013 - Who's Been Programming You?

Leslie Moonves, the longtime chief executive of the CBS Corporation, stepped down on September 9, 2018 amidst sexual harassment allegations. The CBS board announced his departure, effective immediately. Here we go again. Many of the men who have been outed for sexual harassment or assault spent years determining what TV shows, movies, and news programs millions of Americans watched on a daily basis.

How do you think sexism, bias, misogyny and sexual harassment in the most powerful companies in charge of storytelling have influenced society? Directors, writers, showrunners, studio execs, news anchors, news executives, and more.

We've got the Weinstein effect in full force amidst #MeToo:

Woody Allen

Roman Polanski

Matt Lauer

Mark Halperin

Charlie Rose

Roy Price

Roger Ailes

Bill O'Reilly

James Toback

Louis CK


All denied any nonconsensual sexual activity. But .... yeah right.

Programming informs culture. Stories set social norms. And it's not just the shows, it’s also the advertising.

Ask who writes your programs.

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011 - Marketing Meat, Milk, and Mayo

This podcast contains a Flash Briefing of the same name from a few days ago. If you already heard that brief, skip to 05:10.

Here's how to listen to Flash Briefing on your phone with the Amazon app (no Echo required).


Hellman's Mayo (Unilever) sued little Hampton Creek over their eggless mayo (Just Mayo) - 2014.

Then after all, Hellman's gave vegan mayo a go.

Big Ag (Big Agriculture) are the first or second most powerful lobbyists in Washington. The NRA is anathema to many when we talk about lobbying, but Big Ag is more impactful to our health and the environment than any other group. And even the Sierra Club and Greenpeace are Big Ag's bitch - here's more on that: Cowspiracy is a documentary worth watching.

Missouri has become the first state to regulate the word "meat," ruling that lab-grown "meats" and plant-based alternatives can't use the word. According to USA Today, producers can be fined for "misrepresenting a product as meat that is not derived from harvested production livestock or poultry." The law was pushed by the Missouri Cattlemen’s Association, which has argued that the term is confusing shoppers and harming ranchers. Just days before, the maker of Tofurky filed a lawsuit in the state seeking to block the regulation and allow the company to continue to use "meat nomenclature" like "sausage" and "hot dogs.” Via LinkedIn News 

Reminds me of Hellman’s Mayo (Unilever) suing little Hampton Creek, maker of “Just Mayo”, a vegan alternative that saves tons of water and pollution per year by omitting eggs. If our planet is going to make it another hundred years, we can’t continue factory farming at this rate. It is flat out unsustainable.

For example:

  • The water required to produce a pound of beef = 32 showers.
  • A 1/4 pound of hamburger requires over 600 gallons of water to produce
  • 29% of the world’s water goes to animal production.  1 in 6 or 1.1 billion people go each day without access to clean drinking water.
  • +50,033 gallons of water by giving up dairy = over 200,000 gallons of water per year by simply leaving meat and dairy off the menu!

We should be happy people are eating alternative meats. Also, anyone think about Camille Preaker with this rule coming from Missouri? Pigs are smarter than dogs, you know. #WindGap


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010 - Future Flight Attendants and Captains of S&M

  • Sexist stickers for kids onboard TUI.
  • PR crisis fail - no main brand Twitter account to issue a statement.
  • What is the deal with gender roles today? It’s confusing to be expected to display assertive traits in the office and “feminine” traits at home. And why are so many young men not acting like men?
  • Chuck and Wendy Rhoades have a special power balance on Billions and domination/submission role play is a release more common than you may think.


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007 - Three Random Ideas to Inspire Action

Three ideas to start your month with some thinking and hopefully some action:

  1. Why avoid the news (via @jasonfried on the Tim Ferriss Show).
  2. Nearly half of working age families in the U.S. have nothing saved for retirement. #yikes
  3. Billion dollar ideas that you could invent via @allison_pons.


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"Alexa, play marketing podcast." <--- That is my invocation. That is called a land grab.

006 - The Greatest Marketing Trick of the Twentieth Century

If you can help it, work on products that make the world a better place, not a worse place.

More than 2 in 3 U.S. adults were considered to be overweight or have obesity in 2014. As we became more concerned about obesity, consumers shied away from sugary soft drinks. Major beverage businesses were able to play on the habit of buying a beverage by bottling a nearly free commodity in plastic and printing a compelling label on it.

Popularity of bottled water:

The trick - bottled water is no healthier:

Marketing bottled water relies on convincing consumers that bottled water is a healthier alternative to soda, when in reality it is an alternative to tap water, and often times is actually worse for you. 

Bottled water suppliers are not held to the same standards and reporting requirements as tap water suppliers. (Which in the U.S. are not high in the first place.) A study conducted by the Environmental Working Group in 2008 identified 38 pollutants in 10 brands of bottled water, while 20% of the brands were indistinguishable from tap water.

Ironically, bottled water works against the goals of health and environmentally conscious consumers. Plastic from bottled water contributes to environmental degradation and Trash Islands (plural, as there are 5 oceanic floating trash heaps, some the size of Texas).

  • Buying a litre of bottled water costs between 250 and 10,000 times more than a litre of tap water

  • The average person produces half a pound of plastic waste every day. No wonder the oceans are filling up with waste!


But it’s not just marketed as having “no calories or artificial ingredients” - it’s marketed as healthier and safer than tap water. That's BS.

Racist advertising and targeting:

In 2014, Nestlé spent over $5 million advertising Pure Life — the most advertised U.S. bottled water brand — and three quarters ($3.8 million) went to Spanish-language TV advertising. The target audience was Latin-American immigrants, particularly mothers.

The angle: despite admitting that tap water is much cheaper and usually safer, corporations like Nestlé market bottled water as part of the immigrant “heritage” of coming from places with less access to clean drinking water. 

This whole thing is problematic. It is bad for the planet. It’s a waste of money from consumers who are being manipulated.

I try to work on products I feel good about. Look at some of the brands I've worked with. Imagine if all marketers did so.


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005 - Productive People Don't Care About Texting

When it comes to texting, the always-on mentality is a problem. Drop your sense of entitlement and assumption that the recipient has their phone on hand 24/7. We need quiet without distractions in order to think. Your text is not that important.

Article that inspired this brief: The 7 Things You Need to Know to Text With Good Etiquette

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002 - Pricing Your Marketing Services

Doctors, lawyers, and journalists have codes of ethics. They are trained on and continually reminded of their ethics guidelines. Advertisers don’t have standard ethics. But we’re responsible for influencing culture, which is huge.

Doctors and lawyers charge fees that clients rarely (and really can’t) contest. $85 for a 2-minute consult? Sure, Doc. Swipe my card.

But marketing clients often haggle over price or search for lower bids.

Is there a connection here?

Read more on the blog: Pricing Marketing and Advertising Services