Category: Communications Choreography


“If everyone is thinking alike, then somebody isn’t thinking.” — US General George C. Patton (1885-1945)

“The Democrats in Jim Crow Alabama of 1952 would not register him (her Presbyterian minister father) to vote. The Republicans did.” — Former U.S. Secretary of State and present Stanford provost Condoleezza Rice

“I didn’t leave the Democratic Party. The party left me.” — President Ronald Reagan (1911-2004)

Some have suggested that we have never been so divided; some seem to be skipping over the Civil War.

Having made this necessary clarification, your author is reminded of a quote from an Auburn football fan about the annual Iron Bowl.

“In Alabama, it’s either ‘Roll Tide’ or ‘War Eagle,’ and once you choose, you are branded for life.”

‘You are either for me or you are against me.’ How many times have we heard that quote?

In reality, life is not that simple. It’s not always black and white. As citizens — not subjects — with free will, we don’t have “own” everything that goes along with political orthodoxy. In fact, we don’t need to forever embrace a particular political philosophy.

Having grown up in a Roman Catholic Democratic household in which John F. Kennedy was our family patron saint and Nixon’s first name was “damn,” it seemed that Almost DailyBrett would be relegated to lifelong subordination to the Democratic Party.

“It is a paradoxical truth that tax rates are too high today and tax revenues are too low, and the soundest way to raise the revenues in the long run is to cut the tax rates.” – President John F. Kennedy, Economic Club of New York, December 1962.

Kennedy’s quote and his strong military “quarantine” against Soviet missiles in Cuba, not the advocacy of a never-ending shutdown of the American economy, serves as a perfect example of the difference between the Democratic party then and the Democratic party now.

No Lightening Bolt Out Of The Sky

“Democrats, when they’re feeling alarmed or mischievous, will often say that Ronald Reagan would not recognize the current Republican Party. I usually respond that John F. Kennedy would not recognize the current Democratic Party, and would never succeed in it.” – Wall Street Journal columnist Peggy Noonan

Ronald Reagan didn’t transform your author into a “Reagan Democrat,” but instead a “Reagan Republican.” The Gipper’s celebrated epiphany occurred in 1962. For your author it was 20 years later. With time, Almost DailyBrett has grown to be even more neo-liberal and libertarian.

Buy Low Sell High.

There is a 100 percent correlation with your author leaving the ranks of those an eternal vow of poverty (e.g., political press corps) and joining the ranks of the well-compensated “dark side” (e.g., public relations … press director for the Deukmejian Campaign Committee). As George C. Scott in “Patton” said, “I love it. I love it, so.”

As an aforementioned Catholic your author expected a lightening bolt to strike me out of the sky, falling off the horse on the road to Damascus, and voting for Reagan that first time. As James Brown celebrated: “I Feel Good, So Good … “

Becoming a proud Reagan/Deukmejian Republican does not mean, yours truly buys into each and every policy position on the right side of the aisle. To this very day, Almost DailyBrett can state ex-cathedra, he doesn’t like guns, never did, never will. Bad people with guns, even those playing violent video games, are not good things.

Assault weapons are the worst. George Deukmejian said he saw absolutely no reason why anyone needed an assault weapon. We banned assault weapons in California. The NRA went fruit cake. Almost DailyBrett as press secretary strenuously defended that position; and supports that stance now.

There is no reason to be … predictable.

Voted Against The Clinton Restoration

Four years ago your author voted against the specter of a Clinton Restoration in the White House. Some believe in their hearts today they cast a good vote on behalf of a now increasingly bitter Hillary. There was zero chance of your author making that choice.

At the same, Almost DailyBrett was deeply troubled by Donald Trump’s decided lack of Reagan/Deukmejian political discipline. There was never any doubt about the philosophical direction of Ronald Reagan and George Deukmejian. You could agree with them or not agree with them, but there was no doubt where they stood.

As Reagan said in his last Republican Convention speech in 1992: “Whatever else history may say about me when I’m gone, I hope it will record that I appealed to your best hopes, not your worst fears; to your confidence rather than your doubts.”

Reagan and Deukmejian were eternal optimists, not utopian and decidedly not dystopian.

Your author did not vote for Donald Trump in 2016 (writing in former Speaker Paul Ryan), the first time since the 1980s not supporting the GOP nominee.

Fast forward, Donald Trump is not any more politically disciplined now compared to four years ago (see TMI on Hydroxychloroquine), another self-inflicted public relations damage control fire drill.

Having said that, there is the president’s record including tax and regulatory relief, standing up to China, strengthened border controls, strict constructionalist judicial nominees, increasing military preparedness and no new wars. And let’s not forget the Covid-19 response and the reopening of America’s economy.

Alas, the Democrats have settled on Joe Biden. Not being the hated Trump apparently is good enough for them. Deep down, they really want New York Governor Andrew Cuomo.

Democrats can’t get what they want. Republicans are getting what they need.

http://content.time.com/time/specials/packages/article/0,28804,1894529_1894528_1894518,00.html

http://content.time.com/time/specials/packages/article/0,28804,1894529_1894528_1894522,00.html

https://archive.nytimes.com/www.nytimes.com/library/convention/chome/nreagan.html

 

 

“Yes, most likely.” — Boeing President and CEO David L. Calhoun asked if one of his airline customers will go out of business

Three little devastating words.

What is one of the Golden Rules of Public Relations? Don’t answer hypotheticals.

“What happens if the sun slams into the earth?

You can think we would all fry and die and the markets would close early, but you have the right to keep your thoughts to yourself and to deliver a boring response to a reporter, anchor or correspondent.

Today’s Savannah Guthrie asked Calhoun if an airline (e.g., one of Boeing’s customer) could go under, and he uttered those three little words starting with “Yes.”

