ishmaels corner

Category: Bad Stuff

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A Communications Train Wreck for the Ages

  I collect examples of dreadful communications. Every large company at some point drives off the communications road of common sense and ends up as a piñata on social media. When United Airlines baggage handlers “mishandled” a guitar back in 2008 and United refused to reimburse the passenger, the company had no clue that the …more

Advertising Gets This Storytelling Stuff

  Human beings gravitate to “train wrecks.” How else can you explain the popularity of “Breaking Bad”? Or people flocking to watch “Shrek”? Even though advertising has limited real estate — often 60 seconds of video or one static print page — the discipline finds a way to set the stage, surface the “bad stuff” …more

“Lou, You Know What Your Problem Is?”

Years ago we resigned a big brand account in the consumer electronics space. I think the statute of limitations has run out, 10+ years, so I can share the name. You’ve probably heard of them. Sony. At the time we supported their consumer electronics business in the U.S. handling their video camcorders, cameras and laptops. …more

What Happens When a PR Agency Chooses the “Wrong” Client?

The agency ends up in the New York Times with a bad look. That’s what happened to Edelman last week. The NYT devoted 29 1/8th inches — I counted using the hardcopy version — to Edelman landing a private prisons company called The GEO Group and then deciding to not move forward with the client. …more

Kevin Durant Airballs Brand-building Moment

Today’s professional athletes cultivate their brands with attention to detail that would make a product manager at P&G proud. Certainly Kevin Durant fits into this category. That’s why his “Thank You to Everyone” ad published in the San Francisco Chronicle last week was disappointing. The creative could have come from a summer advertising workshop for …more

Business Insider Is OK with Flawed Dot-connecting in the Name of Click Bait

People gravitate toward extremes. Extremes make for interesting reads, which is why the media devotes so much energy to skyrocketing darlings and train wrecks. Of course, the best story is the skyrocketing darling that becomes a train wreck. Meet Theranos. The media spent months building up the startup as the best thing since sliced rye.Then, …more