Gotta love the sleek video to accompany the sleek auto/plane too!
After a long but productive day at New York Toy Fair a few weeks back, I happened to glance up at a large building on W.34th St..and saw this etched into the building to my left...My phone's camera was not cooperating, so I wasn't able to take my own pic...but upon return to my Boise home, found a picture of the same online:
I had instantly recognized the innospirational* saying inscribed on the stark front of the building, which was words from Teddy Roosevelt's famous "Citizenship in a Republic" speech, circa 1910 (also referenced in my Nov. 20, 2013 blog Teddy and Evel: Two Unlikely Related Souls). If you notice at the end of the building's inscription, the bold but cryptic words "DARE GREATLY" along with the date - February 22, 2015.
Why is this inscribed on a building and what just happened on February 22nd of this year? It all comes from Cadillac, who is going through a major rebranding and restructuring in an attempt to recapture the glory days of the past as the car symbolizing affluence and wealth. And the referenced date is when the new Cadillac "Dare Greatly" ads begin their airing during the televised 87th Academy Awards ceremony.
The ads, created by Cadillac's new ad agency Publicis, are filmed with Oscar worthy dramatic flair..."The Arena: Dare Greatly" spot has a female announcer slowly speaking the words from Roosevelt's speech alongside footage from the Big Apple (watch above video)...and the "The Daring: No Regrets" spot combines the French song "Non, Je Ne Regrette Rien" (Regret Nothing) with images of individuals who have dared greatly, as a major heading in each of their own personal resumes in life: the more recognizable film director and screenwriter Richard Linklater and Steve "Woz" Wozniak from Apple fame, along with the maybe not as recognizable (to the masses) are Jason Wu (New York's own fashion designer), Njeri Rionge (successful Kenyan entrepreneur), and Anne Wojcicki (genome and genetics CEO)...for further information on each greatly daring individual, see Forbes' write up on them here.)
If you go to this website, http://www.dare-greatly.com/?socid=fb_msg_dgquote5_na_0220# you will find a skillfully worded letter addressed as a "MESSAGE TO CADILLAC ENTHUSIASTS AND THE ODD SKEPTICAL OBSERVER" professed with care by Johan de Nysschen , President of Cadillac. He talks about the disruption going on within their company, from the bold move of their global headquarters from car-centric Detroit to non-car centric New York, as well explaining how the new innovative product offering(s) will reflect the bold changes going on... but advises, that this very well may be an "arduous journey".
It takes some cojones for a major company to do what they are doing. But they realized that sometimes, drastic times call for drastic measures..They realized that they had become bloated and slow and not with the times...but have now changed course and are headed in a new, more exciting direction, that of the unknown..and to be patient while they try to get where they're going so we can go for the ride along with them together.
*innospirational (my own Stephen Colbert-like word, for both innovation and inspiration)
Bob Kinoshita, Hollywood draftsman, designer, and art director, passed away early last December at the young age of 100..He is responsible for conceiving two of the most famous and iconic sci-fi robots of all time...the eldest was Robbie the Robot (from the 1956 movie "Forbidden Planet" and 1957's "Invisible Boy") along with the younger B9 (a.k.a. the "robot" from Irwin Allen's 60's tv show, "Lost in Space", which ran from 1965-1968).
While coming up with Robbie back in the 50's, he was among five designers slated to work on possible robot designs for the pending movie...and between them had sketched a couple thousand drawings...Out of sheer frustration with working on all the 2D designs, he decided to make a small model, of his vision of the robot, around 8 or 9 inches tall, built of wood and plastic...upon completion, he showed it to the art director for the movie, whom grabbed it from his hands and ran with it into the producer's office...the AD came back just as exuberant 10 minutes later and told him "to draw it up!"...Kinoshita credits that series of events to the birth of Robbie..
Prior to that, lIke many Japanese-Americans, Bob and his wife Lillian spent time in an internment camp in Arizona during WWII...but luckily were released while the war was still going on...At that time, he learned industrial design and plastic fabrication where he designed washing machines for the military...I can see how his early industrial design influences were incorporated into later designs for the movies he worked on, especially the robots and space ships...He has said in interviews that one of his goals in designing the iconic robots was to camouflage the fact that a person would be inside...what better way to camouflage a person inside than to use industrial looking parts, like accordion style dryer vents (retractable arms for Robbie and B9), as well as general industrial looking fabrication using metal, plastic and rubber!
Bob's classic, cool, and timeless designs have inspired many children to dream outside of this ordinary life on planet earth. Those dreams include wild space adventures and exploration, encounters with alien beings and the possibilities of combining computers and working mechanisms and devices to create robots (robotic humans) that are programmed to think, reason, and interact with "us" humans .. I'm one of those many inspired by his creations and proud of it...