Guess what? The entire airline sector took a dive (pardon the poor Almost DailyBrett pun) as well as one of their chief suppliers … that would be … Boeing. The company’s PR department reportedly tried to “walk back” Calhoun’s gaffe, but as they say … ‘You can’t put the toothpaste back in the tube.”

Almost DailyBrett must first ask: Why “Today”?  Why now?

Even before Covid-19 sell-off, the company was responsible for two Boeing 737 Max-8 failure airplane crashes. As a former shareholder, your author knows the airline passenger market is on its back. Boeing turned into a ‘sell.’ It’s still a ‘sell.’

What’s the “great” news to bestow to the aeronautics rocket scientists at Today. Considering that Boeing is the ultimate B2B (business-to-business) is Today’s audience, your audience? Wouldn’t CNBC, Fox Business, Wall Street Journal or even Aviation Week be more appropriate media for Boeing?

Your Mother Always Told You To Tell The Truth

So did Immanuel Kant.

A former Silicon Valley colleague made a valid point that Boeing boss Calhoun should be given credit for telling the truth, and nothing but the truth.

True, but Calhoun went too far. Questions about the financial health of each and everyone of Boeing’s airline customers should be left to the … carriers themselves.

What was the alternative (besides declining the Today interview request)? How about not responding to the question, simply acknowledge the interrogative, say you can’t speak for individual airlines and pivot the discussion back to Boeing. The technique is known as Acknowledge-Bridge-SOCO (Strategic Operating Communications Objective).

SOCO is the answer, which coincides with predetermined before the Today interview Boeing’s agenda, not the wishes of Mizz Guthrie.

As a former press secretary for former California Governor George Deukmejian, your author and our press office staff parried each and every hypothetical question. It was our rule. It was our political discipline.

Consider one of the many questions that we received about legislation pending in the state Legislature, and whether the governor would sign or veto a bill? Unless it was one of the rare cases in which the governor deliberately wanted to send a discouraging message in advance — the bill would be DOA — we implemented our sacrosanct rule about not responding to hypotheticals.

Reporters would often voice their displeasure, but our answer made sense … bills are often amended. They are shelved in committee. They fail on the floor of one or the other house. You can’t make a judgment on a bill if and until it reaches the governor in its final form.

In governance, it’s sound public policy to plan for the future — California 2010 project in 1987. The Golden State foresaw the equivalent of the population of the State of Illinois moving to California. That prediction turned out to be true.

Having said that, there is zero upside with thinking out loud in the on-the-record presence of a reporter. Unless you have the internal green light from your management to float a trial balloon, the practice of speculating about the future is inherently dangerous.

And if you do venture into the hypothetical minefield, mind your own knitting (one metaphor following another),

Calhoun’s greatest sin in the eyes of Almost DailyBrett was conjecturing out loud about the business future of one of Boeing’s customers. That’s the carrier’s prerogative and responsibility, not Boeing, the B2B supplier.

Boeing’s PR department deserves more than its fair share of blame for this gaffe. Today was a bad choice at the worst time possible.

Calhoun was not adequately media trained, particularly when it comes to never answering hypotheticals.

https://www.nbcnews.com/business/business-news/coronavirus-pandemic-could-force-major-u-s-airline-out-business-n1205036

http://www.boeing.com/company/bios/david-l-calhoun.page

 

 

“Play the radio, make sure the television — the, excuse me — make sure you have the record player on at night … make sure the kids hear words.” — Former ice President Joe Biden, Democratic Presidential Debate, Sept. 12, 2019

Record player?

Every day Wall Street is assessing, “The Cuomo Effect.”

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s daily Covid-19 briefings on the impact of the Corona virus on the most densely populated metropolitan area in the country are moving markets … mostly upwards.

Not only is New York the most impacted state as a result of the spread of the virus, it also serves as the venue for the NYSE and NASDAQ and not-so-coincidentally the major networks.

Almost DailyBrett is still mystified the White House’s Corona Virus task force never adopted the idea of holding its briefings during market hours (e.g., 9:30 am to 4 pm EDT), particularly earlier when remarks from President Trump, Vice President Pence, Drs. Fauci and Birx would have greatest impact.

In turn Governor Cuomo has been Mr. Carpe Diem. Each morning has been his turn to preach the gospel of Covid-19 response. Is there any wonder, where he acquired his oratorical skills? His father, the late Governor Mario Cuomo (1932-2015), electrified the 1984 Democratic Convention with his keynote address.

Your author fondly remembers reading Mario Cuomo’s 1982 diaries about his New York gubernatorial campaign. That was the same year my boss, George Deukmejian (another New York native), ran and won the governorship of California. The Duke also read Mario’s diaries. The same is true for former California governor Jerry Brown.

As a former public relations professor, your author is particularly impressed with Governor Andrew Cuomo’s presence, persona, pacing, command of the language and skillful use of PowerPoint. Almost DailyBrett has been waiting … literally for years … for politicians to skillfully employ PowerPoint, which has long been de rigueur for technology and academic presentations.

“You Know” Four Times In One Sentence?

“Um, you know, there’s a, uh, during World War II, uh, you know, where Roosevelt came up with a thing, uh, that, uh, you know, was totally different than a- than the- it’s called, he called it, the, you know, the World War II, he had the war- the the War Production Board.” — Joe Biden COVID-19 comments Friday, April 17 on CNN

During World War II, President Roosevelt established the War Production Board.

Eleven words. How tough was that?

The hyperventilating “WhatAboutism” crowd is already getting their collective knickers in a twist to identify comparable Bidenesque rhetorical wrestling matches with President Trump. The president is confident when he speaks … maybe too confident … while Biden struggles and struggle and struggles.

Your author would stop a student reaching for his … it was always a male … fourth “you know” crutch word in the same sentence. The Millennial was obviously nervous and maybe a little ashamed in front of fellow students. The job was to slow him down and help him concentrate on delivering a succinct understandable message.

That is the essence of communication.

