Archive for the ‘Personalities’ Category

Dress classy and dance cheesy

October 8, 2012

Punch line: In a world where youtube can make anyone a star, what type of staying power do youtube stars hold?  Despite widespread national fame, and over 300,000,000 hits on his youtube video, marketers in the US are hesitant to get on board with Korean Pop star Psy, and do it ‘Gangnam style.’

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Excerpted from Ad Age’s, “Will Brands Buy Into Gangnam Style?”


“Gangnam style” has swept the world, but marketers have been slower to embrace it..

Psy, the Korean pop star behind the over-the-top video with 283 million YouTube views (and counting), is a veteran pitchman in his native country, involved in marketing products such as Cass light beer. And since his song took off this summer, the colorful 34-year-old and the catchy beats of “Gangnam Style” have been attached to campaigns in Korea including LG’s mobile service, Samsung kimchi refrigerators and an energy tonic drink.

In the West, however, Psy’s marketing potential is less clear as it’s uncertain whether Psy is a one-hit wonder. Psy just returned home after a U.S. tour that included appearances on the MTV Video Music Awards, “Saturday Night Live,” the “Today” show and “Ellen,” where he taught his moves to Britney Spears and shared his motto of “Dress classy and dance cheesy.”

Working in his favor is his deal with Schoolboy Records, run by Justin Bieber’s manager, Scooter Braun, who helped make the Canadian teen singer a social-media sensation and pitchman.

“We have seen quite a lot of interest from big brands, largely international ones,” said Brad Haugen, CMO of Scooter Braun Projects.   Mr. Haugen said the obvious categories for a Psy marketing assist are cars, packaged goods and electronics, and that the first U.S. deal is a few weeks away.

Everyone in Korea is surprised that a singer who doesn’t fit the usual mold of the coiffed, beautiful pop star is the one to become an overnight international success story. But he thinks Psy’s appeal is universal because he’s “smart, funny, talented, yet sincere.”

That said, unless he had several hits and broadened his image, it’s hard to see the average marketer going for it.

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“Day of the Locusts – The Sequel” … Dylan gets knighted.

June 5, 2012

Earlier this week, President Obama honored Bob Dylan with a Presidential Medal of Freedom award.


Brought  back memories of my Princeton graduation.

It was during the Viet Nam War days … no academic robes, — just “together for peace” armbands … honorary degree recipient: Bob Dylan.

It was was a year of locusts in New Jersey ..  and, they were chirping loudly.

That provided inspiration for Dylan’s commemorative song : Day of the Locusts:

As I stepped to the stage to pick up my degree
And the locusts sang off in the distance
Yeah the locusts sang such a sweet melody
Oh, the locusts sang off in the distance
Yeah, the locusts sang and they were singing for me.

I put down my robe, picked up my diploma
Took hold of my sweetheart and away we did drive
Straight for the hills, the black hills of Dakota
Sure was glad to get out of there alive

Man, that was a long time ago.

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The world is filling fast with "Fameballs"? … Wanna be one?

September 28, 2009

Ken’s Take: The use of minor or would-be celebs is a growing trend in advertising. Aspiring “fameballs” — well-known, if at all, simply for wanting to be famous — are generally poised, presentable, and vaguely familiar … and they’re cheap, as endorsers go.  And, the ‘role modeling’ seems to be pentrating pop culture.  Uh-oh.

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Fameball:  Minor-celebrities whose fame snowballs because journalists cover what they think other people want them to cover. In “real life”, people who crave attention and and try to create buzz about themselves.

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From : So You Want to Be a Fameball?, Apr 9 2009

Fameballdom is an organic process. This guide will help your effort to become ubiquitous and despicable:

Here’s what you DO need to be a fameball:

An unquenchable desire for fame: Obviously. It is what drives all fameballs.

Shamelessness: Your desire for fame must be greater than that voice in your head screaming, “Stop; you look like an idiot.”

A lack of redeeming talents: This isn’t the Nobel Prize, okay? If you’re a shameless fame whore but you also, say, cured cancer, one could argue that your talent is being properly appreciated. This will not do.

An abundance of non-redeeming talents: These may include, but are not limited to: oversharing, self-regard, delusions of grandeur, superficial physical attractiveness, a ridiculous distinctive personal fashion trademark, the ability to talk about oneself without end, conspicuously false modesty, and sluttiness and/or man-whorishness.

Sounds easy, right? Wrong!

Any of the following things can kill a fameball trajectory fast.

Growing a conscience: It can happen to the worst of them. Instant death.

A desire for meta-fameballdom rather than actual fameballdom: This is the key mistake that people make when they beg for adoration and coverage. We’re talking to you, lady (or gent) who keeps posting pictures of yourself as the life of the hot party.

