Crazy Soccer Skills

February 27, 2009

Amazing, fun soccer skills. Just had to share this one.

(Found via somethingwhacked)

Whopper Freakout Freakin’ Funny

January 8, 2008

Check out Whopper Freakout. Funny stuff! I noticed the TV commercials recently and decided to check it out, especially since it’s from Burger King and I still remember the great Subservient Chicken campaign of a few years ago. It’s a great short doc about spoofing customers by telling them they no longer serve the Whopper. I have no emotional connection whatsoever to Burger King–or any fast-food outlet, come to think of it–but for the people they managed to catch of video, this news really hit home. It’s interesting how Burger King has used rude chickens and a low-quality video spoof to differentiate itself from McDonald’s. When I think McD’s I think family, cartoon characters, the Happy Meal! I don’t think they would try something quite like what BK has done since it doesn’t fit their brand. But for BK, they can take more risks. Though interestingly, as a couple of the guys in the video point out, BK may have the elements of a more down-home marketing approach if they wanted to explore that. One guy talks about the right of passage eating a Whopper was growing up–when he was finally able to finish one, that’s when he knew he was a man (seriously)–while another started waxing poetic about driving to another state 30 years ago just to get a Whopper. Classic.

My 5, My Faves, My Goodness!

September 23, 2007

Driving the other day I suddenly heard the latest advertising pitch from Rogers Wireless for their new My 5 student plan. You might remember that a while back Rogers came out with their My 5 plan, where you can assign any five local numbers for unlimited talk and text. Then Telus countered with their own version of My 5, called My Faves. Then, eager to trump Rogers as September and the start of a new school year neared, Telus rolled out their My Faves Student plan. This gave students eight people to be in touch with. Great! Three more people than Rogers. Things were looking up. Well, now Rogers has their own student version of My 5, offering ten people!

Now, aside from the confusion of being on a My 5 plan yet actually being connected to ten people (Telus made the wiser choice of not being tied to a specific number; My Faves Student is quite a bit more distinct and logical than a My 5 Student scheme that actually gives you double the advertised number) I can’t help but think that the wireless industry is starting to sound more and more like the razor industry. You can still buy razors with one measly blade, but these days it’s all about the multi-blade action. What was once a joke is now reality. The Gillette Fusion has six blades: five for shaving and one on the back for touch-ups! It seems every year we’re treated with an escalation in blade numbers. It’s absurd.

At least with the phone industry there’s a chance that some real savings might be had by the “My” plan wars, even if the advertising doesn’t make sense.
One last thing: when a manual razor needs “instructions,” you know things have gone too far (click “How to Use” once the page is loaded).

The Value of Video and Proper Supervision

April 26, 2007

Not long ago I attended a corporate training course on supervision. It was led by a good instructor, Heather Hughes of HH & Your Company (in the interest of full disclosure, I’ve done some freelance work for Heather separately, though I have absolutely no role in contracting with her for training courses).

As far as training courses go, it was pretty good. But there were two standout items that I took away. The first was the great use of video as a training aid. This is saying something, since anyone who’s watched any type of training video knows they are usually useless. We, instead, were treated to “I’d like a word with you: the discipline interview” by Video Arts, a company co-founded by John Cleese of Monty Python fame.

With John Cleese on board, you know that it’s going to be good. And it is.

Watching the video was especially interesting to me since I’m currently leading a large video project. We are developing three videos for our largest client to be used, at least initially, as part of their annual general meeting–they will also make their way to the web and DVD. These videos aren’t “training videos” (those are still in very early development) but more like a commercial series promoting the value of membership in the pension plan. I’m only days away from getting final script approval, then we enter the next phase of the project, which promises to be challenging and fun. But the use of the medium as a tactical communications tool is what truly fascinates and excites me. I’ll blog more about this project as we move forward, so stay tuned.

This is unchartered territory for my organization, and I’m happy to be leading the way. And as I help introduce innovative ways of communicating I’m looking forward to more creative projects.

The second take-away was a thought on why people actually quit their jobs. The instructor explained that people don’t just up and quit their jobs. Instead, what people quit are their supervisors. This really stuck with me. Upon hearing it I couldn’t help but think about the supervisors in my career and what separates the good from the bad. It’s difficult to pinpoint one or two attributes that make a great supervisor. But they are definitely easy to spot if they fail at the task. They are usually disinterested, focused on themselves and their career, determined to impress their own superiors (often at the expense of those around and beneath them) and, critically, they don’t support their staff.

Not supporting your staff is a killer. A person will come to you for action only so many times. They quickly realize that either you’re oblivious or that you ultimately lack the backbone to take action, and both path leads to nowhere. Or, another way this manifests itself is a supervisor who in the presence of superiors undermines or unfairly represents staff. All it takes is doing this once in the presence of a staff member and respect is lost. And once you’re no longer respected by those you are meant to lead, well, there’s hardly a point in showing up anymore, really. Your unit suffers. Your branch suffers. Your organization suffers. And ultimately, your clients suffer.

At any rate, upon reflecting on the course and the supervisors who have crossed my path over the years, I know that being a good one takes some work. As for me, I’m up for the challenge.

Confusing Newspaper Layout

March 27, 2007

Bad Layout in TC My local newspaper published this today. Does anyone else find this choice of headline and (non-related) photo poorly conceived? Does the brown dog not suddenly take on a whole different meaning when displayed prominently below a headline about sewage treatment? What could they have been thinking? Maybe to some readers the chocolate dog will represent nothing more than, well, a chocolate dog. But in Victoria, where raw-sewage debates rage and Mr. Floatie is a local celebrity, it’s entirely plausible that some coalition or another could have created a new mascot for their sewage campaign. Why not a chocolate lab?

I wonder what sort of reaction the folks at Rogers Chocolates had when they flipped through the paper this morning? They must be relieved that they decided not to sculpt a caterpillar.