First Christmas Ad of the Year — 1130h Eastern, 24 October

It was a Time/Life spot for the “Radio City Christmas Spectacular” DVD.

The horror, the horror…

PM Quote of the Day — Theodore Levitt

Kodak sells film, but they don’t advertise film. They advertise memories

It has been a while since I used film in a camera.  But sure enough, Kodak still advertises memories  not JPGs.  So it should be for our projects and programs.  Too often we get caught up in describing the impact of our initiatives in the wrong order:

  • First, all the work that we and our team is doing.
  • Second, all the great things that we’re building.
  • Third, how many more resources we really need to build it right.
  • Fourth… fifth…
  • And finally, if we ever get around to it, we admit there may be some benefits to the project.

Of course, this approach will give audiences the wrong memories.  When pitching something, one wants to draw the audience in with an enticing vision of the final destination.  They don’t care so much about what it took to get there.

A more subtle problem is that focusing on work, technology, and obstacles makes one sounds self-centered  The message comes across as — look at all the work I’m doing, what I’m building, how I’m suffering — as if no one else is doing the same.

A project should be advertising dreams, not drudgery!


PM Quote of the Day — John Wanamaker

I know half the money I spend on advertising is wasted, but I can never find out which half.

I love to quote this saying whenever I’m about to start a propaganda campaign communications effort for an initiative.  There’s a sneaking feeling that a lot of people won’t even bother to open the broadcast e-mail, or won’t read my section of it, or won’t visit the portal page, or are blogging during my Webex session.

Not that I’ve ever done any of that…

This saying reminds me that about half of my audience is tuning out my message.   Ensuring full attention and comprehension will depend on the appropriateness of the channels, media, and frequency that I use.  That’s the whole point of stakeholder and audience analysis. 

A very simple example is given here — graphical views of work breakdown structures typically work well when summarizing for executives and WBS lists usually work best when elaborating the detail for project teams.  This result is to be expected, once we’ve analyzed the attention spans, communication styles, and information needs of the respective audiences. 

Sure, some folks simply won’t get it, at least not without a consistent and persistent effort.  But regardless, the onus is on me and my team to make the connection. 

Whom is the target of this American Express ad?

I saw this ad this AM — and perhaps I just don’t get advertising — but I’m stunned that there hasn’t been more hub-bub over this years-old ad.  The first time I saw it I had the sound off, so I thought the last couple was father and daughter (it’s about 30 seconds in).

Am I missing something here?  Leave aside the May-December pairing, it seems so patronizing (Tiramisu!).  And what’s worse, the segment appears to be pitched at the college-age wife.  Or is it to the husband (to give the card to his wife)?

%d bloggers like this: