A one-year “best of” from the BloodLines Creative blog

It was a year ago today that I made my first BloodLines Creative blog post. http://bloodlinescreative.wordpress.com/2011/11/28/

If, by chance, you click on that link you’ll notice the original WordPress format of the blog. Since that time, there have been 170 additional BloodLines Creative posts garnering more than 12,000 views.

My original intent was to focus on the world of advertising and marketing communications and on occasion, offer my thoughts on the rest of the world, particularly focusing on St. Louis.

Looking back at all my posts, I’ve done just that – though I seem to focus on whatever happens to be on my mind at the time and that’s not always advertising or marketing communications-related.

BloodLines Creative number one viewed post

I looked at the number of views for all of these posts. The number one post was, “My Return to the St. Louis City-County debate”.

My return to the St. Louis city-county debate

That’s a topic that still gets people going – and for good reason. Even though it makes all the economic sense in the world to combine St. Louis city with St. Louis county, it will probably never happen due to the existing political structure and the mistaken belief that the county will have to absorb all the problems of the city.

In memory of …

It’s interesting that two of the higher ranked posts I’ve had were tributes – one was for Chip MacDonald, one of my college buddies who I lost track of once I got married. http://www.bloodlinescreative.com/wordpress/in-memory-of-chip/

The other was for Steve Puckett, a tremendously gifted writer who consistently produced great work throughout the ’90s and on into the new millenium. http://www.bloodlinescreative.com/wordpress/steve-puckett-rocked-the-boat/

Tales from my Kenrick Advertising days

Many of the readers of this blog know me from my days at Kenrick Advertising. I featured several posts re-telling memorable stories and promise to add a few more from time to time. These were two of my favorites. The first detailed a memorable morning featuring Warren Wiethaupt:  http://www.bloodlinescreative.com/wordpress/the-day-warren-broke-into-work/

Steve Unger, (stevethewordguy@aol.com) who has a much better memory than I do, told me I got a few of the details wrong and perhaps I did. But the gist of the story is still there. My other favorite involves a pair of shoes that have followed me around throughout my career. This post also takes you back to my old look but it contains a nice picture of the bronzed topsiders with the built-in storyline. http://bloodlinescreative.wordpress.com/2012/02/08/the-story-behind-my-writers-shoes-2/

My urge to action

I could go on but know I’ve probably already exceeded the norm for amount of words in a post before readers begin bailing.

So thanks for viewing and if you like what you’ve read, please become a follower.

I hope you enjoy the words I bring you. I’ve always tried to take that same approach to advertising – create something that captures your attention and delivers a selling message in a unique and memorable way.

Should you or anyone you know be in search of some Big Idea Thinking for your business, organization or event you have coming up, here’s where you can find me – www.bloodlinescreative.com

Now, on to Year Two …




Powerball dreams and reality – circa 2016

Back in November of 2012 I posted the following blog. The odds have changed. There are more numbers now – which is how it has grown to more than a billion. We live in magical times don’t we – where you can get millions of Americans to drop $10, $20 some people even way more than that – for a roughly 1 in 292.2 million to one chance that you’ll end up with the winning ticket.

There are Powerball dreams and there is reality. It’s 2016. Here’s a little blast from the past blog of mine from 2012 where if you change the amount of the drawing, the topics of the day to missed field goals, El Chapo and David Bowie leaving ground control then everything else is still fairly pertinent

November 27, 2012 … With no hurricanes bearing down on the east coast and lacking any current national disasters or tragedies, the media has momentarily shifted its attention to Wednesday’s upcoming $425 million Powerball drawing. http://www.powerball.com/pb_home.asp

All across the country, reporters are heading out to remote gas stations and convenience stores and interviewing people who are now waiting in line to purchase their Powerball tickets. Fresh after Black Friday, they’re now ready to plunk down a few dollars to give them something to dream about, at least until they wake up Thursday morning and find out they didn’t win.

After all, you can’t win if you don’t play, right?

Of course, odds are extremely good that you won’t win even if you do play. The official odds say the chances of winning are 1 in 175,223,510. I read elsewhere that it’s actually closer to 1 in 195,200,000 when you factor in that there isn’t always a winner – but hey, what’s an extra 20 million or so really matter?

