Monday, September 5, 2011


Last night I steamed corn... or rather smoked it. I put a 1/2 inch of water in the pot, placed two ears on the steamer basket, and turned the stove on. Then I started working on a collage.And totally forgot about the corn.

Forty minutes later when I detected the faint smell of smoke, I blurted, "Oh shit, the corn!" and ran to the kitchen. The pot was badly charred, but the corn, had a grilled flavor, and was surprisingly tasty. I was lucky on both accounts.

Because I tend to start several projects at once, I normally set the microwave timer when I am cooking. That way even when I get caught up in something else, the ding reminds me to come back to the kitchen. Using a timer, I have found, keeps me and my family out of harm.

Last night, i forgot to set the timer. Today I spent $35 on a new pot.

Thursday, September 1, 2011


Let me preface this blog by saying that I am not an advertising, licensing, or entertainment industry insider or expert. Rather, I am a casual observer of popular culture who takes an interest in marketing and branding. Now more than ever, disparate or formerly competitive brands are hooking up all over the place and these dalliances seem to be successful.

Mergers are nothing new. But merging without being acquired, merging of equals or merging without the slightly smaller guy forfeiting identity – well that seems fresh. There’s a good message in creative collaboration, and perhaps sharing the spotlight, rather than hogging it, is the ticket to economic survival, at least for now.

Here are three successful instances of brands hooking up:
Performing artists are brands and in the music biz, I never thought that tough boys Eminem and Royce da 5’9” of Bad Meets Evil would hook up with Bruno Mars, a singer with a beautiful voice and a frequent pompadour. I mean Bruno Mars croons la-la-la and the other two rap from a harder harsher place. And yet when "Lighters” comes on, I am mesmerized, sucked into the lyrics and the chorus. The parting shot in the video gives me chills. It’s an incredible symphony of styles. It works beautifully.
The same thing for this week’s airings of NBC’s The Nate Berkus Show and HGTV’s “Design Star.” I was a bit surprised – and happily so -- when Nate was the special guest of “Design Star” and the competing “Design Star” designers debuted on “Nate.” Since both shows share viewers but not time slots, this was no doubt an audience and advertising booster win-win for all. Like a pinch of salt, Nate Berkus is an enhancer.
And then turning to the magazine biz, when back in April, the innovative on-line design magazine Lonny gifted half of its web chic-ness to Traditional Home when the two launched TradHome. While so many magazines are struggling for ad pages, this 347-page collaborative launch was so optimistic. Perhaps if more magazines had a merge mentality, less would have fallen by the wayside. It’s probably better to have a little less pie than to have no pie at all.

There are obviously many more instances of brands hooking up. What do you think are some good examples? Not so good ones?