If Blogging Paid the Bills, We Wouldn’t Have This Problem

I’m leaving for frosty Dallas this morning. My place of work is coordinating parts of Madden Bowl XVII tomorrow night, so it’s unlikely I’ll be able to blog. I’ll be sure to get something up over the weekend.

Until then, go make a proposition bet on the Super Bowl. For instance, Bodog has put the over/under for Christina Aguilera’s rendition of the National Anthem at 1:50. (Take the over!) You can even bet on the color of the Gatorade shower for the winning coach. (Orange is 5/2.)

Frankly, there’s no point to watching a game in which you have zero emotional investment. That is, unless you have a financial investment.

Tim Pawlenty is the Next Tom Cruise

If former Minnesota governor Tim Pawlenty gets the Republican nomation to run against President Barack Obama in the 2012 election, I’m not voting for him.

That said – and I feel like a clown admitting it – I think Pawlenty’s new political ad may be the most compelling I’ve ever seen. Taughty rhetoric. National monuments. Fighter jets. Kids in school. All it needed was beer, a baseball game and a Golden retriever and Pawlenty’s ad would’ve been been the most American thing I’ve ever seen. It takes a guy who’s famously understated, if not meek, and makes him out to be the hero in a Michael Bay movie.

You can’t tell me it’s not a compelling ad. The problem is it makes for a better trailer for an action flick than a political ad for a campaign. Has Pawlenty even declared his candidacy?

From an aesthetic standpoint, it’s awesome. I want to stand up and applaud. I want to pump my fists and slap Pawlenty square on the ass, Favre-style. (“Get’em, T-Paw!”) Then I start to think about the money that went into producing this thing and how it means we’re on the cusp of another political season. At least Pawlenty’s ad is strictly self-promoting and not out to say Mitt Romney is a tool or Sarah Palin is a mascot.

What’s better than malice and mud-slinging? Slow-motion and blue-collar laborers!

I’m Punting

Had one of those Oh-my-God!-I-forgot-to-do-something-at-work-so-I-need-to-get-out-of-bed-and-leave-two-hours-earlier moments this morning, which means no time for blogging this morning.

Bloggers generally skip posting on holidays, or they’ll post something really tacky and pre-planned. This is called a punt. Instead, I’m posting a video of a punt, this from a high school kid back in my home state who booted it 86 yards thanks to a friendly tail wind:

Could ‘Fountain Lady’ Put an End to Viral Videos?

Once every few weeks, I write a blog post for Idea Peepshow, which is the official blog of Fast Horse Inc., the consumer marketing agency where I’m currently an associate. Today, I wrote about a woman who’s threatening a lawsuit after a security tape showing her falling into a fountain was posted on YouTube:

Woman walks through a mall. Woman receives a text message. Woman responds to the text message. Woman, distracted, trips and falls into a fountain.

Woman – shocked, embarrassed, drenched – exits the fountain, and exits the television screen if you’re watching the security tape that captured the whole event. Mall security watches the tape. Someone with mall security decides to post a video of the video – an important distinction – onto YouTube.

Within a week, the original clip is viewed more than 1.8 million times.

Continue Reading

I Swear I’m Not Lazy

I’m in South Dakota at my girlfriend’s house, about to leave now for Minneapolis. Got some interesting video from the weekend, which has compelled me to start a new series – Things That Are Awesome About South Dakota.

Today’s edition of T.T.A.A.A.S.D. features drive-thru liquor stores, because sometimes you want to drink, but you’re not willing to get out of your car to do it.

Check back later, maybe this evening. Until then, read an MLK Jr. story. I think it’s important to remember his legacy and the power one person can have in reshaping our culture.

Lessons in Puppy Ownership: Puppyhood Bites

As I write this, our puppy is frantically circling the room, looking for something, anything she can gnaw on. Right now, she’s a chew junkie and I’m wishing Animal Planet had its own version of Intervention.

Turns out she’s teething.