Americans don’t really care that Powerball is one of the worst investments on the planet. Some people play every week, others wait for the jackpot to go over $100 million before purchasing a ticket. And when the numbers reach above $200 million, the media comes out to feed the frenzy.

With all that in mind, I thought I’d do my part by passing on a little knowledge I gleamed in my 15 minutes worth of research. All of the following info comes from an article I read based off of Gail Howard’s Lotto Strategy Book, Lottery Master Guide. http://www.smartluck.com/lottery-master-guide.htm

So before you go out and purchase your lottery ticket, you may want to keep the following thoughts in mind.

First off, if you’re doing Quick Picks, you have just as good a chance at winning as you do if you’re picking your own numbers. So purchase away. If you’re going to make your own picks, here’s Gail’s advice.

Choosing all odd numbers or all even numbers rarely happens – only about 4% of the time. Your best mix is 3 odds and 2 evens or 2 odds and 3 evens and then toss in the PowerBall number to balance them out.

All high numbers or all low numbers are also rarely drawn – again, only about 4% of the time. So don’t do that.

Avoid betting five consecutive numbers – it’s never happened. Four consecutive numbers has only happened a handful of times since the drawing began. Even three consecutive numbers is a rarity.

Avoid betting one lotto group – like picking all numbers in the teens. Probably not gonna happen.

Avoid pattern betting – like forming a cross with your picks or picking the four corners and the middle – even if they do win, hundreds, perhaps thousands of clever individuals will have had the same thought.

Avoid number multiples – 2, 4, 8, 16, 32 – again, you won’t be the only one with this brilliant idea so you’ll be sharing the riches.

Avoid all same last digits – 7, 17, 27, 37, 47 – same reason as above.

Some people like to pick birthdays and that’s fine but don’t forget to toss in one or two numbers above 31 just to make sure you’re covered.

Gail has one other guiding rule that makes sense to me: That which is most possible happens MOST OFTEN. That which is least possible happens LEAST OFTEN.

With that in mind, here’s a list of Powerball numbers that have won the most since last January:


If you’re going to buy tickets in a group, ask everyone if they feel lucky. If the individual says, “I never win anything,” ask him or her to get out of the group – those negative vibes will drag you all down.

With all that in mind, I’m going to take a 45-minute trip to the outskirts of St. Louis, find some hole-in-the wall liquor store and purchase my winning ticket based on my carefully chosen criteria for number selection.

On second thought, I never win anything so I’m automatically disqualified.

Good luck and if you win based on any of the above advice, please pass on some of your winnings to me and I’ll make sure Gail gets a cut, too!


Grey Thursday, Black Friday, Cyber Monday and me

I was not among the 247 million people that flocked to various retailers across the country on Grey Thursday and Black Friday. Nor will any of my dollars be among the millions spent tomorrow on Cyber Monday which is now the biggest online sales day of the year.

I’m encouraged to see Americans getting out and running up their credit debt once again.

Isn’t that the American way?

Of course there are deals to be found for those early shoppers who actually get in line to enter a store. I know it must be a thrill to nab a bargain mere seconds before somebody else gets their hands on it and then you get to gloat for 30 minutes or so in line before making your purchase.

Online shopping is considerably easier with no lines to worry about. Just enter those credit card numbers into cyberspace and your goods will soon be on their way along with a small charge for shipping and handling.

An estimated $423 million was spent this holiday weekend by shoppers getting an early jump on the Christmas holiday.

I knew optimism must be rampant among retailers when I went out to get the St. Louis Post-Dispatch early Thanksgiving morning. There were two papers waiting to be picked up. The regular edition that was chock full of ads and then another wrapped bundle containing nothing but flyers, circulars and special edition shopping guides that in my estimation tipped the scales at about 8 pounds.

There were no image ads to be found in the mix. Just sales, sales and more sales. All the major retailers were there in full force – Macy’s, JC Penney, Kohl’s, Toys ‘R Us and Target just to name a few. There were a few surprises, too. Mattress Giant was offering special Black Friday deals.

“Merry Christmas dear, I got you a mattress.”

I also saw a circular touting all sorts of specials on guns – everyone knows what a thoughtful gift an automatic rifle makes for the holidays or what a great stocking stuffer a handgun makes as long as it doesn’t come fully loaded.

Yes, here in America, Jesus is no longer the reason for the season. This is the season of commerce, a time when retailers try and make those 4th quarter numbers make up for the rest of the year’s lackluster sales.

