Publications & Articles

“Inspiring Generosity: Marketing Techniques for Fundraising Visionaries”

Book co-written with Rob Conrad. Two veteran ad pros share their secrets and experience in applying up-to-date marketing principles and strategic discipline to the business of fundraising. Using the tools and guidance outlines in this readable, anecdote-filled book will help any non-profit enterprise ignite its fundraising activities and turn donors into an enthusiastic fan base. Available on Amazon.

Gumbo Life: Tales from the Roux Bayou, Rich in History and Flavor

Book review. Appeared in Third Coast Review. Chicagoan Ken Wells has invented an alternate form of autobiography: a memoir with recipes. Gumbo Life: Tales from the Roux Bayou is 250 pages of nothing but gumbo—history, memories and instructions. It’s based on Wells’ life as a Cajun kid and his world travels as a journalist. Read more.

It’s Not All Nude Sunbathing and Unicorns

Blog Post. This guy I play squash with said “man, it must be great to have your own business…you can do whatever you want.” THAT got me to thinking. Well, it’s sort of true because I get to squash on time a couple of evenings a week. I don’t travel a ton (amen). I can pretty much say whatever I want. Sometimes I make dinner for Sharon. And last month I even Swiffered the floors. Read more.

Small Might Be Better

Blog Post. My former Leo Burnett colleague, Jamie King and his agency Camp+King just won the global Energizer business in a pitch against a bunch of big agencies. Among the reasons cited for selecting C+K over several large shops, Energizer Chief Consumer Officer Michelle Atkinson said “”we were looking for somebody who could be a smaller partner with a smaller team, with people who were fully integrated across our business, who could be more agile and nimble…Read More

Blog Post. This metaphor from Seth Godin demonstrates how two different people with the exact same demographics will see the world completely differently. Read More

Bikes and Cars

The Innovators

Blog Post. Fascinating book from Walter Isaacson.  An indispensable guide to how innovation really happens. Two historic innovations that caused computers to revolutionize how we live:  microchips that allowed computers to be small enough to be personal appliances, and packet-switched networks allowed computers to be connected to nodes on a web. The merger of the personal computer and the Internet have enabled digital creativity, content sharing, community formation and social networking to blossom. Read More

A Case for Characters

Blog Post. When I worked at Leo Burnett in the eighties and nineties it was often referred to as the “critter agency.” We were well-known for personifying brands with the likes of Tony the Tiger, the Keebler Elves, and the Pillsbury Doughboy. Who could forget Charlie the Tuna or the Maytag Repairman? Effective as these characters were, a lot of creatives didn’t want anything to do with them. It was tough finding people who relished doing Doughboy ads. They weren’t considered cool or celebrated by creative leadership. They didn’t win awards. Read More

Venture Guys’ Blind Spot

Blog Post. Savvy investors expend a ton of energy assessing the size and potential scalability of the companies they consider acquiring. They evaluate the quality of the management team, whether they possess a proprietary idea, and potential partnering opportunities. If something looks promising, they’ll spend another ton on due diligence and legal support. All in the interest of quantifying risk in order to turn a big profit. Read More

Blog Post. This terrific ad from Argentina reminds us of three things about advertising:

  • The power of emotion.

  • Great storytelling suspends disbelief.

  • Bravo to clients willing to make a leap of faith and take a risk.

    Read More

Notable Work From Argentina

Blog Post. He didn’t intend it as advertising advice but it travels. In an interview with the New York Times, Letterman discusses his 33 career as he approaches his final broadcast on May 20.  Do the weird thing. Read More

Advertising Advice From David Letterman