Today we’re going to cover a lot of ground, so fasten your seat belts.
1. We’ll start off with a description of “The Toughest Job in the World” and see a video of some of the 27 people crazy enough to apply for it. I’m warning you, this job is a real Mother!
2. Then, there’s a tribute to my Mom who I imagine is reading 10 Minutes of Brilliance in Heaven. I doubt she is in Hell or Pittsburgh, because she led a good life and was never very fond of either of those places.
3. Next is a piece about having a second Mother’s Day every year. I swear it’s not a Hallmark Card conspiracy. Some people think that might be a good idea, but I’m sure Jewish mothers would say, “What? You don’t love me the other 363 days?”
4. Then, there’s a piece about my hometown, Ballmer, Merlin (aka Baltimore, Maryland). People from Baltimore called themselves “BaltiMORONS!” That’s either just plain stupid or quite possibly “truth in packaging.”
5. Next, take a short 10 Minutes of Brilliance True or False Pop Quiz.
6. And finally, there are some wonderful ironic photos I thought you’d enjoy courtesy of my friend and former college roommate, Tony W. (Tony asked me not to use his entire name, so I said, “Tony Witlin, if that’s what you want, you’ve got it.) Tony found them online so I don’t know who to attribute them to.
EXCUSE ME FOR A MINUTE. I HAVE TO TAKE CARE OF SOMETHING: Hey, Micheal Y from Buffalo Grove. Would you please take care of the copy at the end of the blog in the yellow box that says we have 11,000 subscribers? We have over 20,000 now. I don’t remember how to correct that. Thanks)
I can’t believe how low I’ve fallen! I’m just a Copywriter! And yet, more than 40 years ago I was Head of the Earth.
“What,” you say, “that’s impossible!” You doubt I was Head of the Earth!
Well, it’s true. As the Readers of my blog, 10 Minutes of Brilliance know, I actually was the Head of the Earth. And it wasn’t just the business cards with my title that proved it. I even had the written backing of the United Nations.
Before I explain this further, would someone please tell Millennials, Echo Boomers and Generation Why what “business cards” were.
All right, no one ‘s going to explain it to them. Then I will.
Back in the day, my young friends, business cards were non-digital thin sheets of material manufactured from the pulp of wood or other fibrous substances creating an end product we called “paper.”
Long before texting, LinkedIn, What’s App or Facetime, business people printed their name, title and company on a “piece of paper” and then physically handed them to another person in a sort of ritual dance. The person on the receiving end then handed back his own title and company-identifying piece of paper.
STAN: There he goes again, Harriet. Goldman never seems to reach a conclusion. It’s already the 8th paragraph and he has yet to explain how he was Head of the Earth.
HARRIET: Give Jack time, Stan. Sure, he may take a circuitous route, but he always reaches his destination.
Where was I? Oh, hey, let’s go feed the animals!
Sorry, my ADHD just kicked in.
Now, I remember, in 1972, I formed a company called Earthday and I launched International Earth Day.
As far as I know, I was the first person to suggest that Earth Day should be an International event. One of my first public service ads was, “The Earth is a Mother!” Another was, “It’s your Planet. Keep it clean. There is no Plan-et B!”
Up front, I’m not claiming I came up with the idea for the first official Earth Day. U.S. Senator Gaylord Nelson is credited with raising the environmental consciousness on Planet Earth.
The first Earth Day was held on April 22, 1970, and it was a huge success.
A year later, in 1971, an even more successful Earth Day was held, although not everyone who showed up on Earth that day attended the event.
The problem, as I saw it, was that by 1972 many people were already getting tired of hearing about the environment. They viewed the twin Earth Days as a “Been there, done That twice” kind of deal.
However, I didn’t want the cries of “OK, next subject” reverberating through the endangered wilderness. As I figured it, we still had a lot to do to tidy up the planet and put everything back where we found it.
So, I did the only thing a sane, sensible and caring person could do. I appointed myself Head of the Earth. I had business cards printed, stationary, the whole 43 million yards* (*circumference of the Earth x yards in a mile).
You might question who gave me the authority to become Head of the Earth. Well, the position was open. And there were no other applicants.
