The Power of Dates


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I recently had a conversation with a client about a potential anniversary campaign, and it got me thinking about the importance of utilizing special and unusual dates.  Big anniversaries, the return of Halley’s Comet, and January 23rd, 2045 (01/23/45) aren’t events you can celebrate just anytime, so you have to plan accordingly.  A special date is a perfect opportunity to do something unique, but when the date passes, the opportunity is gone.

Wednesday, October 21st, 2015 is a red letter date in the history of science fiction. It’s the day that 1985-based Marty McFly, Jennifer Parker, and Dr. Emmett Brown arrived in the Hill Valley, California of the future, in Robert Zemeckis’ Back to the Future, Part II.

Their voyage gave 1989 audiences a theoretical glimpse at what 2015 would be like:

Flying cars (not yet)
TVs you control with your voice (yup!)
Fax machines all over the house (yeah, but why would you want that?)
Take-and-hydrate pizza chains (close, but no)
Hoverboards (coming soon!)

Lexus recently released a cryptic but exciting promotional video for the SLIDE, a hoverboard product they are developing. You can find a little more information about the device if you dig online, but Lexus has promised to release more official information about their magnetic levitation machine on, you guessed it… Wednesday, October 21st, 2015.

Talk about taking advantage of an opportunity! Like the 2011/2015 Nike MAG campaign, Lexus is jumping all over 30ish years’ worth of expectations and delivering one of the cooler theoretical products from the fictional 2015. It would’ve been cooler still to see a flying car, but hey, you’ve got to hoverboard before you hoverdrive.

Campaigns like this show a great situational awareness. People who saw BTTF2 when it came out are in prime car-buying years now AND they’ve been waiting 26 years to see if the movie’s predictions will come true. Even if Lexus never sells an actual hoverboard, this branded product launch process will capture the attention of millions of 35- to 65-year-olds.

I can’t wait to see the SLIDE in action, but it doesn’t take a new technology to celebrate your special occasion.  Some new messaging, good press relations, and perhaps an anniversary logo and collateral can really go a long way to letting everyone know about your big date.  That said, the company that comes out with Star Trek-style “beaming” or Blade Runner “spinners” will have my undivided attention!

Staples Marketing will change its name to AFFIRM as of July 1, 2015!


We’ve been talking a little about the process we’ve undertaken in the past year or so to better define who we are at our agency; our purpose, mission, core values and the kind of work that inspires us and our clients. The end result of interviews, surveys, feedback and input from our staff, our clients, our vendor partners, colleagues, friends and family is a new name: AFFIRM.

We will be the same company with the same staff at the same location, but our new name better reflects the positively engaging marketing we do. We’ll write more about it in the coming weeks leading up to July 1, but in the meantime, see our news release about the name change.

The Earworm


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I first heard the term “earworm” a few years ago, but the phenomenon goes back much further than that.  The works of Edgar Allan Poe and Mark Twain and Seinfeld are some prominent places where you can find discussion of a song that you just can’t get out of your head.

I had an earworm recently that was a little unusual.  I don’t think I’m alone in that my earworms are generally songs with lyrics, as opposed to pieces of music that don’t feature singing.  This one had no lyrics but it really stuck.

The interesting thing about this earworm was the source – it’s a music bed from a Snapple commercial (linked below).  It caught my ear because the first time I heard it, I thought the saxophone-sounding part was a keymonica (pictured above).

What device actually made the music isn’t important.  What is important is that I’ve thought about this Snapple ad for a whole lot longer than I’ve thought about anything Snapple-related in quite some time.  Why?  Because the music that’s playing sounds like it might have come from a plastic musical instrument I used to bug my parents with as a kid.

I’m not saying that everybody should load up their commercials with keymonica music or similar-to-keymonica music, but this demonstrates how little details can go a long way towards winning your audience’s attention.  It’s not enough to just deliver a message.  There should always be a little pizazz (a song, a slogan, a spokesperson, etc.) to attract the eyes and ears and the brain!

If you’re having trouble reaching your audience or holding their attention, don’t underestimate the power of adding a little extra something(s) catchy to your message.  Don’t overpower your message, but don’t be afraid to add a couple of different hooks to catch more of your audience.

You know your message is right for your audience, so do whatever you can to keep them thinking about it!

