Advertising & Practical Thinking

The advertising profession is cold and cruel. The power of practical thinking is a perfect antidote.

Friday, December 28, 2018

Friday, December 28, 2018. 

Kindly click on this link or pate it on your browser.

Or as, Bob Dylan would sing...    When Will They Ever Learn...      b

Monday, June 11, 2018

"Intellectual Loneliness Is Hazardous To One's Health." --  BR, June 11, 2018.

Monday, May 28, 2018

A Personal Protest

Monday, May 28, 2018.
As a personal protest, the OED will not be my "GO TO DICTIONARY" from today... b
Oxford Univ. Tells Students to Stop Saying ‘He’ and ‘She’ [1]Student have formally been asked to use the gender-neutral pronoun 'ze' instead of 'she and 'he'.

Sunday, March 18, 2018

PURE "Practical Thinking"...

I just  read the following*:

"Officials with University of Maryland Baltimore County have had a busy couple of days since their Retrievers on Friday became the first No. 16 seed to beat a No. 1 seed in the NCAA men's basketball tournament.
That included filing for a few trademarks on Saturday morning with the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office.

After their big win over Virginia, attorneys Jason Belzer and Darren Heitner pointed out to school officials that they didn't have "Retrievers" or "Retriever Nation" trademarked. They also filed to trademark "16 over 1." "With all the attention, it made sense for us to take care of it right away," UMBC athletic director Tim Hall said.
While the trademark approval process could take a year, the school could at least make a case against the many opportunists putting its name and logo on T-shirts this week without giving the school a cut.
With merchandise flying off the shelves, the school bookstore, which sells the bulk of the team's gear, opened this weekend when it's normally closed.
In the 24 hours after the victory, the school bookstore's website sold two times the amount of gear it sold in the entire year.
The Retrievers will take on Kansas State Sunday night in Charlotte, attempting to make history again by reaching the Sweet 16."
Practical Thinking At Its FINEST...

Saturday, February 10, 2018

February 10, 2018
This word, I believe will go down in history as the most overused word of 2018.
It is only February 10, 2018, and I am sick of this word.
In truth, I was sick and tired of this word a year ago.
No, make that a few years ago!
To those who use this word as a part of their daily spoken/written attempts, may I suggest you try another word?
Let me be real candid, dear users of this word. 
What do you intend to mean when you use the word?
Are you suggesting there should be many people of Icelandic origin included along with those of Brazilian origin? 
Why not add a couple of Kiwis, too.
That would indeed be “diverse”.
Iceland is about as cold a place as you can find, and Brazil could be a very warm/hot place?
Or, are you suggesting that there should be gypsies from Hungary, a couple of cockneys from London, and a handful of peasants from India, and monks from Tibet?
Now that would certainly be “diverse”
For good measure, let us add a couple of aboriginals from Australia; two from Kyoto; Japan; and, a couple of native Inuits.
NOW, we have a truly diverse group.
Let’s go for it!
However, you and I know that is NOT what you mean.
You are making attempts at not wanting to “upset” any one.  The person you are trying to not offend has clearly won this battle.  He knows that he has made you change your language.
He has won “Round One”.
Uh! Oh! I used the pronoun, “He”.
Shame on me (go stand in the corner, facing the corner, for 15 minutes.  Put a finger on your lips and not a word from you, Bala.  Not even a whimper)! 
Let me put it another way.
You go shopping and buy a few bananas, a couple of oranges, and a dozen apples.  You also buy a couple of lemons, a cauliflower, and some carrots. 
You are going out to buy some fruits and vegetables.  Right?
Or do you have to say, I am going out to buy some produce? 
Why are we getting to be so…? 
Let us go back to my use of the pronoun, “He”.
If I do not want to have my “wrist slapped”, I need to say, “They”.  Which would then require me to change the complete sentence to read “They are going out to buy some fruits and vegetables.”
There is ONLY one person going out; and, if I am not mistaken, the word “they” means a “more than one person”.

Think and write.

Sunday, September 06, 2015

Great Recovery GOOGLE...
Aug 31, 2015

Or, as they would say in Baseball, a brilliant "Save".

