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Looper Shortcuts

March 26, 2014. Posted by johnf

Watching Looper last night and the scene in the diner where Bruce Willis’ character basically says, “It’s time travel, we can discuss it for hours, or take it as fact and move on” is absolute genius. Kudos to the screenwriter who didn’t want to get bogged down in this rabbit hole – but wanted to advance the story.

By the way, Looper is a great movie, equal parts mayhem and drama.

Worst flavor ever

February 4, 2013. Posted by johnf

Why is cherry such a horrible flavor? It should be eliminated from the worlds artificial flavor pallet.

The Pro Bowl, Hotter Than Victoria Azarenka?

January 27, 2013. Posted by johnf

Why does the NFL continue to bother with the Pro Bowl?

Last year’s performance was embarrassing and apparently Pey Pey has already laid down the law for the AFC.

Seriously Peyton, you need to chill a little.

Just as exciting is the Senior Bowl, where NFL hopefuls get one last chance to show off before the combine – hopefully Manti Teʻo won’t be entertaining any ladies during his time down there.

Finally, tennis phenom Victoria Azarenka gives dorks hope by hooking up with Redfoo. And while he might look like Sideshow Bob from the Simpsons, he’s showing the world that looks don’t matter that much.

What’s all this have to do with marketing? Nada, but hey it’s Sunday and with Super Bowl week coming up, I’m preoccupied.



January 12, 2013. Posted by johnf

The level of excitement the NFL generates for the playoffs is amazing. Every player is a story, every game is an event.

Marketing 101

January 9, 2013. Posted by johnf

Too many time we focus on features instead of benefits. Customers want to know how your product or service will improve their situation, not how many blinking lights it has.

Cold Weather

January 2, 2013. Posted by johnf


It’s cold outside. Here’s a sunset to warm you up.

So Long Mr. Lewis

. Posted by johnf

Ray Lewis announced he’s retiring today.

He’ll join the pantheon of Baltimore legends that include Johnny Unitas, Brooks Robinson, Frank Robinson, and Cal Ripken.

Maybe he lost a step and couldn’t tackle, but no one can deny he was the “straw that stirred the drink”, to quote Reggie Jackson.

Ray was more than that – he was the engine that powered one of the top five defenses of all time.

It was a pleasure watching him play. I remember being amazed at how quickly he moved between sidelines, and his closing speed was brutal.

Next year, the Ravens will have a different “face” of the franchise, and that makes for an interesting discussion when it comes to branding.

Defense has been the brand of the Ravens for more than a decade. How do you transition that to offense when you don’t have a marquis quarterback?

Maybe the team decides to echo tough defense with the running style of Ray Rice, who isn’t nearly as bruising as Jamal Lewis.

Lots of questions for the team – the answers will be interesting.

Empire or Rebellion? How Do You Market?

October 23, 2012. Posted by johnf


I saw Star Wars in an old movie theater with my father.

I remember seeing the promotional poster with the stormtrooper riding a dewlap and saying, “I might not like this.”

I was way wrong.

Star Wars blew me away and I remember asking my father two very important questions as we climbed into the Oldsmobile Country Squire station wagon:

  1. Is the Force real?
  2. Do you think they’ll have toys from this movie?

He wasn’t so sure about the first question, but he nailed the second, saying, “They’ll be plenty of Star Wars toys.”

Flash forward almost 30 years later and my youngest son is playing with my old Star Wars toys. He  watches the movies religiously and has asked me about the Force, and if he could one day be an astronaut and meet some aliens like the ones in the cantina scene.

Watching the movies with him got me thinking about the two sides of the struggle: the Empire and the Rebellion, and that got me thinking about each side’s approach to the struggle.

The Empire is calculating and achieves goals by hard work, force, and sheer numbers. The Rebellion scrapes along, using whatever is handy, getting help from friends and applying guerrilla tactics to achieve success.

Parallels to marketing strategies and tactics immediately came to mind – because that’s how my brain works.

So how do you approach marketing? Like the Empire or the Rebellion? And what works best for you?

Marketing like the Empire
So you like the bad guys, huh? That’s cool, because the Empire has managed to conquer most of the galaxy, and here are a few tips when you’re going to market like Vader:

The Message
Decide on a strong message that pulls no punches. We’re talking high impact words matched by clean graphic design that gets to the point.

The Delivery
Flood the medium with your message and don’t ever let up on the pedal. Keep pressing and make sure everyone knows who you are. (Warning: This costs money.)

