Friday, March 30, 2007

Mega Youth Marketing

On Tuesday this week I had a blast – I got to speak at the Youth Marketing Mega Event at Huntington Beach, California. It was a big young crowd and a whole lot of fun. Here's 10 things I said about the future young people are creating.

1. The future is letting go of control. Hand over the message, the experience, the brand – it never belonged to marketers to start with. It’s their space, their tube, their brand and their world.

2. The future is young. Kids are way ahead. Marketers have to move from talking to them, to attracting, engaging, entertaining. One member of the audience asked me how I would 'drive' young people to a website. I told him to re-think the language and change the game. It's the kids in the drivers' seat mate, not us.

3. The future is open. Digital explodes all boundaries. Jesus has landed in MySpace. If you can dream it, you can do it.

4. The future is ageless. There are no tweens, teens or 'has-beens', just many ones.

5. The future acts local. Over 90 percent of all phone calls, web traffic and telco investment is local.

6. The future is uninhibited. Fail fast, fix fast. Most importantly, just do it. Velocity is the new black.

7. The future is saturated. Brands look like wallpaper and kids are walking by. That's why we've got to get beyond brands, to Lovemarks. Now.

8. The future is emotional. People are about 80 percent emotion and 20 percent reason. Every decision we make is based on a feeling.

9. The future is connections. Youth are savvy to simulation, brutal on deception, demand authenticity, love connectivity. Attitude is all, but not just a bitchin, in-your-face provocation. Optimism and positivity are where it's at.

10. The future cares. People want to make a difference in the world whether they're six or sixty. They expect companies to make a difference too and they'll switch off if you don't.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

The Lovemarks Effect At Google

We launched the first Lovemarks book at The New Yorker so it felt totally right to launch the latest book The Lovemarks Effect at Google. My challenge to them was simple: be inspired by consumers, not just by technology. Google being Google have put my presentation online so the Lovemarks Effect is breaking out everywhere...

People often ask how brands that you don’t taste, touch, smell or hear can become Lovemarks given the importance of Sensuality. I guess if you actually had to eat the brand and it was a chair, that would be a problem but, as Apple famously demonstrated with their YUM! advertising campaign, even computers can have flavor. Most of our decisions are emotional and as human beings we all relish metaphor. That’s how an online company like Google can aspire to be a Lovemark. By metaphor and association. Great restaurants discovered by search, boxes of Spring bulbs and amazing chocolates delivered to the door, Google connects us with them all and our senses remember them for it.

Mike Forde - Bolton Wanderers Football Club

Mike is the Performance Consultant of the Bolton Wanderers Football Club. Bolton is a homespun local club that has for the last five years consistently outperformed its potential. Amongst the big spending premiership elite of Manchester United, Chelsea, Liverpool, and Arsenal, little Bolton has consistently challenged and finished near the top of the Premier League.

All this has been down to four inspirational players. Phil Gartside, the Chairman, Sam Allardyce, the iconic manager, midfielder Gary Speed (who’s just bought a house about 200 yards from me in St. Tropez - so that should help our Sunday morning kick about), and the glue who holds it together, a young lad in his early 30’s, Mike Forde. Mike has been working for five years with Clive Gilson, one of my Inspiros partners on a Peak Performance program. Sam is the inspirational leader and the whole club and team are run on Peak Performance lines. A few weeks ago when the captain was carried off injured, the cry from the field was “Who’s got the R?” This was a reference to the RASCI system of project management which we practice here at Saatchi, (Responsible, Accountable, Support, Consult, Inform) but hasn’t been heard too often in times of crisis on the soccer field.

Mike is a special young guy with classic integrator skills. He deals with the on-going pressures of small budget, big competitors, and weekly moments of truth through combining passion and harmony. That’s why the Bolton Wanderers are always in flow, off the field, as well as on the field. Mike is a classic example of the servant leadership style practiced by Bob McDonald, in particular, at Procter & Gamble.

As for Sam, he was a candidate for the English job, and we helped put together a presentation for him which showed how he would take the English team forward. It was full of BTI’s (big transformational ideas), as well as a lot of attention to the last detail. It went completely over the head of the Football Association who, after the Sven-Göran Eriksson debacle, then chose Steve McClaren (Eriksson's non-successful assistant). My only hope now is that one day Mike and Sam will go to work for my team, Manchester City.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Mary Baglivo – Advertising Woman Of The Year

Great business is about creating powerful emotional partnerships. Not as easy as it seems. Egos, misunderstandings and jostling for position can all get in the way. When I see someone who can create a great partnership, I know I’ve found an Inspirational Player. Mary Baglivo is the CEO of our New York office and Mary is an Inspirational Player. Her partnership with New York's Chief Creative Officer, Tony Granger, is so in tune they share a business card. Mary is on one side, Tony is on the other, with both of them claiming they are on the front!

