Grow Talent, Grow Brands

Month: July, 2013

Pete Gray, Baseball’s Miracle Man!

One-Armed Player Peter Gray Batting

Who was the sensation of the 1945 baseball season?

Pete Gray, the one-armed wonder of the baseball without doubt. Despite his handicap Pete had some skills no favors standing right up there with the best of them. He played two years for Memphis came to the big leagues on his own merits.

He lost his arm was lost when he was six. But, that didn’t kill his spirit nor his dreams of making it to the big leagues. Gray’s enthusiasm for baseball led him to learn to bat and field one-handed, catching the ball in his glove and then quickly removing his glove and transferring the ball to his hand in one motion.

In 1945, Pete Gray played in seventy-seven games for the St. Louis Browns. Most sportswriters and baseball historians credit Gray’s professional career to the fact that all the best players were serving in the U.S. military during World War II. Major league owners, therefore, were forced to hire men who were exempted from the draft such as older players, youngsters and those who received a 4-F status due to some type of disability. Some say that the St. Louis Browns bought Gray as a gate attraction or public relations ploy to divert the attention of a war-weary nation. But, you cannot deny the fact that Gray compiled his batting average of .218 and a fielding average of .959 as the only one-armed man to ever play major league baseball!

His batting average was good. Most of his hits were singles. Even when he grounds out he gets applauded to the crowds. In left field he really shines. And base runners were often weary of the speed with which he discards his glove and throws the bases. His pluck and determination is an inspiration to all.

The 1986 television movie A Winner Never Quits and the publication of a biography in 1995 renewed public interest, got positive reviews restoring a sense of integrity to his baseball career.

Gray’s exploits on field set an inspirational example for disabled servicemen returning home for World War II, as was portrayed in newsreels of the period. He visited army hospitals and rehabilitation centers, speaking with amputees and reassuring them that they too could lead a productive life. He used to tell them:

Boys, I can’t fight, and so there is no courage about me. Courage belongs to the battlefield, not on the baseball diamond.

Persuasion At Its Best!


The Reaganomics T V ad during the 1984 US presidential elections is one of the most persuasive communication strategies of all. It leaves you with no option. You cannot disagree with that. You cannot question the logic or even emotion of it. You have to choose it!

The TV ad – Reaganomics presents a succinct and compelling argument for voting in favor of Reagan’s economic policies as opposed to Mondale’s.


Here’s the transcript of the famous TV ad of the 1984 US Presidential Campaign: Reagonomics.

Here’s the difference between the two ways of dealing with the nation’s economy. With Reaganomics, you cut taxes. With Modale-nomics, you raise taxes.

Reaganomics:  you cut deficits through growth and less government spending. Modale-nomics: you raise taxes.

With Reaganomics, you create incentives that move us all forward. With Modale-nomics, you raise taxes.

They both work. The difference is, Reaganomics works for you. Mondale-nomics works against you.

President Reagan, The Leadership that’s working.

Isn’t that most persuasive?

Now, can you think of developing persuasive pitches like these for your brand that leave no options for your prospects other than embracing your brands?

Nike’s Inspirational Running Quotes


Nike is known for their powerful, inspirational quotes in their print advertisements. Here are some great Nike running quotes to motivate and inspire your runs. If you, after reading these can still sit at home read again. And then Run…

  1. Good News: It’s a leap year. You can run 366 days
  2. Running is not about being better than someone else. It’s about being better than you used to be.
  3. The real purpose of running isn’t to win a race. It’s to test the limits of the human heart.
  4. Mary had a little shoe it’s sole was full of air and anyone that Mary raced didn’t have a prayer.
  5. Runs end. Running doesn’t.
  6. Where your world becomes the next two strides.
  7. Jack and Jill raced up the hill to see who was faster. Jack’s feet were bare, Jill had Nike Air, poor Jack could never catch her.
  8. Test your faith daily.
  9. There are two types of people: Those who run and those who should. Nike believes in both.
  10. SWOOSH The sound made when you blow by somebody.
  11. You either ran today or you didn’t.
  12. It starts about the time I walk out of my front door. I reach the woods, smell the river and I just feel myself come to life again. It’s like yeah, I’m back.
  13. Victory is paid for in sweat, courage and preparation.
  14. Who says you can’t run away from your problems?
  15. Yesterday you said tomorrow.
  16. Someone who is busier than you is running right now.
  17. But unless you are a runner, you won’t understand.
  18. Why do I run? Why do I breathe?
  19. The only one who can tell you ‘you can’t is you.’ And you don’t have to listen.
  20. There is no ‘Y’ in running. Believe in the run.
  21. There is no finish line.
  22. There are clubs you can’t belong to, neighborhoods you can’t live in, schools you can’t get into, but the roads are always open.
  23. Runs end. Running doesn’t.
  24. If you went running when you first started thinking about it, you’d be back by now.
  25. Just do it.

