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Archive for May, 2012

GM Says “No Thanks” to Facebook Advertising

May 24th, 2012 by Bob Bly

Stephen Booser sent me an e-mail today in which he notes that GM has pulled its advertising program out of Facebook due to lack of results.

“Could this be the beginning of a realization by those who have things to sell that they have been sold a bill of goods by the young marketers most of whom, it seems to me, have never asked a closing question in their lives?” he asks rhetorically.

He suggests that “social” is not a synonym for “sell.” I believe the trendy marketing imperative of “having a conversation” is not the same as “selling  a product.” In fact, having a conversation may be the fall-back position for those marketers who don’t know how to sell.

Your thoughts?


Category: General | 60 Comments »

New Life for Newspapers?

May 21st, 2012 by Bob Bly

Many people believe  newspapers are an antiquated, soon-to-be-dead medium.

But if so, why did Warren Buffett — arguably the world’s savviest investor — just buy 63 newspapers for $142 million?

“Berkshire Hathaway doesn’t fool around,” said analyst Edward Atorino. “I don’t think Berkshire Hathaway does anything where they’re going to lose money.”

“We may buy more newspapers,” said Buffett. “I think the economics work out OK.”



Category: General | 199 Comments »

What does GE get out of social media?

May 17th, 2012 by Bob Bly

According to an article in Direct Marketing News (5/12, p. 12), General Electric has more than 200,000 Facebook friends and more than 50,000 Twitter followers.

What does GE post on the social networks? Photos, questions, and jokes.

What do they get out of all this activity? Hundreds of “likes,” comments, and mentions.

Getting Facebook “likes” doesn’t seem like an impressive achievement to  me, but apparently GE thinks it a worthy expenditure of time and money.

Do you?


Category: General | 53 Comments »

Ask a Stupid Question….

May 16th, 2012 by Bob Bly

A recent headline on read: “Why are teen moms poor?”

Is this a serious question? They’re poor because they are teenagers who have children. Children are expensive, and most teens earn and have little or no money. Mystery solved, right?


Category: General | 44 Comments »

Avoid Logical Contradictions in Copy

May 9th, 2012 by Bob Bly

A TV commercial for the new movie “Snow White and the Huntsman” dramatically proclaims — “This is no fairy tale!”

It reads well and sounds dramatic.

The only problem: it’s not true. Anything about Snow White is by definition a fairy tale. So the copy is  one big lie.

Am I being a nitpicker here? Or am I right on the money?


Category: General | 52 Comments »

Is Writing the Hardest Form of Thinking?

May 8th, 2012 by Bob Bly

In The Writer magazine (6/12, p. 15), my favorite novelist, Pat Conroy (The Prince of Tides, The Great Santini), writes that “Good writing is the hardest form of thinking.”

He continues: “It involves the agony of turning profoundly difficult thoughts into lucid form, then forcing them into the tight-fitting uniform of language, making them visible and clear. If the writing is good, then the result seems effortless and inevitable.”

This sounds nice, but do you buy his claim that good writing is really the hardest form of thinking? I think for most people, the hardest form of thinking is mathematics.

My youngest son is a freshman at Carnegie-Mellon. He took a course in “calculus in three dimensions.” I would wager that calculus in three dimensions is more difficult for most students than English composition.

What do you think?


Category: General | 104 Comments »