This all started yesterday morning. After my morning shower, I caught Olive on the ottoman with a half chewed up envelope that was spotted with blood. I disposed of the envelope in a flurry, and panicked thinking why would she be bleeding?

Then, I found a solitary incisor, alone and pathetic, but surely the first of many to come.

I couldn’t have been more oblivious to the concept of teething. The more I researched it, I felt like a parent who’d never heard of puberty. I suffered three years with braces and I’ve lost many cold battles with dentists and orthodontists. I understand the misery of oral pain. Still, you didn’t see me ransacking my childhood home, eating up remote controls and yesterday’s mail.

Olive has taken our furniture hostage, threatening to chomp whenever the pain flares up. She has expressed she will pee wherever she pleases, and we’ll forgive her, because we know she’s in agony. Whenever she starts chewing on an armrest or a towel, we have to pop a toy in her mouth to relieve her urge. We’ve got socks, ropes and toys rotating in the freezer so we can help relieve her inflamed gums. What we have is a manic puppy for the next two months. Just as you or I would blurt out an expletive while suffering, she’ll bark and howl without warning.

For a puppy, this is rock bottom.

I miss a week ago, when our biggest concern was her bouts with gas. What I wouldn’t give to have her puppy farts back. Wait. Check that — they’re still here. Oh my God, are they here.

Now Olive’s laying on the loveseat next to me, splayed out like she spent the night awake on a chew bender. I hate to catch myself complaining because this is, in part, why we got a dog. We wanted something to take care of, something to raise — a project, a mission, a hobby.

At times — like when she farts — I think we should’ve joined a kickball league. Then she comes into the room, stares up and plops helplessly on her belly. Or, she falls fast asleep and starts kicking and growling through a dream. Or, on our walks, she’ll lead me home, making all of the right turns without my cue.

No matter how moody, stinky or destructive she gets, I know this is worth it. It may not smell like it, but I know it is.

Did Tostitos’ Fiesta Bowl Halftime Show Go Too Far?

Last night, I nearly gagged watching the ill-advised shenanigans Tostitos pulled during the Fiesta Bowl halftime show.

To summarize, Tostitos — the title sponsor of the game — partnered with USO to surprise four families by reuniting them with a loved one returned from overseas. The families had been brought down to the field and honored for their sacrifice. All of the sudden, a curtain dropped to reveal four servicemen, and 30 millions Americans looked on as emotion and shock flooded the field.

Was it touching? Absolutely. But the moment wasn’t ours. We didn’t deserve to be a part of it. It was a highly personal moment — branded, commercialized, and corporatized for your viewing pleasure. And judging by the mostly positive reviews on Twitter, it went over quite well.

The halftime show was a sort-of kickoff for the Tostitos Reunite America campaign. According to a Frito-Lay press release, Reunite America is “a program that will foster consumer-requested reunions of all kinds nationwide during 2011.” The release goes on to say,

Current pop culture trends show that consumers are looking for ways to reconnect, not just online, but in real life. From television shows that spotlight high-profile reunions to the recent trend in tracing ancestry roots, people are seeking out long-lost connections. With that in mind, the Tostitos brand intends to make desired reunions a reality for many people who otherwise might be limited to connecting with friends and family online, or not at all.

Please. Stick to chips.

It’s one thing to reconnect with an old friend, co-worker or classmate. However, reuniting with a family member who’s served overseas should be considered something sacred, not a marketing opportunity.

I’m not the only who reviled the halftime show:

Of course, there were plenty of positive reviews, too. If you can evoke powerful emotions in a consumer, nearly any campaign will be well-received. But take a step back and think about if military families reuniting was really Tostitos’ moment to own, whether it should’ve been used to sell some chips or drive people to a Facebook page.

(For the record, the Tostitos Facebook page received about 1,000 Likes in the half-hour following halftime — roughly a 0.003 percent conversion rate with a viewing audience of 30 million. Not good.)

Did you see last night’s halftime show? What did you think? Did Tostitos take advantage of a great opportunity or did they undermine their own campaign before it got off the blocks?