Can you draw inspiration and kickstart your creative engine and write some memorable, inspiring copy that makes your brands stand out in the face of stiff competition?

Give them a paperback, Give them your life back.

bookcover_paperback post2

It is undeniable that reading is a pleasure. It can broaden one’s perspective about a number of things that matter in life. The reading for pleasure habit can only be built by giving the youngsters the sort of books that interest them in addition to those that support their curriculum. Here is a highly engaging piece of copy  written by Dhanunjay Ganesh that won the long copy award:

By the time you were your child’s age, you’d picnicked with the Famous Five. You’d flown the treacherous skies with Biggles. You’d managed to slip your arm around Frank Hardy’s pretty girlfriend. You’d ridden the open range with the Sacketts, and sung their lonesome songs. You’d been a white man, you’d been brown, you’d been black and blue, and you’d been the Scarlet Pimpernel.

You’d encountered the great white whale. You’d slain the undead. You’d dropped out of sight. You’d picked up the gauntlet. You’d discovered lost cities of gold. You’d solved inexplicable crimes, and flirted with opium. You’d grown a beard, marking time on an unmarked island. You’d been stood up, deceived, bushwhacked and marooned, one alphabet at a time. But you’d never lost, ‘cause that wasn’t in the script.

You’d faced up to Long John Silver. You’d bled with the Highwayman. You’d wrestled with apes, and could say, ‘Kreegah’ with the right inflection. You’d been on the Orient Express. You’d charged with the Light Brigade. You’d seen Buck after an eternity, and he’d remembered you. You’d waged war in the caverns of Mongo. You’d been in the belly of the narwhal. You’d pawed and clambered your way up Sheba’s Breast (the one that wasn’t off-limits for one so young).

You’d been schooled in the art of repartee, by none other than Jeeves himself. You’d dealt with small dusty man in a small dusty room. You’d recklessly chased talking rabbits down cubbyholes. You’d pretended not to stare, slack-jawed, at Lady Macbeth’s state of undress. You’d crossed swords with d’ Artagan’s enemies. You’d healed an assortment of creatures, great and small. You’d been faster than your own shadow. You were the suave cat who, when they reached the scene of the crime, was never there.

You’d known, with perfect clarity, what a crow’s nest looked like, although you’d never laid eyes on one. You’d known the difference between ginger-ale and root beer, although you’d never tasted either. You’d inhaled cordite, you’d caught a whiff of Chanel. Your mind had 20/20 vision, an exquisitely fine-tuned palate, and preternatural sense of smell.

You’d never needed CGI to witness magic. You hadn’t known terabytes from terahertz (unless you were going through an Asimov phase). You didn’t have an arsenal of push-button smiles; you had a single, open grin, and it was genuine. Because you read books.

You didn’t just read them, you devoured them. You worked honestly through them, you lived dangerously through them, you loved innocently through them. They were unselfish. They gave you much more than they took – they took you places. They stole your breath, and repaid you a hundredfold. They supplied you armies. They gave your cronies. They made you friends. They gave you a crown, and didn’t skimp on the size of its jewel. You’re a better, wiser, richer person today. Because you read books.

You could leave your child an automobile. Or a parcel of land. Or a lot of scrips and scraps. Or you could leave behind an enduring legacy. You could give him a chapter, give her a verse. You could give them a paperback. You could give her your life back.

How Good A Mentor Are You?



Who is Mentor?

