Great Information That I Don’t Get To Use

November 19th, 2009

Some of my favorite professional reading is the free report on emerging consumers trends by Trend Watching.  I find them as accurate a predictor of trends as any agency can possibly be. That said, in my own tiny band of the spectrum, I almost never get to leverage the information I glean from their reports.

It made me feel great to read this

GENERATION G(ENEROSITY). It was big in 2009, and it will be even bigger in 2010. In particular all things EMBEDDED GENEROSITY. It incorporates all giving initiatives that make giving and donating painless, if not automatic (after all, pragmatism is the religion ;-) .
On top of that, with collaboration being such an integral part of the zeitgeist, expect lots of innovative corporate giving schemes that involve customers by letting them co-donate and/or co-decide.

So check out these innovative, corporate EMBEDDED GENEROSITY examples that are worth copying or improving on in 2010:

  • Australian Baby Teresa manufactures and sells a variety of 100% cotton onesies for babies, and, for each one purchased, donates another to a baby in need somewhere in the world.
  • IKEA’s SUNNAN LED desk lamp is powered by solar cells. The product retails for USD 19.99, and for every unit sold in IKEA stores worldwide, another one will be donated to UNICEF to give to children without electricity in refugee camps and villages in remote areas.
  • Still going strong, Procter & Gamble and UNICEF have joined forces for the fourth year running, in an effort to raise money for tetanus vaccines. Each time a pack of the Pampers or Fairy brands bearing a “1 Pack = 1 Life-Saving Vaccine” logo is purchased, P&G will donate the cost of one vaccine to UNICEF.
  • TOMS Shoes donates a pair of shoes to a child in need for every pair they sell online. As of August 2009, TOMS has given over 150,000 pairs of shoes to children in need. TOMS shoes plans to give 1 million shoes by 2012.
  • Sage Hospitality is encouraging consumers to complete 8 hours of volunteer service in exchange for 50% – 100% off published room rates in their 52 hotels. To take advantage of the ‘Give a Day, Get a Night’ scheme, customers must present a letter from the organization they worked for.
  • Give a Day, Get a Disney Day aims to celebrate and inspire volunteerism. Disney is working with HandsOn Network to highlight a variety of volunteer opportunities with participating organizations across the United States, Puerto Rico and Canada. Starting in January 2010, those who contribute their time can have it verified by HandsOn and they’ll receive a voucher from Disney for one day admission to a Walt Disney World or Disneyland theme park.

From a corporate standpoint, measuring ROI on these campaigns will be extremely difficult. It’s my hope that they see enough return on investment to continue and expand upon the concept.

I’ve always felt that to cast any meaningful change I need to act on an extremely local level. It would be great if these types of efforts produced enough results that companies would actually compete in this arena. The payoff would be incredible for all. The affected communities, the men and women carrying out the volunteer work, and the companies sponsoring the service.

Millions of Fans May Have Been Swindled

November 5th, 2009

Tim Donaghy is a disgraced NBA referee who gambled on Pro basketball games. He recently wrote a tell all book and the NBA is blocking it’s publication. An excerpt has been published online.

Allen Iverson provides a good example of a player who generated strong reaction, both positive and negative, within the corps of NBA referees. For instance, veteran referee Steve Javie hated Allen Iverson and was loathe [sic] to give him a favorable call. If Javie was on the court when Iverson was playing, I would always bet on the other team to win or at least cover the spread. No matter how many times Iverson hit the floor, he rarely saw the foul line. By contrast, referee Joe Crawford had a grandson who idolized Iverson. I once saw Crawford bring the boy out of the stands and onto the floor during warm-ups to meet the superstar. Iverson and Crawford’s grandson were standing there, shaking hands, smiling, talking about all kinds of things. If Joe Crawford was on the court, I was pretty sure Iverson’s team would win or at least cover the spread.

The corruption alluded to in this piece is staggering. I think given Donaghy’s dubious reputation you have to take it with a grain of salt.  But, if even half of it is true, a lot of people have been had.

Via George Habuki

One Hundred Years Later

October 27th, 2009

A very long time ago, Levi’s were cool.  So was Walt Whitman.  Whitman is still cool.  Levi’s, not so much. If this new commercial, featuring a poem by Walt Whitman, doesn’t breath some new life into Levis, I don’t think anything can.

From the iconic ad agency Wieden, Kennedy, Portland.

Via Andrew Sullivan

I Never Know

October 15th, 2009

A day doesn’t go by when somehow I’m reminded to always keep my eyes open.

Yesterday, while turning down an industrial area, I saw a large white crane low in the sky. It circled, and then fluttered to the ground. I can’t remember the last time I saw a crane outside of the zoo.

Today, my 5 year old kept asking to go to Boney’s and get some fruit ice pops. His request was a bit remarkable to me. Cody hadn’t had them or asked for them in 3 months. As they are somewhat healthy, I relented. We went to the store. Inside, I ran across a very good friend I hadn’t seen in a dozen years.

It always amazes me that I never know when I’m going to hear, see, or experience something will carry with me my whole life. Often times, it’s something unplanned that is in the moment, awesome.

Jazz to Behold

October 14th, 2009

Terrific photographs of some Jazz legends here.

“For two decades, Francis Wolff shot photographs of every jazz session that Blue Note Records made. He not only preserved a major part of jazz history, but with his remarkable eye, he captured amazing candid portraits of great artists that reveal the joy and intensity of jazz at the point of creation.”

Miles Davis. New York City 1953


Make it Fun and They Will Come

October 9th, 2009

This is probably the funnest split test I’ve ever seen.

Via Matt Haughey

8 Painful Years

October 7th, 2009

The Afghanistan war enters it’s eighth year today. To date, 869 service men and women have made the ultimate sacrifice.

Roughly 4,000 have been wounded. Due to the nature of the  I.E.D.  style of combat, many of the  injuries are catastrophic.

The past and present political administrations have a ban on media coverage of the fallen returning to the United States from overseas. I however, am under no such compulsion.

Most of the military has seen multiple,  near year long deployments.  Something that seems to be forgotten in the news, are the families of these men and women. The strain they are under is probably even greater than those deployed to the combat theaters.

If you happen to be out and about and see some military folks, send over a pitcher of beer or piece of cake.  A gesture like that goes a long, long way.

My Parents Were Awesome

October 6th, 2009

This is a neat idea for a blog. Kids upload pics of the parents from back in the day. I don’t know exactly what it is about vintage photos, but I do get a kick out them.

Via Andrew Sullivan

September 30th, 2009

At some point I’m going to spend a lot of time looking at this photograph.

It reminds me of a creative writing class. The assignment would be to come up with a story behind the picture. Good times.

I think the image is from this documentary.

Via Andrea Inspired

Born To Run

September 28th, 2009

A cheetah can run 70 mph and cover 30 feet in a 1/4 second. It’s ears retract behind the head for high speed aerodynamics. Non retracting claws grip the turf and the tail acts as a rudder,  enabling it to make seemingly impossible changes of direction at high speed.

I’d love to watch these in full 1080 resolution.

Viewed in slow motion, watching a cheetah run, I’m moved by the power of life.