Thursday, October 3, 2013

John Lennon's Lost Molar

A dentist bought a molar for over $30,000 at an auction in 2011. What’s so special about this particular molar is that it belonged to John Lennon and the dentist, Michael Zuk, has big plans for this bit of discolored ivory.  He plans to extract DNA from the tooth.  His objective is to clone the legendary musician, as reported in the Guardian.

The story behind this famous molar unfolds like a Gary Larson Far Side cartoon, when in the mid 1960’s, John Lennon reportedly gave the extracted tooth to his housekeeper.  She in turn, gifted it to her daughter, a big Beatles’ fan.  It stayed in the family until November 2011 when it was sold at auction.

At the time of the auction, the tooth was reportedly too fragile to be DNA tested to confirm that it actually belonged to Lennon.  But as reported by Rolling Stone, the owner of the Omega Auction House which listed the item, verified that because it was coming from Dot Jarlett, Lennon’s housekeeper, there was no doubt about its authenticity.  British housekeepers are evidently legendary for their honesty as well as making great crumpets.

This isn't the first time the dental industry has imposed itself on the affairs of the late Beatle.  Paste Magazine reports, that it was George Harrison’s dentist who, perhaps like Quinn the Eskimo, first introduced the two Beatles, and their wives, to LSD when he added the drug into their coffee cups during a dinner party (Strawberry Fields Forever).

From Lennon’s Tooth to a Lennon
As far as the cloning is concerned, the question is, can it be done?  The answer is yes.  The procedure was first illustrated by a Brit, John Gurdon using frogs; just about the time the Beatles began their career.  Later, in the 1990s, Ian Wilmut of Edinburgh used a similar technique to clone a sheep.  So cloning technology is available and standardized.  The clone of Lennon, produced today, would be genetically the same Beatle, John Lennon.  Still the process is like walking on thin ice.

Setting aside the ethical controversy related to human cloning, there are some additional obstacles. First is the fact that John Lennon was more than a product of his parents.  His experience, education, environment – these all influenced the development of his character, his talents and the legacy he left us.

Second, there are the tricky tasks in preparing for the actual cloning procedure, like harvesting DNA from the tooth, converting tissue cells into stem cells and then transforming those cells into a re-born Lennon.

In light of all of this you’d think the molar owner and dentist, Michael  Zuk, would be dissuaded.  But he remains fixed on his goal, saying that he hopes to “fully sequence” Lennon’s DNA.  He’s seeking headlines by putting out a press release and launching a website revealing that this ambitious dream might just be one of the “best decisions of my (his) life.”

Making a Good Decision

Are you looking to make a good decision about marketing your business?  Give me a call and let's discuss your current efforts and look for additional ways for you to break through the clutter and get noticed by the consumers you want. Contact me today (

This blog was originally written by me and published on AFPD Insurance for Professionals' site.

I checked for updates on the status of this cloning endeavor on 11/29/2016, but the most recent is simply a recap of this information by the Washington Times.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Lost Your Keys? 3-D Printing to the Rescue!

For those folks who habitually lose their keys, an insurance company and an advertising agency, both based in Belgium, have partnered to rollout a new service called Key Save.  The brain child of DVV Insurance and its agency Happiness Brussels, Key Save makes good use of specially adapted 3D scanning procedures to capture your key’s image and store it for downloading when your key-loss-disaster strikes.    

Like any good preventative measure, pre-planning or should we say, pre-scanning, is involved.  Once you’ve signed up for the program, they give you of a date and place where you come with keys in hand.  At the session, every pre-registered individual is provided with a certain number of scans. 

The scans are stored in digital form (.stl) in a cloud-based “super secure server, where cyber ninja’s will protect them from any possible kind of theft”, according to the FAQ’s on the Keysave web site.  Once the scan is stored, you can download it from your pc or mobile device using your special user name and password.

Key Save will roll out in September. Of course there are alternatives like keeping an extra set of keys at your Mom’s or hiding them in your garage in the tool box, but 3-D printing is such a cool method of being prepared.

Source: Advertising Age,,  

Friday, May 31, 2013

Marketing is Like Cooking?

In a cabin by a forest, cooking with quail eggs got me to thinking....
How is marketing like cooking? Well, are you preparing coq au vin or hot dogs?  It depends, doesn't it, on who you're feeding and what's the occasion.  Then sometimes you want to try something new, and other times you combine new elements with traditional ones. Regardless there's a lot of careful determination of past successes, evaluation of viable methods and ingredients, weighing of your audience's preferences, and the actual preparation which includes dicing and simmering (analytics with creative).

As often as you're hungry, you'll be conjuring a meal so you'll be cooking (or choosing a resource for the production of your next meal, a gourmet restaurant perhaps?) at least daily. This planning takes an enthusiastic attitude, which gets you through the tedious parts, like scrubbing data and waiting for results to boil while it drives inspired strategy.  Of course, planning also involves research, evaluation, product selection, project timing, goal setting and schedules, especially if there are other cooks in the kitchen.

Don't forget, at the end to look around the table at your audience, examine their reactions and answer this; "Would you do it again and what would you do differently?"  All these factors play into the execution of a memorable and actionable result. Marketing and cooking, done right, both are planned carefully, done daily and filled with measurement, artistry, and passion.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Viral Bait: Infographics

Infographics are everywhere. You find them on blogs, websites, press releases, social networks, even the weather report. These colorfully illustrated charts break down data into simple pictures and turn complex information into easy-to-understand symbols. By making the difficult digestible (and sometimes fun), infographics catch the attention of your audience. Just as importantly, Google loves them and will reward their delivery with top search rankings.

Their story starts in late February 2011, when Google made a strategic change to their search algorithm in an attempt to stop the use of content farms from manipulating search results. The purpose of the algorithm, called Panda, was to ensure better rankings for high-quality websites that delivered original content, like in-depth research and data reporting. From this evolved the need for websites to improve content in order to deliver higher search rankings and the infographic was born. 

Adding to the infographic’s growing popularity, the following year, in April 2012, Google’s Penguin algorithm was released. Penguin decreases the rankings of websites that buy links from link farms or directories, offer irrelevant content, or worst, employ black-hat SEO (deceptive SEO techniques like using hidden text). 

How your website ranks in Google search results has a big impact on your bottom line. Smart marketers want their sites to perform well with the current Panda and Penguin search algorithms. How? Well, the saying “content is king” has never been truer. Google’s Panda algorithm must "believe" that you are adding valuable content to the web for your site to rank well. So you need to focus on creating good, unique content that viewers will want to share. One way is by using infographics. 

Also something like 65% of us are visual learners and this visual attribute is the reason for their inherent viral potential. Even better than a picture, when you add an infographic to your content, especially one that contains interesting data or challenges your audience’s world view, it makes your topic more relevant and engaging, increasing the chance that your reader will share that graphic across the web.

Here are some examples from Creative Blog with a list of 60 Brilliant Infographics. Another fun example from provides you with a free tool on their website that takes your Twitter profile and turns it into an infographic in 30 seconds. Give it a try at  

If you design and use an infographic, remember that its viral capacity may remove it from your website. This means that you’ll lose your branding. So expect that to happen and be prepared. Like a dog without a collar, you don’t want your infographic to get lost on the Internet with no one knowing it belongs to you. 

Are there any infographics that you've seen recently that caught your eye? Share your thoughts in the comments. Here’s one that inspired this post. It’s from NowSourcing on The State of Infographics.

State of Infographics
My post was originally published on Talent Zoo's Digital Pivot.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Stop Blogging, 5 Things Will Happened...

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Updating Your Website? Think Mobile.

Why? Because for most of us earthlings, there's just no other way to get to the Internet except via our mobile phones. In fact, "more than a third of the people in the US don't have Internet access at home, but nine out of ten have a mobile phone," Olof Schybergson writes in a recent Fortune article. And of those mobile owners, he estimates that about a third use their phones to access the Internet. If you need more proof, Hubspot sponsored (in September 2011 but hey the numbers are just bigger now) this great research collection, More than Talk: Action in Mobile Marketing.

