3 characteristics that make things ‘go viral.’

We live in a supremely viral age. From antibiotic-resistant “superbugs” to cyber attacks, there’s rarely a month that goes by when some sort of biological or digital virus isn’t overtaking something, somewhere. I find it amusing that the term “virus” can mean everything from an…

7 ways to keep your thinking stoked, creative and fresh

An art director I once knew had the U.S. Forest Service as a client for nearly 25 years. One project he worked on was a yearly poster, featuring the Forest Service’s iconic Smokey the Bear character. The goal of the poster was pretty straightforward: Remind…

Would your writing pass the ‘Bus Depot Test’?

The other night, I was re-reading a piece by the extraordinary journalist, essayist, and novelist Pete Hamill. I’m a long admirer of his work, both as someone who writes for a living and who reads for love. To me, his writing is so smooth, so…

Is YouTube the planet’s most powerful brand platform?

For some time, YouTube seemed like it would never grow beyond being a bastion for kitty videos and Family Guy clips, shot poorly from someone’s iPhone. From a marketing perspective, many brands didn’t take the platform seriously either—treating it as a sort of online dumpster…

Does sex in advertising work—or go horribly wrong?

It’s been a very hard summer for some advertisers—and many would say for good reason. The latest episode was this week, in a Mt. Vesuvius-type eruption of commentary about social media posts from a high-end baby stroller company called Bugaboo. Here’s the company’s Instagram photo…

What the Grateful Dead knew about social media 50 years ago

OK, before I’m accused of any sort of sacrilege, I offer my full disclosure: I am NOT a deadhead. That’s not to say I don’t enjoy these impresarios of improvisation once in a while. I’m a musician, and I think the band and its various…

A bulletproof content marketing strategy anyone can use

I’m not a numbers guy, but two stats I recently saw didn’t seem to jive: More than 70% of marketers now use content marketing to generate leads 65%, however, have NO process—or at best an informal one—to respond to those leads What?!? I saw these…

Big food’s brand lesson to all of us: Don’t be artificial

If there’s one thing we’ve all learned to live with, it’s deep and rapid change. You see it everywhere—in our culture, technology, and even in industry. Just think of how the entertainment, security, publishing, and healthcare sectors are currently mutating. Some of those businesses are…