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bill_gates_01At a recent computer expo (COMDEX), Bill Gates reportedly compared the computer industry with the auto industry and stated, “If Ford had kept up with technology like the computer industry has, we would all be driving $25 cars that got 1,000 miles to the gallon.”

In response to Bill’s comments, Ford issued a press release stating:

If Ford had developed technology like Microsoft, we would all be driving cars with the following characteristics (and I just love this part):

1. For no reason whatsoever, your car would crash……… twice a day.

2.. Every time they repainted the lines in the road, you would have to buy a new car.

3… Occasionally your car would die on the freeway for no reason. You would have to pull to the side of the road, close all of the windows, shut off the car, restart it, and reopen the windows before you could continue. For some reason you would simply accept this.

4…. Occasionally, executing a maneuver such as a left turn would cause your car to shut down and refuse to restart, in which case you would have to reinstall the engine.

5….. Macintosh would make a car that was powered by the sun, was reliable, five times as fast and twice as easy to drive – but would run on only five percent of the roads.

6…… The oil, water temperature, and alternator warning lights would all be replaced by a single “This Car Has Performed An Illegal Operation” warning light.

7……. The airbag system would ask, “Are you sure?” before deploying.

8…….. Occasionally, for no reason whatsoever, your car would lock you out and refuse to let you in until you simultaneously lifted the door handle, turned the key and grabbed hold of the radio antenna.

9……… Every time a new car was introduced car buyers would have to learn how to drive all over again because none of the controls would operate in the same manner as the old car.

10………. You’d have to press the “Start” button to turn the engine off.

by Robert Shaw West Brand Futurist/Commander in Chief

Photo Credit: courtesy of and

Content Credit: Originally delivered as a chain email, author unknown




bostonstrongoutfieldWhat a semi-untraditional idea – having fans at a World Series game hold up cards spelling out something that sells your product.

However, no matter how fresh your execution is, it has to be based around a strong idea.

In this case, pandering and corporate chest-beating won out. And the Chevy Silverado brand got a huge black eye.

See, after the Marathon bombing earlier this year, “Boston Strong” has been a rallying cry for the town. As you can probably tell, “Silverado Strong,” the planned reveal for all those holding up cards in their seats, didn’t go over too well with the town. Matter of fact, it caused a huge stink, and the promotion was cancelled.

Lesson for today – think about your brand from the consumer’s point of view. Is what you have to say interesting? Would it cause others to want to find out more about you? Perhaps interact with you? Would it stir up any emotion?

Remember, telling the world about your brand is really easy. Saying it in a way that interests others is really really really hard.

by Francis George Brand Futurist/Minister of Creativity/Department Of Artisans


Screen Shot 2013-08-20 at 4.38.03 PMThe future arrives on our doorsteps every day as a new opportunity. So why is it that some of us seek to perpetuate the status quo when there is so much to gain from moving forward? This is the story of a valuable lesson relearned.

We recently met with the executives of a national association whose members are marketing organizations that sell travel-related products to the public. We have a service product that enables each of their members to understand customer-driven best practices, implement them and track their progress (rating) vs. the norm…something that currently isn’t being done. So rather than market directly to each member, our thought was to work with the association and provide a new benefit to their members.

All was good, except for the ratings part. They said: “Why would we want our members to compare themselves to one another?” Our answer was pretty simple: They already do. Everyday, everywhere on the Internet they are being reviewed and ranked. To make matters worse, the rankings and reviews are subjective and unreliable; where one person says 5-stars, another says 2-stars. By providing objective data and reviews as an alternative we can begin to balance the equation.

But they politely declined. In the end, personal agendas were more compelling than actual progress. In this case, the individuals involved were at the peak of their careers – a few years from retirement. In spite of clear benefits to their members, an agenda of change was not worth their personal risk.

Is your personal agenda in line with your professional agenda?

by Dwayne Fry Brand Futurist/Minister of Strategy/Department of Idealists


David Beals is quoted in the latest edition of Advertising Age referring to recent upsets in the auto-ad business as “unprecedented,” and explaining such volatility as the product of “a category in crisis.”  As the article suggests, crisis demands innovation, and Detroit’s troubles have led to several radical re-brandings, including Cadillac’s most recent effort to reclaim lost ground against luxury sports brands like BMW and Mercedes with the new CTS Coupe.

To be sure, the CTS Coupe is an impressive departure from previous design.  The Journal’s Dan Neil describes it “as the car Frank Gehry and ‘Batman’ animator Bruce Timm would design if their lives depended on it. The [new CTS] looks like it was beamed in from a near future when gangsters are armed with lasers.”

Lasers aside, Cadillac’s decision this week to hire Fallon as the creative agency responsible for marketing the CTS Coupe may signal an even greater departure from old habits than the car’s design.  During its tenure with BMW Fallon produced the widely acclaimed ‘BMW Films,’ and helped the German automaker establish its current identity as a premier luxury brand in the US.  Over the last decade the United States has become BMW’s largest market.

But Cadillac wants its piece of the pie back, and it has finally seemed to acknowledge that it’s not going to get it by clinging to an identity that, for many, lost its luster long ago.  Instead, the company is betting that Fallon can help lead it forward with a marketing strategy that appeals to the same consumers who have driven sales for BMW and Mercedes.

by Francis George Brand Futurist The Republik Commander Creative Ops

Photo Credit: © Cadillac


Plastic’s producer Nalgene says they will phase out their line of water bottles made with a chemical thought in recent years to pose a health risk to humans. The chemical (known as bisphenol A [BPA]) has long been used by companies worldwide in millions of products including baby bottles, liners of food cans and household goods.

Follow the rest of the story here.

“Nalgene’s decision to move away from BPA is great. Not only does it show that the company cares about the health of its consumers, but it sets a good example for others that may also be using potentially dangerous chemicals in their products. The decision may urge others in the industry to consider using alternative products as well.”

by Melissa Rivera Brand Futurist The Republik Lieutenant Strategic Ops

Photo Credit: via | David Mcnew: Getty Images