If you're introducing a mobile strategy and thinking you can simply shrink down your desktop site, think again. Although for those of us who "grow our own" sites in Blogger and Wordpress, there are convenient adjustments that include recommendations as well as template suggestions. But the ability to view your PC Website with a mobile device with an HTML browser doesn't mean that the experience is fun or easy. 

Mobithinking reminds us of some of these basics like the fact that viewing a PC Website on a mobile phone requires scrolling left and right, and up and down. That most web-enabled phones are not smartphones. Also that most mobile phones have small screens. No matter how good the mobile connection, large images will be slow to load. Many technologies, like Flash for example, commonly used on PC sites don't work well on many handsets. Yes, even Apple.

The conclusion is obvious. Mobile users have different requirements than desktop Web users and provide different opportunities for your business. Just re-sizing your web site for a target audience that's mobile first means that you're missing a chance, to offer your customers a mobile environment that is clean, simple and even intimate. Intimate, like the lady in my mobile navigation application or remember Hal in 2001: Space Odyssey? 

Since it looks like the best advice is to tell you to get a reputable design agency to work with you to ensure your site and campaigns are both mobile and web friendly, I asked my friend, Skip Shuda, co-founder of Philly Marketing Labs, what he recommends. He confirmed that some clients are experiencing regular, monthly growth rates of nearly 10% in mobile traffic and suggested auditing mobile traffic as a first step. 

That said, he had two key suggestions. First, your email marketing should be view-able in a mobile friendly format. In 2011, 27% of all email was read on a mobile device. Businesses need to make sure their emails can be ready and acted upon. Skip advises, "Check with your email service provider to make sure they are sending responsive email that adapts to the mobile device. Mailchimp does a great job with responsive email templates that are ready out of the box."

Second, make sure your landing pages are optimized for mobile. He said that, "Most people can fill out a form easily enough with their phones. However, if they have to scroll around to do so, the completion rate will plummet." Skip recommended Hubspot's landing page tool. "It lets you toggle between the mobile and web version of your page - so you can see both formats. That kind of tool is becoming critical to marketers."

Another trusted resource, Rick Simmons, president of Dinkum Interactive, pointed out that at the end of the day, " While many look at their site on a phone and say it looks fine, mobile requires a different experience for the user and you better be prepared to provide it. It is all about giving the users what they want when they want it and in most cases they are using the phone for different reasons than PC or a tablet.”

And Forrester's research agrees. The report entitled "The Future of Mobile Application Development" (with thanks to Mobile Marketer's, Lauren Johnson) found that marketers and developers need to have a grasp on a user's total mobile experience.

It's clear that gone are the days when talking to someone was the reason to use the phone. Emerging best practices indicate that if you want to build sales and retain customers, as you update your online dialog, you need to be including mobile in your repertoire. But take a look at your current customers first. They won't steer you wrong.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Be Mine, Zombie Teddy Bear!

As Valentine's Day approaches, an English artist, Phillip Blackman, can't make his zombie teddy bears fast enough. On a whim or perhaps after a disappointing day, he got the urge to tear out the guts of an old teddy bear and transform it into a zombie. It took him two days employing his special effects talents, but he ended up with a gore-soaked teddy holding it's bleeding heart, torn from it's own furry chest. (I know, it's sad.)

His bears, which he sells on line for between $70 and $140, have become increasingly popular. In fact  CNN Money reported one being auctioned on eBay with bids reaching nearly $400. Zombie enthusiasts from across the globe are frantically requesting Blackman to make more. But he has a bit of a supply dilemma since he uses previously owned bears and wasn't really prepared for this instant success.  He just can't keep up with demand.  

These Zombie teddy bears are more than a cottage industry started by a smart English artist, they're another indicator of a growing consumer interest in all things Zombie, even in the toy business where earlier this month, the toy maker Mattel reported that its Monster High dolls drove sales up 57% in 2012. Zombie bears are also another good lesson in how a product becomes a brand overnight with the power of the Internet to drive consumer awareness and purchase.  Nothing un-dead about that!