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I Am Skooter  So here's us, on the raggedy edge.
Been down a thousand highways and they're all the same / Another empty place where I can hide my shame
— Steve Earle, Shadowland
April 5, 2015
Patagonia - Worn Wear


I buy a lot of Patagonia gear and I take a bit of flack for it. The stuff’s not cheap,and the Patagucci moniker stings a bit.

The thing is the stuff is well made, and the company stands behind the product. I had a cycling jacket that I wore for at least 15 years and when the fabric started to delaminate I bundled it up into a tiny box and mailed it back, expecting…nothing, maybe? I figured it was worth a shot at the lifetime warranty.

Sure enough, three weeks later a new jacket showed up. No cost.

So I buy a lot of Patagonia products, because Patagonia products really are products for life and the company doesn’t just talk its values it stands behind its values. That’s important.

Posted by skooter at 7:55 PM
Tags: Patagonia

October 10, 2013
Wilco's Glenn Kotchke in a Delta Faucets Commercial

A bit strange, but everyone has a mortgage to pay.

Posted by skooter at 8:09 PM
Tags: Glenn Kotchke, Videos, Wilco

July 26, 2013
Sound of Honda: Ayrton Senna 1989

Advertising as a work of art. Beautifully done Honda.

If you haven’t seen the documentary Senna you should watch it. It’s beautifully made.

Posted by skooter at 7:18 PM
Tags: Ayrton Senna, Honda

February 10, 2011
How Not to Use Social Media in the Music Industry

Joanna Newsom's Facebook Page The music industry’s been fairly quick to embrace social media—perhaps a result of the hard lessons learned in the early days of the Internet—and by now most musicians have Facebook pages, Twitter accounts, mySpace pages (even though they should be moving to Bandcamp) and any number of other outlets which help them build a community with their fans. Entire careers have been built on these platforms in the last few years.

The point of social media is to build a conversation with your customers and fans. Joanna Newsom’s Facebook page hasn’t been updated in almost a year at this point—sine her last album was released. Don’t make the same mistake. You’re writing music, recording music, touring, and probably going to other shows. Tell your story.
Joanna Newsom at the Vogue Theatre

January 25, 2011
When a Typo's not a Typo

A couple of days ago I wrote this bit about a typo on Granville Magazine’s site. I got a message from Granville Mag on Twitter and looked into it a bit more and it turns out it wasn’t a typo after all: sort of.

Firstly, congratulations to Granville Magazine for working social media effectively and well. Apparently my post was flagged in a Google Alert and they got in touch. That’s the kind of responsiveness you should have if you’re doing business online. Well done.

As it turns out Granville Magazine’s content management system has an RSS feed generator that takes its input from the URL. This means you can link to http://www.granvilleonline.ca/rss/yippee-ki-yay-mother-chucker and the last part—in this case yippee-ki-yay-mother-chucker shows up on the page. I mistook this for a typo, when in fact it was a bad link posted by a twitter user.

So another lesson learned about the impact of this type of URL fed search. It’s definitely not a problem—it can be a very effective way of doing things—but it can sometimes cause things that look like mistakes at first glance.

Posted by skooter at 5:34 PM
Tags: Editing, Granville Magazine, Typo

January 11, 2011
The Right Look Should Suffice

July 5, 2010
Salt Spring Coffee Asks How Much Carbon Is In Your Coffee

A fascinating video by Offsetters that provides some insight into the process of evaluating carbon impact. Salt Spring Coffee was the first carbon neutral coffee distributor in Canada. Not satisfied with this they wanted to know what the carbon impact of their coffee was through the entire life cycle. Salt Spring Coffee is now buying carbon offsets for the 2% of the carbon impact that their growers produce making them the first producer in the world to provide coffee that is carbon neutral from the moment it’s planted until it reaches the store shelf.

Everything after that? Well, that’s up to you.

June 19, 2010
The One You Love Would Love a CCM

The One You Love Would Love a CCM

Posted by skooter at 5:14 PM
Tags: Advertisement, CCM, Cycling, Marketing

June 8, 2010
Building a Fake Lake in a Province with 200,000 Real Ones

This is sufficiently crazy that it could only be a government plan. Ontario has 200,000 real lakes, and they’re building a fake one so they cane make Toronto look like Muskoka.

Toronto is not Muskoka. I miss Muskoka.