Alhough Bob is no longer here, his designs have already stood the test of time for more than half a century.. and will likely inspire many more in the future, probably decades, and more likely centuries, in the future!
Former professional golfer Greg Norman, a.k.a. "The Shark", on attacking life:
Interview with Fran Healy on MSG's "The Game 365", published November 24, 2014
This company is clearly having fun at what they do...you can't help but have fun with them when you peruse through their prank line of products, especially the Prank Pack boxes. Their online tagline says that these boxes help "disguise your crappy gift in a box they'll remember."
The graphic design team at 30 Watt (Makers of Amusing) use fictional celebrities to endorse their fake products and to give them some more street cred, using Tom Buttons (Outdoorsman/Inventor) for their Fish Eye, a wearable fish camera to "let a fish do your fishin!", Cy Hennington for Connect-A-Cord, a box of 50 (qty) one foot lengths of power cord that can be strung together for the "perfect length power cord every time!" and Henri Remoulade for Turn and Churn, a travel ice cream maker that attaches to your hub cab and makes "wheel fresh ice cream!".
This company has clearly made something out of nothing...there is some definite ingenuity in spending the majority of their focus in designing and selling product packaging only...I think the packaging supplier probably gave them some weird looks when they were getting initial quotes after also including a markup to also package their product with it..and they replied "we won't be needing that."
The product ideas dance the fine line between absurd ASOTV products and real crappy products that made it to your local drug store aisles. Reading through their line of fake products and packaging copy, especially the disclaimer for the Face Heater (product and disclaimer pictured above), reminds me of Irwin Mameway. Dan Ackroyd played Mameway, President of Mameway Toys, in an interview on Consumer Probe, to explain that his toys weren't dangerous, in a Saturday Night Live skit back in the 70's...(see video below)
Go to 30 Watt's website (orAmazon) to buy some of their fun prank products and use them to dress up some of your substandard gifts...they also sell similarly funny prank gift card holders @ $15 for a pack of 6..along with some more creative and drinking themed barware and more.
The gift of a laugh or a smile from the box may be better than the actual gift inside (but you may have to spend some extra time explaining to Grandma that she can't buy a real Crib Dribbler for the newest grandchild, when she asks where she can get one).....All in all, you should know that when someone spends an extra $5-10 on you just to make you laugh from an outrageous product box...that you should be very prankful to have such a friend!
A Florida mom was successful boycotting a major retailer because she believed that they should not be selling a line of toys because it was morally wrong and inappropriate to be sold along with other kids toys.
Susan Schrivjer, of Fort Myers, recently started a petition for change, on what else but Change.org. She got enough followers and publicity from doing so, that the major toy retailer, Toys R Us, announced that they would be pulling the questionable product from their shelves and website. The retailer also stated that the toys future sales would be taking an indefinite sabbatical.
The targeted toys of Susan's petition were some action figures...not just any action figures, but action figures based on a show intended for adults and mature teenagers (rated TV-14 for violent sequences of action, disturbing images, language, strong drug content, and sexual themes). The Heisenberg (Bryan Cranston) figure, includes a duffle bag to stash the "toy" gun, cash and bag of crystal meth accessories that come with the toy. Jessie Pinkman's (Idaho's own Aaron Paul) figure, includes a gas mask for protecting himself from meth fumes while making the same....these are clearly toys meant for adult collectors and fans of the show...
The Breaking Bad show obviously enjoyed a highly successful run on tv...but now the figures of the shows' stars were being sold in the same store that Mom's and Dad's go to purchase their first Christmas gifts for their little ones... so this Florida Mom said "enough!". She could not fathom seeing these products, that glamorized drugs and immoral behavior, being within hands reach of impressionable young kids that were perusing the aisles looking for their next "got to have" toy.
Mezco Toyzs appears to be the manufacturer of these 6" action figures...and their own website currently shows the Heisenberg and Pinkman figures to currently be "out of stock"...the abrupt pulling of the product has already spurned collectors snapping up available product to resell on e-bay and Amazon for meth type prices...
This is a case of a corporation acquiescing quickly to a smaller number of consumer concerns in order to avert the situation turning into a larger public relations disaster. All it took was one lone Mom who questioned, then rejected, the sales practices behind Geoffry's marketing machine! Great job Susan!
The International Toy & Game Inventor and Industry Conference known as T&GCon, has an informative but thrifty po$ting on their "Business of Play" blog from Michelle Spelman. She has some great tips for potential booth dwellers when hitting the road with a new exciting product to attend trade shows. It's all about getting the most bang for your buck, and not breaking the bank....core principles I have instilled in my business over the years for both myself and for my clients.
