The Reason Why People Think Marketing is Evil

I saw two commercials lately that were so over-the-top awful I couldn’t help but blog about them several days later (if I manage to come back to something days later to blog about, it must have dug into my brain). They’re not awful in a traditional poorly done sense, they’re awful in a oozing with horrid worldviews way.

Scotts Good Neighbor
The first commercial is for Scotts Turf Builder with Weed Control. I see it pretty much every time I watch NASCAR or hockey, which apparently means its targeted at sports-minded men, so let the stereotypes roll on. The commercial shows a young man talking about his inability to keep his lawn looking nice and how much he wants to please his neighbors with a green, weed-free lawn. He talks about the shame of having the worst lawn on the block and sending dandelion seeds throughout the neighborhood. Scotts comes to the rescue and the guy can hold his head high. His wife talks about how now the neighbors smile at them because their yard is so nice.

Now granted I’m pretty anti-lawn care. I’m the first to admit that I like dandelions and I don’t care how my yard looks. But is a weed-free yard really make a good neighbor? Last time I checked being a good neighbor was about helping each other out and not being the jackass on the block. It’s loaning a cup of sugar or shoveling a driveway or dog-sitting. You don’t need a perfect lawn to get your neighbors to smile at you. Try being nice.

Continue reading The Reason Why People Think Marketing is Evil

Carrying Water: Make it Personal

I think charity: water does some good work. One of the coolest things they do is bring you closer to the people they help with pictures, stories and videos. One of my favorite videos is this little 5-minute clip taken when charity: water was drilling wells in Ethiopia this spring as part of the Twestival.

In the video a few Internet geeks decide to carry 5-gallon jerry cans on their backs just like the people of Ethiopia do every day. Obviously carrying that water didn’t help anybody, but it made those well-off Americans understand what not having clean water really means. It made the situation personal (and painful), something Shane Claiborne often talks about (Don’t make poverty history, make poverty personal).

At the very end of the video they show an 11-year-old girl carrying the same 5 gallons of water. She does that every day. You can help change that.

Walking with Water – Twestival Drill Day 2 – charity: water from Ethiopia from charity: water on Vimeo.

This is actually something I’ve [rather foolishly] thought about trying.

Bald Birthday Benefit: Day 1

Wow. And thank you.

That’s about all I can say after the first day of the Bald Birthday Benefit. On day one we brought in $275 of our total $600, getting us 45% of the way there. Wow. Thank you.

What are we going to do for the next 29 days? In my FAQ I jokingly said that maybe my goal was too low and we could just up it, and maybe that’s what we’ll have to do. I’m more than happy to be proven foolish. And it seems I’ll be proven bald as well.

My favorite part about all of this is that I haven’t had a chance to put any grand ideas in motion yet. I had all these big plans for a huge launch, and none of them happened. All I’ve done is spread the word and people have responded. That’s so cool. Thank you.

Let’s give people life (and me a haircut). Donate to the Bald Birthday Benefit.

Bald Birthday Benefit 2009

So here’s the deal: I’m turning 30 in 30 days and I need your help to celebrate. There are more than a billion people in this world who don’t have easy access to clean, safe drinking water. To celebrate my big 3-0, I want to give 30 people clean water.

It’s not much, a drop in the bucket so to speak. But to those 30 people it would mean life.

The nonprofit charity: water can give one person clean water for 20 years for about $20. So giving clean water to 30 people will cost $600. That’s a pretty big chunk of change, but with your help, I think we can do it.

So help me celebrate my 30th birthday by raising $600 in 30 days and giving clean water to 30 people.

Oh, and if we can do it, I’ll shave my head. Welcome to the Bald Birthday Benefit 2009.

What’s a Necessity?

Interesting article exploring a Pew Research Center study about what Americans consider necessary. A car is at the top of this year’s list, followed by a clothes dryer (not a washing machine? Survey FAIL?), air conditioning, TV and a computer. It’s kind of an interesting study, especially since things have become a little less necessary since 2006.

I found a few things surprising:

  • People consider cable or satellite TV more necessary than a dishwasher. Seriously? Without a dishwasher how do you have time to watch all that TV?
  • Older people are much more likely to think a TV is necessary than younger people. So TV isn’t rotting our brains—in your face, old people! Of course younger people are much more likely to think cell phones are a necessity.
  • The richer you are the less likely you are to think TV is a necessity—until you hit the low end of the poverty scale where TV becomes less necessary. The same is true for a veggie garden. The very rich and the very poor don’t have time for TV or planting produce.
  • The survey also shows that 27% say someone in their household has been laid off or lost a job and 21% say someone in their household has had trouble paying the rent or mortgage.

Generalizations, of course, but ouch.

It’s interesting to consider what is necessary in your life. Some things are pretty easy decisions, like cutting the cable or Netflix. But other choices are harder—that car payment may be pricey, but if you ever find a job how are you supposed to get there without a car?

These discussions become a little more real in the light of comments like this one.

If This Were a Craft Blog

Patched JeansA few weeks ago I realized that every single pair of jeans I own had ripped knees. And I’m not talking about the cool, threadbare spot at the knee that’s soft, comfortable and somehow stylish. I’m talking about gashes that stretch across the knee and rip even farther every time you bend down to tie your shoe.

Since I’m a cheapskate, buying new jeans wasn’t an option (yet). I decided it was time to patch my jeans.

So I did. I went through my wife’s pile of scraps and found a fun pattern. A little flowery, but still cool and manly. I slapped it on my jeans, did my best Frankenstein stitching, and voila! My jeans are ready to go another six months.

Not too shabby, if I do say so myself. My jeans are good to go and contrary to popular belief my manliness is still mostly intact.