Before the pumpkin pie gets completely cleared off the table we’re encouraged to get out there and spend, spend, spend.

We live inside a giant hype machine that moves from one holiday to another. The real meaning behind those holidays – Thanksgiving, Christmas, 4th of July, Labor Day, Memorial Day – they’ve all just become another reason to have a giant sale and what the actual day truly stands for takes a back seat to rampant commercialism.

As someone who makes a living creating ads, I think it’s great that America seems to be rebounding – advertisers are advertising again and consumers are consuming more. Still, the whole process makes me shake my head.

There was a Russian comedian named Yakov Smirnoff (who I think now has his own theater in Branson!) who used to have the saying, “America … what a country.”




Nine reasons why this could be my finest blog post ever

I’ve been reading up about blogging.

It seems my blog posts could use some improvement. Search engines don’t like my headlines. People don’t share my content or re-tweet my posts. I rarely post pictures. Perhaps most important, this blog lacks focus.

I drift from politics to advertising to St. Louis-based topics to musing about the Rams.

What is the point and how in the world have I managed to garner more than 12,000 views in less than a year’s time?

I love to write. Though I do advertising and marketing communications by day, I haven’t turned this blog into strictly an advertising and marketing communications forum.

I know it’s critical that I be seen as a thought leader in what I do. Here’s my thinking on that – I am a thought leader, it’s just that not all of my thoughts lead back to advertising or marketing communications.

Howard Gossage, (http://www.lacreativeclub.com/gossage.html) my favorite ad man of the 1960s, had a famous saying that went like this, “People read what interests them. Sometimes, it’s an ad.”

I have updated his saying for my own selfish purposes to, “People read what interests them. Sometimes, it’s a blog post.”

So where are my nine reasons you might ask?

Blog posts score much higher when there are lists. With that in mind, I present the following:

9. This post contains a specific message to all my Facebook friends – thanks for wishing me a Happy Birthday yesterday and to those of you who didn’t, I will happily accept your belated birthday greetings as well as belated greetings for the one-year anniversary of BloodLines Creative (www.bloodlinescreative.com).

8. It also contains a link to my BloodLines Creative LinkedIn page (http://www.linkedin.com/company/2461797?trk=tyah). It would be great if you could follow that as I’m in the midst of adding content and services and continue to seek companies that are looking for Big Idea Thinking on a limited budget.

7. I’ve included a picture! Here’s a shot of Steve Meyer, holding the certificate he received (suitable for framing) and the hot little sports car that I gave away for being the 1,000th viewer of my blog on January 24, 2012.

6. There’s also a link that I encourage everyone in St. Louis to visit. It’s called Rally StL (http://www.rallystl.org/) and its pursuit is a noble one that I wholeheartedly endorse: coming up with ideas to promote St. Louis in whatever way, shape or manner you propose. November 14 was the start date for idea submission and if you go to the link you can learn more about the program and submit your own grand scheme to prove to the world what a great place St. Louis is to live, work and raise a family.

5. Since I’m sharing all these links, I thought I’d also share a plug for my current two favorite integrated marketing firms in the St. Louis area – TOKY (http://toky.com/) and Atomic Dust (http://www.atomicdust.com/). They’re both doing amazing work and they make me jealous and no, I’ve never done a single freelance job for them. I just love to see St. Louis-based companies do great work and these two are far from the only ones – there is a creative revolution going on in St. Louis and I’m proud to tell others about it.

4. The last link I’ll share is one that I’ve had a personal involvement with and it’s been refreshing to see this program begin to take off in schools across the nation. It’s called the CyberBully Hotline (http://www.cyberbullyhotline.com) – it’s a service provided by SchoolReach and it’s designed to provide kids in school an anonymous means of reporting bullying – which is huge when you’re a kid and you’re afraid to tell your parents or a teacher face-to-face.

3. Anyone who reads these lists hoping that the reasons get better, the lower you get is in for a surprise.

2. Having an odd-number of reasons for some reason pulls in more people than doing a top ten list.

1. Now that you’ve made it to the bottom of the list, perhaps you might be saying, “this couldn’t possibly be his finest blog post ever.”

I said it could be.

And that’s the surprise.

A big, fat turkey of a post, right before Thanksgiving.

Have a safe and happy holiday and remember those in need.