May be better than

You are back to form.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

“Do It Right.  The First Time.  Every Time.” 

August 13, 2015

Over the years, I have admired GOOGLE.

From the day they came out with their name, their Search Engine, Google Doodles (my favorite, the “Les Paul 96th Birthday” on June 11, 2011:, and all that they have continued to do…

A few years ago, they even sent me a personalized “Happy Birthday” doodle.  And, I am only one of their millions of users!

On Monday, August 10, 2015, GOOGLE gave me one more reason to say, “Well Done, GOOGLE!  I like Alphabet as the brand name for your new parent company.”

On Wednesday, August 12, 2015, I read that GOOGLE did not do their homework. 
They did not “google” and find out if the domain was available.

I could not believe what I read!

To me, the availability of a .com domain is an absolute must.  People who have heard of 

PentaTwo know that I create and develop brand names and branding strategies for clients.

PentaTwo’s tag line: Practical Thinking.

In 2008, I established my guidelines for developing a brand name:
It should be aurally and visually pleasing.
It should be relevant not just for today, but also for a long time into the future.
It should be meaningful.
It should become the property of the owner of the name.
It has to be real and not over promise.
It should be stylish and not trendy.
An Internet domain should be available.

GOOGLE did well on the first six; they forgot all about Number Seven!

And to add insult to injury, BMW owns the trademark “Alphabet” and the .com domain. 

They are not for sale!  OOPS!

In 2005, I recommended to a client: “Do It Right.  The First Time.  Every Time.”

It is amazing how we always find the time and the money to get it right the second or the third time!

I feel bad for you, GOOGLE!

Thursday, April 23, 2009

When Do You Rebrand? (Part One)

On April 20, 2009, one of the National Football League’s most inept franchises, the Detroit Lions, unveiled a new logo (

Is the new logo going to make the 2009 edition of the Detroit Lions a better team? By default, maybe. After all, in 2008 the team sported a 0-16 record, and even one win this season will be an improvement.

The visual identity of a product, or its logo, is only one of the many elements that constitute its brand. However, as a visual element, it contributes heavily to the make-up of the brand.

I have often stated, “A brand is not what you see or hear, it is what you feel.”

Yet, many companies revise/refresh the look of their brand by redesigning and re-launching their logo. The latest to reenter this arena is PepsiCo. All their major brands including Pepsi, Mountain Dew, Gatorade, and Tropicana have been rebranded and re-launched in the last three months. Not a bad idea, especially considering the fact sales of their flagship brand, Pepsi-Cola (as with all carbonated beverages) was slipping. For Pepsi, will the “Forever Young” statement sell more cases? Quite possibly.

Everyone wants to be Apple (the apple of the consumer’s eye – sorry, could not resist the temptation) and mimic the minimalist look of the iPod. This was one of PepsiCo’s objectives.

Sorry, a brand is what you feel, not what you see (or hear.)

So, when does a company/product rebrand itself? At times, never. BMW has always been The Ultimate Driving Machine; KLM, The Reliable Airline; All State Insurance, You’re in good hands; Morton Salt, When it rains it pours; and, Wheaties Cereals, The Breakfast of Champions, are a few solitary diamonds (are forever, as with De Beers Consolidated Mines) in a grave yard of retired brand slogans.

There are a few that come to mind who should have rebranded themselves years ago. Topping the list is State Farm Insurance. Take a look at their logo ( Not only is it ancient, but it also tells you that autos, life, and fire are the only insurance products they offer. What about health insurance and home insurance? And where is their "Like a good neighbor, State Farm is there" slogan on the web page?

The conspicuous absence of the slogan from web sites, product packaging, and at times even advertisements is appalling, and many companies are guilty of this crime. And the returned verdict from the CEOs of these companies: “Our branding strategy is not working. We need to rebrand.”

Back to the Detroit Lions. Their new logo has made the visual of the leaping lion from the old logo (in Hawaiian blue) more ferocious, bearing its newly appointed teeth. The questions then become, will the Detroit Lions players when they take the field in their opening game, show the same ferocity and will there be any bight in their new found teeth? Will the Detroit Lions fans hear the roar of the rebranded team?

