Month: February 2014

15 Yards For Saying The N-word?

Throw the Flag

Vulgar language is and always will be a part of the NFL. You hear it in the locker rooms. You hear it on the field. If you sit close enough, you can even hear it from the stands. That could change as the NFL is now trying to curb some of that language by instituting a 15-yard penalty for using the N-word.

John Wooten, the head of the Fritz Pollard Alliance, anticipates that the NFL’s competition committee will enact the rule at the owners’ meeting next month.

I have numerous issues with this rule. While I like where the NFL’s head is at, there are some fundamental problems with this penalty.

Firstly, just because players don’t say the N-word, it doesn’t mean they don’t believe in it. You could be a bigot or a racist and just not say the N-word. Then again, you certainly are a racist if you use the N-word (when used in a demeaning manor).

However, rules don’t change people’s opinions. They may not be able to say it on the field, but they can still think it. It takes more than a 15-year penalty to change one’s beliefs.

Secondly, why are we stopping at the N-word? What about Jew? What about the K-word or the C-word or any other word defaming another race? Sooner or later, if this rule passes, you know other activists will come out and push for a similar penalty. African-Americans are not the only ones who felt the brunt of horrible racism over the past millennium.

Given the whole Michael Sam announcement and the Miami Dolphins saga, I can see why the NFL would consider implementing a rule like this. Nonetheless, it will not only hurt the game we all love and adore, but perhaps open the doors to other insane penalties fans won’t stand for.

NFL, do yourself a favor and take this proposed penalty off the agenda. You have better things to worry about.


Bulls Should Never Quit


As soon as Derrick Rose was announced out for the year, Bulls fans across Chicago and beyond started cheering for loses. If we aren’t going to win it all, why bother? Needless to say, Tom Thibodeau did not get the message and neither did his team. As a proud Chicagoan, I could not be more proud.

In life, no matter who you are or what you do, humans tend to look for excuses to fail. Whether it’s your back not letting you play or your job taking up too much of your time, many of us look for excuses to fail. The Bulls have a long list of excuses they could use. Rose is out for the year. They had to trade away Luol Deng. Carlos Boozer is mouthing off to Thibodeau. Jimmy Butler is taking a step back offensively. Whether for everyday humans or the Bulls, the list can go on and on.

I recently watched the movie Lone Survivor and there was one quote that really stood out. It came at the very beginning of the movie when they are showing the intense training exercises these soldiers had to go through. The officers are all yelling, “look for an excuse to succeed.”

Instead of looking for reasons to fail, why not look for reasons to succeed? The Bulls have numerous reasons to succeed. No. 1, their pride is always on the line. They are not going to throw the entire season away because they MAY be better off next season. How about an obligation to the fans? How about faith in themselves? If they think they can succeed this season, who has the right to tell them no?

They don’t only look for reasons to succeed. They use those reasons day in and day out as they prove to some of their most loyal fans what they are made of. For that reason, I could not be more proud of my Chicago Bulls.

Journalists Can Flourish Anywhere


One industry that will never be hurt by a depression or flourish by good times is writing. Every company needs writers. Every hotel needs writers. Every restaurant needs writers. Every institution needs writers. Given the rise in content marketing and the value of it ($44 Billion), people are started to realize it.

As I was reading 5 Tips for Copywriters who Want to Stay Relevant in Digiday, I kept thinking to myself, “I learned that in J-school.” At U of I, we learned how to how to write in the short- and long-form, how to alter our tones and write from every which side of the picture. No matter what angle you look at it, we learned how to write it.

After school, I did my best to make it in the newspaper industry. After all, my dream was and still is to be the beat writer for the Chicago Bulls. Sadly, this dream was put on hold due to the poor state of the newspaper and the fact that I didn’t want to live at home forever.

I moved into the online medium because it is profitable, but more importantly, because I knew I could. I knew the Journalism school at U of I taught me how to write in whatever medium was out there.

I have friends who graduated from J-school who are now writing for major sports broadcasts, the fashion industry or Groupon. I have others who are still chasing the newspaper dream. Thanks to the lessons instilled in me as I pursued a journalism career, I have the ability to flourish in whatever industry or medium out there.

Journalism is a major well chosen.

Any Company Can Create Amazing Content

Safety Tips

There are marketers out there who say they work for boring brands and no matter what they do, people will not want to talk about their business. Well, it is time to MAN UP.