Share your wealth.



Not Ding Dongs, too!

I didn’t shed a tear when I heard the Twinkie was soon to be gone for good.

I was a little crushed when I heard that Wonder Bread was no more as well. What other bread could possibly build strong bodies 12 different ways?

Then I heard the shut-down of the St. Louis-based Hostess company also included Ho-Hos. This was not good.

Frantically, I checked the Hostess product line and there they were – Ding Dongs!

Panic set in. I love Ding Dongs. I don’t eat them very often anymore. Well, all right, I probably haven’t had a Ding Dong in several years – but that’s simply because I don’t do the shopping in our family.

Back in my single days, Ding Dongs were often my dessert after one of my bachelor-cooked meals of a ribeye, some broccoli and maybe a crescent roll. I used to take the aluminum foil that wrapped the Ding Dong, roll it up into a ball, toss it down the hallway and my cat would actually retrieve it.

But now, the Twinkies, the Ho Hos, Ding Dongs, Zingers and a host of other non-nutritional products are gone.

It’s not that our nation has gotten that much healthier – but snack cakes are definitely on the way out, replaced by Nutri-grain bars and carrot packs.

Who are we fooling, anyway? Our nation still thrives on fast food, fried food and oversized Big Gulps (except in the state of New York in a few months). Surely, some company will have the vision to resurrect the Twinkie – that’s gotten all the press today.

But who will save the Ding Dong?

I understand all the reminiscing going on about Twinkie the Kid. I know the Twinkie has been locked away in a time capsule by then President Clinton, featured in movies as a delicacy enjoyed by aliens, fed to heads of state from foreign countries and has had multiple websites devoted to it.

The Ding Dong?

It gets no respect.

My birthday is coming up soon. I already know what I want for dessert.

In semi-defense of Kevin Slaten

Friday afternoon coming home from a workout, I turned on my AM dial and tuned to KFNS – an all-sport talk radio station. I always enjoy listening to Kevin Slaten but he wasn’t on that afternoon and I didn’t think anything of it. He wasn’t on yesterday afternoon, either and I thought perhaps he was taking an early Thanksgiving break.

Little did I know he had been fired until Chris pointed it out to me in this morning’s Post-Dispatch. The paper’s subhead stated that he accused African-Americans of being bigoted in voting.

I immediately knew exactly what incident they were referring to and I wasn’t overly surprised that he was let go because of it. Thursday afternoon I came in during the middle of a conversation he was having with an African American gentleman. (I guess you can call it a conversation because it’s hard to ever get in a point with Kevin.)

The gist of the conversation was this – he had read a news release stating that 93% of the African American population had voted for Obama. That was actually a drop from the previous election where Obama garnered 96% of the vote of the African American population.

He went on to point out that 56% of those who voted for Obama happened to be white.

In Kevin’s always controversial style, he labeled African Americans as bigots when it came to voting. He went on to add that “there was a black preacher that said, ‘Vote for the black man.’ If there was a white preacher that said, ‘Vote for the white guy,’ he would have been pillaged.”

Essentially, Kevin Slaten was and is absolutely correct in what he said. His key point was that African Americans aren’t voting based on records or policy, they’re voting based on the color of the candidate’s skin. Kevin went on to add, “I think that’s despicable and I think that black voters ought to be ashamed of themselves for voting that way because of race.”

So that’s my semi-defense of Kevin. I like him as a radio talk show host. He gets people fired up. He gets people angry and gets under their skin and more often than not, he speaks the truth.

There are a few issues I have with his comments, though. After all, 88% of Romney voters were white – which is not too far removed from the 93 percentile. By and large, the African American voting population has a long history of voting Democratic – so it’s not like they were bucking a trend by voting for Obama. I guess we won’t truly know the potential truth behind his statement until Condoleeza Rice or Colin Powell or some other African American who just so happens to be a Republican runs for POTUS.

If that person pulls in 93% or more of the African American vote, I think Mr. Slaten should be re-hired on the spot. Of course, that won’t be for at least four more years so I guess Kevin will have to explore other options in the meantime.

Which brings me to my final issue I had back when I first heard Kevin talking about it on KFNS – the self-proclaimed home of the sports fan in St. Louis even though it has about a 2% market share.

What was Kevin doing talking politics and race relations on sports talk radio in the first place?

