The Amusement Park

Stand Out from the Crowd—Use Humor in Your Business Marketing!

BusinessBusiness is serious business. Yes, four years of college and that’s the gem I come up with. Look, as lame as it is, it’s the truth. Corporate management and business owners are so busy being serious about their businesses that they can’t think humorously.

It’s not that they shut humor out. They just don’t allow themselves the freedom to let it in. How can there be room for humor when there’s so much at stake? After all, what could possibly be humorous about, say, life insurance? Don’t get me started.

chickenmovieHumor can be scary.  When it’s added to your marketing mix, something very frightening happens—the company transforms. Suddenly, it becomes different. Unique. An out-of-the-box thinker. The branding might even become (yikes!) fun!

Gee, how awful.

HaHaPeople start to see and hear something other than the white noise of your competitors, which they’ve become totally immune to. What they now see and hear is something new. They hear YOU. YOUR business. And you’ve been there all the time.  Hmm…

Of course, not all businesses are humor-appropriate. Funeral homes, while potentially rife with dark humor, are not going to use a slogan like “Don’t take the bus. Take your last ride with us!”  That would be wrong (depending on your market, of course).

But used appropriately and judiciously, humor is a great tool for setting yourself apart, standing out from the crowd. I know, I know. You just can’t see yourself using humor for your business. Yet without it, your audience may not see your business, either.

To be continued…

Really, Google…

GoogleLogoOriginalAfter several months of looking at it, I’m compelled to finally speak up. Google’s “new” logo is one of the most shockingly unimaginative designs I’ve ever seen.

Yes, Google. The multi-billion dollars-worth, 8000 pound gorilla that everybody above water level knows. Even my dog knows about Google. I’d ask her to confirm, but she’s sleeping.

I can’t stand looking at this thing. I open a webpage—almost any webpage—just to get it off my screen. If the font was any more vanilla, it’d have bean chunks in it. Which would be an improvement. There is absolutely not one iota of style behind this logo. Or in front of it, where it’s so desperately needed. It is totally devoid of any creativity. It’s as if the execs at Google stopped by “The Two-Minute Logo Store” on the way to work.

The one saving grace, however, is that this is a good lesson for art and design students on how not to do a logo.

GoogleLogoLongestRunningUnderstand that I’m not blaming the logo designers. Had management left them alone I’m sure they would have come up with a thousand better ideas, and probably did. No, I blame whomever gave this bland ugliness the green light. It was probably the same person(s) who blessed the world with Windows 8.1.

TheNextBigMistakeSo, Google execs, get a clue. Yes, you folks are brilliant and seemingly flawless at business. That’s what you know how to do. But the next time you need some ideas and want to see images for good logo design, Google those last five words. You’ll see your old logo.

Til next month, maybe sooner…

No Years Resolution

ResolutionsOnce again, I’m not making any resolutions for the New Year. I don’t see the point since I’m still working on resolutions from 1986.

Just a note: To all my highly intelligent readers (that’s every one of you), I greatly appreciate your feedback and support over the last 14 months by reading The Amusement Park blog.

HNYhatStarting in January, I will only be doing this blog once or possibly twice a month due to an increased workload (I’m not complaining! Thank you, my clients!). So please keep reading TCFAP Blog, but most importantly, have a healthy, prosperous and abundant, safe Happy New Year all year long!

See you next month…

Merry Christmas!

ChristmasTreeDigitalWell, once again it’s Christmas time. Even though I don’t celebrate the holiday, I enjoy the feeling that’s in the air at this time of year. People generally smile more and wish you a Merry Christmas before the clock strikes twelve and they turn back into their usual, depressed selves.

Every year it seems that a little bit of the genuine Christmas spirit dies, the victim of obligatory gift buying. I think that maybe one way to bring back or at least hold on to some of that spirit is to follow some simple steps:

Money’s tight. Don’t go into debt. That’s not a good way to end the year or start the new one. People-pleasing isn’t worth it and it doesn’t pay well.

PerfectFamilyFamily gifts come first, especially the kids. Not your boss. Not your desk-facing co-worker. Even if someone gives you a gift don’t feel obligated to give them one in return. That’s how this whole obligatory gift giving mess got started in the first place. So just say thank you. If they don’t like that they gave you a gift and you didn’t reciprocate, tough. If they’re spiteful and don’t give you a gift next year because of it, good. Then their gift wasn’t given from the heart in the first place. And now you can permanently take them off your list.

If you can’t afford a gift and still want to give one, make something. Cookies (they don’t have to be from scratch). A great photo of someone’s cat or dog. A recipe of something you baked that they liked.

Invite someone over for dinner or a cup of coffee. Friendship and some good conversation/company is getting scarcer in this stupid multi-tasking, can’t-miss-a-phone-call-because-I’m-so-important world.

Have a party where everybody brings what they’re going to eat and drink. It doesn’t have to be a big party, you know. Use paper plates. Make sure you have enough toilet paper. I could make a “party pooper” joke, but I won’t.

