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Archive for October, 2012

21 Things I Don’t Like About Marketing

October 25th, 2012 by Bob Bly

Here are 21 things I don’t like about modern marketing:

 1—Telemarketing calls from a robot.

 2—Telemarketing calls from a telemarketer.

 3—A direct mailer that is a challenge just to open.

 4—Freelance writers who call themselves “content strategists.”

 5—Having to make a separate version of web sites and e-mails for smart phones.

 6—Ads that allow you to respond only by scanning a QR code and have no phone number or other response mechanism.

 7—People whom I don’t even know inviting me to be their Facebook friend.

 8—Online videos or audios that start as soon as you open a web page without giving me the option of choosing whether I want to view or hear it.

 9—TV commercials from local business owners with the production values of a bad elementary school play.

 10—Hype-filled long-copy landing pages where the marketer brags endlessly about how rich and successful he is.

 11—Marketers who offer free tapes or other freebies in their advertising and then don’t send them — because they are doing a bait and switch.

 12—Print ads with type that is 10 point or smaller.

 13—Print ads and web sites with type that is approximately the same color as the background.

 14—Body copy in reverse type (white on a black or other dark background).

 15—Dynamic web copy that rotates before you have a chance to read it.

 16—Branding consultants who advise clients that long copy doesn’t work.

 17—Social media consultants who act as if social networking is the most powerful marketing medium in the world.

 18—Graphic designers who think the design is more important than the words.

 19—Marketers who don’t have an offer in their marketing.

 20—Marketers who don’t have a USP in their marketing.

 21—Marketers who haven’t read Hopkins, Caples, Ogilvy, Collier, Schwab, Sackheim, or Reeves – and in fact have never heard of them. Yikes!



Category: General | 94 Comments »

Horse Sense

October 24th, 2012 by Bob Bly

This past weekend, my wife and eldest son and I went to a beautiful little stable in Pennsylvania so we could ride horses.

 Well, they rode the horses. I declined.

 The truth is I am not crazy about horses. They bite and kick and horse stables smell pretty bad.

 Also, whenever I am on a horse, it never does what I tell it to.

 So while they rode for an hour, I sat outside at a picnic table and read my favorite publication, the New York Review of Books.

 It was a beautiful autumn day. I was surrounded by hills with an explosion of trees decorated green, brown, yellow, orange, and red.

 After the ride, my wife and son told me, “You really missed out on all the fun.”

 But I didn’t.

 I did what I wanted to do and I really enjoyed myself.

 My point – and I do have one – is that you shouldn’t do what others think you should do just to make them happy.

 You should do what you want to do to make yourself happy.

 When I graduated from college, I took a corporate job which pleased my father to no end.

 In his mind it paid a steady salary and was safe and secure.

 But I was bored. So I became a freelance writer.

 He felt I was making a mistake, giving up my safe and secure corporate job and my steady salary.

 Early on in my freelancing, I did a large job for a software company and got a check for $10,000. (This was a lot of money in the early 1980s).

 Wisely, I photocopied the check and showed it to my father.

 After he put his eyes back in his head, he never complained about me quitting my corporate job ever again.

 Make yourself happy. When you do, those who care about you will eventually be happy for you.

 And if they’re not, well – that’s too bad for them.


Category: General | 330 Comments »

Benny Goodman Rides Again

October 23rd, 2012 by Bob Bly

A  new commercial for HP printers has a background song with the lyric: “It ain’t what you do; it’s the way that you do it.”

Gen X and Y probably think  HP was clever for writing the song. But us matures and boomers know that it was recorded decades ago by Benny Goodman, who played clarinet as well as sang on the track.


Category: General | 149 Comments »


October 22nd, 2012 by Bob Bly

An article in the United States Postal Service (USPS) magazine Deliver (10/12, p. 13) shows a dimensional direct mail piece with the word “Mofo” imprinted on the outside.

Are the USPS and the marketer who sent the mailer unaware that “Mofo” stands for “motherf–ker”?


Category: General | 254 Comments »

Newsweek is Dead

October 18th, 2012 by Bob Bly

Another nail was hammered into the coffin of print this week. The event: Newsweek announced that after 80 years, it will end its print publication in 2013.

Editor-in-Chief Tina Brown said: “We have reached a tipping point at which we can most efficiently and effectively reach our readers in all-digital format.”

For me, this is another sign of the world going to Hell in a handbasket: I want my magazines and newspapers on paper, not on a screen. I don’t see a happy future for me as a reader, especially with Kindle e-books outselling paperbacks and hardcovers.


Category: General | 57 Comments »

Trojan Needs Protection (from Bad Reviews)

October 11th, 2012 by Bob Bly

DM News, a marketing trade publication, criticized Trojan this month for not integrating social media into one of its promotional campaigns.

“The Trojan brand hasn’t tweeted in more than a year” said DM News, apparently in shock.

Maybe Trojan hasn’t tweeted for a year because they have better things to do than social media — like investing their time in marketing that actually generates a positive ROI.


Category: General | 130 Comments »

H.G. Wells on Copy Revisions

October 9th, 2012 by Bob Bly

Why do your clients make so many revisions to the copy you wrote?

“No passion in the world is equal to the passion to alter someone else’s draft.”  –H.G. Wells

Why this is so I have no idea ….


Category: General | 68 Comments »

Slogans I Don’t Like

October 1st, 2012 by Bob Bly

Slogans I don’t like:

1–Farmer’s insurance: “Bah-be-bum-bum-BUM-bum-bum.” Just stupid and not even catchy.

2–Dos Equis for its Most Interesting Man in the World campaign: “Stay thirsty, my friends.”

Yes, I know they want us to stay thirsty for Dos Equis beer.

But to literally stay thirsty, you would have to AVOID drinking their beer or any other.


Category: General | 196 Comments »