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Yo Gabba Gabba!

July 31, 2010. Posted by johnf

My family and I just discovered this kid’s show, thanks to the youngest. Wow.

A killer blend of music, movement and way cool animation. It takes a certain kind of genius to create a show that consistently draws the attention of older folks and youngsters. That’s creative genius and marketing genius – a search online reveals thousands of licensed items, and unless I was hallucinating, I saw one of the characters featured in a car commercial.

This kind of crossover gives a brand legs that run almost forever – Bugs Bunny is still around today and he could qualify for social security. So how do you get that special longevity? That’s the million dollar question, but like all other success stories, I think it starts with quality – the good last almost forever (Coke, Pepsi, BWM, etc.) and the mediocre are used for wrapping fish (Edsel, Big Mouth Billy Bass, etc.)

Here’s to the creators of Yo Gabba Gabba!

Summer Haze

July 28, 2010. Posted by johnf


The end of vacation might be the worst day of the summer. As we left the resort, my son said, “There are so many things I still want to do.”

Then he rattled off a list of places, their slogans, and what they offered. “I’ll do them next summer,” he stated. There’s a better than excellent chance that next summer, he’ll be pestering us to take him to those places. That’s the kind of staying power we all wish our marketing messages had.

So how can you make sure your marketing message has the same kind of staying power? (Rebranding to appeal to 6-year-olds is NOT an option).

There’s no magic bullet or simple answer, but reviewing your current marketing strategy and materials is always beneficial, especially as one quarter ends and another begins. Regardless of  your business, October, November and December can be very profitable times.

Review your marketing plan. It’s been seven months since the start of the year, and times change, a minor adjustment might make a big difference in six or eight weeks.

Take stock of your competition. They may have discovered a new trend or challenge that slipped past you – there’s still time to catch up, but it’s slipping away faster than a snowball on an August day. (Snow cone for you New Yorkers and New Jersey people.)

Update your social media accounts. Vacation-brain has a nasty way of making us all forget that our Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn accounts contain information that was fresh around Memorial Day. Old information makes you look lazy and unorganized.

Change one marketing tactic. Don’t get nervous, it’s nothing drastic. You have seven months of experience to draw on, you’ve definitely seen something, or thought of something, that would have a better impact that at least one of your original ideas.

Enjoy the sun and heat. In seven months we’ll be crying about sleet, snow, wind and rain. Go get a tan and have a cold one on us.

Doughnuts of Doom

July 17, 2010. Posted by johnf

How in this world of health Nazi’s outlawing certain kinds of fats and foods, doe the Fractured Prune do it?

If you’re not from my neck of the woods, you might never have partaken of a doughnut from the Prune.

The original shop was founded in Ocean City, MD and was named after a local woman, Prunella, who was a daring athlete. Unfortunately, she was also accident prone and spent a great deal of time on crutches. The shop’s logo is a prune on crutches displaying a winning smile.

The shop boasts creations such as Morning Buzz, Lemonade, Reese’s Cup and Rolo. A local favorite is the Sand Donut – cinnamon and sugar crumbles on a doughnut that looks exactly like its moniker.

Fractured Prune recently franchised and has 14 locations stretching from Maryland to Pennsylvania to Ohio. Business appears to be booming – after all the doughnut is what America great.

Old Music New Settings

. Posted by johnf

Frizzera Ink got surprised with a ticket to see the Smashing Pumpkins in concert . The last concert we attended was when Icicle Works were in their heyday.

Things have changed.

The small venue was smoke free and didn’t smell of stale beer, sweat and vomit. The crowd was a decent mix of old, young, male and female.

I struck up a conversation with a guy next to me, and as we talked music, we were immediately able to Google obscure band names, song titles and set lists which were decades old.

When the band came onto the stage, almost everyone immediately held up their phones, recorded a few seconds, and then hastily sent them off into the ether.

The show was amazing – Billy Corgan can play guitar and his new band, although young, knows how to create a great deal of noise. (In the old days, my ears never rang that bad.)

After I got home I realized that while the concert experience has changed, thanks to technology, the music has stayed the same. And that’s what’s important.

What’s In a Name

July 6, 2010. Posted by johnf

After packing up my son’s spilled box of Crayola crayons (pronounced by myself as “crowns” when I was growing up) I pulled out my favorite all time color: Sea Green.

A ton of memories came flooding back and as I debated whether to group this crayon with yellow or green, I wondered how the folks at Crayola came up with the names for each color. Sea Green is a stretch for sure, if I saw an ocean that color green I would have to think that it was full of radioactive mutant sea spiders.

Naming can be a tricky undertaking. I’ve been involved with projects that used a variety of professional services, gathered marketing data, interviewed focus groups and produced names that made no sense to consumers. On the other hand, I’ve sat in a room with a few people, bounced around ideas until one percolated to the top and said, “That’s it. That’s gold, Jerry!

There are people who consider marketing a science, others call it an art. I’ll be the waffler and say it’s both – and like many other disciplines, using your gut instinct can’t hurt either.  However, if you want to find success in having your message noticed and then followed, you must know the golden rule: Know your audience.

If you don’t know your audience, you’re going to be food for sea spiders.

Flag Waving Time

July 1, 2010. Posted by johnf

“Hey baby, it’s the Fourth of July/So dry your eyes and come inside.”

That’s a line from a song by X. It’s called the Fourth of July and it rocks. John Doe and Exene – better than shag carpet and the 1970′s.

Besides three days of goofing off, running around with paper tubes stuffed with gunpowder and your favorite adult beverage – take a second to remember your country.

I know, there are plenty of problems with America, and some days it downright sucks, but there’s no other place like it in the world.

Remember that it took millions of people from every other country to make us who we are. Not to mention blood, sweat, tears, guts and plenty of heart.

So take a moment and say happy birthday to our country – sure she’s not perfect, maybe a little down on her luck, but she’s still the one you want to go home with when the bartender shouts out “Last call.”

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