The real question for today is could Joe Biden serve as Governor of New York, let alone President of the United States, and rally us in days of crisis? Yes Joe is from Del-a-where not New York, but we are putting this obvious point aside for the sake of discussion.

Joe … ‘I knew Mario Cuomo. Mario Cuomo was a friend of mine … and you are no Mario Cuomo’ … make that no Andrew Cuomo as well.

Could Joe Biden present Andrew Cuomo’s corona virus response briefings each day with anything close to the same presence and command? As mentioned Andrew is a skilled orator, but he will not be the Democratic nominee for the presidency.

The answer should be obvious. Joe Biden is not Andrew Cuomo … not even close.

Would the majority of Democrats opt to re-run the presidential primary season, if they could? You bet ya.

Some may point to Joe Biden’s adolescent stuttering. Some may remember Almost DailyBrett’s youthful stammering issue. These problems can be overcome with deliberation, preparation and confidence. The former is running for the presidency. Can he ever inspire or will he always struggle to find the next word.

You know?

https://www.businessinsider.com/joe-biden-record-player-democratic-debate-abc-houston-2019-9

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2018/05/06/what-about-whataboutism/

CNN’s “lower-third” chyrons have rendered the Democratic National Committee … redundant.

Nielsen’s third-place out of the top three cable news networks CNN can’t resist mudslinging against Donald Trump with the most incendiary words this side of Pravda. 

“Angry”

“Mistakes”

“Melts Down”

“Ignored”

“Propaganda Session”

During Trump’s spirited defense of his administration’s record on the response to the Corona Virus Monday, CNN quickly flashed chyrons to undercut the words of the President of the United States of America.

Has CNN replaced the thoughtful journalism it used to practice with unvarnished propaganda of its own … against in its view a loathed, despised and hated president?

The answer is obvious.

CNN in its desperate attempts to improve upon its perpetual third-place Nielsen rating — dropped the straight journalistic tradition of Bernard Shaw — and raised the level of scorched earth partisanship to an art form.

One of the causes for CNN’s ratings nadir is there are no reasons anymore for moderate-to-conservative independents and Republicans to watch the once admired network.

“Press Pandemic”

“The surest way to undermine the credibility of the White House press corps is to behave like the political opposition. Don’t give speeches from the White House briefing room.” — ABC White House correspondent Jonathan Karl on his CNN colleague Jim Acosta, “Front Row At The Trump Show”

“Every question from Acosta is an effort to score political points rather than elicit information. It is a press pandemic that continues to rage without relief.” — George Washington University law professor Jonathan Turley

The grandstanding of CNN White House correspondent Jim Acosta, including “mansplaining” medicine to Dr. Deborah Birx, has drawn scorn for months, if not years, to literally no effect.

The nightly incendiary commentary lineup of CNN’s prime-time lineup of partisan polemics — Anderson Cooper, Don Lemon, Chris Cuomo, Jake Tapper — has left CNN’s once-revered news division in the dust. When the choice came down to objectivity vs. partisan politics, CNN has made and compounded its unfortunate decision.

And now attention is being given to the subliminal codes being sent to CNN’s maybe still impressionable audience through the use of exploitative chyrons, electronically generated captions superimposed on television screens. The lack of any semblance of trust in CNN has resulted in today’s careful monitoring of these lower-third devices.

Similar to the mesmerizing stock tickers flowing beneath the talking sell-side analyst heads on market news CNBC, the CNN chyrons compete for the attention of its viewing audience against the news and information being provided by President Trump, Vice President Mike Pence and the balance of the White House Corona Virus task force.

Nixon-Agnew speechwriter turned New York Times columnist William Safire (1929-2009), looking down from heaven, never imagined a respectable national network would use the same words of politics to “confound, obscure and occasionally to inspire.” 

Is CNN a “nattering nabob of negativism?”

CNN is basically telling viewers, ‘We know better. We decide what is true and what is false. And to make sure you are not believing the president … and more importantly, you vote against him in November, our chyrons are dog whistles to hopefully influence a still impressionable electorate.’

Almost DailyBrett must ask: Isn’t that the definition of shameless unapologetic partisan media?

CNN mavens and their defenders at university journalism schools will engage in WhatAboutism as in what about the lower-third of Fox News screens? While your at it CNN, what about the MSNBC chyrons?

As mom once told you: “Two wrongs don’t make a right” … let alone three wrongs.

Divided America desperately needs a truly professional all-news network, which is dedicated to ascertaining both sides of a given story. CNN used to hold that distinction, but alas those days are gone..

Is a return to Walter Cronkite objectivity too much to ask?

https://www.businessinsider.com/cnn-chyrons-trump-coronavirus-briefing-2020-4

https://www.nationalreview.com/2020/04/jonathan-karl-vs-jim-acosta/?

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2018/05/06/what-about-whataboutism/

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2020/03/29/america-loses-trust-in-media-at-the-worst-time/

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2019/12/19/not-pretending-to-be-fair-anymore/

Deborah L. Birx, M.D.

From a public relations and mass communications standpoint, we need to leave the past — most of all recriminations — to the mass media. Let them focus on the fact that we again slept at dawn.

Hint: They were sleeping as well.

We need to envision and more importantly, credibly and practically project better times in the future. We need to balance our justified health concerns with our economic hopes.

Will we have a national resurrection by Easter Sunday, April 12? Maybe? Most likely, not?

If not, the media will happily tell us how our loving optimist-in-chief somehow failed in the face of continued darkness.

And yet his approval rating continues to rise, and his score for handling the corona virus reaches 60 percent thumbs up against 38 percent thumbs down.

As Teddy Roosevelt (pardon the paraphrase from heaven, POTUS #26) told us in his famous 1910 speech to the students at Paris’ Sorbonne, it’s not Gloomy Gus or Negative Nancy who counts, or how the strong man or woman stumbles or how she or he could have done better.