Call a friend or relative or two you haven’t spoken to in quite a while. It’ll put a smile on their faces and one on your own, too.

GratitudeListHere’s a great idea. Send or hand someone a Christmas card or a card you made wishing them a Merry Christmas/Happy Holidays and good health in the coming year. Yeah, what a sucky gift that is, right?, hoping someone has a good time and good health. As you get older, wishes for good health count more and more.

Life got you down? Make a gratitude list. If that doesn’t work, turn on the news and be grateful you’re not one of the unfortunate, hurting souls who are on our TV screens night after night. I realize that there are a lot of people for whom these suggestions won’t be nearly enough, and for that I am truly sorry. Let’s pray for them. It wouldn’t hurt.

YoureNotFunnyAnd lastly, here’s a really good gift idea: buy one of those pre-paid gift cards, or take a couple of dollars, wrap it up and give it to yourself. You deserve it. Treat yourself to something nice. Doesn’t have to be a lot of money.

Okay, this is not one of my funnier posts. But it is from my heart. I hope you all have a very Merry Christmas!! Even if you don’t celebrate the holiday, maybe you should. Go out and have some fun, for heaven’s sake!

Til next Tuesday

Binge watching. Back next week!

gonefishinI’ve decided to take the week off. But I’ll be back next Tuesday unless I’m having too good a time. Then it might be the week after. So check back. In the meantime, stay safe.

Til next Tuesday

Mind Marbles (cont’d)

Marbles-e1425311576668-120x115.jpgIs it cruel to send a zombie a book of brain teasers?

Are there any zombies who have gone vegan?

Never go to a dentist who has crummy teeth.

MistletoeChristmasYou know those greeting cards that are blank inside? I love sending them as is to people I don’t know in an envelope without a return address.

Speaking of greeting cards, why aren’t there cards for getting a divorce? If ever there was a time for celebration…

I’d like to see more specific greeting cards. You know, like “Congratulations on getting that ugly mole off your neck. What the hell took you so long?”

The expression “back and forth” is backwards. How can you come back if you never went forth?

BBC1930sDid the guy who discovered sun spots go blind? If so, did he then discover blind spots?

It’s a good thing radio wasn’t invented in a tunnel. Nobody would’ve heard anything.

Why didn’t the BBC just call themselves The English Channel?

Til next Tuesday

Forget About Finding Waldo, Where the Hell Are My Keys?

ForgetfulFishI don’t remember the last time I said “I don’t remember the last time I said….” Other than those two times just mentioned, that’s not the only thing I don’t remember. Lots of things have slipped my mind of late. What they are, I don’t know because I don’t remember, remember? Hence, the problem.

As you can imagine, when this started I have no clue. It’s just becoming more and more apparent because it’s happening more frequently. All my friends tell me they have the same problem. At least I think those were my friends…

It’s getting weird. I was on my cell phone talking to my brother this weekend when I went into a panic. I couldn’t remember where I put my cell phone. As I’m talking, I’m frantically looking around for it. Where the hell did I put it? Then I remembered…I was talking on it.

headphoneThat’s happened twice.

As disconcerting as this is, am I worried about it? Not from a medical standpoint, no. And it’s not because of aging, either. The reason we’re pretty much all in the same boat is because we’re inundated with way too much information and things we have to remember to do. That we’ve identified the problem is the good news. The bad news is, as they said in “Jaws,” “we’re going to need a bigger boat.”

So how do we prevent a growing number of us from becoming absent-minded professors? The old adage “A place for everything and everything in its place” comes to mind, which is more than a lot of things can do lately. For example, when I come home I’ve learned to put my car keys in the same place every time. This works beautifully. When I want to go for a drive, my keys are right where I left them.

Now, if I can only remember where I parked my car…

Til next Tuesday

6 Things I’m Grateful for this Thanksgiving

ChiefChiefHeadShotI’m thankful I’m not anybody else. First of all, none of their clothes would fit. I don’t know what kind of bills or ex-spouse someone else has. I know what mine are and that’s enough for me to handle. One down, one to go. The bills.

I’m grateful I don’t have to go to the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. It’s a great parade, but I’ve never enjoyed anything for that long in the cold. The only ways I might want to go is if it was June or they held it indoors.

SnoopySpeaking of the parade, I’m grateful that for once all the helium in those big parade balloons won’t go to waste. New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced that immediately following the parade, the city will be holding the world’s very first Helium Inhalium Party. Get high as a kite. Literally.

I’m grateful for McDonald’s. It’s the only thing I can bring to a picnic that the ants won’t eat.

I’m grateful for antibiotics. I think I’ll just leave it at that.

I’m grateful for politicians. Without them, used car salesmen would still be at the bottom of the Trustworthy Occupations list.

Finally, to all my readers who celebrate it, I wish you a very happy Thanksgiving. To all those who don’t celebrate the holiday, I wish you a very happy Thanksgiving even though you have no idea what I’m talking about. Have fun anyway.