Reliability Is Gold (Or Even Platinum)


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Extremely Reliable is one of our Core Values here at Staples Marketing. We’ll always be there for our clients, and we’re always ready to provide great service, regardless of what the situation requires. Here’s an example of another group that subscribed to the same ideal.

In the mid-1960s, a group of session musicians quickly rose to prominence (as much as a backing band can) for their work at FAME and Muscle Shoals Sound Studios in Muscle Shoals, Alabama. The Muscle Shoals Rhythm Section, or “The Swampers”, had a distinctive sound, a solid work ethic, and the ability to provide an impressive foundation for a wide variety of music styles.

The Swampers established themselves playing on R&B hits like:

– “When A Man Loves A Woman” by Percy Sledge

– “Mustang Sally” by Wilson Pickett

– “Tell Mama” by Etta James

– “I’ll Take You There” by The Staple Singers

– Most of the Aretha Franklin songs you know.

But they were recruited to back artists of all sorts of musical styles, including Willie Nelson, Jimmy Cliff, Joe Cocker, Cher, and many others.

All told, this group was the backing band on over 75 gold or platinum records. That’s a lot. You don’t achieve that level of success in such a wide range of styles without serious levels of ability and professionalism, and a strong desire to get some great things done. That’s what I call extremely reliable.


The Best Card Trick I’ve Ever Seen


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About 10 years ago, I took a trip to Miami to visit some friends. While out for dinner one night, a gentleman that spoke very little English walked up to our streetside table and asked if I would like to see a card trick.

My friends and I had ordered dinner but our food was yet to arrive, so we all agreed that a card trick (good or bad) would be a fun way to pass some time. People at neighboring tables had already declined his offer.

He proceeded to perform a version of the trick shown in the video below and it completely blew our minds – still does. We’ve all seen our share of mediocre card tricks, so this trick was a very nice prelude to our fish tacos, and we tipped the fellow accordingly.

I think this card trick scenario offers a good lesson to everyone that works in sales and marketing. The Miami magician was very polite, yet most people didn’t want to talk to him. The others weren’t being rude; they were just busy. He was persistent, though, and he eventually found an audience that was willing to give him some time (us).

Then, when he had the floor, he did not disappoint. He was ready to put on a brief presentation that was interesting, fun, and that kept us engaged. He earned the meeting and earned our business. I’d hire him again in a second!

Regardless of your industry, remember that getting in the door is only the first step. Be different, be exciting, and be prepared! Know the subject matter you’ll be discussing and have materials in-hand that nicely illustrate it.

He Only Scored 39

Atlanta Hawks vs. Boston Celtics

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The NBA is a league full of storied rivalries and unforgettable games, and this story is pretty unforgettable. Plus, it’s a fantastic example of what it means to be ABSOLUTELY POSITIVE – one of our Core Values here at Staples Marketing.

Dominique Wilkins recently gave an interview for the Boston Herald wherein he discussed one of his first ever matchups with Larry Bird, during the 1982-83 season. Wilkins was a highly-touted rookie, but Bird had already established himself as a superstar – and a known trash-talker.

After refusing to shake Wilkins’ hand before the game, Bird proceeded to score on him time and time again, talking a HUGE amount of trash all the while. It wasn’t until Wilkins scored on Bird with a strong move to the basket that Bird finally relented (momentarily).

Bird told Wilkins that he liked him and admired his toughness, but said he would still score 40 points on Wilkins that night. Wilkins said in the interview, “But I got him. He only scored 39.”

Giving up 39 points to an opposing player is not great, but Wilkins chalked it up as a win because it wasn’t 40. Additionally, he went on in the interview to say that tough games against the league’s best competitors didn’t hurt him, but instead made him into a tougher, better player.

Dominique Wilkins developed into a Hall of Famer because he didn’t let setbacks get him down, and he used the setbacks he met as learning devices to better prepare himself for the next time. That is what it means to be ABSOLUTELY POSITIVE.

Turtle Power!


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One of our Core Values here at Staples Marketing that regularly proves invaluable is that we are AMAZINGLY RESOURCEFUL. The combined experience of our team gives us a huge amount of resources from which to pull solutions for all situations, and the know-how to correctly utilize them. We’re great at finding ways to overcome challenges!

It’s always inspiring and fun to see how other resourceful people take on challenges, as well. One example comes from Germany, where a veterinarian (Dr. Carsten Plischke) found a creative way to help a disabled turtle regain its mobility.