Mary came to Saatchi & Saatchi from an outstanding career in advertising. Her challenge was simple: make New York the flagship office of our global network. In under three years, she has done just that - she has led the charge for new business, she has reinvigorated every team, she has given her people new focus and commitment. This week her peers at Advertising Women of New York recognized her spirit and accomplishments by naming her Advertising Woman of the Year. At a memorable lunch, we celebrated Mary with her family and friends, colleagues and mentors, and many of the clients she has worked with. Lynne Boles VP of Global Advertising at P&G, Mark Addicks, CMO for General Mills and Mike Boylson CMO of JC Penney all spoke about Mary’s inspired leadership, warmth and dynamism. Saatchi clients Novartis, Alcoa/Reynolds, Pay By Touch, Ameriprise and Cold Stone Creamery were there and so were our Publicis partners. My thanks to the Advertising Women of New York for making it happen.
Maurice Levy, CEO of Publicis Groupe and my boss, summed up the mood. He sent a message from Paris asking why Mary was New York’s advertising woman of the year when she was clearly Advertising Woman of the World!
To attract such enthusiasm from so many people, Mary brings great personal depth. She is certainly inspirational to work with, but she says that she has never bought into the idea that life has to be a balancing act between family and work. She's always wanted what she calls 'one big life' in which she didn't have to measure how much of herself she could afford to give at any moment. I love that idea and Mary is living proof that it works. Her personal purpose is to be The Mother of CEOs! She’s a fantastic hands-on mom (she never misses a soccer game and claims to make the best peanut butter sandwiches in the world), she has loyal and loving friends and she is committed to making a difference for underprivileged kids.
Where does she get the time? If you ask her, she just gives that puzzled look people do who live life to the full. I love that attitude, and I love the energy and creative spirit that glows inside it.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Harrods: The Best Shopping Experience In The World

I was in London last week for a day giving an interview to the Financial Times on the reconfiguration of the advertising industry, appearing on CNBC’s Worldwide Exchange talking about Lovemarks and further growth in China, and then giving the Annual Lecture to the Institute of Direct Marketing. In the middle of this eclectic day, I spent two hours in the best department store in the world - Harrods. There have been many pretenders to the throne and none have come close. Harrods' owner, the ubiquitous Mr. Al-Fayed, is also owner of the Ritz Hotel in Paris and the somewhat more prosaic Football Club. And, while he may not be everyone’s cup of tea, believe me, he has the highest standards when it comes to customer service and a department store. Harrods is the ultimate Lovemark.

If you can’t find something in Harrods, they can get it for you. On this visit I was buying some crockery, glassware and cutlery for my new Grasmere home in the Lake District. Normally, this would have been an administrative nightmare involving three different departments but Raj and Marcia, two assistants in kitchenware/glassware, took care of the whole process. They made it fun, seamless, fast and successful! They told me that they underwent ongoing customer service training and that they were rewarded on their attitude towards customers and their ability to delight them. I had the same service experience in the art department when I picked up a couple of sculptures. You can easily spend a day in Harrods and the food hall is the best sensual experience to be had anywhere in the UK. Harrods not only bring together the best of the best, they allow you to taste pretty much anything you like from sushi to meat and potato pie. Then there is the Egyptian Room which is not to be missed.

Harrods has been around a long time but it just gets better and better. When it comes to Mystery, Sensuality and Intimacy, Harrods can’t be beat.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Meeting Your Heroes: Talking With Robert Earl Keen

One school of opinion suggests that coming face to face with your heroes can be a seriously bad downer. Feet of clay don’t show up at a distance. This hasn’t been my experience. From meeting early rugby heroes from the New Zealand All Blacks like Earl Kirton and Waka Nathan 20 years ago, to meeting Robert Earl Keen a couple of weeks ago in Austin, Texas, hero worship has been a universally uplifting experience for me. Meeting heroes and inspirational players is the best way to keep positive feelings and self belief growing. And the world is full of inspirational people.

