Tuesday, October 22, 2013

I Am Not One Of Jerry's Kids

In The Surfer's Guide To Marketing, I try to keep it entertaining and light by telling several humorous stories that have happened throughout my career.   While I end up as the punch line in most of them, the readers love to hear the crazy tales and humorous anecdotes that have occurred across the last few decades of my work.

And one of my favorite tales involves the legendary radio personality and Top 40 icon, Casey Kasem.  We all grew up on his countdown and he has been a legend in the industry across TV (as the voice of Shaggy on Scooby-Doo) and radio since well before I was born.  While I've had the pleasure of working with literally hundreds of celebrities, athletes, etc. and devote an entire chapter in the book to utilizing STARFISH (celebs) to drive your messaging, my all-time greatest celebrity encounter story with Casey is without a doubt "Number 1 on the List".

In the chapter on ENVIRONMENTALISTS, we discuss how cause marketing and philanthropy is the duty and responsibility of any forward-thinking brand.  I am a huge believer in charity and doing goodwill (if nothing else to offset the karma of a lifelong smart-alec).  There are so many good things a brand can gain while providing resources, awareness, and support to numerous philanthropic interests.  And having grown up with my mother serving in leadership roles with the Muscular Dystrophy Association, it was a natural fit for me to see charity as a tool to accomplish positive results in both the business world and the humanitarian world.

About a decade ago, after helping to organize a charity dinner for MDA featuring star athletes who made up the MDA "Muscle Team," I was asked to present the large novelty check of the proceeds during the Jerry Lewis Labor Day Telethon.  Along with my proud mom, I made my way to the local Los Angeles television studio (KCAL 9) to present the check live on-air.  That's when I met the legendary DJ and host of the local telethon, Mr. Kasem.  And while I had visions of grandeur on my mind as I made my way on stage (ok, I was hoping to just remember my line and not fall down), it was a nervous moment being on-air.  Remember, as a 6'5" gorilla in a china shop, I was always just a slight trip or bad turn away from knocking over the set, tote board, and Jackie Johnson!

Fortunately, with just mere seconds to go before we went live on the air, Casey was able to distract me and make me forget that I was about to go on in front of millions of viewers... BY CONFUSING ME WITH ONE OF JERRY'S KIDS!!!  For the complete hilarious tale and more like it, you know what to do...

Pick up a copy of The Surfer's Guide To Marketing.  Good luck Casey and know that you will always have a special place at the top of my embarrassing countdown.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

ESPN's 30 For 30 - Eddie Aikau

Tonight, ESPN's award-winning 30 For 30 documentary series is featuring surf legend Eddie Aikau.  In "The Surfer's Guide To Marketing," we discuss the legendary life and legend of the Hawaiian surf icon.

In the Chapter on Puffer Fish, or becoming a strong, powerful brand when you don't have the resources to actually get there, we talk about attitude and fear.  Utilizing Eddie's legendary courage and willingness to put it all on the line is the ultimate example of how marketers and surfers must summon courage to be daring.  Please enjoy the excerpt from the book in honor of tonight's documentary on the legend that is Eddie Aikau...

"Eddie Aikau was a legendary surfer from Hawaii.  In 1978, Aikau was a member of the crew that ran into trouble in the Pacific when their boat began to sink.  In need of help, Eddie took his surfboard and set off in an attempt to paddle to Lanai to get help.  Unfortunately, he was never seen again.  But his attitude, confidence, and flat out heroism spawned the mantra “Eddie Would Go”.  I’m not saying that marketers should risk life and limb but you must also have the wholehearted belief that you can and will succeed based on your abilities.
One of the biggest flaws in business is self-doubt.  Not providing the support, resources, or fortitude necessary to truly support a campaign, initiative, or new idea.  While some people like your boss or CEO may sign off on the budget or give the green light, are they truly putting their wholehearted confidence behind the effort?  Show me a surfer who drops in at Pipeline with 50% effort on a big day and I will show you a surfer who is going to wipe out 100% of the time.
The attitude of the Puffer Fish is exactly that; if you think you are big, you can be big.  If you think you have the strategy, creativity, hustle, common sense, or just better offerings than the next guy, you need to exude confidence in that belief.  While the saying “fake it ‘till you make it” comes to mind, I would suggest that we refer to being a smaller fish as our ability to hunt like a great white while trapped in the body of a minnow.  (And hope we never get trapped inside the body of great white!)  It’s not the size of the fish in the fight, but the size of the fight in the fish.  I’d put those mean little Bettas that live in Dixie cup-sized containers at the pet store up against fish ten times their size.  If you believe you are big, and have the ability to perform well beyond your current capabilities, then you are indeed a prime candidate to act like a Puffer Fish."
Eddie Would Go.  Would you?