Left of Center Thinking

LOCC was contracted by a large, global firm to consult on a multi-million dollar account.  The client needed to hear some hard “truths” about the state of the brand and its needs. 

Every marketing professional of a certain age knows the story about the 1984 Super Bowl commercial introducing the Apple MAC.  It went against every convention. It was audacious and bold.  It was visionary – filled with ‘never-befores’.  And most campaigns in that vein face the same sorts of hurdles that it did: The Board hated the ad.  It was expensive.  The Super Bowl was NOT the coveted advertising and launch vehicle it is today.

I was invited to address a group marketing professionals.  The premise was “brand storytelling.”  The Q&A sparked a lot of conversation and confusion about how to make a “me too” story stand out.  


During the middle ages and the Renaissance, the role of the “fool” or Court Jester was actually an ennobled calling.  Believe it or not, his job was to tell the King truths that the aristocracy was afraid to say.

When The Swatch Group purchased Breguet the mission was to put the brand back in the annals of European cultural history. But what about the USA?  What about the UK even?

“Pretty soon you’ll be seen as an ‘agency guy’,” said the recruiter.  A chill ran down my spine as I envisioned myself a 50-year-old account executive.  A decade into my career, I had worked at some of New York’s best agencies on every kind of account: CPG, service brands, celebrities, crisis comms – you name it.

In 1989 I was selected to be an intern at Ruder Finn Public Relations.  Getting to that offer was grueling: writing tests, crisis plan analytics, and three interviews.  Ultimately, I was one of 12 selected from 350 applicants.  The industry’s “gold standard training program” started my career.

Remember when you had to go out for things?  Haircut, clothes or shoe shopping, groceries,

Once upon a time, you actually left your house to get or do these things.  Today, an APP can bring it all to your door.

27-year-old nephew asked me – do you need to own your music or can’t you just enjoy listening to it?  He was drawing a distinction between “buying” music in iTunes and using services Spotify or Pandora.

Yes, he is a Millennial

“What is our competition doing?,” asked the CEO when presented with new branding and marketing concepts.  He was asking because “if it’s good enough for them….”  He was looking to be like everyone else in the category.  Why?  Because it’s safe.