I guess it’ll be a while since we know for sure.

Good luck, Kevin.

The King may be down for the count, but I think he’ll rise again.

Happy Anniversary, BloodLines Creative

BloodLines Creative was founded on 11/11/11.

Now that one year has come and gone, I’m taking a few moments to look back but also look forward – I see tremendous potential ahead of me and I’m eager to embark on my second year of providing big idea thinking to the clients I serve.

I’ve been fortunate to work with some really good people who trusted me to deliver work that stood out, got noticed and got results.

I’d like to salute and thank SchoolReach, Sun Rental, Webster University, Anheuser-Busch Employees’ Credit Union and Motorola Solutions for taking that flying leap of faith and working with me on a wide variety of projects. I’m looking forward to delivering more results-producing creative in the coming year.

I’d also like to thank Bob Cox, Kristin Genovese, Lisa Moeller and everyone at E-Merge Interactive and Smith/Lee Productions who all worked with me as partners in helping me get my business off the ground.

And yes, it is off the ground though it seems that I continue to fly right along the tree line, occasionally clipping a branch or two. That’s okay. It keeps things interesting.

I still have a lot to learn. I still have so much to do.

I wish I could personally thank all the readers of this blog as well. It’s had more than 12,000 views since last December.

One of my goals for this coming year is to build my email subscriber base and to do that, I know I need to be more insightful and thought-provoking. If you’ve read more than four or five of my posts over the past year, why not give me a shot by clicking that box to the right of these ramblings that says ‘Follow Blog Via Email’?

I promise, I’ll make it worth your while. If, by chance, your business, group or non-profit organization is in need of any type of communications – from a matchbook cover to a fully-integrated advertising and marketing communications campaign, this operator is standing by and ready to answer your call. If you’ve never visited my website, now would be a great time to do so. www.bloodlinescreative.com

Thanks, enjoy the free cake in the kitchen area of our world headquarters and Year Two, here we go!


Last chance to be wrong for America

After months of non-stop attack ads, voters will head to the polls tomorrow and in theory, we’ll know who came out on top by the time we wake up Wednesday morning.

People may say that this election year was filled with some of the most negative advertising slamming opponents ever. I don’t see it that way.

To me, it’s a recycled version of four years ago, from our presidential election, right down to the local level. It’s a different set of names but the level of bashing and accusations seems to be about the same as it was in our last national election … and the one before that and the one before that.

Political advertising just doesn’t seem to be about putting forth a candidate’s vision. Instead, it seems totally focused on denigrating the opponent. I truly believe that anyone who is letting their voting decisions be decided by what they’ve seen on TV has been given a distorted viewpoint of reality.

Of course, that’s what television in general is so adept at doing – distorting reality.

To truly learn what a candidate stands for takes time and a bit of research. You can check past voting records. You can try and visit each candidates’ website – but that also will give you a slightly distorted view – but at least you get that individual candidates viewpoints on what they stand for and what they’d like to accomplish.

Another thing to look at is endorsements – and do your political leanings align with those who are providing the endorsements.

The informed voter will also take the time to try and understand what propositions they’ll be voting on when they enter the booth. Many of these initiatives will have a direct and lasting impact on what’s going on in the communities where we live. Yet the majority of voters have only the vaguest of notions regarding what’s on their ballot.

The states of Washington and Colorado are voting on legalizing marijuana. Voters in California will be weighing in on whether porn stars should be required to wear condoms while filming. The state of Arizona is voting on who should have the authority to own the Grand Canyon while Nebraska and Wyoming are voting on the right of individuals to trap, fish and hunt.

Here in Missouri, in addition to all the hotly contested races, there are four ballot initiatives we’ll be voting on, Amendment 3, Prop A, B and E. If you don’t know anything about them, perhaps you might want to take a few minutes to read up on what they’re all about (http://ballotpedia.org/wiki/index.php/Missouri_2012_ballot_measures)

I’m hoping voter turnout tomorrow hits record numbers but I doubt that it will.

Most Americans fail to realize what a privilege it is to have the right to vote.

Many believe that the American political machine is badly in need of repair. I wouldn’t disagree. But I’ll be voting anyway. Whether it was Al Capone, William Hale Thompson or Richard Daley, the phrase, “Vote early. Vote often.” is at least designed to get out the vote.

Do your part. Exercise your right as an American.