I’ve been a big fan of Robert Earl Keen since hearing his album, A Bigger Piece of Sky in the late 90’s. I’ve been to a bunch of concerts and was lucky enough to be invited to sit on stage with him at Billy Bob’s in Texas last year. In Austin we met at the Four Seasons, an unlikely venue for an ad guy and a honky tonk guitarist to get together. The result was 1-1/2 hours talking about creativity, the excitement of the music business, the pressures of touring 180 days a year. and the joy of family (Robert has two daughters who are 12 and 6). We also talked about the price of success in terms of having to take responsibility for multi million dollar a year enterprise. It’s a big step from writing songs, singing them, and playing them.

Robert is a big, friendly, warm guy with humor and mischief in his eyes. Some of his songs are funny, some are deeply personal and all drip with truth. The Road Goes on Forever is one of the great stories of all time and if the 21st century does indeed belong to the storyteller, as Rolf Jensen claims, then Robert Earl will be right there at the front of the queue. To get started on the Robert Earl Keen Experience, try and see him live in Texas. If you can’t make that, he will be in New York in November. And, if you can’t make New York, buy Live Dinner No. 2, Live at the Ryman, and What I Really Mean.

p.s. Anyone in or near the state of Oklahoma should check out Robert at the Wormy Dog Saloon in Oklahoma City on 7th April. (How could you resist not going to a place called the Wormy Dog Saloon?)

On line At Vespaio

When I was in Austin I had an incredible meal at Vespaio. The restaurant is an old store front that has been refurbished with lots of glass and exposed brickwork. The word vespaio is Italian for beehive and it is so right to describe the intense focus of both the staff and the diners! It was a great experience and superb food. Why am I telling you this? Because when we went to Vespaio we waited on line for nearly an hour and, believe me, I am not a wait-on-line kind of guy. Vespaio does not accept reservations. Welcome to the Attraction Economy. The Vespaio experience is so good and gets such great word of mouth that even I was happy to stand on line. That’s what great experiences do. They turn the drag of waiting into anticipation. Try the veal scaloppine with mushrooms. It’s more than worth the wait.

Friday, March 23, 2007

Bright Ideas From Australia And Wal-Mart

I’ve just had one. I’ve always believed that it’s up to business to change the world – because governments have proved to be too slow, too short-term and too easily diverted. If you think that changing from old fashioned incandescent light bulbs to energy saving “spiral” ones is one way of improving the way we treat this planet (which I do), let’s look at the way the front runners in government and business are going about it.

The Australian government expects to become the first country in the world to phase out incandescent bulbs. Their plan is to have it done by 2010 and their idea is to ratchet up minimum energy performance standards so that it becomes impossible to sell incandescent bulbs. It’s not subtle but it worked to reduce water usage so it should work again, over time.

Faced with the same goal, the largest retailer in the world Wal-Mart is doing something different. Lee Scott said recently in the New York Times, "The environment is begging for the Wal-Mart business model". By that I guess he means scale, relentless focus and an understanding of what matters most to consumers. Wal-Mart is harnessing all three to meet its massive goal of selling 100 million energy saving spiral bulbs by 2008. In my experience, Wal-Mart usually does exactly what it says, so this big stretch goal will be a powerful motivator – especially as it has been picked up widely in the media. Wal-Mart has also committed major marketing muscle and passion to attracting shoppers to these funny-looking bulbs. While every spiral brings rational longer-term benefits (they use 75 percent less electricity, last 10 times longer and save consumers $30 over the life of each bulb), it’s tough to get people to make this unfamiliar choice without an emotional connection. One hugely persuasive way is to act, not just talk. Wal-Mart is pushing spirals by using them as part of an effort to eliminate 30 percent of energy used in its stores. When you remember that energy is second only to labor costs for Wal-Mart, we are talking about savings against a billion dollar line in the account books. Smart for the planet. And smart business.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Shopping For Music On Bleecker Street

Last weekend saw a blizzard in New York. Airports were closed and inches of snow fell throughout the city and suburbs. The sun came out over the weekend although temperatures were freezing. I finally ventured out late Sunday morning into Greenwich Village to Bleecker Street Records. An hour browsing through their impressive stock of hard to find rarities, vinyl and bootleg CD’s is as good as it gets.