The credit belongs to those who are in the arena.

We need more of those, who dare to suggest with credibility that yes life will get better. We are not eternally condemned to the boredom of our living rooms.

Some day we will standing in line for the barista, waiting for our beer or wine, actually ordering our food to a table in a restaurant … our hearts thumping with thousands of others, anticipating the first guitar riff or standing up for the kickoff.

U.S. President Donald Trump speaks during a Fox News “virtual town hall” event on the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak with members of the coronavirus task force in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington, U.S., March 24, 2020. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

It takes courage to stand up in front of this wall of negativity and suggest that life may be better sooner … much sooner … as opposed to later.

It takes moxy to purchase shares of best-in-breed stocks (i.e., Apple, Microsoft, Nike, NVIDIA, McDonalds, Starbucks …) as the markets refuse for weeks to stretch two or more positive trading days in a row. Volatility will eventually be tamed, most likely not now.

It takes compassion to swipe our credit card at our local coffee place, order books online from our regional bookseller, call for take out at our favorite Italian place. With our economic freedom maintained, we can choose who and how much to support.

They have been there for us. Isn’t time for us to be there for them?

It’s so easy to hunker down and to shut down for the “common good.” It’s harder to dream again, and to express hope.

We Need Good News

“Hope is believing good will come, even in bad times. 

“Hope is knowing that this too shall pass.

“Hope is knowing no matter how afraid we are, our higher power will be with us.

“Hope is knowing that we never have to be alone again. It’s knowing that “Time Is On Our Side.’

“Hope is giving up control. Hope is knowing we didn’t have control in the first place.” — Rolling Stones lead guitarist Ronnie Wood.

Almost DailyBrett believes there are more than a few, who have major problems with the United States and its world’s largest gross domestic product (GDP) at $21.99 trillion (prior to the impact of the Corona virus, COVID-19).

To them the USA needs to redistribute the pie, not expand it to offer more pieces for everyone.

The word “balance” seemingly does not exist in ivory towers on campuses, the deep state or in some media empires.

Until recently, climate change dominated. “How dare” anyone suggest thoughtful consideration of those who work and thrive in our world-best economy?

And now the little corona virus bugger has replaced the planet — at least for now — as the single most priority. Forget about producing products we use or compensating our employees. Allocating $25 million for the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in DC is just so vital to beating this global epidemic.

As we debate looking for the positive versus being Gloomy Gus or Debbie Downer, we know two things for certain:

Teddy Roosevelt is forever enshrined on Mt. Rushmore.

No one will ever build statues to critics, including Negative Nancy.

https://www.nationalreview.com/news/id-love-to-have-it-open-by-easter-trump-hopeful-economy-will-be-revived-in-coming-weeks/?utm_source=email&utm_medium=breaking&utm_campaign=newstrack&utm_term=19820067

http://www.theodore-roosevelt.com/trsorbonnespeech.html

https://news.gallup.com/poll/298313/president-trump-job-approval-rating.aspx

 

“Oregon is the new Usc on the West Coast … back in my day no one dared recruit So Cal. Now it’s open season and Oregon is hunting.” — National Letter of Intent Day Tweet by USC Heisman Trophy winning QB and now Fox Sports analyst, Matt Leinert

Presumably, these words were mighty difficult for Leinert to write, but the truth is … indeed the truth.

For Almost DailyBrett, Oregon signing Southern California’s best high school football player in 2018 (e.g., DE Kayvon Thibodeaux from Westlake Village) was simply amazing.

For the Ducks to achieve this same distinction two years running (e.g., OLB Justin Flowe from Upland) is beyond comprehension.

Some may contend that Oregon is somehow, someway lucky, and normalcy will eventually return with USC — presumably with a new coach — regaining its rightful place as The Program on the West Coast, if not the nation.

As a former head football manager at USC (BA in Broadcast Journalism) and a former assistant football manager at Oregon (MA in Communication and Society), your author knows a thing or two about these great universities and their football programs.

Your author’s initial observation as a former Baby Boomer Assistant Professor of Public Relations, teaching Millennials for five-years-plus is that tradition doesn’t really matter to Y-Gens born between 1980-2000, let alone the Z-Generation born after the centennial.

Leinert won his Heisman for USC in 2005. The recruits of today were entering kindergarten or first grade when he was hoisting the most famous stiff-arm.

Time flies.

One can argue whether Oregon’s latest five-star stud recruits — Kayvon Thibodeaux, Justin Flowe, Noah Sewell — are Millennials or Z-Gens.

Does it really matter?

What they care about most is what they are experiencing. Their inherited digital native world of social media, smart phones, bitmojis leads to insurmountable interest about what is cool now and better yet, in the future.

Oregon is going to the Rose Bowl … now. Oregon won the Pac-12 … now. Oregon produced the Outland Trophy winner (e.g. LT Penai Sewell) … now. Oregon generated the academic Heisman winner (e.g., Justin Herbert with a 4.01 GPA in science) … now.

Oregon was heading the wrong way just three years ago. Seems like an eternity. Oregon is cool today under the guidance of Coach Mario Cristobal, and most likely Oregon will be cool tomorrow.

The Future Is Now

“They want to play the best teams in the country all the time, and there is no way they are going away from that mentality just to appease … These guys deserve to find out how good they are by playing against the best, so we’re going to continue doing that.” — Oregon Head Coach Mario Cristobal

Next year, Ohio State, Washington, Stanford, Arizona State … and yes, USC … are all making house calls to Autzen Stadium.

The Ducks held serve seven times at Autzen this past season. It will be extremely tough to run the table at home (let alone the road slate) at Autzen in 2020.

Bring it on.

Cristobal is 49-years-young; he looks about 35-years young. He is a former offensive lineman at the University of Miami. Buffed Cristobal appears as if he could play today. He understands beef on both sides of the ball. He is a player’s coach and obviously a masterful recruiter.