It's a good read and has great tips, so I won't try to rehash it...
Product launch checklist: How to furnish your trade show booth on a shoestring budget
With summertime now in full gear, here are a few hot links to make your grilla a little more thrilla!
Comedian Tom Green is quietly and humbly doing some great interviews on his self titled show Tom Green Live airing on AXStv (formerly HDNet). He asks some good open ended questions, and then gets out of the way to allow his guests to talk about how they made it in their respective careers. The format and look is similar to the old Tom Snyder show, except features callers Skyping live into the show with questions for his guests. The couch dwellers of late include Stacy Keach, Dana Carvey and Buzz Aldrin (together on same show) and Adam Carolla, who came to talk about his new book "President Me", his Man Show inspired swill called Mangria and his early career days begrudgingly slogging a hammer and pencil working as a carpenter. For his comedy and take on inventing, read the cover article on Adam in the vaults of Inventor's Digest (Sept. 2010).
Guitar Center Sessions: ("featured band name here") is another great AXStv show, with brit Nic Harcourt handling the rock star intimate style interviews. The show features older and now wiser bands that made it, but are maybe now in their twilight years...bands such as Blondie, Social Distortion and The Cult. The show rocks back and forth between the Q and A with band members and live performances in the Guitar Center Showroom...the format leaves the viewer wanting more, especially for bands they've religiously followed...
Inventors have a kinship with other artists such as actors, musicians and comedians...as they all must pay their dues with rejection and failure in cultivating their own body of work that will hopefully provide a lasting and sustainable career...
Sometimes the grill produces the best of food...but sometimes there can be some bad links...either something gets undercooked, it sits too long cold, or falls into the charcoal and gets burnt...here are a couple "bad" links, which I don't recommend:
Netflix quietly unveiled a new logo last month...They inversed their once classic red background to the red lettering of the company name, sans black border..and substituted a bland whitish background, leaving a incredibly boring and bland logo to make their brand less noticeable in a marketplace needing to be noticed...look for the classic logo to hopefully return after tepid consumer liking.
InventHelp, (aka ISC, Invention Submission Corporation, INPEX, Intromark Inc, Inventtech, Technosystems Consolidated Corp, Western Invention Submission) has enlisted former professional boxer George Foreman to be their tv spokesman. InventHelp's website proclaims that they provide "invention assistance services for inventors". But anyone in the business knows that this company preys on people's desires to make an idea a reality, whether it has merit or not. Successes on their webpage include the Ear Visor..a product that solves a problem for probably one person in the world, the person who invented it. Inventhelp has learned to do a delicate dance by downplaying customer successes on print and tv advertising (they are honest here!) and actively resolving the high number of complaints by the Better Business Bureau in order to keep a respectable rating...Prudent prospective customers should Google the words "Inventhelp" and "complaints" and read what comes up to decide if it is a company they wish to do business with.
I had a lot of respect for George, from his early boxing days, to his second career hit with the George Foreman grill. But he sadly succumbed to the evil of easy endorsement $$, I'm sure to further secure his retirement and the future of his children, grandchildren and great grandchildren. He has always been a humble man with a good heart, but now his credibility is being negatively diluted by being associated with a company that is known for providing questionable services. Customers can pay thousands of dollars in fees for Inventhelp's self serving "Basic Information Package" report, patent referrals, and helping the inventor to find a licensee or manufacturer or marketer for their product. Now George is acting as the inventor-predator...his ad tagline is a sure tipoff to their weak professional services "I can't guarantee a company will be interested in your idea, but every inventor deserves the opportunity to step in to the ring and take their best shot". My advice to novice inventors out there...Step into the ring on your own! And don't enlist the inventor-predator type services of this company!
**clicking on any links above that do not go to the respective website, i.e. bad links, may have been done on purpose by the editor ;)
With less than eight months left on his ten year long Comedy Central stint, and Dave's Late Show seat being vacated for him just around the corner, Stephen talks about some of America's most beloved inventions: Thomas Edison's little known English muffin innovation, the neck fanny pack, three legged pantyhose, and Amazon's recent patent for 'Photography Against a White Background'...Looks like I may be infringing with my website and all marketing materials used in the past...I'd better watch out for the patent trolls! Hold on, my doorbell just rang, and I see a drone waiting at my door trying to deliver me some sort of papers....Curse you, Jeff Bezos!
See Stephen further explain the Gerbil Shirt, "...which innovatively combines a shirt, a gerbil habitat and being alone for the rest of your life..."
For further reading, check out the Pet Display Clothing Patent on Google Patents:US 5901666 A :D