Barbie's Out to End 'Dream Gap' for Girls (Podcast)

In the Season Two Premiere of Rick & Rick: How Mattel's Barbie wants to put an end to the "Dream Gap" for girls, McDonald's Gets all Banksy on us, and a whole lot more.

Does P&G want exclusive rights to use WTF, LOL and NSFW? (at 5:13)

From the McNutty Department: McDonald's get all McBanksy on us (at 7:30)

Brands and politics don't mix? A YouGov consumer survey begs to differ (at 11:00)

Barbie wants to put an end to the "Dream Gap" for girls (at 13:37)

2018's top Halloween costumes, consumer spending & more (at 16:00)

(From last month. For US audiences only. See Soundcloud cookie/privacy policies.)

GEN WOW Pop Quiz: AI-Generated Halloween Costumes, Deep Fakes & The Impact of GDPR

It's time for everybody's favorite quiz on recent news from the intersection of marketing, media, tech and pop-culture. Good luck!

1. The New York Times recent reporting on The Spooky Side of Machine Learning, included a project in which artificial intelligence was trained to come up with Halloween costume ideas. Which of the following was not one of the costumes created by AI:

A. Zombie Schoolgirl

B. Toaster Boy

C. Ruth Bader Hat Guy

D. Frankenstein's Bunny

E. Vampire Baseball Clown

ANSWER: E      According to the Times, the neural network in the project produced different names at different stages or "epochs" of training that included Zombie Schoolgirl, Toaster Boy, Ruth Bader Hat Guy, Frankenstein's Bunny and Baseball Clown, to which we changed to Vampire Baseball Clown. One of our favorites was Donald McDonald, a cross between Ronald McDonald and the Donald. None of these, however, beat McGrimace dressed as Thanos at ComicCon.


2. Which of the following was not seen as a potential global development in next few years according to a new survey of C-level executives from AT Kearney:

A. Global 500 companies will be increasingly vulnerable to fake news campaigns

B. Corporate leaders will increasingly be expected to play roles in society beyond narrow corporate interests

C. Backlash against GDPR in the will inspire other countries to slow down efforts to expand privacy regulations

D. Extreme weather events will act as a drag on economic growth

Answer:  C     According to eMarketer reporting on a study titled "2018 Views from the C-Suite: An Annual Survey of Global Business Executives" from AT Kearney, each of these is something C-suite executives expect to see in the next few years - except for item C. Instead of a backlash against GDPR, the survey finds executives believe GDPR will inspire other countries to expand privacy regulations. Case in point: California's Consumer Privacy Act will have a dramatic impact on how tech companies, collect, store and use consumer data when it goes into effect in 2020.


3. Which of the following television shows had their premiere on October 25, 1971?

A. The Superfriends

B. Electric Company

C. Sigmund and the Sea Monsters

D. The Brady Kids Go to Rehab

Answer: B     The Electric Company debuted on October 25, 1971 and starred heavy hitters from stage, screen and improv—including established stars like Rita Moreno, as well as lesser known performers like a guy named Morgan Freeman who went on do a few things after leaving the show.


4. The Wall Street Journal recently reported on Deep Fakes, which are:

A. Fake news items created by the imaginary Deep State

B. Videos made with AI that make it possible to show anyone saying anything you want

C. Videos made with Ai that makes it possible to show anyone do anything you want

Answer: B     Deep fakes are videos that can be made to match people's facial expressions and voices to make it appear as if they are saying anything you want them to say (see the WSJ video above). In a society where reality is questioned, this technology may have enormous implications—further breaking people into tribes that only believe what they want.


Things Our Grandkids Won't Believe We Said in 2018

Things kids won't believe we said in 2018

From an episode of Rick & Rick from earlier this year:  Rick Mathieson & Rick Wootten talk  about what data now shows IHOP'S "IHOB" stunt was a grand slam (sorry, Denny's). Plus: Things our grandkids will be amazed that people said in 2018.

Approx: 24 min

(This content for US audiences. Note that SoundCloud uses cookies for analytics per their privacy policy.) 


The Tech Marketers Love vs. the Tech Consumers Want

In a all new podcast,  Rick Mathieson and Rick Wootten talk:

Netflix's hit series, Altered Carbon: It's not as far fetched as you may think (:36)

How to live inside HBO's "WestWorld" at SXSW (20:15)

KFC's Royal FCK-up (5:20)

NASA's new Coca-Cola Insta-Slushie (10:28)

The disconnect between the tech marketers love and what consumers actually want (6:24)

Whether brands really need a "voice agency of record (15:00)

Plus a whole lot more

 Or listen on iTunes:

Rick&Rick-Peak Smartphone Altered Carbon & More


Rick & Rick: The One with the Super Bowl Ad Trends 2018 (Podcast)


