Swing for the Fences

And Other Musings on the Summer

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Doug Zanger Doug Zanger
In the spirit of the upcoming Major League Baseball All-Star Game, I figured I would veer into the inevitable, contrived baseball theme. I thought, "Make something a 'home run' and expand on it." That seemed silly and obvious. But I love baseball, so I will give it a go with a slightly different twist.

Game-Winning Grand Slam in the Bottom of the 9th : 7-Eleven
Partnering with "The Simpsons Movie" is shrewd. Flipping select stores to Kwik-E-Marts is just flat out genius. It's so nice to see that a company is leveraging what consumers love: a little levity and a clear sign that they have consumer empathy. On a local level, this should serve as a perfect example of how an advertiser can garner consumer love. It also reminds us that we shouldn't take ourselves too seriously sometimes.

A Nice Double in the Gap: Delta Airlines
I can't seem to put my finger on it, but something is brewing at Delta. I've always really liked them, but a new era has obviously begun. I like the new identity. The website looks good and is easy to navigate. They just started non-stop service from Portland to JFK. But the one thing that really stands out is that they started service in Salem, Ore., which is 10 minutes more than the usual drive to Portland International Airport. The thought of spending a little more time on the road to avoid much more time in the airport is very appealing. All that's missing is slightly lower fares, but I am duly impressed.

A Suicide Squeeze: KINK FM 102, Portland
I always like it when people take risks. I was in the car for three hours of assorted errands today and the dial (or button) didn't move once. I've been fairly public about my admiration for KINK, but the true test of a station, in my opinion, is how it performs outside of the "glamour" times of morning and evening drive. Not one bad song, the air talent was engaging, the advertising didn't turn me off and it was just flat-out enjoyable to listen to. The true beauty of the station lies in the fact that you can pretty much get 10 stations in one. There is exceptional specialized on-air programming, great website content and a true community feel. And it manages to do this while sounding like a big-time station at the same time. If you are into good music, go to the website now and get to know them; you won't be disappointed.

A Huge Whiff: Record Labels
First the Copyright Royalty Board and Internet Radio. Now iTunes and Universal. There's a great line in "The Queen," delivered by Michael Sheen (as Tony Blair) that sums it up: "Will someone please save these people from themselves?" If they were afraid of a digital monopoly, they should have been at the forefront of investing in it. Now, it's an endless game of catch up. The good news for old-school record labels is that sites like MySpace are a quasi "farm system" for good talent that could ultimately get signed by the biggies. The bad news for old-school record labels is MySpace's record label.

A Foul Ball into the Stands That Knocks a Beer Out of a Fan's Hand: Local Car Dealers That Abandon Creative Ideas
The Michael Sheen line is fairly apropos here as well. A local dealer here in Portland went out "guns-a-blazin" with a new campaign this year. I will admit it wasn't really my cup of tea, but at least they endeavored to try something different to make an impact. Fast-forward to today and the dealer has devolved into the typical, safe advertising. The last remaining remnants of the original creative idea have been obliterated to one line at the end of a litany of boredom. As far as I can tell, it was pretty expensive. My guess is that they got scared and decided to go back to something that doesn't stand out or offend. I wish they had the discipline to see it through. It could have been better than most of what's out there.

A Triple Down the Line: Peter Madden's Last Post
That s**t was FUNNY.

A Bottom of the 9th Hit to Win the World Series: The Portland Trail Blazers
Greg Oden. We're back. Deal with it. Oh, and to you Knicks fans: Enjoy Zach Randolph, you'll see what a head case he is soon enough.

Strike Three to End the Game: My Ad Age "Headshot"
Yes, the one up there at the top of this post. There are all kinds of things you could say about it. To wit, here are some of my "friends'" comments:
  • "You look high."
  • "I think you're squinting too much."
  • "That piece of gray hair flying off to the side looks like Paulie Walnuts from 'The Sopranos.'"
Thanks.

Look, I know it could be better and I have a call in to the guy who did some real headshots for me before. But, before I get it done, let's take a look at the previous efforts.

Headshot #1 (2002): This is when I thought I would try to do some on-camera work (bad idea). I call it the "facial mullet." Short hair and a goofy soul patch. Business up top, party below my lower lip. I thought this would make me look "interesting" and "edgy." Actually, it made me look like someone no one would hire.

Headshot #2 (2004): That's one heck of a dye job. This was a more respectable approach that garnered quite a few auditions. The only problem was that, when I showed up to auditions, I looked nothing like the headshot. My hair had grown out and I thought that shaving once a month was good for lowering my carbon footprint on the environment. Most common question from casting directors? "If you get this role, will you cut your hair and shave?" Enough said.

Happy summer everyone. And go Phillies.
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