The Scoop @ MSCO

Million $$ Marketing Mistakes

The Worst Man In America

Sometimes, the power of marketing is a curse. A plague. A near sin.

Why do I say that?

Can you say the words “Harry Reid?”


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Overdosed On Oprah

There is one perfect person in the world. At least that’s the way Ms. Oprah Winfrey sees it every time she looks in the mirror.

What she may not know is that zillions of us are so overdosed on her that the situation is becoming toxic. Perhaps fatal.

I know, I know, Ms. Oprah is a talented woman, a world-class entrepreneur. But she always positions herself as angelic, saintly, a kingmaker, an all knowing, and all encompassing model of perfection.
I wonder if she knows of Ludwig Mies van de Rohe, the iconic architect best known for the minimalist “less is more” style and philosophy. If Winfrey is familiar with Mies, she clearly does not ascribe to his world view. When it comes to Oprah, Ms. Perfect believes that more is clearly more. That our lives are surely incomplete unless we are constantly bombarded by her image, her message, her uber worldly magnificence.


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The Discussion on Billboards that Suck.

This Blog Post is by Chris Kieff
Editor of Unconventional Thinking

Most of our readers get this blog via our email system. This means that you’ve most likely missed the naked breastlively debate that’s running on the blog about whether we are, to use the words of another blogger; “Rude, Crude and Socially Unacceptable

Since the “Mark Stevens Vs. Warren Buffet” blog has received 25+ comments (as of Thursday) we felt that there is enough interest to reprint the excerpts from some of the best comments for all of our readers to see and consider.

I’ve found it interesting that while the comments on our blog are very nearly 50/50. Which may be because of the back and forth dialog. The voting on BrandSizzle is clearly running 89% that Clear Channel should not have violated their contract with MSCO, vs. 11% that Clear Channel was right in removing the ad. While several of the commenter’s noted that it was purely the use of that term in the title of Mark’s books which caused them to pick the books up, and ultimately buy them.

There was much speculation that Mark and by extension the rest of us here are childless, which is quite wrong- the children of staffers exceed the employee count (as it should). However, we do live in the NYC area and so believe that we may be more tolerant than some other areas. But that didn’t stop our friend over at Net Jets.

The one point I found conspicuous by it’s absence was that offensive ads for all manner of things were never brought into the discussion. Blatant sexuality is tolerable, but the mention of a word that has one meaning of a sexual nature is unacceptable? Look at the cover of Cosmopolitan Magazine that any 6 year old can see in the supermarket, I’m embarrassed by the language used.

The SEX he'll die forDoes Mr. Net Jet worry about explaining these to his daughter?

Sex Tricks He’s Never Seen Before: The Outrageous ‘Rock’ Technique And 21 Other Moves That Will Make His Thighs Go Up in Flames!”

“Turn your man into a YOU pleasing sex genius”

“The Sex he’ll die for!”

I would propose that in common usage today; “that sucks” doesn’t carry any sexual meaning, while “that blows” certainly does. I think that the Net Jets executive is a little behind the times, while perhaps MSCO is a little on the leading edge in our usage of “sucks”. In another 5 years the point will be moot, (a word that’s reversed it’s meaning in the last 15 years,) by which I mean it is not going to be worthy of discussion.

I think that the real issue here is that some fat cat Net Jet executive threw his weight around simply because he could make the little guy suffer. There are many other egregious abuses of social standards that could and should be fought. But this jerk decided that he would take on MSCO purely because he would win, because he’s working from a position of the Big against the Little. He doesn’t fight against Cosmo because it’s strength against strength and he won’t win that one.

And finally a message for our clients, and those who read this blog looking for business insights. In order to engage your prospects- you must engage with them to create a dialog. While this discussion is only thinly related to the business of marketing, it is highly engaging to many intelligent people who read it. Now our task it is transitioning this engagement into a business engagement with those who have found us anew as a result.

Selected Excerpts from comments to Mark Stevens vs. Warren Buffet:

You can read the full comments here:

Mark (not Mark Stevens) says,

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Mark on MSNBC: Citi or Citigroup?

It Really Doesn’t Matter Citigroup is, yet again, rebranding itself.

By Tom Taulli

By line

[This is excerpted from the article on MSNBC.COM]

I recently wrote a book review of the Real Deal, the autobiography of Sandy Weill. In building his financial empire, Weill changed the name of his company several times — always when he struck a transformative deal: Primerica (1988), Travelers (1995), and Citigroup (NYSE: C) when he merged with Citicorp. Perhaps there is now another name change in the offing: according to a report from The New York Times, Citigroup might become Citi. However, it is likely not to amount to much.

Citigroup spent about 14 months on the process and had the support of Landor Associates, which is a branding company and part of the WPP Group (Nasdaq: WPPGY). The plan calls for the elimination of the memorable red umbrella logo, which 137 years old and has lots of brand equity. But it does have issues — it is a sign of bad luck for certain countries in Asia. Besides, isn’t an umbrella a symbol of defensiveness? Doesn’t Citigroup want to show it can still grow?

I also interviewed Mark Stevens, the CEO of MSCO and author of Your Marketing Sucks. His opinion on the matter is straightforward: “It sucks. Why? A stupid waste of shareholders’ money. Is the new better than the old? Why don’t we just change Microsoft‘s name just for the hell of it.”

Read the whole article here:

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Madison Ave. Stumped and Stupefied by Super Bowl

The Clio Awards

So it’s Stupid Bowl time again. That crazy day when otherwise sober companies go on a drunken spending binge buying time on the big show so their CEOs can get seats in the skyboxes.

Historically, Madison Avenue has turned on its commercial making machinery, throwing all kinds of dumb junk on the screen designed first and foremost to win Clio Awards as opposed to, God forbid, sell anything. Clio Awards are the best?But this year, a new theme has emerged. A number of agencies are saying, “Look, in the past you paid us for producing garbage. Now, we want you to pay us for doing nothing.” Instead of the agencies dreaming up ideas for idiotic commercials, a number of them are asking the advertisers’ clients to develop the “creativeconcepts.

In other words, “We have no ideas of our own. So let your customers do the work. We’re on strike. You have to pay us anyway, just know we’ll be at the beach if you need us.”

And in one of those cases of truth being stranger than fiction, the advertisers have agreed. The checks are in the mail. The creative directors are sipping margaritas. The CEOs have their seats reserved.

The Stupid Bowl has now achieved Super Moron Status.

Mark Stevens


Memorable superbowl moments; Janet Jackson before the
Janet Jackson before the
infamous “wardrobe malfunction.”

Is this a Million $$ Marketing Mistake in the making?

Tell me what you think…

Your Management Sucks -- Book By Mark StevensYour Marketing Sucks -- Book By Mark Stevens

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