Farming Out Madison Avenue

24 03 2009

Finally! Corporate America is wising up to the fact that Madison Avenue does not have all of the good ideas.

In what is surely a bellweather move, the CMOs of 10 major corporations (including H-P and Pepsi brand Doritos) have tentatively agreed to participate in a crowdsourcing contest for the next great ad. It’s nice to see the de-concentration of creative influence.

It’s also a bit bittersweet to someone else making a go of what was my MBA Lab to Market project (along with Craig Braun, Stephanie Herzberg & Tony Cusano), Wombat.

More details on the contest here:


19 02 2009

I just completed a survey for M Squared Consulting Group that was gauging my beliefs about the past and present economy for consultants.  The last question asked if I had any predictions for economic trends.  I made three predictions, one of which was the “emergence of micro-economies where small communities will band together to help themselves out…”

And then I read this great little story in AdAge about an unemployed copywriter-turned-blogger.  Erik Proulx is turning his site Please Feed the Animals into a job market for people just like himself.

Bailout, Shmailout.  This is the kind of chutzpah and resourcefulness that is going to resuscitate our economy.  Way to go, Erik.

Starbucks’ New Role

15 01 2009

Starbucks is extending its “third place” status (work, home, Starbucks) to become the new community center.  Don’t believe me?  Check out it’s new ad campaign, “I’m in.” 

Starbucks Pledge Card







According to the AdAge article “Starbucks Push Will Encourage Community Service,” Starbucks is partnering with the nation’s largest volunteer organization, the Hands On Network, to launch the “I’m In” campaign.  They will be encouraging its customers to pledge at least five hours of community service this hour.  

It seems to me that Starbucks’ strategy extends beyond a simple halo effect and piggybacking on Obama’s rallying cry for volunteerism.  They are positioning themselves as a hub within communities, connecting people with other people in need.  The new community center.  This is a brilliant move for a brand that lost its soul years ago.  It will be interesting to see if Starbucks meets their goal of 1,000,000 pledged hours of volunteerism and if they can reinvent themselves as an essential element of local neighborhood life.