I came out with a live Ray Davies concert in Berlin from the middle of last year. Ray is the consummate Englishman, and one of the world’s great storytellers. The two disc album mixes his latest stuff with Kinks classics. With nostalgia reigning, I also picked up a great Springsteen album from August 1975. Recorded in Atlanta, Georgia, the week before the Born to Run album came out, and before Springsteen hit the cover of Time as “Rock’s New Sensation.” It’s a two-CD live concert with all the upcoming tracks from Born to Run. Some of them played in real-time with great Springsteen stories introducing songs that feel like movies (‘The E Street Shuffle’, ‘Kitty’s Back’, and Fourth of July, Asbury Park’). The show is memorable because it was the last time Springsteen ever played ‘And Then She Kissed Me’. The disks also included covers of ‘Twist and Shout’, ‘When You Walk in the Room’, and ‘Pretty Flamingo’.

Completing my morning were two hard to find Dylan shows; the last solo acoustic performance from 1 June, 1965 played at the BBC TV Theater in front of a live audience at Shepherd’s Bush, London. It was straight after this he went electric. And then from 1976 the Rolling Thunder concert from Colorado State backed up by Scarlet Rivera, Joan Baez, Roger McGuinn and Co. This is Dylan’s voice at its most powerful.

Bleecker Street Records has a sister shop on Thompson Street in Soho called Generation Records. they are both must visits when you are in New York.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Wrapping Up On Six Nations Rugby

I spent Saturday watching the three final games of the Six Nations which ended with two sides tied for first place, France and Ireland. One of these two is likely to meet New Zealand in the Quarter Finals of the World Cup in September. The French squeezed in on points difference but are probably disappointed with a tournament which saw them humiliated by their arch enemy England at Twickenham. So, New Zealand and South Africa go into the World Cup as firm favorites with a group of death comprising three of the next top ranked teams, France, Argentina, Ireland, with only two to qualify.

The tournament is a fantastic feast of rugby for spectators, and the addition of spring weekends in Rome has been welcomed by everyone. It’s a much better spectator event than the Sanzar Tri-Nations which has become dull, predictable and stale. So while the rugby in the Six Nations is average at best and the Rugby in the Tri-Nations is exhilarating, the Six Nations competition is much sharper. It’s also a better TV spectacular and certainly a much better day out. In the end, I think Graham Henry and the All Blacks selectors will have been the most pleased with the Six Nations as neither of the top two teams progressed. And England were incoherent.

My 15 man team of the tournament: Dempsey Ireland 14, Lamont Scotland 13, Jauzion France 12, D’arcy Ireland 11, Hickie Ireland 10, O’Gara Ireland 9, Ellis England 1, Milloud France 2, Ibanez France 3, Nieto Italy 4, O’Connell Ireland 5, Bortolami Italy 6, Worsley England 8, Parisse Italy 7, Wallace Ireland 1.

Player of the tournament - Sergio Parisse, Turkey - Andy Farrell, England.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Pop-up Retail

The first pop-up that really inspired me was the Comme des Garcons adventure three years ago in Berlin. What a terrific idea. A store that appears like a mushroom, inhabits a readymade space, inspires the local community and out-of-towners and then packs up and moves on. I loved the Taschen bookstore wallpapered with bright red graphics and the Wired pop-up in Soho that was like walking into the magazine – and let’s not forget the U.S. Potato Board’s efforts last Thanksgiving. I’m told Mr Potato Head was a sensation! The whole pop-up idea is so full of fun and mystery that I knew it had to, well, pop up all over the world. And so it has. Pop-up is now part of the retail marketing repertoire and is evolving fast. A couple of weeks ago Kraft Foods turned up the heat by popping a retail store onto North Michigan Avenue in Chicago. For just three days set out to persuade us that their latest frozen pizzas are as good as fresh-made pizza. Coincidentally, Kraft is using the same building that we transformed for a pop-up Lexus art exhibition in January - The Lexus 460 Degrees Gallery. I saw the same show in Los Angeles and it was a heart stopper. Three artists, a beautiful space and the fantastic new LS 460 L sedan.

Monday, March 19, 2007

Strength And Honor

What we do in life echoes in eternity. The Gladiator’s call went out from Mike Catt at Twickenham on the Sunday before last. I was at the game with my son, Ben, and two of his mates from New Zealand, Jose, and The Goose. They loved it. We were certainly at the right game after England's defeat by Wales (back to its unimpressive ways). A beautiful day for rugby that Sunday; 60 degrees, blue skies, sunshine, firm under foot, with the French in town to continue their inevitable Rolling Thunder grand slam. England with 11 changes and the coach, Brian Ashton, a fellow Lancaster Royal Grammar School old boy, was scheduled to be no more than Cannon Fodder. Enter an unlikely hero, Mike Catt, a 35 year old South African captaining England for the first time; a desperation measure. I’ve always had a soft spot for Catty since Jonah Lomu ran through him during the 1995 semi-final in Cape Town where Jonah touched the ball 7 times, scored 4 tries, created 2 and put an Englishman in hospital. As Australian Peter Fitzsimmon said to me after the game, “Rugby doesn’t get much better than that.” But Catty was back. The 35 year old general, after a shaky, nervy start, stood up and led his troops to arousing 26-18 victory. Mike Catt turned into Mike Lion. On that day, an old general, a brave coach and half a dozen young, inspirational players made the difference. I’m a big believer in old heads and young legs (as Mandy Rice Davis said at the height of the Profumo scandal “I would say that wouldn’t I.”) Young players have no fear. Not because they are smarter but because they are radical optimists with no scar tissue. Under the right coaching and mentoring they can be sensational.

