STOP - paraprosdokians ahead!

Here’s a great way to add stopping power to your headline copy.

Paraprosdokians turns of phrase in which the latter part of the sentence isn't what you expected based on the first part of the sentence. They encourage you to re-think the entire statement – which is exactly what you want folks to do when they read and engage with your copy. Here are some of the more famous ones.

  • If I agreed with you, we'd both be wrong.
  • The last thing I want to do is hurt you, but it’s still on my list.
  • We never really grow up, we just learn how to act in public.
  • War does not determine who is right ... only who is left.
  • Where there's a will, I want to be in it.
  • I used to be indecisive. Now I'm not sure.
  • You can always count on Americans to do the right thing—after they've tried everything else.
  • If I could just say a few words … I'd be a better public speaker.
  • I haven’t slept for 10 days, because that would be too long.
  • Behind every great man there's a woman, rolling her eyes.
  • I've had a perfectly wonderful evening. But this wasn't it.
  • You’re never too old to learn – something stupid.
  • Going to church doesn’t make you a Christian any more than standing in a garage makes you a car.
  • Actually you don’t really need a parachute to skydive. You only need one to skydive twice.
  • Women will never be equal to men until they can walk down the street with a bald head and a beer gut and still think they’re sexy.
  • On the job application where it says, “In case of an emergency, notify . . . “ I answered “A doctor”.
  • I didn’t say it was your fault, I said I’m blaming you.
  • To steal from one person is plagiarism, to steal from many is research.
  • Knowledge is knowing that a tomato is a fruit. Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.  




Canada Post DM Promotion


I love this C.P. D.M. promotion for a few reasons.

It reminds us that a hand-written note is still a very affordable gift to someone, and for the recipient a keep-sake that will be probably be kept a lot longer than a text message or an e-mail (along with special birthday and x-mas cards).

It reinforces the Canada Post brand’s value at a time when many boxes delivered by C.P. are branded Amazon. 

For Canada Post it’s a VERY affordable test given they own the infrastructure.

Response rates are very simple and easy to track right down to FSA.

It reminds household residents who received this piece and      are employed in an advertising or marketing capacity that Canada Post DM is a VERY smart and VERY viable alternative to unaddressed mail and online marketing.

Lets hope Canada Post remembers another core rule of DM: message frequency. Make sure this is not the 1st and last reminder. 




Targeting “WE” versus “ME”

Here are some excerpts from an article that appeared in The Economist last December that will impact house-hold marketing and advertising because the model that describes H.H. occupancy, income, age along with brand use and attitudes are changing rapidly.    

  • The pandemic may be encouraging people to live in larger groups.
  • In Britain households where couples share with at least one other adult were the fastest-growing type in the two decades to 2019. 
  • In Canada 6% of the population lived in multigenerational households by 2016, and it was the fastest-growing type of living. 
  • By 2016 20% of Australia’s 24.5m people were living with others from outside their immediate family, a 42% increase on 15 years earlier.
  • Almost two thirds of households are extended family ones in Senegal. Extended families provide a safety net where the state does not, pooling cash to pay medical bills and letting jobless nephews eat from the communal pot. 
  • In America the share of households made up of married couples with children halved between 1970 and 2019. People are marrying less and later. Marriages are less likely than they were to last until death.
  • The West has seen a dramatic rise in single-person households. From France to Japan, they make up over a third of the total number. In Germany they account for 40% of the total, in Finland 41%.
  • In Britain, the average house costs more than eight times the average salary, up from four times in the mid-1990s. Homes are less affordable for single women, who earn less than men. The number of older divorcees who live alone has gone up. In the absence of new construction, this squeezes the supply for younger people, who are less wealthy. “As more people lose their jobs [because of the pandemic] or have their pay or their hours cut, sharing a household with more people is a way to pay the bills,”.
  • Companies have jumped on this opportunity. The Collective, a British outfit, runs three co-living buildings, one in New York and two in London. Its “members”, whose average tenancy is nine months, live in studio flats but share lounges, gyms and a roster of events from cocktail-mixing to running clubs. The firm has another 9,000 units in development.
  • Although urban buildings run by the likes of The Collective are aimed mainly at young, single professionals, the types of people seeking to live this way are growing more diverse. The Collective houses people aged 18 to 67 years old (the average is 30). A survey by Build Asset Management, a British firm that runs serviced accommodation, said that in the year to June 2020 it saw a 136% rise in inquiries about shared rental accommodation from couples. 
  • An American company, last year opened two buildings in New York designed for families rather than singles or couples. Would-be residents can choose an apartment with up to four bedrooms and access to communal facilities and services, including a play area and nannies.
  • The most experimental housing today involves multiple generations of unrelated people who did not get a say on whom they lived with. Perhaps unsurprisingly it is found in Scandinavia. Some 60% of the residents of the 51 apartments in Sällbo, a public-housing project in the Swedish town of Helsingborg, are over 70. The other 40% are young people, half of them refugees. Residents must pass an interview to get into the community, and sign a contract to spend two hours per week socializing with neighbours. This could mean sitting in a shared lounge reading a book or doing shopping for one of the older members. The project is to run for two years. If it is judged successful, tenants will be given permanent homes.