Mentor is a character, who is a friend of Odysseus in Homer’s great epic, The Odyssey. Mentor plays a highly supportive role in taking responsibility for the education of Odysseus’s son Telemachus. That is why perhaps the word Mentor has acquired the modern meaning of being a trusted counselor or guide, tutor, coach.

In Homer’s Odyssey Athena, the Greek Goddess assumed the form of the family friend Mentor to support Odysseus’s son Telemachus. While the Odyssey provides only the hints of the assumed role of the sage and the supportive role of Mentor, It was Francois Fénelon, the French Roman theologian, and poet, who in his famous book, Les Adventures de Telemaque, (first published in 1699) emphasized Mentor as a character in his highly supportive role to Telemachus, the son of Odysseus. That describes the journey of the word Mentor in French (1749), and in English (1750) going back through Latin to a Greek name, which became a common noun meaning ‘wise counselor’. Mentor is an appropriate name for person such as a wise counselor as it comes from the Indo-European etymology men, which means ‘to think.’

Growing Importance of Mentoring

Today mentoring has been widely recognized as a critical aspect of the professional as well as personal development of an individual.

It is important to build mentoring programs for organizations to be successful. Mentoring programs are not only meant for ‘A’ players but also for ‘B’ players, as they form the solid citizens of the company that make up to about three-fourths of a firm. They all need constant and constructive feedback and encouragement to meet the challenges that the ever-changing future brings in.

How Good A Mentor Are You?

Thomas J. Delong, John J. Gabarro, and Robert J. Lees in their Harvard Business Article of January 2008, Why Mentoring Matters in a Hyper-competitive world present a picture of a good mentor. They identified certain key characteristics of a good mentor. Check for yourself how good a mentor you are against these.  Based on their research, the authors suggest that a good mentor is:

  1. Someone absolutely credible, whose integrity transcends the message, be it positive or negative
  2. Tells you things you may not want to hear but leaves you feeling you have been heard
  3. Interacts with you in a way that makes you want to become better
  4. Makes you feel secure enough to take risks
  5. Gives you the confidence to rise above your inner doubts and fears
  6. Supports your attempts to set stretch goals for yourself
  7. Presents opportunities and highlights challenges you might have not seen on your own

Image Credit: Proceedings of the PAESMAM / Stanford Workshop on Mentoring

Often a Bridesmaid, But Never a Bride!

Here is one of the 100 greatest advertisements in the history of advertising, which can help us understand in defining a problem and find a creative solution to achieve uncommon success! It’s the famous Listerine advertisement – Often a bridesmaid, but never a bride… and the story behind it.

Fred Leigh wrote the lyrics for a song sung by the Victorian singer, Vesta Victoria (1864-1952). The Lyrics are:

Why am I always a bridesmaid

Never the blushing bride

Ding! Dong! Wedding bells

Always ring for other gal

But one fine day –

Please let it be soon –

I shall wake up in the morning

On my own honeymoon.

Gordon Seagrove and Milton Feasley (wrote the copy) in 1923 created a campaign that would last for decades together tackling the difficult, sensitive, delicate and challenging subject of halitosis (bad breath) to the public. They created the fear of bad breath and its consequences in a social situation. They used a case study approach and built a story around a character, Edna, who has always been a bridesmaid, but never a bride. The picture was that of a lonely, forsaken Edna, who was unable to find love because of halitosis.

The solution: Listerine mouthwash.

Listerine immortalized the phrase, “Often a bridesmaid, but never a bride,” with a series of ads throughout this endearing and enduring campaign.

This ad is a revised version in the 1950s of the original ad of 1923.

Listerine repeated its own successful campaign in the 1950s with a more contemporary look. Edna is changed to Eleanor, but the problem was the same.Although men were attracted to her, their interest soon turned into indifference. Poor Eleanor did not have a clue why they dropped her so quickly… and even her best friend would not tell her.

Why risk the stigma of halitosis, when you have Listerine?

The Response? In just seven years since its original campaign in 1923, the company’s revenues rose from $ 115,000 to $ 8 million.

As the advertising scholar, James Twitchell wrote about coining of the word ‘halitosis‘ by the Lambert Company, ” Listerine did not make a mouth wash as much as it made halitosis!”

