Archive for December, 2006

I suppose I could justify noting the passing of music legend James Brown in a marketing blog: After all, few people ever matched his branding and positioning skills. At first, he established himself as “The Hardest Working Man in Show Business,” as Bobby Byrd would try to put a cape on James to an end performance, but James kept shrugging it off so he could continue to dance and sing. Then when Al Pacino was assuming his place as the Godfather, James became “The Godfather of Soul.”

Both positioning lines worked exceptionally well because they were colorful encapsulations of the truth, and continued to enhance the James Brown Brand.

And of couse I could further justify writing about him here by noting how many times his music has been played on commercials in the past 10 years or so.

But the truth is I just wanted to pay tribute to the passing of a great figure in the history of popular music. Years ago, myself I and my friend “Bull” Bromberg went up to Harlem to see a James Brown concert.

I had never seen or heard anything like it then and haven’t seen or heard anything like it since. No matter how good his early and midcareer albums are, they cannot begin to capture what it sounded like to there live and seeing JB and his band (when James was still somewhere near his prime.).

So that’s it. Bye James. Heaven just got funky.

James Brown

Technorati Tags:

One of Martin Conroy’s direct mail packages was in continuous use for 28 years, from 1975-2003. Most direct mail letters are lucky to last for 6 months. Here’s how the letter started:

“On a beautiful late spring afternoon, twenty-five years ago, two young men graduated from the same college. They were very much alike, these two young men. Both had been better than average sudents, both were personable and both – as young college graduates are – were filled with ambitious dreams for the future.”

Then you come to a sentence that makes you realize something else was in store.

“Recently, these men returned to their college for their 25th reunion.”

The letter, for the Wall Street Journal, then went on to describe that though they both came from  similar backgrounds, one went a lot further.  Of course, this was the person who had access to better information (e.g. someone who reads the Wall Street Journal).

Obviously this struck a chord since it succeeded in getting a stream of subscribers for 28 years.

The key to its success is that it is a story. A well-crafted story that pulls you along and leads you to the inescapable conclusion that the Wall Street Journal is key to success.

The moral of a story: Stories sell.