Is it any wonder that Oregon’s offensive line produced three All Americas this past season (Sewell, first team, Shane Lemieux, second team, Calvin Throckmorton, third team). Oregon is more than customary speed, the Ducks are bulk as well.

Another under evaluated factor on behalf of Oregon: The Ducks are more than a one-sport school … much more.

The men’s basketball team (e.g., Payton Pritchard) and the women’s basketball team (e.g., Sabrina Ionescu) are both ranked in the Top #10, competing for the respective national championships. The Track and Field program at Oregon is legendary with Hayward Field being upgraded for next year’s Olympic Trials.

And no one can contemplate Oregon these days without mention of billionaire alum Phil Knight and the world’s greatest athletic apparel company, Nike. Reportedly, Washington tried to coerce Nike into paying them more than Oregon. It took two nanoseconds for Nike to decline.

The Huskies are wearing Adidas gear today in the Las Vegas Bowl. Oregon will be sporting Nike swooshes, Just Doing It in the Rose Bowl. Guess that must be the “Washington Way,” watching the Ducks in Pasadena on HDTV.

The Coolness of Pete Carroll

Almost DailyBrett can’t believe that Pete Carroll is 68-years-young, particularly with his always bubbling optimism and his infectious enthusiasm.

Your author will go out on a limb and proclaim no school will ever win the Pac-12 Conference seven years in succession, a feat the USC Trojans under Carroll achieved from 2002 thru 2008, including two national championships.

Alas, USC is no longer cool. Trojan Tradition matters to USC alums, but does it factor with 17-18-year young Z-Gens?

There is no doubt that Oregon is cool.

Can USC be cool again? Can USC be now again? Can USC project the future, again? Can USC lock up Southern California recruiting again?

Will USC ever change its uniforms? Will it put the players’ names on the back of their jerseys? Will the team always wear black shoes?

Alumni may care (too much). Millennials and Z-Gens want cool change.

Coaching matters. USC has not been the same since Carroll left (see Almost DailyBrett blogs on Lame Kiffin) for the Seattle Seahawks after the 2009 season.

Oregon is not the only school, which sports Nike uniforms. The same is true for USC.

Is there another Pete Carroll out there, a special coach that can turn around a program in a single bound? Almost DailyBrett believes that USC will be in the market for just this kind of dude after the 2020 season.

It can be done. Just ask Mario Cristobal and Oregon.

https://bleacherreport.com/articles/2865862-mario-cristobal-says-oregon-wont-schedule-easier-games-in-pursuit-of-cfp-berth

USC loses out on five-star LB Justin Flowe to Oregon on Early Signing Day

The Pac-12 Conference needs a divorce, a final end to its slavery to ESPN.

Smug and arrogant ESPN does not even try to be fair anymore.

The only teams that matter are represented by their top five football Pharisees: Homers Kirk Herbsteit and Joey Galloway for Ohio State, and Rece Davis (Alabama), David Pollack (Georgia) and Jesse Palmer (Florida).

There are only four playoff spots and five major conferences, so someone is always going to be the odd-man out. And who would that nearly always be?

Certainly not a particular football factory in Ohio. And equally not teams suckled in the Cradle of the Confederacy.

Alas that means, the Pac-12 Conference is out in the cold again … only two appearance in six long years of the College Football Playoff (CFP).

Some have suggested expanding the playoff to eight teams, providing four more annual opportunities to expand the presence of the SEC. Some have offered the Pac-12 should reduce its conference games from nine-to-eight and schedule late season Southern-fried cupcakes instead (i.e., Clemson vs. Wofford, Alabama vs. Western Carolina, Auburn vs. Samford & Son).

Almost DailyBrett believes the left-coast schools need to embark upon nothing less than a Democratic Football Revolution, getting out of the College Football Playoff and bringing the Rose Bowl along for the ride.

Always The Granddaddy Of Them All

Let the Las Vegas Bowl in the new Raiders stadium serve as one of the six bowls that are rotated for the four/eight teams annually championed by ESPN for the playoff: Peach, Orange, Sugar, Cotton, Fiesta, Vegas.

The Granddaddy of Them All, the Rose Bowl, will retain its hallowed tradition of always hosting the Pac-12 champion (e.g., Oregon Ducks this year) and the highest available team from the Big-10 (e.g., Wisconsin). The winner will be the champions of the Rose Bowl, and that has always been The Deal and it always should be.

Sorry, last year’s Rose Bowl game between carpetbaggers Georgia and Oklahoma will be the final game ever for non-Pac 12 and Big 10 teams.

Almost DailyBrett contends the Pac-12 Conference should return to the days of a tried-and-true round robin. Every Pac-12 team will play ever other conference team (six at home and five on the road one year, five at home, six on the road next year).

Instead of a 13th game each year for two teams in a tarped empty conference championship game on a desultory Friday night, that game and the two conference divisions will simply go away.

Everyone will play 11 conference games and two non-conference games (i.e., USC and Stanford can maintain their respective ties to Notre Dame, Utah to BYU, Oregon State to Cal Poly … ).

Make The Pac-12 Great Again

“If a college football game is broadcast on a network no one can watch (e.g., Pac-12 Networks) is the game actually played?”

Commissioner Larry Scott needs to be shown to the door along with his $5.2 million annual salary, the largest by far of conference commissioners.

He “pioneered” Pac-12 Networks along with its inability to sign contracts, shutting out most conference fans from its programming. What’s the point, Larry?

By almost any measurement, the “Conference of Champions” is failing. The conference doesn’t win anymore. It enters into one-sided agreements (e.g., $3 billion with ESPN and Fox) for 12 years. Worst of all, the Pac-12 bargained away its authority to set the times for conference member home games.

Scott believes the answer may lie with 9 a.m. kickoffs … stadiums open at 7:30 am, tailgates at 6 am, team prep begins at 4:30 am, parking lots at 4 am, game day commutes at 2 am.