Friday, March 16, 2007

Bracken Darrell - Engineering Magic At Braun

Bracken is Global President of the electronics design icon Braun. A couple of weeks ago I had a great dinner with him in Frankfurt at the Villa Kennedy. (As an aside, Rocco Forte sure knows how to put love into hotels. Who could resist the attractions of JFK’s Bar and Lounge in Germany of all places?) Bracken is the guy who will make Braun the next Motorola / Apple. He's inclusive, empathetic and a great connector. He's put together a multinational team which builds Braun's German heritage and is powering it up to take consumer led innovative design to the world. He totally understands the power of design to make a direct connection with the consumer’s heart. In our conversation over dinner I could feel the passion and enthusiasm that is the only way to inspire the creation of irresistible products. Bracken has given Braun its mojo back. Watch out for what’s coming next. A male personal grooming design revolution is in the wings.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Every Day Matters For JCPenney

When an advertising campaign is launched, you get all the media metrics around consumer response rates and the rest, but you also get the reaction of the ad industry itself. The expectations were high when our new campaign for JCPenney broke because of the way we won the business. Not with a pitch, but with an idea. Lovemarks. The campaign we presented for the first time during the Academy Awards is called Every Day Matters and I think it is simply beautiful. Some commentators agreed with me. Some thought we had a “bad case of artiness.” The assumption was that the work might look good but that the people in the Midwest wouldn’t get it. My response? Underestimating people has been the squeaky wheel of marketing for too long. Are people in the Midwest only supposed to understand discounts and promotions? Are they untouched by stunning design, inspirational experiences and great service? We wove this campaign from Mystery, Sensuality and Intimacy because these are the qualities that inspire people everywhere. Commenting on the new work, Barbara Lippert said in Adweek, “No amount of Lovemarks can counteract a bad shopping experience.” She’s right of course. Lovemarks is not about advertising, it is founded on a belief. The belief that the consumer owns the brand and that it is her desires, interests and passions that matter most.

P.S. Watch the new ads and Bob Garfield's review on Calendar and Screen Moments.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

The Heart Beat Generation

Sometime soon I’ve got to get to the Heart Chamber Orchestra involved with Lovemarks. This group of 12 musicians create an audio visual performance where the visuals respond to their individual heart beats. Everyone who has been a baby – and that’s got to be all of us – knows that the beat of the human heart has deep resonance. The Orchestra takes this resonance literally. They plug themselves into ECG sensors which are linked to computers and the data they get from these (hopefully non fat) beats, generates the score and visuals in real time. The Orchestra then plays the score live in front of the dynamic visual environment. For these guys rehearsing is only about mastering the equipment and the process. The performance itself is responding in real time to unpredictable feedback in a collaborative way. Just like life!

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Manchester United - Living The dream

Here's one of life's rules: when someone follows their dream, everybody, no matter what the impact on them, loves them for it. And that was exactly what happened when our top guy in Saatchi & Saatchi London, Lee Daley, decided to leave us. Did we want to lose him? No. But did we love him for heading off to take on the challenges of his Lovemark Manchester United? We sure did. Anyone who sees the light in Lee’s eyes knows that Manchester (right city, wrong club, but you can’t have everything) is in for an exciting ride. They have found someone with total passion and real commitment to them from birth. As for us, he’s assembled fantastic componentry for a great twenty-first century agency at Charlotte Street which is now packed with Inspirational leaders. Someone is in for a lot of fun in ’07 stepping into the role and making it run. And let’s not forget our increased chance of getting tickets for Old Trafford!

