Jonathan Salem Baskin

Advil Runs Around Mucus

"Don't blame mucus," the Advil Congestion Relief ad campaign declares so it can promote its anti-inflammation properties as a cold medicine. I love it.

The ads are nothing to write home about; the obligatory creative take on the pitch gives us a grubby ethnic-looking guy in a green T-shirt (labeled "Mucus," in case there was any doubt) sitting on or near people suffering from stuffy noses and telling them that their discomfort isn't his fault. Advil is "the right sinus medicine for the real problem," which is swollen nasal passages.

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The Night after Christmas

Well, another year has all but come and gone and, sadly, so have many dreams of selling stuff at full price. So it's a good time to reprise a holiday favorite here at The Bulb, with apologies to the anonymous authors who penned it in the mid-19th century (and invented the modern idea of Santa Claus in doing so).

Also, you can listen to this post as a podcast:

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The Limits of Trust

Anybody who regularly flies in airplanes these days knows there's something up with the weather. There are more storms closing airports or causing bumpy fly-arounds. Is it a minor circumstantial occurrence, something that might last years or decades, or merely a step along a process that has been going on for millennia?

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This Coffeemaker Can't Dance

I am digging the new Tassimo Brewbot! It's this innocuous-looking little device that sprouts arms and legs and opens packages of coffee, makes it, and then brings it to you. Who would have thought that such a simple thing could be improved so dramatically. I mean, it has a head with eyes and talks, so it's possibly sentient. And I'll tell you one thing: this is one kitchen appliance that knows how to dance! I've seen the commercial.

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So Wrong They're Right

NASA and an assorted bevy of astronomers and biologists recently admitted two mistakes of epic proportions: there are three times as many stars in the sky than they'd thought, and there's life on Earth based on elements that we didn't believe life could be based upon anywhere in the Universe, let alone here.

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Is Transparency a Good Thing?

The latest WikiLeaks revelation that much of the American government's secret diplomatic cables read like entries in a mean girls' burn book has got politicians and pundits blathering about how it might affect foreign policy, guessing if/where Interpol could apprehend the group's founder, Julian Assange, and wondering when the next batch of secrets will be released (rumored to be Bank of America emails in which execs come across as, gasp, heartless capitalists).

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Social Media, Apple

My latest column in Advertising Age reaffirmed a phenomenon I've seen for a while now: the topic most marketers want to talk about is social media. Praising or deriding Apple comes in a close second.

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The Futures of Social Media

For those of you who read this blog, you know that I am regularly befuddled when it comes to exploring the functionality and efficacy of social media. It's not that the practices are particularly complex or vague; rather, it's often the practitioners who are both, combining a confused emotional need to have their beliefs confirmed with a willingness to discard the laws of physics, rules of accounting, and the proofs of experience in order to find their validation.

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Why I Love Advertising

Advertising is a brilliant and nutty pursuit, and I have to admit that I love it. In fact, I keep a folder (electronically on Evernote, and I carry a beat-up manila folder in my backpack) just to collect stuff that makes me wince or smile. Here are four recent tidbits from the Dim Bulb archive:


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Square Peg, No Hole

There’s been lots of talk this year about using advertising to “monetize” social media tech like Facebook and Twitter. I want to go out on a limb and suggest that the idea is a deal with the Devil, at best, because it misses (and misuses) the point of the media.

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