Does something sound wrong?

Alas, this horrible TV deal runs thru at least 2023.

In the humble opinion of Almost DailyBrett, the new commissioner of the Pac-12 (an adult next time, please) needs to insist that each school hosting a home game will not be a mere commodity. The conference’s purpose should be more than filling ESPN “programming” holes.

The conference will play its games on Saturdays … only on Saturdays … between noon and 6 pm (exception: 7:30 pm Arizona and ASU home games in late August, September and early October for obvious reasons).

Each game time will be determined before the season, allowing fans to schedule game days and university development departments and alumni associations to coincide fundraising with football.

The true round-robin format generates head-to-head tie-breakers, ensuring the Pac-12 champion will undoubtedly be the Pac-12 champion. There will be zero opportunities for cup-cake games to pad won-loss records. Pac-12 teams will each play tough schedules, and that’s the way it should be.

The ultimate reward and team goal will be playing in the Rose Bowl on New Year’s Day.

The hallowed opinions of ESPN’s homers and their predetermined “playoff” will simply … not matter.

https://www.liveabout.com/rose-bowl-scores-791218

https://www.seattletimes.com/sports/uw-huskies/pac-12-revenues-dipped-by-12-million-in-2018-while-commissioner-larry-scotts-salary-increased/

https://www.oregonlive.com/sports/2019/12/canzano-college-footballs-troubles-will-be-punctuated-with-more-empty-seats-in-pac-12-title-game.html

https://www.spokesman.com/stories/2019/jul/30/pac-12-after-dawn-washington-states-mike-leach-sta/

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2019/09/12/is-tv-ruining-college-football/

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2019/08/01/6-a-m-tailgate-parties/

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2019/01/02/the-conference-of-champions/

 

“You control the debt; you control everything. You find this upsetting, yes? But this is the very essence of the banking industry, to make us all, whether we be nations or individuals, slaves to debt.” – Actor Luca Giorgio Barbareschi as arms producer, Umberto Calvini, The International.

In the days of ole, one could buy a treadmill or an exercise bike and work out or employ it as a glorified laundry rack.

Now we have the recent Peloton IPO — (NASDAQ: PTON) — selling its bikes for $1,995 and treadmills for $4,000.

The key differentiator is streaming content (bike or aerobic instructor videos) for a recurring monthly charge of $39 or more. Peloton didn’t just sell a pricey bike and/or treadmill, they more importantly marketed a monthly obligation to a growing subscriber base … and that very well could include you.

The consumer bought high, and is paying even higher.

The stately The Economist reported the news and entertainment industry (i.e., Disney, Fox, ESPN, HBO …) along with major tech players (i.e., Apple, Amazon, Netflix) collectively spent $650 billion in the last five years on acquisitions and content, a sum greater than America’s oil industry.

For example the Mickey Mouse gang just unveiled Disney+ for only $6.99 per month (how long will that price last?), allowing binge watching of the Star Wars catalog to one heart’s content. The downside is another sliver of your financial independence given away for yet another monthly fee.

Sooner or later, the price of each kernel of streaming popcorn is going to add up.

They Have The Gravy, And You’re On The Train

During his Silicon Valley days, Almost DailyBrett was consumed by a litany of recurring payments (i.e., mortgage, utilities, taxes, insurance, car payments, credit card usage, mobile phones, cable, house cleaner, gym membership, pool maintenance, gardener …). In toto, all of these outstretched hands each month represented a seemingly out-of-control first-world dilemma on steroids.

Money was coming in, and going out just as quick each month. Similar to the IRS, each of the growing list of providers never forgot to remind your author of his annual/monthly obligations.

Even more than ever, our consumer-oriented economy (70 percent of the total) is predicated on enticing even more Americans to shell out an escalating amount of capital on a monthly basis, ensuring a consistent flow of money in one direction.

Hint: Someone is getting rich and it’s not the average Jane or Joe.

Some can avoid being “slaves to debt” to the bank (e.g., pay off your credit cards each month), but it’s way more difficult to avoid recurring annual (e.g., Amazon Prime or Costco memberships) and worse, monthly payments.

Let’s face it, some monthly outlays are unavoidable (e.g., utility payments). Most have mortgages or rent to pay every 30 days. Many have car payments. Even if you pay your total credit card bill religiously (which you should), it’s still a monthly obligation.

Almost DailyBrett doesn’t want to sound like a parent, but still must pose this question: How many of these recurring payments are absolutely necessary?

Shelter, food, power and water are essential to life. Most likely all or at least some of the above are financed/amortized through monthly payments.

Your author must ask, do we need a Netflix subscription on top of the cable bundle? We are already paying up the Wazzoo for up to and beyond 300 channels, the vast of majority we do not watch … and then we add on Disney+, ESPN+, Netflix and God knows what else.

And we are wondering what is happening to our money?

No Longer Driving The Top Line, How About The Bottom Line?

Follicly challenged Baby Boomers (born 1946-1964) and others of the species are retiring … and Gen Xers (hatched 1965-1979) are not far behind.

Let’s face it, for most Boomers their peak earnings days are behind them.

If you can’t grow the top line, then reducing the bottom line is a great idea. Can one seriously reduce costs and still live a comfortable happy life?

Do you still require a mortgage? Can you downsize? Can you rent instead? Can you move to a lower-cost state or community?

Is good weather (e.g., California) worth the mounting hassles, congestion, rising costs and always higher taxes?

Can you avoid car payments? How about fixing up your ride?

And most of all, can you build a stone wall preventing new monthly payments from wrecking your budget?

If you must binge watch, is there a free way to enjoy the same content without the monthly ball and chain?

Retirement experts preach avoiding second (or more) homes, subsidizing adult children and overspending.

