Category Archives: Blog

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With a Koch and a smile: the softer side of big money


One of the most striking discoveries from last month’s interview with Edward Snowden was how unremarkable he seemed. Blondish, pale, disarming—neither traitor nor hero—he turned out to be just an ordinary man with an extraordinary story to tell. The systems analyst that inspired a thousand conspiracy theories was reduced to the IT guy he actually…

Words and Pictures: a little daub will do you


The power of art to provoke, transform and redeem is a story that never gets old. Occasionally, however, it can get a little creaky. “Words and Pictures” is a well-intentioned but clunky film about the eternal conflict between written and visual arts. Directed by Fred Schepisi, it pits the two disciplines–personnified by teachers Jack Marcus…

A moveable feast: Jon Favreau’s “Chef”


If you are what you eat, then the characters in Jon Favreau’s “Chef” are truly the luckiest people in the world. Nominally, a workplace drama about a frustrated restauranter-turned-successful-food-truck operator, it is also a story of fathers and sons, devoted friends and the importance of holding fast to your creative vision even when less, um,…

Girth of a nation: Fed Up takes on the evils of Big Ag and Fast Food


From the wonderful folks who brought us “An Inconvenient Truth” now comes “Fed Up,” a withering takedown of the food industry and its predatory ways. The villains this time are not CO2 and the extraction industries but the agricultural special interests and food manufacturers whose output of slickly marketed highly sugary, overly sodium-enriched and chemically…

Advertising and the Kentucky Derby: a match made in television heaven


Horse racing may be called the sport of kings, but our Triple Crown (Kentucky Derby, Pimlico Stakes, Belmont Stakes) is the quintessentially American blend of plebian commercialism (“Today’s race is brought to you by Yum Brands.”) and Thoroughbred tradition. Three days a year when the 1% and 99% come together in equine fandom and semi-drunken…

Do you hear what he hears? Rob Kapilow explains “what makes it great.”


Rob Kapilow is a “tummler,” (Yiddish for “professional entertainer”) in the very best sense of the word. To be sure, he’s a classically trained “composer, conductor and commentator” but his effervescent, spirited and engaging presentation would be as welcome at Grossinger’s as it was last night at GW Lisner Auditorium where he turned his considerable…

Do people who need people need Volvo?


Remaining fresh and relevant is a challenge that every marketer faces at some point during a brand’s life cycle. Companies and organizations re-brand for a host of strategic and not-so-strategic reasons. There can be new leadership (and therefore new priorities), new competition (e.g. Samsung takes on Apple), new consumer behaviors and new platforms on which…

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