You think a blender is interesting or talkable? Most people would say no. Well, the 11 million people who have watched the below video would disagree.

Companies all over the world are creating engaging infographics, thoughtful blog posts and amazing YouTube videos. I am not talking about companies like ESPN, Oreo or NBC, but everyday brands the average consumer would never think of.

Two great examples recently came from the airline industry. Take a look at Delta’s and Virgin America’s new safety videos.

I realize these airlines may have some of the biggest marketing budgets out there, but they still chose to think out of the box and create these very engaging and talkable safety videos. I can almost guarantee every flyer who saw those videos went back home and mentioned it to their family and friends.

That, my friends, is great content marketing at work.

Super Bowl XLVIII Conclusions: Seahawks and Esurance Win Big


Well my friends, I was nearly correct on all my predictions for Super Bowl XLVIII. Like many, I was rooting for Peyton Manning, but sadly, the dominant defense that is the Seattle Seahawks was too much to handle. The game was completely finished after Percy Harvin’s kickoff return in the 3rd quarter. This game was certainly not one for the ages.

On the marketing side of the field (see what I did there), as I predicted, not many brands shined like Oreo did last year. J.C. Penny tried to create a clever stunt with shady Tweeting to promote their new mittens, but more of the joke was on them. Pretending that you’re drunk does not work when so many major brands have actually been caught at the wheel (or phone, tablet, computer etc.).

However, there was one brand that made the biggest noise of the night. It even occurred after the Super Bowl really ended.

Esurance decided to save $1.5 Million by buying the first commercial after the Super Bowl. They are running a simple Twitter sweepstakes using the hashtag #EsuranceSave30. The winner actually gets that $1.5 Million. Since the announcement, their Twitter account has grown from 8,900 to over 226,000 as of Monday night.

While I love the idea of a sweepstakes and getting people to talk about you, I have a hard time believing all these fans, many of whom will undoubtedly unfollow Esurance as soon as the sweepstakes is over, are worth that kind of money.

When I was working at WOMMA, so many members always talked about true and genuine advocacy. On the other hand, others said good marketing can always be bought. I tend to side with the former and I believe this sweepstakes will prove my point.

Tell me how all those Twitter followers will translate into at least $1.5 Million. Even if it does, you think Esurance will report the ROI? I doubt it, but more likely than not, it won’t meet their high expectations.

Super Bowl Predictions: Game and Marketing

Super Bowl XLVIII

Tonight, the biggest sporting event of the year will take place in New York. The Denver Broncos will take on the Seattle Seahawks in what is supposed to be one of the best Super Bowls in recent memory. Personally, I am rooting for Peyton Manning and the Broncos, as I am sure most people are, but like many sports, defense reigns supreme. Therefore, I believe the Seahawks will take home the Lombardi Trophy.

Another prediction I would like to make deals with real-time marketing. As anyone in the industry will remember, it was a year ago that Oreo sent out that famous dunk in the dark Tweet. When it came to marketing, the whole world changed.


If you ask experienced marketers, they will all say that real-time marketing has been in play for years. I beg to differ. With the advances of social media and listening technology, nothing like that was ever in place.

Brands are now expected to be online 24/7, ready to take advantage of any opportunity they can get. Clearly, the Super Bowl, with over 100 million people watching, is a BIG opportunity.

I expect to see many brands try to send out a viral Tweet like Oreo did last year. However, no matter how creative Bud Light, BMW or Dominos gets, no social action will have a larger impact than Oreo’s a year ago.

Nonetheless, I am excited to see them all try.

What are your predictions?

The Worst Stay in School Campaign

Stay in School 2

Sometimes, and I do believe marketers will be the first to admit it, but we fuck up. Whether it is a misspelling on a front page press release or a dumb Tweet that everyone ended up seeing, marketers clearly have their fair share of WTF moments.

The latest came from the Learn for Life for Foundation when they created perhaps the worst Stay in School campaign children have ever seen. Take a look at the short video below (1:45).

First off, the entire first half of the video seems like a paradise. Whatever 13-18-year-old that saw ithe first half of the video was probably asking themselves “why have I been wasting my time in school?” Then, of course, we see the big bang (pun intended) when the slackers start to get blown up because they are hanging out on an explosive testing site. Seriously, how outlandish can you get it?

What the fuck Learn for Life?