too often, but it’s high time when you decide to target children and parents who have a challenge each day bringing up their child with so many unanswered questions regarding autism.  It is so disgusting when celebrities think that they can use their status to make judgements on things they either don’t understand or are too ignorant to research first.  To date Leary’s only apology has been in the form of a misunderstanding towards what his book is really about and that you have to read it to understand.  Uh, OK – drop $20 to affirm your publishing house’s press release that you’re an insensitive and arrogant bully?

Take action with me – write an email to his publisher Viking-Penguin.  Ask them if this is responsible writing and wait for the answer…

Wait a minute!  Do you smell something?  Is that from the set of Denis Leary’s show, “Rescue Me?”  Is that a burning building from the set I smell?  Oh wait, I know what it is.  That’s called the beginning of the end of a career…

OK, I’m off my soap box, but in all honesty – is all this bad PR worth selling a few books at the expense of children with autism AND their parents?  Strategically, and sadly, this conversation will undoubtedly cause people to buy the book.  For those who are looking to spend $20 a different way, choose a local charity or autism foundation.

(Full disclosure:  when I’m not blogging, I work with Children’s Care Hospital and School where 60% of our children have autism or behavioral challenges and where positive changes are made despite the ignorance of those unfamiliar with what autism is really about.)

Akoha – Making the World a Better Place

Pay It Forward game

Pay It Forward game

If you haven’t heard of Akoha yet, I predict you will.  (At this time, Akoha is in beta version.)  I first learned of this from CC Chapman’s podcast, Managing the Gray and was immediately captivated.  A recent blog from CC on his main blog shows a picture of one of the cards.

It’s a basic Pay It Forward premise – do something nice for someone and have them do as well.  It’s all that but with a Web 2.0 twist.  You buy a deck of “mission cards” and then pick a card.  Cards have you do kind things for someone, like buy a cup of coffee.  As you do the kind deed, you hand your card off to that person so they can do the same.  As the card gets passed, you log in to the Akoha site, enter a code and give geographic information.  At that time you can view where the card has been and follow it forward to see where it goes.  There is many more that you can see and view as evidenced by their presentation recently at TechCrunch 50.

In a world where news has not been so good lately, at least on the economic front, it’s good to hear people are still trying to do good things.  And bringing a few people along.  The possibilities are exciting.

Make Failure a Friend

It Starts Well…

There you are.  With oustanding plan in hand you approach your boss with the plan to take your organization to the next level.  You amass your team and the research begins.  As you had hoped the research confirms your suspicions.  You elaborate your plan, ensuring all the i’s are dotted and the t’s are crossed.  Pricing confirms its doable.  Clearance is given, you present to your Executive Team and you’re given the go ahead.  Production moves forward.  Execution is flawless.  And when the results come in… you’re dead in the water with no needle movement at all on the Market-O-Meter.

How Do You React?

Assuming this has happened to us all, what is it that makes the best laid plans go sour?  Sports related, business related, or in our personal lives, it comes out of nowhere.  Failure.  It’s unfortunate part of life, but can anything be done to prevent it?  Should you attempt to prevent it?  I submit no.  To avoid failure is to avoid success.  We simply can’t succeed in life without failing a few times.  Failure pushes us to succeed:  miscalculated projections caught by your CFO will get your attention in a hurry – and you won’t make that mistake again, right?  But to get back to the first question – can we always anticipate failure?  Unfortunately, the answer is no.  Sucks, huh?

So Now What?

Everyone hates to fail.  For me, it’s like a rollercoaster.  Your preparation is the metaphor for boarding the ride.  The push-off of the campaign is the metaphor for creeping up the first big hill.  It’s exciting, exhilirating and scary, all rolled into one.  The plan launches; your car reaches the top.  And then just as your car rolls down the hill, the report comes across your desk.  With the giddy anticipation of that free fall that you’ve planned for, the ride suddenly ends.  No sales gain.  No climax.  Now what?

Failure has much to teach us.  It taught JK Rowling, author of the Harry Potter books, a few things.  Look at how she has turned out.  She’ll be remembered for her success in literature and far from being considered a failure.  Failure has many facets to it, but I would submit one question about failure.  Do you own your failure?  How much ownership do you take in your projects?  The ultimate determination of what occurs next falls in your hands – and it always has.  Your team might help pick up some of the pieces in a failed campaign, but that’s an assumption you can’t afford to make.  Take acountability of any project – good or bad.  Investigate and investigate and investigate some more.  Guide your team to start looking under rocks.  The answer might be elusive, but it’s out there.  Find it.  Was your research flawed?  Did the pricing need adjusting?  Did you involve the wrong people or not involve the right people?  Consider the possibilities.  Use the creativity you’ve been blessed with as a marketer or business leader to resolve the issues.