Please do come back for When Do You Rebrand? (Part Two)

Friday, April 03, 2009

An Open Letter to Advertisers.

Dear CEOs, CMOs, Directors of Marketing, Directors of Advertising, Account Planners, Creative Directors, and Copywriters:

Yes, times are tough. Most of us consumers have tightened our belts and further tightening is impossible for many.

Yes, we are eating only the bare essentials, driving the bare minimum, surviving with what we have, not using credit cards, falling behind on many scheduled payments, and living a very worried life.

We do not need to be reminded of this fact every moment of our lives, especially with every commercial opening with words to the effect of…

“In these economic times…”

“We understand you are going through difficult times…”

“Here’s a stimulus package for you. Have a sandwich, an order of fries, and a medium-sized beverage for just four dollars…”

“Now you can buy a car from us and if you should lose your job…”

I am sure most of your consumers/potential consumers have heard similar words over the radio or television in the last few weeks, and unfortunately will continue to do so in the coming months.

Please use the power of advertising in a positive manner. If you want to have a sale, go ahead. If you want to give away your product or service, that is your prerogative. A sandwich for three dollars, please do so. You can do all this and more. But please do not tell us you are doing this because you want to help those of us who are adversely affected by the economic conditions. You are doing this because you are in the same predicament as all of us: to make ends meet by making a few dollars.

Reminding someone of their misery makes them frown even more. Putting a smile on someone’s face costs nothing. Think about it.

Think positive!

I call it Practical Thinking.

Wish you a positive and pleasant day.

Best Regards,


Sunday, March 29, 2009

Positively Brilliant!

A couple of days ago, I read about a creative marketing execution – going way beyond “traditional” thinking. My reaction, “Wow, this is positively brilliant!”

The winter of 2008-09 has played havoc with the streets of Chicago (and many other cities across the U.S.) There are potholes galore and driving is hazardous and on occasions painful on the wallet as tires and wheels have had to be replaced in thousands of vehicles. Townships and cities have been struggling with their budgets and Mother Nature – as soon as a few potholes have been temporarily patched-up, new ones have erupted.

Colonel Sanders of KFC fame is coming to the rescue with a “pothole refresh” program. The following is from Crain’s Business (for the complete article, please visit

Don't be surprised if you see Col. Sanders out filling potholes. In an unusual cause-marketing push, KFC is tackling the pothole problem in Louisville, Ky. in exchange for stamping the fresh pavement with "Re-freshed by KFC," a chalky stencil likely to fade away in the next downpour.

While KFC seems more suited to pot pies than potholes, the company is likely to build a reservoir of goodwill among the general population.

"This program is a perfect example of that rare and optimal occurrence when a company can creatively market itself and help local governments and everyday Americans across the country," said Javier Benito, exec VP-marketing and food innovation at KFC. Louisville Mayor Jerry Abramson noted in a statement that budgets are tight for cities across the country, and finding funding for road repairs is a dirty job. "It's great to have a concerned corporation like KFC create innovative private/public partnerships like this pothole refresh program."

In addition to the Louisville project, KFC has issued an open offer to U.S. mayors to tell them about the state of their city streets and request assistance. The chain will select as many as four more cities at random for pothole assistance.

The restaurant has not yet been contacted by the city of Chicago, but has received request from Austin, Texas; Somerset, Texas; Chattanooga, Tenn. and Greenville, Miss.

Every now and then, I read about something that makes me wonder, “Who came out with that idea?" And then I tell myself, "I would like to shake his/her hand!" To the person who came out with this idea I say, "I want to shake your hand."

Now that I have written this, I think I will head out to the nearest KFC and order a couple of extra crispy pieces of their world famous chicken. No, I will make it a KFC Pot Pie.

What the heck, I'll make it a KFC Pot Pie and two extra crispy drumsticks.

A positively brilliant idea!

Monday, March 23, 2009

Put to bed the last time.

On Tuesday, March 10, 2009, the Seattle Post-Intelligencer was put to bed the last time, after 146 years of publishing. Seattle residents are left with one newspaper, the Seattle Times.