The Law of the Garbage Truck

The law of the garbage truck

David J. Pollay wrote a wonderful book, The Law of Garbage Truck that is based on current research on happiness and wellbeing. Raymond D. Fowler, former President of the American Psychological Association says that readers who seriously commit to these principles will find their lives, their work and their relationships fulfilling.

How often does a bad driver, rude waiter, curt boss, or an insensitive relative ruin your day with a thoughtless action, an angry rant, or a snide remark? And how often you ruined someone else’s day?

A little over twenty years ago, while riding in a New York City taxi, syndicated columnist and business consultant David J. Pollay narrowly escaped a life-threatening car crash. Here is his account of how it happened and how he learnt one of the most valuable lessons in life  from a taxi driver:

I hopped in a taxi, and took off for Grand Central Station. We were driving in the right lane when, all of a sudden, a black car jumped out of a parking space right in front of us. My taxi driver slammed on his brakes, skidded, and missed the other car’s back end by just inches.

The driver of the other car, the guy who almost caused a big accident, whipped his head around and he started yelling bad words at us. My taxi driver just smiled and waved at the guy in a friendly manner. I was surprised and said, “Why did you just do that? This guy almost ruined your car and sent us to the hospital!”

The taxi driver’s response was: Many people are like garbage trucks. They run around full of garbage, full of frustration, full of anger, and full of disappointment. As their garbage (negativity, anger, resentment) piles up, they need a place to dump it. And if you let them, they’ll dump it on you. When someone wants to dump on you, don’t take it personally. You just smile, wave, wish them well, and move on. You’ll be happy for what you did.

The response of the taxi driver sparked the defining principle of the Law of the Garbage Truck for Pollay. Think how often do you let garbage trucks run right over you? And how often do you take their garbage and spread it to other people at work, at home, on the streets? Can you see the Garbage trucks coming with the load they are carrying and looking for drop it off? Can you like the David J. Pollay’s taxi driver learn not to take it as a personal thing and just smile, wave, wish them well and move on?

In The Law of the Garbage Truck, David J. Pollay shows you how to respond to people who dump on you, and how to stop dumping on others. His message is simple, powerful, and transformational. Once you have taken The No Garbage Trucks! Pledge, you – and everyone around you – will realize the benefits!

Successful people do not let Garbage Trucks take over their day. What about you? Can you imagine what would happen in your life and how happy you will be, starting today, if you let Garbage Trucks pass you by?

Best of Political Advertising: Labor Is Not Working

labour isn't working

Labour is Not Working is considered as one of the best political advertisements in the world.

It was Saatchi & Saatchi, who created the famous Conservative Party’s election campaign advertising, Labour is not working in 1979. Lord Saatchi, who has long championed the Conservative Party, devised the ad that is widely credited as being a major factor in the success of Margaret Thatcher’s 1979 election campaign. Following the campaign, Lord Saatchi became co-chairman of the party.

The impact of the Labour is not working ad was dramatic, both for the power of the message and for the novelty – for such political billboard advertisements were still new to British Politics in the late 1970s. What is more, the denouncement of the ad in the Parliament by the Labour Chancellor, Denis Healey, helped it as so often with political advertisements –  a little bit of controversy made the message go a long way.

Recently M&C Saatchi paid tribute to the late Margaret Thatcher with their Best Client We Ever Had ad.

The best client we ever had

It has gone so long that the Conservative Party have gone in for an adaptation of the iconic Labour is not working poster of Margaret Thatcher’s 1979 election campaign. The new poster for the 2015 British general election campaign is The Labor isn’t learning. It is developed by M&C Saatchi in cooperation with the Tory HQ. Here’s Tory Chairman Grant Shapps’ comment on the campaign:

The Labour is not learning

Labour is not learning. They still think we can borrow our way out of the debt crisis. Their plans would mean borrowing over £200 billion more. They would shackle every person in this country with £3,200 more debt – over and above the debt they already ran up when they were in government. More spending, more borrowing, more debt – Labour isn’t learning.

Can we learn from these great political ads – The Labour is not working and The Labour is not learning?


The Uplifting Ad!


