Saturday, March 28, 2015


Chris Reimer is a communications strategist who started his business life thinking he might like to be an accountant (CPA). Chris is a pragmatist with a sensitive side. His book, HAPPYWORK, is a business parable launched earlier this year (2015).

Reimer’s book is written in the spirit of The Go-Giver by Bob Burg and John David Mann (2008). Burg and Mann use their parable to suggest that shifting our business focus from getting to giving might be a better path to success. Like Burg and Mann, Reimer shows us how much better things can be if we can agree to behave differently.  

I met Chris about the same time I met John Morgan, the author of Brand Against the Machine. Morgan, in his book, wanted his readers to know that the model of marketing by bombarding a mass audience is flawed. At a conference in St. Louis hosted by the American Marketing Association – St. Louis Chapter, John reminded us that too often “messages are unwelcome and unwanted.”

Chris is familiar with and credits Seth Godin who says in his book. Purple Cow, (2009) you are either remarkable or invisible in business. Chris Reimer also credits Chris Brogan, who co-authored with Julien Smith Trust Agents (2010). Brogan is huge in new media. On the speaker circuit he often encourages people to face their fears and counter the status quo.

So, in this crowd of non-conformists you will find Reimer. His parable is very readable and thought provoking. His story introduces us to a turn-around specialist who is desperately trying to understand Vunorri Inc. and get the bank off their case. In the process we listen in and witness despicable behavior in and around his protagonist, Sam Maslow. (I’m thinking it is an inside joke to call him Maslow. That is, if you are at all familiar with the management science theories of what motivates people -- A Maslow’s hierarchy of needs which dates back to published research in 1943 and widely read book in 1954).

Read the book and you might want to compose a HAPPYWORK agreement for your company. You will laugh as you meet people behaving badly. At the same time you might come to the realization that the world can be a better place. Little things are big things. Make the coffee in the morning. Say thank you. Smile. Have a nice day.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Poem in memory of MLM

Thanks Mom.
No big deal.
You’re the bomb.
That’s for real.

She never leaves.
She’s always there.
She believes.
Can she be everywhere?

Hear her prayer;
As she cuts the crust;
Always fair;
In God we trust.

On the move,
On the phone,
In the groove;
You’re never alone.

At your practice
On your game
From a distance - you hear your name
Win or Lose, it’s the same

Again and again
Thanks Mom
Again and again;
You’re the Bomb

Did I
Thank You?
Did I
Thank You?

You were gracious in line
Did I thank you enough?
Looking back in time
I wanted to be so tough

I  remember it all
In the back of my mind
Winter, Spring, Summer, and Fall
Always so very kind

Did I Thank You?
With the passage of time
Did I Thank You?
Of all moms in the world, I’m glad you were mine.

In Memory of 
Mary Lawton Morgan  - February 26, 1922- May 31, 2011

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Happy Birthday Chuck Trimble!

Chuck Trimble wanted to recall a shared experience of those of us who found ourselves in our formative years in Lakewood, Ohio (on Cleveland’s Westside). As teenagers we were forged by that remarkable time when mid century modernism gave way to an increasingly vocal generation reacting to world events ranging from the Beatles British Invasion to a war in Viet Nam.

Our experience is amplified by the circumstances of the times.  We didn’t know that our unique existence was, in fact both ordinary and fantastic. “As part of the process of creating this group, I created a number of Blogs so that members could reference topics of discussion,” offers Chuck. Could it be that our army of boomers are simply not disciplined enough to record history as our fond memories start to lose the details? Don’t we all rewrite the nuances to suit our individual revisionist reality? After all, it was a time in Lakewood, Ohio when a stolen 10 speed bicycle was routinely returned within 48 hours.

We are a generation that consumed episodes of Three Stooges, Rocky & Bullwinkle, Looney Tunes and late night scary B&W B-movies while the likes of Barnaby, Captain Penny, Gene Carroll, Ghoulardi and others put a local/regional stamp on programming. We are Americans who shared a handful of broadcast television channels with ample local avails for advertisers. (…GARfield 1-2323, 700 fussy tailors and Spitzer’s “My dad wants to sell you a car now.” Come to mind.)

As a teenager in the 1970s in Lakewood, you couldn’t help thinking that we missed it. We were reminded by our parents that that they lived through a Depression, World War and we were really too young when the big band sound and crooners were replaced by Rock and Roll. There we were stuck in no-man’s land. Furthermore, the violence that ended the lives of JFK, MLK and four students on the campus of Kent State were punctuated by what seemed like a pattern of self destruction.   
Jimi Hendrix performed "The Star Spangled Banner" at Woodstock in 1969 and died in 1970 from drug-related complications. Janis Joplin died of an accidental drug overdose in 1970. Jim Morrison left the Doors to write poetry, moved to Paris, and died of heart failure in 1971.

And all of this sets the stage for YOU KNOW YOU WERE A TEEN IN LAKEWOOD IN THE 70s IF…


Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Mr. Turner - The Movie

Mr. Turner, released in December of 2014, was playing at the Plaza Frontenac Landmark Cinema so I managed to get to a 3:30 viewing on Tuesday January 27, 2015. I have long been an admirer of Joseph Mallord William Turner. He was an English Romanticist landscape painter, water-colorist, and printmaker who was considered a controversial figure in his day. He is now regarded as the artist who elevated landscape painting. Although renowned for his oil paintings, Turner is also one of the greatest masters of British watercolor landscape painting. He is commonly known as "the painter of light" and his work is regarded as a Romantic preface to Impressionism. Some of his works are cited as examples of abstract art prior to its recognition in the early twentieth century.  