In February 2009, the Rocky Mountain News in Denver, Colorado, was also put to bed the last time after nearly 150 years, leaving the city as another with just one newspaper, the Denver Post.

I personally experienced the death of a newspaper nearly 30 years ago. The Morning Courier of Champaign-Urbana, after a 102-year history, published for the last time on March 31, 1979. Champaign-Urbana used to be a two-newspaper town. The Morning Courier was a client of mine.

The Courier and the News-Gazette were both afternoon newspapers; however, declining circulation numbers forced the Courier to rethink its survival strategy and they switched to the traditional morning mode. Unfortunately, the twin cities could support only one newspaper (in addition to the University of Illini student-run newspaper the Daily Illini.)

My mornings are incomplete without reading the print editions of my copies of the Chicago Tribune and the Chicago Sun-Times. Most days, I have already read the web editions of other news publications before sitting down with my newspapers and a cup of green tea or black coffee. Pure bliss!

I am an avid reader of newspapers. Wherever my travels take me, I buy the local paper(s) and immerse myself in the read – one of the easiest ways of gaining a knowledge and understanding of the local customs and get a flavor of the city and its populace.

In the last few years, I have been to Seattle a number of times. The Post-Intelligencer was a part of my daily diet while there. Somehow, I don’t believe I will be visiting their web edition to get my dose of Seattle the next time I visit that beautiful city.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Think Positive

That was the headline of the Chicago Sun-Times’ Terry Savage column (aptly titled “The Savage Truth”) on Monday, March 9, 2009. Ms. Savage wrote:

“The fear factor is taking over the markets, the economy, and the public psyche. And no matter what programs, speeches, or photo ops the new administration stages, it won't help restore public confidence.

This is not to say that "positive thinking" can turn the stock market around, or restore jobs, or create incentives for business to expand production, or even for consumers to start spending again. That would require real incentives -- things like lower tax rates on risky investments or capital gains. Or tax breaks for entrepreneurs to create businesses and expand hiring.

But a little positive thinking could be just what the country needs right now.

Positive thinking

One of the great motivational books of all time, The Strangest Secret by Earl Nightingale, was written 75 years ago. The "secret" was this: "We become what we think about!"
And all we think about and talk about these days is economic failure. The latest headlines about unemployment are just the latest example. Yes, more than 8 percent of the population is unemployed, but that means 90 percent are still working.

This is not meant to be a paean to Pollyanna. But it is a request that we start putting all this bad news in perspective. Especially the media, and the administration.”

Ms. Savage concluded: “We can't let fear rule today. Let's try the power of positive thinking, for a change. Let's think about prosperity. Yes, we need sensible tax and spending policies to get us there. But let's stop looking down, and start talking UP! At least we'll be thinking in the right direction. And that's the Savage Truth.”

The complete article can be accessed at:,CST-FIN-terry09.savagearticle#

Thank you, Terry Savage. May your tribe increase!

Thursday, March 05, 2009

Uncommonly Common Service

It is human nature to talk about negative experiences, especially when it comes to customer service. Seldom do we acknowledge, at least publicly, some “uncommonly common service” we received during the day. So here I go with a couple…

I have ordered contact lenses from for a few years, usually a six-month supply each time. A couple of weeks ago, it was time to reorder. Instead of using the Internet, I placed a call to 1-800-CONTACTS. With my previous order I had received a couple of damaged packs, and I wanted to make sure the company was aware of this.

My call was answered on the second ring with a most pleasant voice. Within a few seconds, she had my order history in front of her, listened to the problem I had with my previous order, said that she would not charge me for four packs, and my new order would be shipped the same day.

The same day, the soft water conditioning equipment at my home was malfunctioning and the water was unbearably hard. It was a Thursday afternoon, and I called DuPage Water Conditioning (the company from where I was renting the equipment) and the lady who answered the phone said that the earliest a technician could come in would be the following Monday. I gave her my cell phone number and said if there was any way the service call could be expedited, I would be most obliged.

Within ten minutes, I received a call from the owner of the company. He just happened to have overheard the lady answering my call. He said that he was on his way out for the day, but would come by my place and repair the equipment right away. Wow!