At some point, that one more monthly expense may prove to be A Bridge Too Far.

https://www.economist.com/leaders/2019/11/14/who-will-win-the-media-wars

… and no one is there to read his posts, do they make any sound …

… and does anyone give a particle of bovine excrement?

Ten years ago today, Almost DailyBrett was digitally born by means of hundreds of keystrokes on an IBM compatible, WordPress and an Internet connection.

Drum roll: A grand total of seven souls (page views and/or unique visitors) ventured to read your author’s blog in the summer month of economic discontent,  July, 2009. The predictable and rhetorical ‘Why Bother?’ question was not far behind.

Your author’s life was changing. He was guided by the immortal words of Robert Plant and Jimmy Page:

“Yes, there are two paths you can go by, but in the long run, there’s still time to change the road you’re on.”  

Was my blog the commencement of my own, “Stairway to Heaven?’

Even though your author’s odometer was already showing mid-life mileage a decade ago, there was still plenty of fuel in the Miata. There was an acute need to move the personal brand to New Frontiers and yes, to decide on a new path and to change the road.

Since that pivotal day 10 years ago — July 21, 2009 — Almost DailyBrett’s 573 posts …

Garnered 520 reader comments …

Generated 162,373 page views …

Enticed 110,421 unique visitors …

Hailed from approximately 170 countries around the world.

It is humbling to contemplate the equivalent of a Michigan “Big House” with each seat occupied, spending some of their precious irretrievable discretionary time reading Almost DailyBrett.

Did some arrogant academic (redundant?) types suggest that Web 2.0 blogging is dead? Yes there are oodles of deceased blogs along the path — they all started with great enthusiasm and better intentions — but thousands of decomposing writers laying by the roadside should not be interpreted as the end of blogging, maybe just the end of the beginning.

Those Troubling Widowers

Looking back on Almost DailyBrett’s nearly 600 posts, there are wide variety of topics and themes, which constitute the Top 10 blogs:

  1. The Trouble With Widowers (This post keeps on giving each day even though it was composed in 2012), 18,990 page views
  2. NASDAQ: WEED (Predicted publicly traded marijuana companies), 14,653
  3. Farewell LSI Logic (What is and what should have never been?), 4,379
  4. The Decision to Pose for Playboy (Bared my opinions), 4,106
  5. Fiduciary Responsibility vs. Corporate Social Responsibility (Not mutually exclusive), 4,023
  6. Magnanimous in Victory, Gracious in Defeat (Easier said than done), 2,423
  7. Smile on the Lips Before a Tear in the Eyes (Joe Biden on horrific family loss), 2,247
  8. One Page Memo: Now More Than Ever (Makes more sense than ever in our digital world), 1,902
  9. Competing Against the Dead (She’s gone, and she is not coming back), 1,628
  10. California’s Rarefied Air Tax (April Fool’s blog; Don’t give Gavin any ideas), 1,050.

Your author would be remiss if he did not point out that his “About” page has drawn 1,071 page views.

Yes, a successful blog can pay dividends in terms of personal branding and the ongoing perception of accomplishment. Writing Almost DailyBrett certainly did not hurt yours truly in securing a tenure-track assistant professorship of public relations at Central Washington University at 59 years young. 

Total Douche-o-Rama

“This person is an idiot … Perfect for Ph.D candidacy.”

“This whole blog is an audition for a commentator position on Fox News.”

“Total Douche-o-Rama.”

These are just some of the nicer comments your author approved for posting on Almost DailyBrett.

After 10 years in the blogging trenches sending out rhetorical salvos and more than a few occasions receiving less-the-pleasant feedback and name calling, here are 10 hard-earned rules for blogging:

  1. No one was put on this planet to read your posts. A blog is the ultimate discretionary read. Someone is spending precious nanoseconds of their finite life to read your blog. Boring and lame does not cut it.
  2. Digital is eternal. The most important public relations is your own personal PR. Never blog when you are upset, sleepy and certainly not when you are intoxicated (Mark Zuckerberg’s character in The Social Network)
  3. Double Check and Double Check Again. The difference between “pubic relations” and “public relations” is one letter. The level of embarrassment is huge. Don’t rely on the Microsoft Spell Check. If the wrong word is spelled correctly, you are still personally wrong
  4. Employ Pull and Push (in that order) to Generate SEO/SEM. Juicy tags and alluring categories are irresistible to the Search Engine Optimization and Search Engine Marketing algorithms. Your blog should always be on page one following a Google search. Social media uploads are essential
  5. Write to Your Strength/Experience. Not everyone shares your interests. Some blogs will do better than others. Follow your passion. Accept that some blogs will barely register a blip on the rhetorical Richter Scale
  6. Be Provocative, Not Notorious. The last thing anyone wants or needs is another partisan rant on social media. Almost DailyBrett has a point of view (e.g., Buy Low Sell High),  but refrains from being another screaming talking head
  7. Avoid Overt Partisanship. In our increasingly tribalized society, your blogs are not going to radically shift public opinion.  Offer new ways to approach an issue. Who knows? You may move the dial just a smidge, and in our polarized world that is and of itself … an accomplishment.
  8. Buy Low Sell High. Offer a proven philosophy. Demonstrate through thoughts and example that economic freedom (albeit not perfect) is still the best way to provide for prosperity and in the end, the pursuit of happiness
  9. Have Thick Skin … to a Point. Don’t blog if you can’t take the heat. Inevitably, someone will not be pleased with your prose. Celebrate responses to a point. You do not need to accept slurs, profanities and name calling
  10. “Opinions Are Like Assholes, Everyone Has One.”  There are times when your personal experience (e.g., press secretary), if you are sure you want to share, maybe can help others. If so, a blog author can be closer to an angel as opposed to an ass ….

And as recommended by University of Oregon Journalism Professor Carol Stabile, write 15 minutes every day. Some days will be better than others. Blogging is a gift of the digital age. The ability to project your thoughts to all continents in mere nanoseconds was inconceivable before 1995. There is a great responsibility that comes with blogging, but an incredible opportunity as well.