Monday, March 12, 2007

Starbucks Coffee Break

The Love/Respect Axis pictured above is the centerpiece of Lovemarks and it shows that the only place to be is in the top right-hand quadrant. That’s where Lovemarks are - the brands people can’t live without. No one wants to be in the bottom left-hand quadrant with commodities. So when Howard Schultz of Starbucks sent an internal memo to senior managers suggesting that Starbucks was in danger of becoming a commodity, all hell let loose when the memo went public. Everyone had an opinion and the stock went down but for Howard to sound the alarm was a very gutsy move. I talked to Starbucks in Seattle last year and I was deeply impressed by how close they are to living the Lovemarks life. At a time when the company has ambitious growth plans, Howard's message to his people is simple: we can’t take love for granted. And he gives some fantastic specifics that have Lovemarks all over them. Take the efficient, hygienic flavor-locked packaging. The problem? This packaging inhibits customers from truly living in Starbucks' Third Place because they can't smell the coffee. Gone is an important dimension of sensuality from the store. Another example is the question mark over the introduction of automatic espresso machines. Howard suggests they are removing the craft of the baristas, and undermining their personal relationships with regular customers. Mystery, Sensuality and Intimacy have to flourish if you’re going to stay a Lovemark. Howard Schultz knows that and he’s showing his people what matters most to every winning business: keep the love alive.

Friday, March 9, 2007

Going For A Song

The Top 100 Most Played list on my iPod tells an interesting story. It's is full of experienced women artists like Laurie Anderson, Lucinda Williams, Patty Griffin and Marianne Faithful who've been around for a while. Is this just nostalgia on my part? I don’t think so. No one loves change more than I do but to be a Lovemark you need to connect across time. Songs are stories set to music and like all great stories they speak for the past as well as the present and future. Without those connections the best you can hope for is being a short-term fad. I find it bewildering that so much great music gets brushed aside in the rush for the new and the obsession with celebrity. Listen to Bob Dylan's show on RadioXM or David Byrne Radio on the web. They show how mining the past and making authentic connections between very different artists leads to compelling listening. Only David Byrne would put Ennio Morricone and Frank Zappa together! And don’t forget to by Lucinda’s new album, West.

Thursday, March 8, 2007

If They Build It…

Architects are the magicians of the Attraction Economy. If they build it we will come, and we do, in our millions. The Tate Modern with its astonishing turbine hall and Herzog & de Meuron redesign drew an incredible 8.5 million people in the years 2004 and 2005. Other buildings like the Guggenheim Bilbao transformed the cultural identity of a city and indeed an entire region. So what happens when a destination experience is built in the middle of small town America? That’s what Bentonville, the home of the retailer Wal-Mart, is going to find out in 2009. Alice Walton has commissioned architect Moshe Safdie to design a jaw-dropping museum they are calling Crystal Bridges. A 15-minute walk from downtown Bentonville will take you to this stunning museum and cultural center stretching across a ravine fed by Crystal Spring. Fill this building with the outstanding collection of American art that Alice Walton is putting together and Bentonville can expect to become a cultural center for the nation. I love this kind of commitment to the local. Anybody who has been to Bentonville in Arkansas will understand very quickly what an impact Wal-Mart has on the area. By staying loyal to the place where they were founded, Wal-Mart have followed a great American tradition. Too often I visit small towns and even cities that have been decimated when local businesses have uprooted themselves and gone to bigger centers. Think local, go global – the best of all worlds.

Wednesday, March 7, 2007

Living doll

Talking of heartbeats, how about this cool doll from Japan. Why are the two kids pressed up against it? You’ve got it, they’re listening to its heartbeat. Come on store guys, get some of these babies on the floor now.

Tuesday, March 6, 2007

One From The Heart

I believe that we are living in the Attraction Economy and that in this world you have to create entertaining, engaging and focused connections, or everyone walks away. In my business this is the world where consumers are in control and selling by yelling is a waste of space. It is also the world of blogs. Over the next year I will be posting on the stuff that amazes and delights, inspires and intrigues me.

I hope it does the same for you.

The Sun Ain't Gonna Shine Any More

On the 20th of January this year, the heart of Saatchi & Saatchi missed a beat. It was the day we lost Paolo Ettorre, the Special One. The Godfather. Paolo was our CEO in Italy and one of the inspirational forces of our network. Warm and generous, he was the spirit of Italy wrapped in the body of an extraordinary man. To me he was a friend and a role model, a man who loved life and lived it with heart. His son and my son both work for Saatchi & Saatchi and flat together in London. Paolo and I were proud and happy that our friendship could cross a generation. That's how it should be. Paolo always put his family first and we wish them every comfort in the world.

Ciao Paolo.