All of you who provide “uncommonly common service”, I salute you.

You are a most refreshing breath of fresh air, and may your tribe increase.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Thinking Positive is Contagious

It is always good to know someone else is also thinking positively and trying to spread the word! On Monday (February 9, 2009) morning, like all weekday mornings at 8:00 AM, I received my email from The Emarketer Daily, a must-read for me every day.

Monday’s topic: Commentary from Geoff Ramsey (CEO and co-founder): How Staying Positive Is Good for Business. I was thrilled to just read the headline. The first three paragraphs made me feel even better. Mr. Ramsey wrote:

We’re bombarded by it every day of the week. The news media is shoveling a constant stream of bad news to us in the form of economic reports, surveys of plummeting consumer confidence levels, company layoffs, negative earnings announcements and decimated marketing budgets.

This drip, drip, drip creates a tremendous imbalance in our perspective. And since the news is fueled by a very real economic crisis, many of us are prone to see the glass as not just half empty, but 98% empty. But that’s not a recipe for success, or even survival.

The answer lies in seeking a balance—anchoring yourself to reality while focusing on every glimmer of hope and opportunity you can find.

(To read the complete article, please visit:

This morning (Tuesday) something I heard on the “Mike & Mike in the Morning Show” on ESPN Radio (my morning radio listening in the car) made me feel good. With all the negative news, both in and out of the sports world, ESPN Radio is dedicating this week to something positive in the world of sports and calling it A Celebration of Sports!

Yes, it is a coincidence that within a few days of my thoughts on Something Positive, I am reading and hearing similar sentiments from others.

Thinking positive is contagious. Spread the word…

Friday, February 06, 2009

Something Positive

Yes, the economy is in shambles. We are all aware of this solemn fact. Many of us are experiencing the devastation every hour, every day. And, just to make sure that we do not lose sight of this fact, the media ensure we receive minute by minute, blow by blow updates.

Negativity pervades. It is in the air everywhere, and even if one is fortunate enough to not feel the impact, just the process of osmosis ensures we feel doomed.

Very few are doing anything positive to make a change, or try to make a change. It is not easy, but till an attempt is made, we will never know.

The Chicago Campus of the University of Phoenix wants to try. Try to be of help to small and medium-sized businesses by providing valuable insights into how to cope with today and plan and implement pragmatic changes.

Under the executive sponsorship of Dr. Marty Berman, Director of Academic Affairs, University of Phoenix Chicago Campus, a group of practitioner faculty members, loosely organized as The 21C Group, will offer an Interactive Business Forum Series to business leaders in the community.

The Interactive Business Forum Series has been developed for the express purpose of influencing business leaders into a positive thinking mode and guiding these leaders toward actionable business solutions for tomorrow’s challenges. The IBF Series will be led by a group of top-notch practitioner faculty having a pulse on the day-to-day happenings in the global economy, and practice what they preach to stay ahead of the curve.

The mission of the IBF Series is to help businesses with the timely dissemination of knowledge and wisdom, and the vision is to continuously offer business leaders pragmatic solutions to survive and prosper.

This forward-thinking, pragmatic forum where business leaders can gain ideas for implementing 21st Century business practices will be launched on Friday, February 20, at the Schaumburg (northwest suburb of Chicago) campus of the University of Phoenix, and will be offered at no cost to business leaders.

“Planning for the Unthinkable: Creating Resiliency in the Face of Constant Change” will be the topic for the inaugural Interactive Forum, and will be facilitated by Dr. Reginald Gardner and Mr. Ray Benedetto, two members of the MBA faculty who are also consultants and guides to local business leaders.

Yes, this is a positive step. A small step, yet very positive. Practical Thinking.

Dr. Marty Bermann and the University of Phoenix have to be commended for taking this initiative. Only good can result.

I must also state here, I am part of the University of Phoenix faculty. I teach marketing courses to MBA students. And, I will (along with Mr. Mike Yesner, a colleague) be facilitating the second IBF on March 20: “The Essence of Branding & Marketing your Brand.”