G8/G20 summit fake lake to cost $57K
Last Updated: Tuesday, June 8, 2010 | 10:03 AM ET, CBC News

The government is trying to correct the price tag associated with the so-called fake lake at the $1.9-million G8/G20 media centre in Toronto.

The mock lake inside the centre will actually be a 10-centimetre-deep pool, built at a cost of $57,000, a source at the summit management office told CBC News. Add in the cost of the rest of the media centre and the total goes up to $1.9 million.

Summit organizers are building the pool inside Toronto’s Direct Energy Centre to showcase the site of the G8 summit hundreds of kilometres to the north in Huntsville, Ont., from June 25-26.

The source told CBC that when the G8 summit was first announced, the marketing “message” was to bring Muskoka to the world. The original plan was to create something at the media centre in Toronto called the “Muskoka corridor.” That’s when the idea of the fake lake was created as part of that marketing plan.

Posted by skooter at 3:41 PM
Tags: Muskoka, Public Art, Public Relations, Toronto

June 7, 2010
Snoop Dog Shot First: Adidas' Star Wars Ad


These sorts of mash ups can often go badly, but Adidas has done quite a good job with this one. It actually kind of makes me wonder why George Lucas didn’t cast Snoop Dog as Luke in the prequels.

Posted by skooter at 2:40 PM
Tags: Daft Punk, David Beckham, Snoop Dog, Star Wars, Videos

May 28, 2010
Time Magazine's 50 Worst Inventions

Time’s summary of the 50 worst inventions is at the very least an amusing read, and a reminder of times past. The Segway leads the list, and while the product never lived up to the hype (how could it?) I’m not entirely sure it belongs there.

Any number of chemical inventions (DDT, the plastic bag, CFCs and Olestra) appear in between pretty much every product you’ve ever seen an infomercial for.

Posted by skooter at 4:09 PM
Tags: Marketing, Television

May 23, 2010
Toyota: The Swagger Wagon


An absolutely beautifully executed television ad for the Toyota Sienna. For me the best moment comes at 1:35 in, when the rap is interrupted for just moment.

The follow ups at the end are well worth watching too.

Posted by skooter at 4:01 AM
Tags: Advertising, Marketing, Toyota

May 14, 2010
Fred & Barney Shill for Winston

Posted by skooter at 4:58 AM
Tags: Cigarettes, Flintstones, Smoking, Television

January 26, 2010
BBC Commercial for the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics

Posted by skooter at 10:00 PM
Tags: 2010, Television, Vancouver Olympics

December 3, 2009
Thirty Conversations on Design

If you only watch the interview with Richard Saul Wurman it will be worth it.

“”Our sense of style and aesthetics and what’s in changes. Our sense of understanding something is…less changeable”
- Richard Saul Wurman

Posted by skooter at 6:00 AM
Tags: Interaction Design, Usability

November 28, 2008
I Hope it Was Worth It

Charge Wal-Mart inciting the incident. Charge every single person in the crowd with conspiracy. Whatever it takes to send a message.

I hope the deal was worth it. Something needs to change here in people’s value systems.

Wal-Mart worker killed in bargain-hunting stampede
ANNE D’INNOCENZIO AND COLLEEN LONG
The Associated Press
November 28, 2008 at 11:34 AM EST

NEW YORK — A Wal-Mart worker died after being trampled by a throng of unruly shoppers as consumers, who had snapped their wallets shut since September, flocked to stores before dawn Friday to grab deals on everything from TVs to toys for the traditional start of the holiday shopping season, feared to be the weakest in decades.

Retailers extended their hours — some opening at midnight — and offered deals that promised to be more impressive than even the deep discounts that shoppers found throughout November.

The 34-year-old Wal-Mart worker was taken to a hospital where he was pronounced dead at about 6 a.m., an hour after the store opened, when a throng of shoppers “physically broke down the doors, knocking him to the ground,” a police statement said.

Posted by skooter at 5:14 PM
Tags: Economics, Shopping, Wal-Mart

August 13, 2008
Making the World a Cheaper (and Poorer) Place

If you shop at Wal-Mart reading Wal-Mart: The Bully of Bentonville: How the High Cost of Everyday Low Prices is Hurting America might be enough to make you stop.

I don’t, and have rarely set foot inside (in Charlottetown, PEI there were few other options when I lived here) for a number of reasons, not the least of which is the principle involved in supporting a mass market big-box retailer with little interest in its employees and the bottom line.

What’s interesting about this book is that it paints a very different picture of Costco. Perhaps it’s a matter of degrees: Costco may not be good, but Wal-Mart is uniquely evil. I’m not so sure.

