Jonathan Salem Baskin

Incomprehensible

I was surprised to receive this subscription renewal notice from The New Yorker last week, as I dimly remembered having re-upped a few months ago. It took me a minute to locate the proof on the invoice (I'm good for another year and a half). Why am I getting a notice now? Do they think I'm stupid?

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The Ad Cannes Job

The advertising industry's annual celebration of its creativity ended last night with an Academy Awardsish soiree for best picture. 

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Christmas in June

Toys R Us has announced a holiday layaway plan for shoppers, and I think it's one of the smartest new ideas I've heard in a long time...even if it's an old one.

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The Social Shibboleth

The jury is still out on social media as a marketing tool. There, I said it, heretical as it might be. To say otherwise is to be blindly optimistic or, worse, stupid.

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An Advertising Reformation?

I may be looking too hard for hopeful signs but I think we may be at the threshold of a reformation in advertising, which will mean larger changes in the communications world overall. Here are two of them and why I think they’re important (and somewhat related):

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Haunted by Dancing Khakis

Gap Inc. is searching for "a creative partner for our holiday 2010 campaign," according to Advertising Age. In the spirit of helping the brand’s managers with their decision, I hereby offer up some straight and very dim suggestions: 

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Smoking Pot in a Fishbowl

The Harvard Business Review has posted yet another blog post waxing poetic on the magic of social media marketing that substitutes the comments of cheerleaders for even a hint of editorial responsibility or factual accuracy. Letting it get away with running such nonsense would be like shrugging at an Encyclopedia Brittanica entry on the truthiness of the Piltdown Man. 

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Could Pabst Be Too Cool?

Pabst Blue Ribbon ("PBR") is a 100 year old+ beer brand and one of 25 labels just bought by an investor renowned for his ability to make old brands profitable again. I want to give him the benefit of some dim insights, though it's proving much harder than I expected.

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The Ad That Went Bad

(If you're a regular dim bulber, you know that I love to riff on what's happening to brands, marketing, media consumption and the greater Known Universe. I had the honor of keynoting the Worldwide Partners' annual meeting in Miami earlier this week and for that occasion I wanted to explore a new way of looking at things...so I wrote a poem, which follows. My apologies to Dr. Seuss and anybody who gets headaches from bad rhythm or rhyme)

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Do Everything, Say Nothing

P&G's Dawn dishwashing detergent is facing an immense and somewhat delicate opportunity: it has been donating product to help clean wildlife impacted by oil spills since the Exxon Valdez in 1989, and it is already making a contribution to BP's Gulf disaster relief. I understand that its marketers are considering how much more it might do without getting accused of opportunism.

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