Almost DailyBrett note: Even though he went to UCLA and received his B.A. in English (and eventually rose above this baby blue malady), the initial inspiration came from my forever friend and colleague Brian Fuller, editor in chief at ARM. The former editor of EE Times recommended blogging in general and WordPress in particular at a time when his advice made the greatest impact. The success of Almost DailyBrett is in part is attributable to Brian. Buy Low Sell High, my eternal friend!

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2012/04/15/the-trouble-with-widowers/

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2014/01/20/nasdaq-weed/

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2014/01/02/farewell-lsi-logic/

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2012/01/10/the-decision-to-pose-for-playboy/

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2011/12/13/fiduciary-responsibility-vs-corporate-social-responsibility/

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2011/07/17/magnanimous-in-victory-gracious-in-defeat/

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2012/06/02/smile-on-the-lips-before-a-tear-in-the-eyes/

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2011/04/20/the-one-page-memo-now-more-than-ever/

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2011/01/22/competing-against-the-dead/

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2019/04/01/californias-rarefied-air-tax/

https://www.linkedin.com/in/brianfuller24/

 

 

 

 

“In the darkness, we found the light. Introducing a new era of electronic driving.” – Volkswagen’s new advertising campaign tagline

“Hello, darkness, my old friend; I’ve come to talk to you again …” – Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel’s, “The Sounds of Silence”

Is the best defense a good offense?

Is the most effective present-day defense utilizing a Baby Boomer anthem and harkening back to the 1960s with its brightly colored Volkswagen Beetles and (Hippie) Microvans?

After being rightfully bashed and bloodied starting in the autumn of 2015 for deploying defeat software to deceive anti-pollution testing of its vehicles (Volkswagen, Audi and Porsche), heads rightfully started to roll at Volkswagen AG corporate headquarters in Wolfsburg, Germany.

On the line with “Dieselgate” was Volkswagen’s brand, but also the reputation of Germany’s legendary designers and engineers. Consider, there is probably no nation on earth that prides itself more than Germany for its commitment to the environment (note the recent electoral successes of die Grünen).

The Volkswagen cheating scandal was akin to catching a falling knife. Using another well-worn metaphor, the shocking story has legs and has been running unabated for nearly four years.

The scandal started in September, 2015 when the U.S. EPA charged Volkswagen with using illegal (air quality testing) manipulation devices. A related Department of Justice (DOJ) investigation was launched. Volkswagen’s chief executive officer Martin Winterkorn was fired.

A continuous chorus of charges, fines, lawsuits, increased governmental regulation, falling stock prices and recalls mounted against Volkswagen and its Audi and Porsche subsidiaries. Last year, German authorities indicted Winterkorn on aggravated fraud charges.

Almost DailyBrett noted that Volkswagen did not follow to the letter the four basic tenets of Crisis Communications: Tell The Truth, Tell It All, Tell It Fast and Move On. In many ways Volkswagen management was just hoping this mess would simply subside.

Volkswagen management, employees, shareholders and even Kanzlerin Merkel and the German government had to confront the metaphorical Scheisse-Sandwich … you don’t nibble.

Back To The Drawing Board

At some point, the world’s largest automobile designer/manufacturer would have to go back on offense.

In doing so, Volkswagen realized it could not assume a business-as-usual approach.

Ultimately, Volkswagen appreciated that it has to acknowledge its wrongdoing, beg for forgiveness, and somehow, someway commence the hard work of rebranding … essentially moving on.

Volkswagen of America hired New York’s Johannes Leonardo advertising agency, and secured the rights to “The Sounds of Silence.”

The question posed to VW management: Can a major ad buy (part of a reported $2 billion campaign) for its 1:45 second spot featuring a Baby Boomer/Yuppie anthem make everything right in the world for Volkswagen?

In and of itself, the answer is obviously: no.

Almost DailyBrett has always believed that Volkswagen is engaged in a marathon, not a sprint. Volkswagen’s story, which began in 1937, deserves another chapter.

Americans are credited for being an understanding people. They will not forget, but are they willing to forgive and give … even a corporate entity … another chance?

The Johannes Leonardo creative, which debuted with the NBA Finals and the NHL’s Stanley Cup last week, is edgy as it literally starts in the darkness with a news announcer directly referencing the Volkswagen scandal.

One suspects that securing VW’s management approval for an open acknowledgement of moral failure was easier said than done. As Chairman Mao found out, the long-march back starts with the first step.

In our world of advertising bombast and overkill, it’s the extremely clever advertisement that stops the viewer in his or her tracks and commands attention.

The dark Sounds of Silence images convey going back to the drawing board. The result is the coming resurrection of the VW microvan … a concept vehicle for now … with the message the company’s environmentally friendly electric vehicle does not contribute to climate change. Volkswagen envisions 22 EVs (electric vehicles) by 2028, and becoming carbon neutral by 2050.

Volkswagen has stumbled for nearly four torturous years. The questions are with its new ad campaign and beyond: Has the company finally learned its lesson, and are we as consumers willing to forgive, while certainly not forgetting?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qEvNL6oEr0U

https://www.fastcompany.com/90359361/volkswagen-aims-for-feel-good-redemption-in-new-major-ad-campaign

https://www.caranddriver.com/features/a27784322/vw-hello-light-commercial-column/

https://www.cleanenergywire.org/factsheets/dieselgate-timeline-germanys-car-emissions-fraud-scandal

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/04/15/business/winterkorn-volkswagen-emissions-scandal.html

https://www.forbes.com/sites/davidkiley5/2019/06/06/vw-goes-back-to-the-future-in-new-ad-campaign-to-put-dieselgate-in-rear-view/#1026a00d3aa5

https://www.vw.com/

http://johannesleonardo.com/

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