The turtle, named Blade, has a condition wherein muscle loss and a lack of bone density prevent him from moving or even supporting the weight of his own shell. In an effort to help, Dr. Plischke has mounted LEGO wheels to the lower portion of Blade’s shell, which keep his body off the ground and allow him to walk more easily. The hope is that these wheels will just be training wheels, and that Blade will ultimately gain the necessary strength to walk on his own.

Check out the following video to see the little guy in action. [NOTE: The audio is in German.]

Collaborate and Learn!

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One of our Core Values here at Staples Marketing is that we are OPENLY COLLABORATIVE. It’s a great way to be. We work well as a team, both with our coworkers and with our clients, and it leads to the best results for everyone.

To get a better understanding of this particular Core Value, I did some research on the notion of collaboration. While an excellent finished product is what our team always strives to create, by collaborating the way we do we are actually creating other positive results, as well!

We pride ourselves on having a well-seasoned staff of media professionals, but in everything we do we are still always learning and always developing our skills. The concept of collaborative learning is one that you’ll find in hundreds of scholarly journal articles, and while the findings might vary a little, most studies show similar benefits related to learning as a team.

Collaborative learning promotes better social interaction and overall communication between people. It creates an appreciation for other points of view, other talents and other learning styles. Critical thinking, positivity, diversity, responsibility, exploration and support are all positive side effects of collaboration.

Taking a step back, one could say that OPENLY COLLABORATIVE is at the core of our Core Values. What I mean is, by being collaborative within our team and with our clients, we are constantly developing our inclinations to be ALWAYS RESPONSIVE, EXTREMELY RELIABLE, AMAZINGLY RESOURCEFUL, EXCEPTIONALLY ADAPTABLE, ABSOLUTELY POSITIVE and INSPIRED FUN.  It helps those we work with to live out those values, as well.

If you’re interested in collaborating on a project or campaign for the coming year, don’t hesitate to give us a call. We’re always interested in partnering with new people and developing new ideas!

You Can Help!




This time of year, it’s pretty normal to hear the question: “How can I help?” It’s a question our parents made us ask our friends and relatives when arriving at their homes for holiday get-togethers as kids, but it’s an important question for adults, too. “Thanks, we’re all set!” is the response you’ll get more often than not, but once in a while you will be asked to chop onions, set the table, get the baby away from the dog food, etc.

“How can I help?” is courteous when you’re a guest in someone’s home, but it’s an important question for life in general, too. This time of year, many of us are fortunate in that we can get together with our friends and families to enjoy a nice meal, gifts, and so on. Not everyone is so fortunate.

That’s why, this time of year, I always encourage people to take a little time to ask “How can I help?” in a more comprehensive way. There are people all around us that could use a warm meal or even just people to enjoy it with. As the winter starts to move in, a warm coat and some gloves are important to have, too.

There are a million ways that you can help others make their holidays better, if not special. A quick Google search of food pantries and shelters in your area will find you plenty of worthy recipients for your time, money, and even physical items like food, toys or clothing (especially outerwear). If the huge number of options gets overwhelming, feel free to drop me a line, and I’ll be happy to recommend some of the organizations that our staff and I contribute to!

Do as you are able, but don’t feel you need to do more than you’re able. Every little bit helps. If you find that giving back a little this holiday season takes exactly zero skin off your nose, then feel free to continue helping as you see fit in January, February and beyond!

Thank you all for reading, and from all of us at Staples Marketing, have a very HAPPY THANKSGIVING!

Exceptionally Adaptable and Effective!



EXCEPTIONALLY ADAPTABLE is one of our Core Values here at Staples Marketing, and it’s a trait you can see in our work. It’s a characteristic that we apply in all situations. We take a look at all of the elements we have available to us – both obvious and not – and create new and innovative solutions that best incorporate those elements.

For example, our national award-winning entry at this year’s American Advertising Federation Awards was our CHOOSE YOUR RIDE vehicle for the Wisconsin DOT. The front half of the car was decorated exactly like a Highway Patrol vehicle and the rear half was decorated just like a taxi cab, making a very strong statement about drunk driving.

All over the world, advertisers utilize space and materials in similar ways, with some fantastic results. Take a look at how some others have adapted to situations, and enjoy!