Blog

May 2016 - PS Insights

KIND

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The latest debate over healthy food labeling is nuts – literally. The FDA allows highly sugared breakfast cereals to describe and label themselves as healthy. Yet avocados and Kind Bars are not (too much natural fat and the addition of nuts, respectively). It’s time for a total rethink of what is healthy and what is not. Kind Bars got 16 nutritionists into the act to challenge the ruling and won. What do you do to challenge the status quo when it just doesn’t make any sense?

365

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Whole Foods will soon be opening a new grocery concept. First up, California. We’re excited to see the innovation that has been going on in the grocery business. With A&P dead and gone, Whole Foods struggling and Fairway now operating in Chapter 11, other traditional supermarkets are experimenting with new offerings and dramatically improved shopping experiences. Once again competition makes businesses better. But today, customer experience demands disruption. What are you doing to reinvent your business or the way you do business?

“I DON’T TEXT”

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One of us is an email guy. That’s going to have to change. Email has become what faxes used to be…easy to ignore or toss (and don’t get us started on voicemail). In fact, some colleges and universities are no longer handing out email addresses to incoming students. Text crazed America means that every text needs to be answered. You may not get the action you want, but you do get a response and most often immediately. What do you do to ensure responsive communication AND turn it into useful action?

A LITTLE BIT COMPLETELY OVERWHELMED

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The other day one of us stated he was feeling “a little bit completely overwhelmed.” We all experience stressful situations: Too much work and not enough time to do it. Work life balance issues. So “a little bit completely overwhelmed” sounds about right. It’s a lot better than burned out or melting down–and sets the situation as temporary. We both had a good laugh about it. What do you do to manage stress?

HASBRO CINEMA BRAINTRUST

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With the huge success of the Transformers movies, Hasbro is looking to unlock its entire toy vault the way Marvel Comics has done. What struck us most happily about the announcement was that they’re starting with (their words) a “writers room.” We are sick and tired of blockbuster movie attempts that spend huge amounts of money on special effects and big name celebrities without a story or script that makes any sense. What do you do to ensure that great stories lead the way in your creative endeavors?

GRADE A

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Warm memories of Bill Backer, one of the great creative talents in the ad biz who passed away this week. Steve remembers the time he went to present some new creative to Bill. He came into Backer’s office, sat down and started his pre-sell pitch: “I’ve got some great stuff here, Bill,” he said. “I think it’s terrific.” At which point Backer drolly replied in his most Southern drawl, “Well of course you do. That’s like a cow grading its own milk.” How do you pre-sell your work?

THE FUTURE IS HERE

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The other week we asked whether you were disrupting your industry, reinventing your industry or were just a dead man walking. But let’s shake up your thinking a little more. We recently found out about a futurist who’s really out there. His name’s Udo Gollub and he’s got a visionary view of the future. Take a quick read. It’s pretty amazing and amazingly encouraging–if you’re not afraid of change. What’s your view of the future…and have you started to plan for it?

A MEANINGFUL TEST

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We once observed that if you’re going to hire, say, a head of comedy development, the simplest test would be to ask applicants for the list of their ten funniest films of all time. Seems Kurashiki Central Hospital in Japan was reading our blog. They’ve created a new test for surgical applicants. It’s not a book exam, it’s three hands-on puzzles applicants must assemble (using surgical tools) in 15 minutes. As the voiceover explains, surgeons don’t operate on books, they operate on people. How are you testing for ideal job applicant skills?