You see, while we do grow and cultivate fameballs, it’s absolutely essential that those fameballs are not seeking our approval; they must dream of stardom (even micro-stardom) in the outside world, not simply with a knowing wink from gawkers. A fameball’s famelust must be their undoing, not their doing. If you’re deserving, the world will find you

Being a one-trick pony: Lots of people do embarrassing fameball-like things from time to time. But do they have the staying power to keep plumbing ever-greater depths of self-abasement? Only the greatest do.

Full article:

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Buffett: Rock Star of American Capitalism …

September 21, 2009

A summary of a gushing biography of the Oracle from Omaha …

Excerpted from Knowledge@Emory,  Buffett: Rock Star of American Capitalism, September 16, 2009

Warren Buffett’s rock star status is evident from the fact that each year tens of thousands of fans from all over the world travel to Omaha, Nebraska, to listen to him speak at his company Berkshire Hathaway’s shareholder meeting.

Alice Schroeder’s insightful biography titled, The Snowball: Warren Buffett and the Business of Life … seeks to explain how Buffett became one of the world’s richest men and why he is admired for his business ethics and for uniquely pledging most of his money to philanthropy.

Buffett’s annual letters to shareholders … analyze good and bad businesses, give examples of managers who treat customers and employees fairly while also making good profits, and expose accounting tricks that fool many investors. One of Buffett’s letters pointed out that rich people like him should be made to pay a higher tax rate than wage earners like his secretary.

Buffett’s most important act has been to donate much of his wealth to the Gates Foundation, to be spent over 20 years mainly on health care and education. As he states: “The idea of passing wealth from generation to generation so that hundreds of your descendants can command the resources of other people simply because they came from the right womb flies in the face of a meritocratic society.” Also, unlike most other philanthropists, Buffett has not set up a foundation nor paid for buildings at hospitals or museums to try to perpetuate his name.

Rational Money Machine

Buffett had spent $15.4 million to buy 46% of Berkshire, With Berkshire stock recently around $87,200, Buffett has grown his wealth nearly 3,000-fold in some 30 years.

This massive capital accumulation is based on an investment discipline he learned from Benjamin Graham. Buffett’s approach to investment involves using seventh grade math and common sense to analyze a company’s underlying economics; buying a business not a stock; ignoring the fluctuations of the stock market; and, most importantly, maintaining a margin of safety. Of course, the mathematical magic of compounding gains over time have also helped Berkshire Hathaway multiply its wealth.

Buffett’s three rules of portfolio management are: 1) Don’t lose money; 2) Don’t forget rule one and 3) Don’t go into debt.

He attracts talented people to work, partner and deal with him due to his honesty, fairness, letting them do their job without interference and crediting them for success.

Right Side of the Edge

Buffett criticizes the high fees charged by investment managers, especially of hedge and private equity funds. Yet, Buffett himself accumulated much of his initial capital from the fees he charged a hedge fund-type partnership, pocketing half the gains over 4%.

Some of Buffett’s investments for his partnership were also made based on the expectation that managements would buy back his stock at a higher price. In

Buffett has argued for the expensing of stock options, which many chief executives liberally give as incentives and bonuses to themselves, other managers and employees. Only in 2002, going against the views of most CEOs, Buffett found the time was right to push Coke’s board to make it the first major company to expense stock options. 

Buffett draws a token $100,000 annual salary from Berkshire and awards himself or other managers no stock options, grants or warrants.

Personal and Family Life

Buffett owns no fancy houses, cars or yachts. He wears cheap clothes, craves hamburgers, French fries and cherry Coke and appears awkward in social situations. Buffet also spends hours playing bridge online, enjoys golf, handball and table tennis and plays the ukulele. He is a showman who avoids confrontation and hides his true opinions behind coy remarks, if being blunt may hurt his business or other relationships.        

Since Buffett was consumed with his work, he had little extra time for his wife and three kids. “While he was friendly with his kids, he hadn’t really gotten to know them” while they were growing up at home in Omaha. On occasion Buffett’s secretary blocked even his family’s access to him, not on explicit but on implicit orders, a typical Buffett method of operating.

His wife wanted him to stop being consumed with making more money once he had made his initial millions. His actions that led his wife to leave their home in Omaha are the major regret of Buffett’s life: “If you get to my age in life and nobody thinks well of you, I don’t care how big your bank account is, your life is a disaster.”

Unlike most other capitalists, Buffett believes that children should not inherit money just because of the lottery of their birth. He says children should be left “enough money so that they feel they could do anything, but not so much that they could do nothing.”

Buffett’s views:  capitalists: should give their money back to society, to which he believes they owe their wealth in the first place,

“Buffett always avoided or limited his time with anyone he feared might criticize him.”

As Buffett has often noted, the American economy in the second half of the twentieth century provided the ideal environment – lots of wet snow and a long hill to roll and grow his snowball — for someone of his skills, temperament and personality to become immensely wealthy.

Full article:

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