Sunday, June 28, 2015

Garrison Keillor — partisan hack

Sometimes, on a dreary Saturday evening, you might be stuck washing dishes and listening to the radio. No ballgame on... so you flip to the NPR station and resign yourself to A Prairie Home Companion. Completely benign choice, right? Can't hurt you.

But early in the show last night (June 27), Garrison Keillor opened with a partisan salvo so obnoxious that anyone listening (and washing dishes) risked dropping the favorite family china.

Keillor's opening lines (spoken with wry jubilation):

"The President had a good week this week, all thanks to Republicans." (applause and chuckles from the audience) 

"Republicans passed the trade bill... The Supreme Court allowed Obamacare to live... (applause and cheers)..."

"Republicans came out against the Confederacy after 150 years." (wild applause and cheers)

"They came out against it. It was not a good idea. (more cheers... then emphatically...) It was not a good idea: A war in behalf of the institution of slavery."

Now, many Americans know (though their numbers decline, I'm sure) that Lincoln helped to found the Republican Party to oppose the expansion of slavery — and rallied Republicans to fight a long and bloody war (over fierce Democratic opposition) so that the Confederacy would not prevail and slavery would not survive.

How, then, can we account for the smug, cavalier distortion of history in the line "Republicans came out against the Confederacy after 150 years"...?

1 Ignorance is out of the question, given the education and sophistication of both entertainer and audience.

2 Aging mental faculties and signs of dementia are possible, though not publicly evident elsewhere that we know of.

3 That leaves willful distortion of American history driven by partisan compulsion to slander Republicans and favor Democrats.

I'm not sure who loses when historical facts are glibly flipped around and tyranny becomes good government and cowardice becomes heroism. Does it matter? Should anyone care if the pious and cheering friends of public radio gradually forget that it was Republicans who led the nation to end slavery and pass modern Civil Rights legislation?

I don't know if it matters at all.

The surge of liberal Democratic values — including glib distortion of facts and the hounding of anyone who says anything not acceptable to the outraged mob — seems unstoppable. Lincoln and his Republican stalwarts are long dead. So let's join in: Long live the Great Democratic Party that saved the nation from the Republican murderers of Honest Abe. (cheers and applause)


Monday, June 8, 2015

New Alitalia Livery

It's been said that Alitalia's new livery (livery is designer-talk for paint job) looks a lot like the old. Well, that's not so. Brandsinger has done a little comparison and found the following significant design updates.

Now, for the new paint... um, livery, there are similarities, yes. But to the practiced eye of a trained branding professional, the profound improvements come to light:

I can't impress upon the public how important it is for livery to be refreshed periodically to remain relevant for each new generation. Un-updated livery is like... well, it's like old liver-and-onions (this is not a professional term but I'm using language that general readers will understand... that you will get).

So keep your eyes peeled for updated livery and for un-updated, stale livery. 


Uh-oh. I mixed up the old and new paint jobs. The updated design is actually on top. I er, meant to say the top one is much better. To the practiced eye.

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Small town values

You may be a big-city person like me and spend your days elbowing your way through noisy crowds for a crumb of calm — sorry about the lazily mixed metaphor. You may never have lived in a small town. You may not have experienced time slowing to a crawl and people shuffling along in life without frenzy or sweat.

But every now and then, as I'm sure you've discovered, you stumble into a small town for a quiet hour or two and find that life can be more like the rustle of leaves in summer than the sting of a winter's wind.

So this morning I found myself in a small town for breakfast. I drank in the corn-ball signs and scenery. And I emerged softened and relaxed enough to write this post about pretty much nothing at all.


How market forces keep order in small-town America.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Republicans—Great brands don't just say no

The season of bombardment has begun! – I mean the political bombs fizzling in our inboxes. 
I just got an email from Paul Ryan, Republican from Wisconsin and former VP candidate with Romney.

Ryan wants me to take a survey – to make my voice heard. What sort of Republican brand image is created by his email? You tell me…

First, Ryan opens with “As a dedicated and loyal conservative, I want to hear from you.” Now, I can’t be sure, but I’m guessing that the “dedicated and loyal conservative” was meant to refer to me, the recipient, not the “I” of the sender. So right away the syntax is poor.

More important is a second problem. Ryan writes, “Your input will help us stay focused on real, serious proposals to:
·      Reduce the deficit
·      Lower tax rates
·      Spark private-sector job creation
·      Stop Obama’s reckless executive overreach”

Now, if this is a true attempt to get my views, you’d think Ryan would ask me what serious proposals we should focus on, rather than tell me.

Finally, notice the nature of his “serious proposals.” Reduce… Lower… Spark… and Stop – three policy blockages, one positive promotion.

Help me say no.
To get anywhere in 2016, Ryan and Co. will have to learn the obvious lesson of Reagan – that is, to be positive… to offer plans that enlarge, encourage and enhance, not reduce, lower and stop.

It’s hard to inspire people with tiresome calls to say no. Republicans – in order to build a vibrant brand for this century – will have to get in the habit of saying yes.


Wednesday, April 8, 2015

World's Worst Logo

This post is dedicated to all the struggling designers out there... all of you whose elegant logo designs have been pecked to death by amateurs, corrupted by committees and then distorted and launched by marketers who would have a hard time matching their own shoes with the right shade of polish.

My gift to you, design professionals, is this.. seen yesterday in Manhattan on the 1-Train heading downtown... I give you the World's Worst Logo...

Note the several different types... and sizes... and colors... and... what the heck is this?  Like the animal below, this comical thing was surely designed by a (large) committee.

So if anyone ever criticizes your work, just show 'em this logo. And if they then accuse you of being ridiculous, just show 'em this camel. Now that's ridiculous.


Friday, April 3, 2015

Ha ha — Fooled by SAHALE Snacks

You're in an airport. You're hungry but only have a few minutes before boarding.

You go to the news stand for a snack — something healthy. Candy, no. Chips, never. Nuts? okay but not bathed in oil. So... Hey, look at this... Hmmm... "California Almonds." That sounds healthy. Let's face it, Mississippi almonds might be deep-fried.

You study the package. Tasteful design. "Sea salt" = healthy, right? And how about this "Snack Better" slogan... This "SAHALE" company is obviously looking out for my arteries.

You flip over the package for the "ingredients."
"Whole California almonds dry-roasted to perfection, finished with a touch of natural sea salt." — "natural sea salt" — okay, I'm buying!

I'm on the plane now with my SAHALE Snacks of California Almonds. We're taxiing before take-off and I look closely at the package. Hey... What's this? "See Ingredients Under Flap"...???

I look under the flap along the side and... in smaller up-and-down letters I read... hey!...
"INGREDIENTS: California almonds, sunflower oil, sea salt."

WTF! ... I've been had. These babies are bathed in oil... and the "Ingredients" description in bigger letters was actually a "See Ingredients" notice. Bastards!

Then I get it. Ha ha SAHALE Snacks! — Great joke! ... I was fooled.
The date of my flight: April 1.


Saturday, March 28, 2015

Sic transit gloria mundi

Thanks to Overboard, created and drawn by Chip Dunham.

Brandsinger's favorite comic strip.