Til next Tuesday

Being Bald

patrickstewartPeople have asked if I mind being bald. Yes, but only when I look in the mirror. Luckily, my eyesight is getting worse so I don’t really notice as much.

The good news, in a way, is that for the past decade or so, shaved heads have been “in.” Shaved heads are sort of like camouflage, you know? If everybody looks kinda the same, then nobody notices “the bald guy.” In an ironic twist, if you have fringe on the sides and back of your head, but not on top, then you look bald. If you don’t want to look bald, shave ALL the hair off your head. This shows that you know your hair can grow back any time you decide to let it, and you’re just being trendy.

UpSideDownFaceThe new thing now is having a fully shaved head while also sporting a full beard. I don’t get this one. I guess the “Hey, My Head’s on Upside Down” look just isn’t me.

And what ever happened to the Hair Club for Men? Are they still around? And what kind of club is that? What could possibly be more depressing than sitting in a room full of guys all checking out each other’s toupees? Once you realize everybody else’s rat skin looks like crap, then chances are your own does, too. Like I said, depressing.

HairClubSo why was it a hair club FOR MEN? Were they planning an empire of Hair Clubs for Women? Of course not. Women have pride. And the fact that not even one women’s rights group picketed the company headquarters demanding equal admittance speaks volumes about the whole idea.

BabyTrumpThe problem with toupees is that they never look quite right no matter how good they are. I mean, when someone comes up to you and says, “That’s a really good toupee. It looks so real!” How “real” could it look if someone comes up to you and compliments you on it?

For me the answer lies in simplicity—get rid of all mirrors in my condo and adopt the stance that I’m wearing a reverse Mohawk or I just have a very wide part.

Til next Tuesday

Bond. James Bond.

danielcraigBond’s new film, “Spectre,” opened this past weekend and, even though I haven’t seen it yet, I’m sure Mr. Bond came out on top. Yeah, the job of being a secret agent looks glamorous on the big screen. You get to sleep with gorgeous women. Not only do you win every fight, but if for some odd reason you don’t, you certainly will have plenty of “revenge time” to more than even the score. And you’ll heal overnight without any residual side effects like broken bones, ruptured spleens, or having to deal with insurance companies.

At least, that’s the way it is on film.

Here are some real-world reasons why I didn’t go to the Be A Secret Agent booth at our high school Career Day.

No matter where you go, somebody’s going to try to kill you. IMHO, this is not a plus. While it does put life’s normal problems in perspective, I don’t want anything to do with a career that has “possible intentional death” in the job description. Another tip off to the lack of career longevity in this field—there’s no 401K.

IRSagentYou have to lie about your occupation on your tax forms. If you think messing with Dr. No, Goldfinger, Ernst Blofeld, Jaws or any other nemesis of 007’s was tough, there is no greater foe to face than that bookworm-ish clerk behind the desk at the ultimate organization of evil—the IRS. Even Q couldn’t come up with a gadget to counter that guy with a pen.

Btw, I’ve always felt Q was playing both sides of the fence. Whatever device he creates, it’s exactly what James is going to need! Curious, no? Not once can I remember Q giving James a weapon that he didn’t require in order to save his own skin. Which is why you never heard James Bond berate Mr. Tip or whatever Q’s last name was, with “Hey, jerkhead. For the last month I’ve carried this stupid brick that turns into a car when all I needed was a damn lock pick. Get your #$@% together, assh-le!” Very un-British.

Stunningly beautiful women are not common among spies. And for a good reason—spies are supposed to blend in, otherwise they’re too easy to identify, right?

SofiaVergaraM: The Queen wants you to bring in Susan Anderson.

Spy: The one who looks like Sofia Vergara?

M: That’s the one.

Spy: Can you get me a photo of her in a bikini?

M: The Queen?

Spy: NO! Not the Queen! Sofia Vergara.

M: What for? You already know what she looks like.

Spy: I know. I just want it for, uh, you know, personal reasons.

You have to constantly check for hidden explosives, poisonous snakes and insects, and poisoned food. Again, these are not pluses for any job I’d be interested in. I’d be so paranoid that I’d be afraid to use the damn toilet. It might have some super suction thing on it and I’d never be heard from again. Not a good way to go.

bondgunbarrelYou’ll never be in a fight with six guys and come out the winner. When in real life has this kind of thing ever happened? Only in the movies. Why? Because the bad guys never gang up on the good guy. They fight him one at a time. That’s like believing Killer Bees take turns stinging you to death.

You have to fly coach. The glamor never stops with this job. Then, of course, you have to wheel your own luggage through the airport to the car rental place where you’re gifted with not a brand spanking new Aston-Martin, but a Diesel-powered VW instead.

I’m glad James Bond is still around in movies. But with cyber warfare being the threat to big business, I’m not sure I’d be rooting for Mr. Bond, James Bond.

Til next Tuesday…

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