For those in America, this Thursday is the holiday known as Thanksgiving. And the media is awash with stories about the latest research on whether we will travel, how we will travel and what we will eat.
Despite warnings for miserable travel conditions in parts of the country, AAA estimates Thanksgiving travel will be up over 4% from last year thanks to sagging gas prices and a rebounding economy. They also believe we will be spending more this weekend than last year.
And then, there's what we will eat. Over the past few years, I've broken with the tradition of carving a bird in favor of a big pot of wicked fine seafood, sausage and turkey gumbo. But, when I'm assigned a dish for a holiday dinner at someone else's house, it's usually the green bean casserole. Mostly because I screwed up the recipe a few years ago...and ended up crushing it.
Which, as a Wisconsinite, is only natural, as we Cheeseheads love our green bean casserole more than any other State in the Union...except Kentucky. Or so says Del Monte.
Bacon and celery salt are two of my several secret ingredients. Yours?
Adam Lambert (who is currently fronting Queen on its World Tour) began to pull away from the pack during his turn on American Idol when he reworked the classic Johnny Cash tune, Ring of Fire.
And, while I'm not a big AI fan, I'll admit I actually bought the single off iTunes. A timeless song given a new twist by an interesting performer.
Which may make this Music Friday pick even sweeter. As much as I love Adam's change-up, the a capella group Home Free (with an assist from Avi Kaplan of Pentatonix) has uncorked an amazing version that has garnered over 4 million YouTube views since July.
On assignments in which I get the opportunity to ideate ways to enhance the workplace environment with professional staff, one complaint comes up every time: The ubiquitous Staff Meeting.
Of course, we've got to have them or there'd be either anarchy or total disengagement. Staffs are universal in their "need to know" what everyone else is doing...but just as universal that the traditional staff meeting isn't getting it done.
Make Staff Meetings voluntary. It's not unlike when the Ritz-Carlton made news by allowing any staffer to spend up to $2,000 to take care of a guest's complaint on the spot. Most observers feared staffers would abuse the right. Instead, just the opposite happened, as staff began to view that $2,000 as their money...and were often more reluctant than management to spend it.
Same thing here. A Boeing executive has made all his meetings voluntary. Most, if not all, of his reports attend, because they don't want to miss anything. And, they go from being forced into being there to make the conscious decision to be on their own. Brilliant.
Remove the Chairs. As much as the Boeing example is so cool, this is my favorite. Researchers at Washington University used body sensors on team members who sat and those who stood for Staff Meetings. Those who stood were more engaged, less territorial about their ideas and generated more creative results. Love it.
And, if you try either one, let me know how it goes.
Not so, says the Greek Tourism Board. While the scenes may not be of Greece, the constellations seen above the coast in the Aussie video are named after figures in Greek mythology. Thus, the Board says they have every right to use the video.
Yeah, I know. I just snorted soda through my nose too.
But, it gets worse. The spokesperson evidently goes on to say, “Almost all the world, wherever you turn around your eyes, you will meet an idea, a name, that originated from Greece.”
With that kind of logic, wait until Greece claims ownership of all planetariums, the Super Bowl, the American Space Program (or Apollo Creed), Gene Hackman and Shelley Winters (think about it), Lynyrd Skynyrd (think even harder) and The Little Mermaid.
With some thought, they'll avoid the last one...or get sued into the next millennium.
A recent story in the New York Times (and channeled last week by The Hub) featured a rebirth in interest for those classic art-deco travel posters from the 1930s. Incredibly, one of the posters fetched over $50,000 at a recent auction.
"The Australian poster, '’To the Seaside by Train‘ … doesn’t depict a seaside or a train. Nor does it feature any element that suggests ‘Australia’ in any way … Instead, the poster is built around an illustration of a man and a woman in white, form-flaunting bathing suits … Their toned limbs and radiant smiles are so vital and incandescent they overwhelm the rest of the universe … Travel, the poster suggests, isn’t about going to some physical place. It’s about achieving an emotional state."
Sometimes in the Destination Marketing game, I think we forget that.
When people talk of the quintessential British rock triumvirate, almost everyone speaks of Eric Clapton. It was Cream that launched "slowhand" into a career that brought deity-like reverence for his guitar virtuosity.
And, his prowess as a vocalist.
But it was Jack Bruce that was the frontman for Cream. And, in the supernova that was Eric Clapton, much of the music world forgot that. Forgot Jack.
But, those of us that still remember those life-changing albums haven't forgotten.
And, here is a moment from Cream's 2005 Reunion Concert at the Royal Albert Hall...and "Sunshine of Your Love."
Sung by Jack Bruce. And, they look like they are all having such fun.
Fascinating piece in the New York Times last month (and covered on The Hub) showcasing how pop culture has connected red wine with powerful women. The Good Wife's Alicia Florrick, House of Cards' Claire Underwood and Scandal's Olivia Pope are all depicted as powerful women with the same jones for a big beautiful glass of red as men have for their bourbon.
"On Scandal, Olivia Pope 'treats even the finest wine as if it were a can of beer. She habitually grabs glasses by the bulb, rather than the stem … she never swirls or sniffs. She guzzles rather than sips.'" However, according to writer Eric Asimov, wine has exactly the opposite result in the hand of men, connoting vanity and weakness in pop culture (e.g., Frazier).
Which isn't the reason why I drink bourbon (I like the burn)...but it certainly is something to consider for our next photo shoot.
For over 25 years, we've seen messaging in hotel rooms encouraging us to re-use our towels. The placards always point to environmental sensitivity, some resorting to images of white owls to drive the point.
Recent research shows that such messaging has been successful in getting about a third of guests to participate. However, when the wording is subtly changed to "Join your fellow guests...." just under 50% of consumers participate.
Which, of course, brings us back to you. Are you marketing your product or services by saying it's the thing to do...or reinforcing that yours is the product that all the cool kids are buying?