It's a Rick & Rick Rewind back to Super Bowl Sunday and the show we recorded the morning of the big game. In a special expanded episode, Rick Mathieson and Rick Wootten tackle:

  • Who we think will win the year's biggest games—football and advertising
  • Whether the estimated $5.2 million cost to run a 30-second commercial is even worth it
  • What research says about Super Bowl ROI and what the money would buy you in digital media
  • Super Bowl ad trends leading into kick-off—the viral videos, social media plays, teasers and more
  • Digital game plans from Pepsi and Mercedes—from virtual reality to branded mobile games
  • Our favorite spots and what we make of them

Some of the spots we talk about in this episode:

Amazon: Alexa Loses Her Voice

Doritos Blaze vs. Mt. Dew Ice

Avocados from Mexico

Jack in the Box: Martha Stewart

Toyota: Good Odds

Pringles: Flavor Stacking




Ah, Millennials.

As Rick & Rick continue their rants, raves and ruminations on marketing, media and popular culture, they turn their attention to a recent ADWEEK article citing research that finds 44% of Millennials think of their pets as 'starter children.'

Anyone who's ever had a child knows just how naive that is, of course. But you can't fault younger Millennials for being clueless about something they haven't yet experienced. 

You can, however, fault self-styled marketing gurus who claim there's somehow some secret to marketing to this demographic that only they can reveal.

By now, most marketers understand that demographics are growing increasingly irrelevant. Technology now allows us to target the consumers most likely to purchase our products, regardless of superficial categorizations based on age.

As Fiona O'Donnell, Senior Lifestyle & Leisure for research firm Mintel once put it so well:

Companies or brands that successfully market to Millennials are ones that recognize that there is no such thing as a 'Millennial'—just individuals or groups of individuals who are at a similar life stage and have lived similar experiences. They want to be treated for who they are, rather than lumped together and labeled.

That's not to say those shared life experiences aren't important or leverageable. But ultimately, like all individuals, they want what they want, no matter their ages.

Of course, that doesn't mean Rick Mathieson and Rick Wootten aren't going to have a little fun at their (and the so-called gurus') expense.

The Ricktators sound off here:



(Approx. 5 min)

For More on the Ricksters:

Rick Mathieson

Rick Wootten


The IoT at Retail: A Look at the Store of the Future (Video)

A look at some of the ways retailers are using the IoT to supercharge the in-store experience. You can read a lot more about this topic in my books BRANDING UNBOUND and THE ON-DEMAND BRAND. Just saying.

Get the inside scoop, here.


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'Let's Be Evil' Trailer: Tech Gone Bad? (Video)


Another day, another dystopian vision for a future, this time from the POV of "Glassholes."

Get the inside scoop, here.


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2015 Mobile Marketing Predictions—from 2005: The Internet of Everything


Let's just say I was into the "Internet of Things" before it was much of "a thing" at all.

Never mind that a survey this year finds 87% of consumers say they've never heard the term. In my 2005 book BRANDING UNBOUND, I wrote extensively about the Internet of Things (or, IoT), and such coming innovations as "smart clothes" that would one day routinely monitor heart patients and alert doctors of impending heart attacks.

And intelligent homes, buildings and stores that will react to, and even predict, your every command—setting temperatures and lighting to your liking, and offering up goods and services based on your personal preferences.

Then there was the personalized content streamed direct to your car. Designer clothes that tell the washing machine, "don't wash me, I'm dry clean only." Medicines that warn users of dangerous interactions. Cars that get "upgrades" remotely via mobile software. And frozen dinners that tell the microwave oven how to cook them to perfection.

Nest, Tesla, Pandora, Proteus Digital Health's "smart pill," the Apple Watch and the Polo Tech Shirt notwithstanding, this world of pervasively interconnected services and solutions remains in its earliest stages. And yet, as far as the brand experience goes for these companies and others, it is beginning to create meaningful differentiation that is shaping consumer expectations with each new day.


When Tesla recently faced a recall nearly 30,000 Model S cars because of overheating issues with their wall chargers, the company was able to fix the issue by simply update the software in each care remotely, eliminating the problem without owners needing to go to their dealerships. What have other car brands have to compete with that?

While not quite proactively ordering new supplies, Amazon's Dash devices, WalMart's Hiku roll out this week, and Red Tomato Pizza's refrigerator magnets mean all you have to do is push a button or swipe an empty container to have laundry detergent, groceries (or piping hot Pepperoni Pizza) heading your way, without ever having to take out your mobile phone, activate an app and enter an order.

Netflix even recently released DIY instructions for building a push button that dims your lights, orders food, silences the phone and fires up Netflix queue.