The Competition
Mercy is for the weak. Dominate the competition. Remember, stormtroopers don’t say “Please.”

The Campaign
Planning is everything and if you’re not 100% ready to pull the trigger, you’re going down like an AT-AT on Hoth. The Emperor doesn’t like when plans go off schedule.

The Methods
By land, sea, air, and space – that’s how the Empire conquered the galaxy. Achieve the same results by using online and offline methods. Consistency is key.

Marketing Like The Rebellion
Don’t look good in black? Have a hard time strangling someone without using your hands You want to go the way of the Rebellion. Fair enough, they have capable leaders and the will to win, but it’s a constant struggle. And sometimes you wind up in a trash compactor.

The Message
While you want to achieve your goal, marketing like the Rebellion requires technique and style – not crushing force. Creative words  have impact, but they don’t smack you in the face like Vader on a bad day. Design should be streamlined with an organic feeling.

The Delivery
The Rebellion made do with what it had, and if you’re on a limited budget, you need to choose wisely. Pick your moments and then be accurate, like shooting womp rats in Beggar’s Canyon back home.

The Competition
Fighting costs money and time. Leave your competition to their doings, unless they’re threatening your market. Deliver what you promise. Triumph.

The Campaign
Guerrillamarketing is the key – choose inexpensive methods that impact your audience. Dodge and weave.

The Methods
Financially challenged doesn’t mean giving up. Social media, blogs, word of mouth – these all cost nothing but can pack a wallop. Innovation is the key to success, like deciding to put the plans in an old R2 unit.

One blog entry doesn’t even scratch the surface, but you probably get my drift. Both sides have their pluses and minuses, you’ve got to choose the path that makes the most sense.

Remember, if the choice you made isn’t working, you can always switch sides.

It worked for Lando, didn’t it?

The Most Epic Blog Entry EVER

October 9, 2012. Posted by johnf

But it’s not this one.

I’m working on a blog entry that’s been kicking around in my head for a few weeks. Just need the time to get it all out on paper – sorry, onto the screen.

Meanwhile Baltimore is experiencing a sports renaissance that we haven’t seen for ages. The Orioles are in the postseason AND tied with the Stankees, and the Ravens continue to impress – the KC game not withstanding.

Keep your eyes peeled (where did that expression originate? Future blog entry) for a blog entry that will transport you to another galaxy, that’s far, far away.

That’s a major hint, friends.


Oriole Fans – Time to Buckle UP!

September 5, 2012. Posted by johnf


I grew up 10 minutes from Memorial Stadium in the early 1970s.

That means I saw a lot of Orioles games, and more than enough Colts games. I remember meeting Boog Powell, my favorite Oriole. I had mustard all over me and I got it all over his uniform before he went onto the field. He didn’t mind, my uncles who brought me to the game, were mortified.

Fast forward more than two decades and the Orioles win the 83 World Series. The Iron Man makes his mark, and there’s a flash of brilliance in the late 90′s – and then the team goes into a horrible death spiral that alienates an entire city. Washington DC gets a new team and steals fans from the O’s. Peter Angelos refuses to spend money, general managers come and go, along with beleaguered coaches.

Then, we’re granted this miracle in 2012 – a season where every player seems to be having a career year. Our GM plucks special projects from the scrap heap and they shine up into brilliant gems. Suddenly it’s September and the Orioles are as relevant as the Ravens.


You would think Camden Yards would be stuffed with fanatical Baltimoreans who finally have a team to root for, and to cheer on through every victory. Not so much. Attendance continues to be a challenge for the front office, and the players are noticing empty seats.

How do you correct this problem, from a marketing standpoint? The Orioles decided to roll back ticket prices, and even though they might be losing money, they’re also challenging their fans. Fans who say, “It’s too expensive to take my family.” The Orioles put up, now it’s up to the fans to shut up, and dig out their wallets.

Discounting goes against the cardinal rules of marketing. You never want to reduce the value of your product or service, but when you’re doing it to bring in potential new clients, it’s worth the risk.

While we’re looking at the Orioles’ marketing strategies, check out their “Buckle Up” campaign. Buckle Up was taken from manager Buck Showalter’s comments a few days ago about the season. He compared it to a roller coaster ride without the safety bars. You’ll notice the Buck is highlighted in the logo – nothing like solid wordplay to reinforce your message.

We’ll see how it all turns out – but this season is already a win in Baltimore.

The Orioles will find out if they gambled and won when this weekend is over.

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