We only get a few shots in this life.  And as difficult a time as I have with this next statement, I admit some truth in it.  Failure IS closer than you think.  It’s a hair’s width away.  But on the other side of that hair is where Success lives.  Winston Churchill said, “Success is the ability to go from one failure to another with no loss of enthusiasm.” Read that statement again.  “…One failure to another….”  It’s unrealistic to expect failure is a distant relative.  So embrace failure but don’t let it beat you.  Hug it like an ex-wife or ex-husband (there’s a realistic picture for failure, huh?)   But go on to better things because you ARE capable of it.  You will find success.

Look at your last failure.  Analyze how you took in the bad news.  How did you respond?  Did you throw your arms up in the air, hide or simply quit?  This post is fitting, considering the failure of many NCAA teams this weekend.  Many top ranked teams lost including #1 Ohio State, #3 Georgia, #4 Florida and a few others lost; many on their home turf.  Learn from their coaches who will undoubtedly admit that they played a better team, that they’ll watch the game films to see what’s wrong and that they’ll come back with improved game plans come next Saturday.

Plan to succeed.  When failure occurs, embrace it.  Own your failure.  Adjust.  Then…Succeed!

The Truth in Advertising


Well, the SHSMD conference is over at last and now I’m home.  The sessions I attended were informative, but my main takeaway was of a different sort to me.  I listened to many speakers talk about how they overcame obstacles to communicate to their patients or clients.  I listened to how we should excite women and get their attention; how to involve physicians in future marketing efforts and how the Davids can beat the Goliaths.  But most of all, I observed the need for humans to share their stories.


We marketers spend countless dollars and efforts fighting the jungle of each other’s fruitions.  With machete aimed high, we attempt to swat down newspaper print ads, television commercials and the long vines of direct mail.  We do it in the name of our company, and in the name of profit.  But at the end of the day, word

Word of Mouth continues its reign

Word of Mouth continues its reign

of mouth is the mighty champion again and again.


Whether you are in healthcare or manufacturing, it matters not.  Whether you have a large budget or a small one matters not.  Whether you are an expert or an amateur matters not (take note Andrew Keen!).  What does matter is your ability to communicate – and in that communication tell a story.  Not your story, mind you.  Tell the story of the consumer.  And let them help.


WEb 2.0 users know this to be true already.  Bloggers and content generaters tell their stories everyday.  Who are bloggers?  Well…they’re you and me – consumers; and there are a lot of us.  And sometimes we may not like to hear what consumers always have to say.  But if we have a shred of marketing decency, then we must realize they are our focus group AND our audience.  They no longer need an invitation or free meal.  They meet when they want and where they want.  And say what they want to say.  They force us all to be better producers.  And what’s so wrong with that?

We have much to learn from each other.  Let the story telling begin.

Creativity Examples

There is nothing I love better than some great examples of creativity no matter the medium.  Here’s a site I came across that has this and more.

Healthcare Marketing Goes 2.0

This week I’m at a SHSMD conference in San Francisco.  (That’s Society for Healthcare Strategy and Marketing Development for those playing at home.)  The big buzzword so far has been “2.0.”   One gentleman I spoke with yesterday from a healthcare group is having a hard time getting the corporate boys to realize the playground equipment has changed over the years.  They’re not quite ready to let go of the past.  Predictably, the age range of these folks is on the higher end of the spectrum which tells me fear still causes ignorance in this new age.

Although it’s been a day since I heard this information that people are actually dragging their feet at engaging the internet, consumers and the future, I just can not shake it.  How do these businesses stay alive?  Maybe they should check their days on hand cash – the days might be quickly coming to a close.

The Future of Marketing (Harry Potter style)

Having heard of E-Ink a few years ago, I knew that one day “electronic paper” would become a reality.  And now it’s here.  Check out the latest copy of Esquire.  You just might not believe your eyes.  But imagine the possibilities as a marketer…

Given this technology, how would you use it best for your organization?  What other ways could you see this being used best?