The book’s about two years out of date and paints an unflattering portrait of the company’s current CEO Lee Scott who is, at this writing, still in the top spot.

High fuel prices are no doubt taking a toll on the company, and shifting the purchasing patterns of the entire world. I’ve no doubt that Wal-Mart will survive, although I’m hopeful that it is fundamentally transformed by the modern economy.

Posted by skooter at 3:57 AM
Tags: Consumers, Retail, Shopping, Wal-Mart

August 8, 2008
PETA's Greyhound Bus Advertisement

What’s interesting about this PETA ad isn’t so much the advertisement itself (which is basically disgusting and offensive.)

What’s interesting is that that web page originally had a few comments on the bottom, to which I added one fairly benign comment. All of those comments are now gone, and it is no longer possible to post new ones.

Mine, incidentally, never actually got posted. I guess PETA doesn’t accept criticism at all, no matter how gentle.

Posted by skooter at 1:20 PM
Tags: Advertising, Marketing

February 21, 2008
My New Favourite Email

I regularly get email from a bunch of different places, one of which is Microsoft. Many of these messages get ignored, or filed, or sometimes just skimmed but I loved this particular message, which arrived today in my inbox.

Subject: Collaborate like it’s 2007 with Microsoft Office SharePoint
Server 2007
Date: Thu, 21 Feb 2008 11:56:57 -0800
From: Microsoft Canada

The emphasis is mine.

It being 2008, the prospect of collaborating like it’s 2007 has a certain lack of appeal.

Posted by skooter at 8:10 PM
Tags: Editing, Marketing, Microsoft, Proofreading

November 14, 2007
Poking Holes in Lululemon

The New York Times pokes a few holes in Lululemon.

‘Seaweed’ Clothing Has None, Tests Show

One of its lines is called VitaSea, and the company says it is made with seaweed. The fabric, according to product tags, “releases marine amino acids, minerals and vitamins into the skin upon contact with moisture.”

The New York Times commissioned a laboratory test of a Lululemon shirt made of VitaSea, and reviewed a similar test performed at another lab, and both came to the same conclusion: there was no significant difference in mineral levels between the VitaSea fabric and cotton T-shirts.

In other words, the labs found no evidence of seaweed in the Lululemon clothing.

“Seaweeds have known vitamins and minerals, and we searched specifically for those vitamins, and we didn’t see them,” said Carolyn J. Otten, director for specialized services at Chemir Analytical Services, a lab in Maryland Heights, Mo. that tested a sample of VitaSea.

When told about the findings, Lululemon’s founder said he could not dispute them.

“If you actually put it on and wear it, it is different from cotton,” said Dennis Wilson, Lululemon’s founder, chief product designer and board chairman. “That’s my only test of it,” said Mr. Wilson, known as Chip.

That last paragraph, the one where Chip (a very nice guy) says “That’s my only test” is not promising for the future of a company that’s known for making extravagant claims about the impact its products will have on your life.

Posted by skooter at 1:23 PM
Tags: Investing, Lululemon, Sportswear

November 6, 2007
Checking In on Radiohead's Experiment

The New York Times has a reality check on Radiohead’s experiment with giving away their new album In Rainbows.

…most decided against paying, with only 2 out of 5 people paying an average of $6 for the album, “In Rainbows.” Here are the statistics, from a news release:

WorldwideU.S.Non-U.S.
Paid Downloads:38%40%36%
Free Downloads:62%60%64%

“That’s a large group that can’t be ignored and its time to come up with new business models to serve the freeloader market,” Fred Wilson, managing director of Union Square Ventures in New York, told Canada’s Financial Post.

I fall into the category of downloaded and didn’t pay. I also fall into the category of being fairly ambivalent towards Radiohead: I wouldn’t have bought the album anyway. (I don’t know why…I liked the first album, and recognize the talent…it just doesn’t resonate with me. Maybe not enough twang.)

It’s worth pointing out though that this experiment doesn’t mean much to the future of the music industry: Radiohead’s reputation was built by the old music industry, by a record label that actively and aggressively promoted them. The band is well established.

For bands of the future, the first hit is going to be the hardest one to find, not the seventh.

Posted by skooter at 2:24 PM
Tags: Articles, Music, Online Marketing

April 12, 2007
Hello

Apple today announced a delay in the shipment of Leopard, which means a delay in my purchase of a new laptop. The SEC filing, of course, started with a positive comment about the fact the the iPhone is shipping on schedule.

