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Archive for June, 2008

The End of Pretension in Advertising?

June 10th, 2008 by Bob Bly

For years, auto makers have been selling used cars under the semi-pretentious label of “pre-owned vehicle.”

So I was shocked yesterday when I heard a radio spot for Honda talking about their “certified used cars.”

The whole reason the industry switched from “used car” to “pre-owned vehicle” was to avoid the negative image of the used car industry — in particular used car dealers.

So does Honda know something we don’t? Have they conducted market research that indicates consumers are wary of — or see through — the high-fatutin B.S. of the whole “certified pre-owned vehicle” thing?

Will the market eagerly rush to by Honda’s used cars because of the refreshing honesty of their new commercial?

Or will consumers say “no thanks” to used cars — and stick with pre-owned vehicles instead?

Your thoughts?


Category: General | 35 Comments »

Did You Reinvent Yourself?

June 6th, 2008 by Bob Bly

My friend Peter Fogel is writing a book on reinvention in the workplace.

It’s rare for people these days to have one career and stick with it for decades.

Most of us have several careers during our life — which often necessitates a difficult period of transition, training, and reinvention.

Have you “reinvented” yourself at work or in your business?

Did you do it by learning a new skill … or finding a mentor … or growing a new profit center?

And did you reinvent yourself out of choice — or did your industry become moribund or your skills obsolete?


Category: General | 36 Comments »

Are You Suffering from “RSS Feed Overload”?

June 5th, 2008 by Bob Bly

When Yale librarian Rutherford Rogers said “We are drowning in information but starved for knowledge,” he could have been talking about Chris Schroeder.

In a speech at the Specialized Information Publishers Association (SIPA) conference this week, Schroeder, CEO of Health Central Network, said RSS feeds were a great way of keeping up with what’s new in your field.

He then showed a slide of his own RSS feed inbox and noted that it had 2,000 items awaiting his attention.

Mr. Schroeder, I have news for you: if you have 2,000 unread items in your RSS feed, then it is anything BUT an ideal way of getting information.

Schroeder and many other people I know subscribe to so many data sources, their RSS feeds deliver hundreds or thousands of items a week — more than they could ever hope to read.

I believe Mr. Schroeder over-estimates his own need for information — or is unable to distinguish between what he needs to know vs. what he would like to know.

In today’s information age, more scientific knowledge is published every 24 hours than you could read in 5 years.

The key to managing your information is to be more selective, not less. Ruthlessly unsubscribe to e-zines, RSS feeds, newsletters, and magazines until you get only what you absolutely need.

Even then, you won’t have time to read even a small fraction of it. But at least your inbox will be somewhat under control.

But over-subscribing to free content via RSS feeds is an invitation to information overload disaster: equivalent to getting a Sunday New York Times delivered to your door every day of the year.


Category: General | 44 Comments »

Bad Blogging Advice?

June 4th, 2008 by Bob Bly

In an interview with DM News (6/2/08, p. 23), Andrew Trent, director of Web content for Journyx, gives advice on using blogs as a marketing tool that seems — to me, anyway — to be a tad off base.

Specifically, he says: “Your blog should provide the same content as any direct marketing pieces you send out.”

(He does add that your blog can include “so much more” than your promotions … such as “links to relevant materials.”)

Andy, are you serious?

Blogs are supposed to be conversations and content, as I understand it — not sales pitches for products.

Do you take copy from your e-mail marketing campaigns and direct mail packages … and post that same sales copy on your blog?

I cannot believe anyone would do it, or that if someone DID do it, his readers wouldn’t flee from his blog like rats abandoning a sinking ship.

What do you think? Can sales copy be recycled in a blog? Or is that cheating your loyal blog readers?


Category: General | 35 Comments »

Do Budweiser’s Customers Talk Like This?

June 3rd, 2008 by Bob Bly

The tag line of Budweiser’s new campaign is:


I don’t think I’ve ever, in my half century of living, heard anyone, anywhere, use the word “drinkability” when describing a beer or any other beverage.

If you accept the premise that copy should be written in the prospect’s language, then Bud’s new slogan fails the test.

But what’s YOUR opinion of Budweiser’s “Superior Drinkability” — good, bad, or terrible?


Category: General | 24 Comments »