Have you seen the Burger King moldy Whopper video? If not, search for it on YouTube and see it for yourself. Do you think it works?  IMG_0340

Burger King is trying to demonstrate that they are no longer using artificial preservatives in their hamburgers. The video is a 34-day time lapse of the burger getting fuzzy and looking totally inedible. Under the transformation is the song “What a Difference a Day Makes.”

I think this is great. It certainly holds your attention because it is not something you normally see. It totally breaks through the burger advertising clutter. And it leaves you with a lasting impression, which reminds you that Burger King is not using artificial preservatives.

Another way to tell if it is working: More than 1.2 million people have watched. It’s like buying a prime-time cable commercial. It also has more than 6,000 likes on an Instagram post by Creative Review.

Yes, it’s gross. Yet it is wonderfully authentic and undeniably original. It’s “The Beauty of No Artificial Preservatives.” It’s the moldy Whopper. Eat one today.

In my opinion, the answer is a hard yes. That is a controversial opinion in many nonprofit circles, but I feel it should be a minimum standard of board member participation. brucemore giving challenge for board members

When I was approached to be a Brucemore trustee and serve on the board, the expectations were thoroughly outlined. I appreciated the honesty and upfront nature. Here is the friendly reminder of the annual financial commitment I made in joining this great organization.

In our fundraising campaigns, it is imperative that all board members be givers to a capital campaign. Many foundations will contribute only to organizations in which every board member is a contributor. It’s important because 100% participation shows commitment to the project and faith in the organization.

How much should you give? That personal decision should be up to each board member. Even a gift of $10 is appropriate, but my feeling is that if you are on the nonprofit board, you must be on the giving scoreboard as well.

There is no question that direct mail volumes are decreasing year over year.

Yet looking at our mail box every day, I wonder. We are receiving more catalogs than ever: It’s true that some are thinner, but they are much more targeted than in the past. In other words, my wife gets a catalog of women’s clothing and I get the men’s catalog.

Direct mail is still viable and widely used: It’s estimated to be a a$140 billion industry. And with new innovations and hyper targeting, direct mail may see a resurgence.

direct mail innovations

When this piece of mail arrived in my mail box, I had to do a double take. That is a photo of my street and my house on the letter.  I know it’s just a Google image, but still, that is pretty darn arresting.

Direct mail is more expensive than sending an email, paid search or other electronic options, but the response rates tend to be much higher for direct mail. So direct mail is not dead, but what might be dead is the non-targeted use of direct mail. In a rush to impersonal appeals online, direct mail may be a way to personalize your approach and increase sales.

Here was the headline in my email bucket, “Americans Continue to Rank Advertising Professionals Low in Ethics and Honesty. We needs some public relations, but so do members of congress, senators, car sales people and insurance sales people.2020 Ethics and Honesty Rankings

And if I did need a spokesperson, I would have a nurse speak for our less than trustworthy industry. The nursing profession is the number 1 ranked profession for honesty and ethics (according to Gallup). Nurses have been on top for 18 years in a row. Maybe we could have a nurse and an engineer discuss why marketing is so important to the world.

We really trust our healthcare professionals: Of the top 5 professions, 4 are healthcare related: 60% of the top 10 are health related.


One of my favorite taste treats is a cup of coffee and a glazed doughnut. My second favorite thing with a cup of coffee is a printed newspaper. 20191009_092535

So when Starbucks said it was going to remove newspaper racks from all of its stores, I was a little sad.  I was happy when I opened my computer and found my newspaper was on my desktop. I’ve been a digital subscriber to the New York Times and my local paper for years. Reading my local paper in Italy was a hoot. But how will my digital paper go with my Starbucks? Bring on my latte.

Here are a few things to think about while you are enjoying your coffee:

  • The New York Times reported a record circulation of 4.9 million people (combined print and digital circulations).
  • The 2020 Super Bowl increased ratings and share and scored 99.9 million viewers. In fact, total NFL ratings rebounded this year.
  • The Oscars had a bad night, year over year, but still was awarded nearly 24 million viewers (that’s more than “Game of Thrones”).
  • And 37 million watched the State of the Union address on 12 networks. That’s lower than last year, but still a large number.

The internet is getting older, and that means how we use it is changing as well.

The Norman Nielson Group (NN/g), one of my favorite content providers, replicated a survey to assess 2019 internet usage compared with more than 20 years ago.Order food online

With more than 180 million websites at our fingertips today, our information-seeking behavior is evolving. More people are using the internet for information gathering to understand a topic — 40% in 2019 compared with 24% in 1997.

One of the biggest changes is that now a majority of people are using the internet to make decisions. People are comparing and using multiple information sources to help make choices.

NN/g attributes these changes to:

  1. More people are using the internet today. In the US, 36% of people had internet access in 1997 (Pew) compared with 87% in 2019 (Statista).
  2. You can access the web on many devices.
  3. Many more services and apps are available on the internet today than in 1997. Content categories have increased, and services are easy and comprehensive when you are information seeking.

Passive information acquisition — information we get accidentally while browsing or through push notifications — grew from 4% to 14%.  People are now window shopping on the internet. For marketers, that means we need to place a high value on our headline content for ads, posts, articles and websites.

The study also found different content types were associated with different devices. Respondents reported the most critical information uses occurred on their smartphones (42%).

What has not changed is that marketers tend to think of the internet as a large brochure. It is not. It is now time to change our thinking of this constantly evolving and changing marketing landscape.


Many were lambasting the State of Iowa for being late with caucus results. In my opinion, being right is more important than hitting a news deadline (Rick Santorum would agree with me).

In my opinion, the biggest communications mistake of the night was not made by the Iowa Democratic Party, it was made by CNN and many other news outlets. The mistake had to do with color wheel and contrasting color design.

john king magic boardScreenshot 2020-02-05 at 6.57.20 AM

If you want to communicate color variations on a screen, you should select colors that provide a high contrast to the viewer. Contrasting colors in design help establish a visual hierarchy. They help organize information quickly. Contrasting colors also provide visual interest. This is even more important on a screen, especially one that is going to be displayed through a camera to your home TV screen.

If you want to be clear and communicate key differences, especially in a chart, contrasting colors is a basic, fundamental design principal all should embrace.


The Des Moines Register changed it’s color palette. I don’t know if they read my blog, but the they did make a change for the better. Live Iowa Caucus Results 2020 - The New York Times