Apple’s Hello commercial for the iPhone is a nice example of a beautifully executed marketing piece for a company wtih a well established and recognized brand.

It’s also a beautiful example of a marketing campaign for a product that doesn’t need it.

The iPhone is probably the most competitive market Apple will ever enter. The Macintosh has a loyal and dedicated following, and has gained market share largely as a result of Microsoft’s flaws rather than technical superiority. Back in the day though it wasn’t a competitive market, it was a market that Apple built and IBM legitimized.

The iTunes Music Store is the predominant distributor of digital musc. This is a symbiotic relationship. The Music Store does put Apple at the mercy of content distribution deals with the music companies, but the 80% market share of the iPod makes cooperation almost a sure thing.

Speaking of the iPod, noboby’s yet succesfully competed with it. Nobody’s even come close. The MP3 market was miniscule before iPod. +It changed the world._ Newton did too, but it was too far before its time. I loved my Newton though, and so did Bob Krembil.

The iPhone faces competition from Nokia and Motorola, both with well established brand loyalty. More significantly, both have well established relationships with cellular service providers. The North American market in particular is dominated by phones that are discounted by providers: very very few people in North American buy phones anywhere else. My latest phone is a an unlocked UK edition Sony Ericsson K750i…this makes me a bona fide oddity.

Of course, that shouldn’t surprise anybody.

iPhone facess a tough uphill slog, and has a significant flaw in the fact that it has a non-removable battery: I can’t carry a second one, and when my battery dies I’m a bit stuck…

Of course the churn rate on phones is high: people keep them for less time than the battery will last (about two years) and iPhone has significant buzz and goodwill generated by the iPod.

Still, i think version one will disappoint.

But I can’t wait until version 2.0. That’s when I’ll buy.

By the way, one of the neatest things about that iPhone commercial? Hello? Does anybody remember those Hello Moto commercials from Motorola?

I didn’t think so.

I bet than when iPhone hits the street Apple owns the word Hello.

Posted by skooter at 10:06 PM
Tags: Apple, iPhone

March 12, 2007
Mobile TV

From Information Week:

The biggest loser is mobile content, such as games and ring tones. Another loser is mobile TV. Nokia still appeared to believe in it, with its new N77 handset and its partnership with YouTube, but others, such as Sony ericsson, went out of their way to skirt the hype.

Which leads to the questions: why is Bell Canada launching its mobile movie service now, when the poor history of mobile video content has already been demonstrated in Europe.

An equally relevant question: why are they doing it with movies that are over a year old? Is there anybody who wants to that hasn’t already seen Spider Man 2? If there is, are they really going to need to see it badly enough to download it on a two square inch screen?

Posted by skooter at 9:01 PM
Tags: Bell, Cellular Phones, Mobile Internet

January 4, 2007
Starbucks Five Fruit and Banana Muffin

At the local Starbucks they’ve been sampling the new trans-fat free Five Fruit and Banana Muffin.

Since I know the local baristas pretty well, and I was a bit confused I asked (quite innocently, I might add) “Is the Banana one of the five fruits, or is it in addition to the five fruits.”

It turns out it’s a more complicated question than it seems.

There are actually six fruits in the muffin. The banana is an additional fruit.

Dates, apricots and raisins are on the list of the original five. So are sesame seeds and pumpkin seeds.

Oh…and don’t forget the banana.

Yes. That’s right. Sesame seeds and pumpkin seeds are both fruits now. I’m not sure how this happened, but if Starbucks says it is so than it must be so.

Now let’s do some math. There’s five, and we need to take out two (both of the seeds, because I don’t care what Starbucks says I’m siding with botanical science.) That leaves us with three. Add one for the banana and we’re back up to four.

There’s no more fruit.

So, even by the most optimistic of estimates this thing falls one fruit short of being a five fruit muffin. I’m not sure where they got the name from — I like the aliteration of five fruit but it’s more or less the same as four fruit so that can’t be the reason.

It sure is a tasty little thing though.

Posted by skooter at 7:46 AM
Tags: Coffee, Fruit, Muffins, Starbucks

June 23, 2005
Nike: See Lance Ride

A lot of people have beefs with Nike for various reasons, some even legitmate.

Whatever—these people do good marketing work.

Cyclists get it.

Posted by skooter at 9:01 AM
Tags: Cycling, Lance Armstrong

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