Besides, I was young and figured it would look great on my resume.
Next I carefully studied the field to learn all I could about the Earth, endangered species, plant life, pollution, green marketing, population control, water and energy conservation, recycling and the myriad efforts needed to Save Our Planet.
An hour later, I started to work on business cards and stationery for my new company, Earthday. While I joke about my accomplishments now, in 1972, I was serious about helping Mother Earth. (One of my favorite ads was “The Earth is a Mother.”
I got radio stations across the country to tell listeners about “The 100 Things You Can Do to Save Planet Earth.”
I convinced governors to announce Earth Day proclamations, citizen groups to hold Earth Day Awareness events and even got The Today Show to interview an expert on the continued importance of the environment.
I told them all, “Hey, I’m Head of the Earth, you breathe the air. We need your help.”
My stationary was on recycled paper, so they must have figured I was for real.
But my biggest accomplishment was getting the support of the United Nations. I remember my first phone call. It went something like this.
“Is this Whitman Bassow from the United Nations?”
“Yes, it is,” he said.
“I’m Jack Goldenberg, Head of the Earth. We need to talk.”
Without questioning my authority, Whitman Bassow laughed and said, “You’re Head of the Earth? Wonderful! When would you like to come by?
I can understand why you might not believe that this actually happened. But I still have the letter from the U.N. from 1972 to prove it.
The U.N. gave me permission to use their name and logo and slogan from their “Only One Earth” Conference on my “Tickets of Admission to the Earth.”
I wanted to charge people for coming to the Earth on Earth Day. A dollar for adults and 50¢ for children 12 and under.
As I saw it, while it wasn’t mandatory to have an Earth Ticket to show up on Earth on April 22, 1972, but it sure would be a nice gesture. And also a cool way to donate to top environmental causes.
Was my campaign for International Earth Day successful? Well, yes and no. The Earth is still here and the once-a-year fervor to care for Mother Earth has been institutionalized, commercialized and co-opted by big business. And that’s a good thing.
A few years later I wanted to proclaim myself “Master of the Universe.” But some damn toy company beat me to it.
Thanks for stopping by. To hire the only Head of the Earth Copywriter, send an email to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Today’s blog covers:
This happened a few years ago, but it’s worth revisiting. You may not remember it, but the world was supposed to end on May 21, 2011. Spoiler Alert! It didn’t actually happen.
Back then, I was judging a national advertising competition and the semi-finals were held in Alabama. Or Arkansas. I can’t remember which state, but I do remember someone saying, “Look, Bob, a Jew.” So, it might have been Tennessee.
Anyway, I was on way to the competition listening to a local radio station when I heard a bizarre report:
I was positive it was a joke until I drove past two signs. One announced the “End of the World” event and the other promised a Bikini Contest.
I always thought God had a strange sense of humor, how else to explain Bush’s second term?
Still, I felt compelled to knock on the door where the signs were posted, hoping I wouldn’t again hear, “Look, Bob, a Jew.”
A sweet looking, elderly priest (or a man dressed as a sweet looking, elderly priest) answered the door. I told him about the radio report and the strange coincidence of seeing those two signs.
He said, “ Yes, my son, it’s true. God works in mysterious ways. He cancelled the End of the World and instead announced a bikini contest.”
I asked him how that was possible and he said, “God just likes bikinis, so He cancelled the End of the World.”
That made sense to me because, after all, I was in Alabama. Or maybe it was Arkansas.
STAN: Ha, ha. That’s so funny.
HARRIET: What’s so funny?
STAN: Goldberg. He made a stupid mistake. His headline says,”How stupid are America?” I’m telling you, Goldstein really goofed this time. He should have written, “How stupid am America?”
HARRIET: Stan, like I’ve always said, if anybody knows Stupid, it’s you.
STAN: Thanks, Harriet, Me and Stupid are on a first name basis.
HARRIET: I don’t doubt it for a second, Stan. Sometimes I have trouble telling the two of you apart.
I know we like to think Americans are the best and the brightest, but that just may not be the case. The National Science Foundation surveyed over 2,000 Americans recently with a nine-question quiz about science and 25% of the respondents didn’t know the Earth orbits around the Sun.