Factor in product innovations—such as the Nike+ Running System (which runners found so compelling that the brand's already enviable share of the running shoe category skyrocketed from 48% to 61% in its first 36 months); Prada's continuing refinement of retail technologies (which identify what garments you pick up and instantly showcase runway video and accessories on the nearest store display); or new Johnnie Walker bottles that let you create personalized gifting experiences, and interact with brand promotions, using your mobile phone—and it's easy to see that brands that leverage IoT technologies stand to benefit mightily while those that don't may fall evermore behind.

At stake—a slice of a market expected to top $1.7 trillion dollars in value by 2020, according to IDC.

Yet even big winners will need to tread carefully.


Even back in 2005, I warned that interconnected everything means you can run, but never truly hide.

Or, as techno-anthropologist Howard Rheingold tells me in the book, "A world in which you are connected infinitely is a world in which you are surveilled infinitely."

Yes, online ads and street side billboards that call out to you on a first name basis, offering exactly what you're looking for—even before you realize you're looking for it—will have their place. Much of this will seem quite magical—at rightly so. But brands and media partners must be careful to resist the temptation to personalize pitches to the point of creeping consumers out.

Or putting them in danger.

One need not look beyond recent news reports on automobile software systems being hacked from afar to understand personal information is not the only thing put at potential risk in this interconnected world.

As I write in the book, as marketers (and as consumers), you and I will face decisions our predecessors could never imagine about what is acceptable—perhaps even moral—when anything and everything is possible.

As brands we exist to serve our customers and their needs, not the other way around.

Ultimately, that may mean recognizing that consumers should be able to control how "smart" they want their "smart products"—and advertising aimed at selling them those products—to be.

Perhaps they even need control over deciding which "Things" (and the associated data) that they want to be part of this "Internet of" —to better serve them, in the ways they want to be served—even if that sometimes means less, instead of more, of what we hope to sell to them. Even while making what we do sell them more profitable.

The brands that get this balance just right will not only attract consumers. They'll gain their loyalty and their trust.

Perhaps that's where the true power of the IoT is waiting to be found.






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5 Top Forms of Content Marketing: Author Rick Mathieson on the Jim Blasingame Show (Concl)


Games can be good for business—even (perhaps especially) when it comes to B2B marketing.

In the second half of my recent appearance on the Jim Blasingame Show, we continue our conversation on 5 of the top forms of content marketing. Not so much about channels—blogs, shared social media platforms, email, landing pages, websites and so on—rather, what kind of content makes for, or enhances, posts in those channels.

While Part One focused on video and touched on case studies, this second half addresses infographics, webcasts and branded games.

...Wait, branded games?


A content marketing report from Hubspot earlier this year finds 64% of B2B marketers rank webinars/webcasts as the most effective kind of marketing content, followed by video at 60%. Old-school case studies are close behind, at 58%. And posts and articles that contain infographics are 30 times more likely to be read than ones without.

Indeed, while specifics (and content categorizations) vary from survey to survey, the five we discuss are at the top end of most surveys in terms of both adoption and effectiveness.

So what content type is missing in most of these studies?

Games—which are used by just 1% to 12% of B2B marketers, and don't tend to show up in even the top 20 in terms of most effective content types.

But does that mean it doesn't work? Or that it's untapped opportunity?

For his part, Jim sounds as if he might be at least a little perturbed by the whole rise of gamification in our lives—and perhaps a little skeptical about its use in B2B marketing.

But as you'll hear me tell Jim, key research on gaming among white collar workers informed an engagement with one B2B client that resulted in a branded game that was played over 1 million times, resulted in 5,000 leads, and over $1 million in direct sales in its first six months (see case study video above).

Not only did the initiative earn coverage in a report on content marketing in The Wall Street Journal, but I include it in a chapter on branded games in my second book, THE ON-DEMAND BRAND.


As Jim wisely points out, this is not the kind content that you should necessarily deliver directly to just any B2B prospect or client.

Indeed, as I say here, it's better that your communications should point to a game, and let interested parties come to it.

It's also important to point out that Jim's show is targeted to SMBs, which, as we discuss, would impact the types of games that are truly feasible. Think knowledge games versus full, high-concept productions.

And while I touch on it in the interview, I want to add that in my view, whether it's B2C or B2B, and whether it's large brand or small, there are three key rules of the game, so to speak:

  • The best games are built around, and clearly communicate, your value proposition. They are not just games for the sake of games.
  • Branded games are best played with others—meaning they should have built-in incentives to make the games social and viral, creating a multiplier effect in communicating your value proposition.
  • They should always include a call to action to continue the conversation about your offerings. Before you even start developing a game, define what it is you want your audience to do, feel or think about your brand once they play it.

So is gaming and/or gamification right for your content marketing operations—B2B or otherwise?

You won't know until you try.

But make no mistake: B2B marketers at Microsoft, Dell-SonicWALL, IBM and other brands long ago discovered that they can turn fun and games into serious profits.

Why not play with the possibilities—and see how well you score?



 (Approx 5 min)



 (approx. 6:16)


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