Trademark Infringement


Oscar Wilde thinks “imitation is the sincerest form of flattery”.

I think it’s bullshit.

In the corporate world it’s trademark infringement. T.I. cases are challenging to say the least – which is why companies like this skirt the law, because leveraging an existing brand builds awareness faster and helps sustain their brand’s memorability.

Can I make a logical + strategic case for trademark infringement? Yes.

Should I? No. It’s unethical. 

If this happened to you personally – you’d sue me for identity theft.

If your agency or design shop comes to you with a trademark infringement strategy or tactic, think very long and very hard. What does that (behavior) say about you personally, about you as a brand manager or about the brands you manage?  

What you put out in slices will come back to you in loaves.

Be careful what you “put out”.



Digital stalking


My mother used to tell me that she hated sleigh rides because you were down the hill in a flash but had to struggle for a long time to get back up to the hilltop.

Apple’s new bedtime app is a slippery slope app.

This app sends all of your personal sleeping habit data back to Apple as meta data. Use the translate app and every word you translate is recorded by Apple as well. Your Safari browsing data as well. The list goes on and on. The more you use your apps the better organizations like Apple and Google are able to profile your cohort – and ultimately you. 

Once you’ve provided your consent to use the app and personal data collection you’ve donated that data for life. You cannot get it back – or expunged.

The trend troubles me.

The (traditional) mass media advertising model assumes that on any given day a certain percentage of people enter or exit the “buying cycle”. Mass media campaigns are designed to reach a certain percentage frequently of the people in cycle often enough to ensure message comprehension could take place. The reach / frequency equation is based on tons of empirical research that models message comprehension and memory decay. Brand awareness and purchase behavior were two important measures of campaign success.

Almost all of the campaigns you see today are ROI (retail sales) driven.

Cookies are used to track online behaviour and drive campaigns. Along with other tracking data sets this has led to more intrusive online media channels and far more frequent advertising exposures. And while PPC makes campaigns VERY cheap, in many cases they're not very effective. 

The future is here and it's in re-marketing.

Basically I identify you with a digital profile and hound you until you buy my stuff. No matter what online media you select I’ll find you. I can use your phone to tell me in which store you are, which isle you’re in and which product display you’re approaching. You profile will activate a text message and the shelf – talker, encouraging you to buy my stuff now because you, dear reader will get a special + unique discount or GWP from me.

Off-line that's called stalking.

Where will this end?

What will this mean to you and your family?

Is this really what you want?          



Say No to bad ads and save a unicorn




Towards a simpler creative brief


To do great work David Ogilvy asked his clients to give him the freedom of a tight brief. It’s a polite way of saying: “tell me exactly what you want, and please, let’s not play that stupid I’ll know it when I see it game.”

If most variables in the marketing, sales, advertising and internal communications mix will remain the same and you’re only making a few minor changes to an ad for example, you might want to try this “reframing” approach.

Simply summarize the facts, the feelings + the future.

Here’s an example:


Apple supports HIV/AIDS programs that provide counselling, testing and medicine that prevents the transmission of HIV from a mother to her unborn child. In the last ten years, Apple has raised over $130 million through the sale of their (RED) products. The new Special Edition series is Apple’s latest blended HIV awareness raising series of products which function as HIV awareness media too.


We want to let people know that each time they buy a red iPhone case, smart battery case, watch sport band, wireless headphones, portable speakers, iPod shuffle, nano or iPad case, Apple will send a contribution to the global fund, and my (public) use of these red cases will draw attention to, and promote greater awareness of this important cause. Each person's little contribution, in conjunction with other small contributions the world over, will make a real difference in this and future generations.


Fewer mothers and children with HIV/AIDS.




Proper perspective

Driving School Pic

 This driving school's name reminds me that different people see life in VERY different ways and that when we take the “perspective” of others for granted, we are making a very big mistake. Understanding how someone arrives at their interpretation of reality - or a creative decision is critical to doing more, and better, work for them that is just like, or very unlike, the work that was done before.