Not surprisingly, less than half the American questioned believed humans evolved from other species of animals.
Well, I guess you can blame the Tea Party and the Creationists for that little misconception. But really, it’s amazing that 25% of our fellow countrymen don’t know one of the most basic facts about the Universe–that the Earth revolves around the Sun. Some of those people are so stupid, I wouldn’t be surprised if they fell off the end of the Earth.
Is it any wonder we continue to elect the same do-nothing jerks to Congress election after election? It sounds to me like the Universe is very equitable and we’re getting the politicians we deserve.
When companies reformulate food and beverage products, they usually advertise it to world. But sometimes advertising “New and Improved” is the kiss of death. Remember New Coke? Thirty years ago, on April 23, 1985, Coca Cola announced it was discontinuing its 99-year old tradition of never altering its legendary formula. And on that fateful day they introduced “New Coke.”
Well, they didn’t actually call it New Coke, that’s what consumers dubbed it. Consumers also said it tasted “vile,” “sludge filled,” and “totally undrinkable.” And those were the ones who liked it!
Less than 4 months after newly reformulated Coke was introduced, it was summarily discontinued. “You’re fired,” as future US President Donald Trump (GOD FORBID!) would say.
Lesson learned? Well, no, not actually. In 1992, Coke tried their failed strategy again. Coke II wasn’t quite the instant devastation that New Coke was. It took Coca-Cola executives 10 years of lackluster sales to finally kill that product, too.
STAN: He’s at it again, Harriet. Goldberger just can’t seem to get to the point.
HARRIET: I wouldn’t complain if I were you, Stan. After all, you’re not real, you’re imaginary. Jack writes everything you.
STAN: Same old song, Harriet. Same old song. I’ve heard it all before. I’m telling you I’m real and Goldenstein is the fractional character.
HARRIET: You mean fictional?
STAN: Whatever. Look, Harriet, I don’t have to take this. I can get a job on another blog.
STAN: Yeah. Or if Trump is elected President…
HARRIET: We’re all moving to Canada?
STAN: No. No. If Trump is elected President, I could be his Minister of Bombasity.
HARRIET: Sorry, Stan, that job’s already taken. Now, shut your pie hole and let Jack continue.
Where was I? Oh, yeah. Kraft Heinz was determined not to make the same mistake Coke made with its legendary Mac and Cheese. For three years food scientists, nutritionists and quality control experts labored to reformulate the World’s #1 mac and cheese.
They removed artificial preservatives and swapped out artificial dyes for a combination of paprika, annatto (an orange red condiment often used as a food dye) and turmeric. But when news leaked out on social media that Kraft might change its much loved formula for Mac and Cheese, consumers assumed the product would taste different. And they revolted online and in public.
When you love the way a product tastes, “New and Improved” is greeted with great skepticism by consumers who prefer “Original and Unchanged.”
So rather than announcing Kraft Mac and Cheese had changed its formula, they shut up about it! No ad campaign, no press releases, no tweets, no Instagram or Vine posts, no need to rally brand ambassadors to tout the change.
They just produced the reformulated product and shut up about any changes!
Fifty million boxes of Mac and Cheese later, Kraft’s non-announcement is being hailed as pure marketing genius. Mac and Cheese fans loved the new product because they thought it was the old product.
So now they’re announcing the fact that they never announced the reformulation! Former Daily Show host Craig Kilborn appears in an online and TV campaign that announces, “Kraft Mac and Cheese. It’s changed. But it hasn’t.”
Of course, that won’t stop some new management recruit from failing to heed the lessons of history by probing on her first day on the job, “Say, anybody ever thought of changing the blue box?”
Here are a few Moments of Zen I captured right in my own backyard (Spoiler Alert: I was on the Internet.)
Well, that’s all for today, Readers. Thanks for stopping by. We have a pretty loyal following. More that 20,000 strong. And unlike Stan, most of you are quite brilliant.
STAN: Hey, I resemble that!
HARRIET: Yes, you do. Now say goodnight, Stan.
STAN: Goodnight, Stan.
HARRIET: Good night, all.