NOTE: The full article appeared in the Economist International print edition on December 5th, 2020 under the headline "Nuclear retreat".






"Harmony" is core to all of my integrated communication designs. The work is in harmony when internal communications compliment the customer facing material. Together operations and communications build and support the brand proposition and promise that support other mission critical intangibles like love and trust.

I work to to minimize "Cognitive Dissonance".  To learn how Cognitive Dissonance builds or breaks the brand bond in advertising, keep reading.


Cognitive dissonance (Source: Wikipedia™)

Cognitive dissonance is a term used in modern psychology to describe the feeling of discomfort when simultaneously holding two or more conflicting cognitions: ideas, beliefs, values or emotional reactions. In a state of dissonance, people may sometimes feel "disequilibrium": frustration, hunger, dread, guilt, anger, embarrassment, anxiety, etc. The phrase was coined by Leon Festinger in his 1956 book When Prophecy Fails. It is one of the most influential and extensively studied theories in social psychology.

The theory of cognitive dissonance in social psychology proposes that people have a motivational drive to reduce dissonance by altering existing cognitions, adding new ones to create a consistent belief system, or alternatively by reducing the importance of any one of the dissonant elements. It is the distressing mental state that people feel when they "find themselves doing things that don't fit with what they know, or having opinions that do not fit with other opinions they hold." A key assumption is that people want their expectations to meet reality, creating a sense of equilibrium. Likewise, another assumption is that a person will avoid situations or information sources that give rise to feelings of uneasiness, or dissonance.

Cognitive dissonance theory explains human behavior by positing that people have a bias to seek consonance between their expectations and reality. According to Festinger, people engage in a process he termed "dissonance reduction", which can be achieved in one of three ways: lowering the importance of one of the discordant factors, adding consonant elements, or changing one of the dissonant factors. This bias sheds light on otherwise puzzling, irrational, and even destructive behavior.

Interesting - non?

Planning | Bullshit in . . . Bullshit out


Over the years I’ve seen a lot of brilliant plans as well as some very odd ones with business terrain descriptions, growth options and sales projections that didn’t make much sense. I’d look at the plans and wonder where the authors found the data that they used to model their bold plans. 

Then I tripped over this piece and I understood how they’d arrived at their illuminating insights + crazy rationalizations.   

A police officer sees a man looking for something under the light of a nearby street-lamp. “What are you looking” for the officer asks the man. “My keys” the man responds. After a few minutes of helping the man find his keys the police officer asks the man “are you sure you dropped them around here?” the man says: “no I didn’t, I lost them in the park.”

“So – why are you looking for them under this streetlamp?”

“Because this is where the light is!”

Many, many years ago a wise older woman gave me a wonderful piece of advice:


Don’t look at tomorrow with yesterday’s eyes. 


This applies to personal plans and business plans – especially as we move forward through the current Covid pandemic.  





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