Coca-Cola, no doubt is an excellent product and a huge advertising success. About ninety years ago, the great marketers of Coca-Cola began the search for ways and means to increase the number of occasions when it could be served and make Coca-Cola fit into everyday life. They stopped thinking entirely about the product and considered only on the behaviour of the people. Human beings get along better when they pause in between spurts… when they pause and make and fresh start. They came up with one of the century’s top advertising slogans – The Pause That Refreshes. It is recognised today around the world even after eighty-four years later!

The Pause That Refreshes is known around the world as Coca-Cola’s very own. It owns space in the consumers’ minds. The idea was first featured in national magazines in September 1929 and the campaign ran through the 1950s. The advertising message was not only appealing but also uplifting to a country that was at war. The consumers needed that simple moment of uplift and pleasure to manage their way through the difficult war years. After the war, it almost became a part of every day life.

The very first print ad had this copy:

Each day tends down hill from that top-of-the morning feeling with which you begin. Don’t whip yourself as the day begins to wear. Pause and refresh yourself with an ice-cold Coca-Cola, and be off to a fresh start. The wholesome refreshment of Coca-Cola has made it one great drink of the millions. A perfect blend of many flavours, it has a flavour all of its own – delicious to taste, and more than that, with a cool after-sense of refreshment. It is ready, cold and tingling as fountains and refreshments stand around the corner from anywhere.

The Best Served Drink in The World. Over 8 Million a day.

It had to be good to get where it is.

Look, study and feel the persuasive power of the copy. It is simple, direct, appealing and convincing. Let your creative juices flow and come out with highly persuasive and convincing communication strategies for your brands.

22 Pixar Rules of Storytelling by Emma Coats

Emma Coats

Emma Coats

Emma Coats, a former Pixar story artist has tweeted a series of story basics for about six weeks from April 2011. She shared these guidelines, which she learned from her more senior colleagues on how to create great stories. Pixar’s 22 rules of storytelling is a great advice for any writer extending beyond writing.

  1. You admire a character for trying more than for their success.
  2. You gotta keep in mind what’s interesting to you as an audience, not what’s fun to do as a writer. They can be very different.
  3. Trying for theme is important, but you won’t see what the story is actually about till you’re at the end of it. Now rewrite.
  4. Once upon a time there was______. Everyday,______. One day,______. Because of that, ______. Because of that, _______. Until finally______.
  5. Simplify. Focus. Combine characters. Hop over detours. You’ll feel like you’re losing valuable stuff but it sets you free.
  6. What is your character good at, comfortable with? Throw the polar opposite at them. Challenge them. How do they deal?
  7. Come up with your ending before you figure out your middle. Seriously. Endings are hard., get yours working up front.
  8. Finish your story, let go even if it’s not perfect. In an ideal world you have both, but move on. Do better next time.
  9. When you are stuck, make a list what you WOULDN’T happen next. Lots of times the material to get you unstuck will show up.
  10. Pull apart the stories you like. What you like in them is a part of you: you’ve got to recognize it before you can use it.
  11. Putting it on paper lets you start fixing it. If it stays in your head, a perfect idea, you’ll never share it with anyone.
  12. Discount the 1st thing that comes to mind. and the 2nd, 3rd, 4th 5th – get the obvious out the way. Surprise yourself.
  13. Give your characters opinions. Passive/malleable might seem likable to you as you write, but it’s a poison to the audience.
  14. Why must you tell THIS story? What’s the belief burning within you that your story feeds off of? That’s the heart of it.
  15. If you were your character, in this situation, how would you feel? Honesty lends credibility to unbelievable situations.
  16. What are the stakes? Give us reason to root for the character. What happens if they don’t succeed? Stack the odds against.
  17. No work is ever wasted. If it’s not working, let go and move on – it’ll come back around to be useful later.
  18. You have to know yourself: the difference between doing your best  & fussing. Story is testing, nor refining.
  19. Coincidences to get characters into trouble are great; coincidences to get them out of it are cheating.
  20. Exercise: take the building blocks of a movie you dislike. How ‘d you rearrange them into what you DO like?
  21. You gotta identify with your situation/characters, can’t just write ’cool.’ What would make YOU act that way?
  22. What’s the essence of your story? Most economical way of telling it? If you know that you can build out from there.

Think of everyone of your marketing communications as a story. Apply these rules to them diligently to create stories that stick.