Written and directed by Mike Leigh, this film explores the last quarter century of the great if eccentric British painter J.M.W. Turner (1775-1851). Profoundly affected by the death of his father, loved by a housekeeper he takes for granted and occasionally exploits sexually, he forms a close relationship with a seaside landlady with whom he eventually lives incognito in Chelsea, where he dies. Throughout this, he travels, paints, stays with the country aristocracy, visits brothels, is a popular if anarchic member of the Royal Academy of Arts, has himself strapped to the mast of a ship so that he can paint a snowstorm, and is both celebrated and reviled by the public and by royalty. The movie runs 2 hours and 29 minutes.

The photo above was taken at a recent visit to the Indianapolis Museum of Art. The movie – not a huge box office draw is, however, a fun movie for an art junky like me.
Leigh's latest offers a portrait of the artist as a fascinating and visionary man of contradictions.


Sunday, January 11, 2015


Alan Rado of Adrado (Chicago), Patrick Scullin of Ames Scullin O'Haire (Atlanta), Stephen Fechtor of Fechtor Advertising (Columbus, Ohio) and Matt Walker of WHITE (Washington D.C. area).

ST. LOUIS (MO) Every year, we invite a panel of distinguished creative leaders to consider the best work done in the course of business in our town. St. Louis has a robust advertising community and supports the annual celebration of the craft. By entering, agencies, design firms, production companies and clients are hopeful of recognition of their efforts. If their work is judged to be among the best they will earn an ADDY.

The success of such a program depends heavily on the integrity of the process. To that end, the people chosen to objectively review hundreds of submissions in an effort to identify the best work must be a credible crew. This year we were fortunate to have pressed four outstanding judges into service: Alan Rado of Adrado (Chicago), Patrick Scullin of Ames Scullin O'Haire (Atlanta), Stephen Fechtor of Fechtor Advertising (Columbus, Ohio) and Matt Walker of WHITE (Washington D.C. area).  

A by-product of such a confluence are the sidebar conversations about the state of an industry. digital disruption, social media, and the technologies that are forever changing the way we communicate. Still these judges seem to agree on the paramount importance of building upon on strong strategic platform.  Alan is a seasoned art director who teaches at two colleges in Chicago, Patrick is an agency principle in Atlanta. He was once a flack advance man for a circus. Stephen once called St. Louis home.  Although not a sports fan he finds himself at Ballpark Village with a cacophony sound brought on by a St. Louis Blues hockey game in overtime and NFL playoff fever in the air on Saturday night. Matt shows his good sportsmanship after travel delays flying the friendly skies from Washington D.C. – The youngest judge, Matt is perhaps the most vigilant in looking for advertising that shows it is based on a strong concept.

The outcome of this year’s judging is a secret (of course) until the winners are made public next month. But this group of judges made sure that ADDY recognition means something. Hats off to Joe Mastroianni for managing an orderly orchestration and Kristy Tucciarone and her inspired students from Lindenwood (Go Lions!).  Thank you judges.

P.S. Thanks also to Pat Scullin for the suggestion of checking out YouTube video of BOB HOFFMAN - The Golden Age of Bullshit. 

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Three Movies

The Truth is Stranger Than Fiction

I love the movies particularly those that look at people and history in retrospect. During the break between Christmas and 2015 New Year holiday, I was in the audience for three stunning examples of the truth being stranger than fiction. Unbroken, Big Eyes, and Foxcatcher each tell a story beginning with historic context: Unbroken (in the 40s), Big Eyes (in the 50s-60s) and Foxcatcher (in the late 80s).  
Unbroken - After a near-fatal plane crash in WWII, Olympian Louis Zamperini spends a harrowing 47 days in a raft with two fellow crewmen before he's caught by the Japanese navy and sent to a prisoner-of-war camp. Directed by Angelina Jolie with screenplay written by Joel and Ethan Coen.    Big Eyes  - In the late 1950s and early '60s, artist Walter Keane (Christoph Waltz) achieves unbelievable fame and success with portraits of saucer-eyed waifs. However, no one realizes that his wife, Margaret (Amy Adams), is the real painter behind the brush. It isn't until the Keanes' marriage comes to an end and a lawsuit follows that the truth finally comes to light. Foxcatcher - Led by multimillionaire sponsor John E. du Pont (played by Steve Carell), the greatest Olympic Wrestling Champion brother team – Mark and Dave Schultz  (played by Channing Tatum and Mark Ruffalo) join Foxcatcher to train for the 1988 games in Seoul.
You can’t help loving Zamperini. He died in 2014 and is among the last of that Greatest Generation engaged in the world at war. Surely Angelina has made a good career move toward directing. You can’t help wondering about the evolution of sexism and complex relationships of marketing and pop culture challenges to traditions of fine art. Finally, you can’t help wondering about the motivations and demons of a mentally ill paranoid schizophrenic who believes people close to him are part of some kind of international conspiracy. Even with time, the truth may or may not come into clear focus through the lenses of moviemakers. At best, the truth well-told sheds light on issues and circumstances and allows for further thought. These three films are thought provoking indeed.


Saturday, December 27, 2014

Wayne & Karen Celebrate Gold

Karen and Wayne in 1964,
Civil Rights, Muhammed Ali,
Escalation of the Viet Nam war.
 The Saint Louis Cardinals beat the New York Yankees.
Wedding bells and now we wonder.
Estimations and Calculation;
Projecting - budgeting over and under; 
Counting, funding, machination;
Decades of spreadsheets and a little bit of grief.
A ladder to heaven falling back to earth;
Goodwill and unfailing belief;
Effort of a man unmeasured by net worth.
Always, Forever -In God we trust;
With memories of the Past,
We look forward, as we must.
Churches, community, friends -  family first and last.
Traps, trouble, putts per round and more;
Golf is life and he’ll tell you his game is on the mend.
A toast, Fifty years - To the love, to you and yours.
To the one only Wayne and the incomparable Karen.