Category : Stray Thoughts

The Wide, Wide World of Wordplay

Stray Thoughts: Reflections From The Lighter Side of AdServices   As inventions go, words are a pretty good one. They can persuade, provoke, motivate, and inspire. They can get people thinking, feeling, talking and changing. And when you’re in a more playful mood, they can just provide some harmless, learning-free amusement. Need to lighten up? Let the wordplay begin … Don’t Hassle Me, Man. People use to say “hassle” all the time. “What a huge…

What I Learned From B.B. King By Steve Fales

The recent passing of B.B. King reminded me of a valuable life lesson I experienced after watching the music great perform live. I wrote about it in my book Three Years Of Tuesday Mornings: 156 E-Mails About Business And Life. Here’s the chapter. Simplicity is hard work. Many years ago, a friend invited me to join him in seeing blues guitar legend B.B. King in concert. We jumped in his classic Cutlass convertible and took…

One That Got Away

Stray Thoughts: Reflections From The Lighter Side Of AdServices The customer is always right. So figure out what they want and spare no effort to give it to them. And whatever you do, don’t monkey around … or you may get a letter like the following. Dear Sir or Madam, Please cancel my subscription to your Monkey Island News. I’m not a fan of monkeys, and I don’t embrace their views. I don’t remember how…

Stick A Fork In Deluxe, It’s Done.

Stray Thoughts: Reflections From The Lighter Side Of AdServices Once upon a time in America, the word “deluxe” was an adjective that saw plenty of action, especially in the world of advertising. A French word denoting extra good quality or luxury, deluxe was used to promote hotels (“deluxe accommodations”), cars (“deluxe interior”) and even sandwiches (“deluxe meatball sub”). And then, about 20 years ago, deluxe died. Only nobody told it. Sure, the word is found…

More Coffee, Please

Stray Thoughts: Reflections From The Lighter Side Of AdServices If there’s a better way than coffee to get going in the morning, I haven’t found it. My day doesn’t officially begin until that first cup passes my lips, chasing the cobwebs and splicing together the bits and pieces of my mental junkyard. Coffee helps me quickly hone in on important facets of the day ahead, like whether it’s a Tuesday or a Saturday, where I’m…

Safe To Say

Stray Thoughts: Reflections From The Lighter Side of AdServices After “LOL,” “Awesome,” and “Feel better,” one of the most overused Facebook comments is “Be Safe!” Cases in point … POST: “We got 6 inches of snow last night.” COMMENT: “Be Safe!” POST: “Going hiking with my cousin.” COMMENT: “Be safe!” POST: “I found out I’m allergic to cinnamon.” COMMENT: “Be safe!” POST: “Bought a home haircut kit.” COMMENT: “Be safe!” I think it’s safe to…

Bye, Bye Bits And Pieces

Stray Thoughts: Reflections From The Lighter Side Of AdServices It’s time to clean out AdServices’ mental closet and clear away a bottleneck of random notions, musings, and ramblings. You ever notice that when you need about 20 seconds to accomplish some small task in your car you never hit a red light, but when you have absolutely nothing to do in your car you hit every red light and they all seem to last about five minutes?…

Attention Holiday Shoppers: My Flea Market Treasures Are Yours For The Taking

Stray Thoughts: Reflections From The Lighter Side Of AdServices The holiday shopping season is here, and the search for mind-blowing gifts at budget-babying prices can take you to places you normally wouldn’t go near. For me, something about flea markets triggers strong, foreboding feelings. To really enjoy the flea market scene, you have to have an abiding faith in the existence of a great and glorious bargain. What’s more, you have to believe that such a…

Making The World A Better Place … One Blog Post At A Time

Stray Thoughts: Reflections From The Lighter Side of AdServices We’ve all seen it … or heard it. It happens with such staggering regularity that it’s almost impossible to miss. No, I’m not referring to the relentless overuse of the word “awesome” to describe any and all positive experiences. I’m talking about awesome’s clichéd cousin from the advertising world that ends messages with the worn out words “one at a time.” Here are some examples, slightly…

Ode To Storms That Fade Away

Stray Thoughts: Reflections From The Lighter Side of AdServices As we ride out another hurricane season with fingers crossed, AdServices salutes all the storms that leave us unscathed. The storm’s approach incites foreboding, major tins of tuna loading, jugs of water, sheets of wood, a line where 90 people stood. Frantic educated guesses, forecast catastrophic messes. Landfall could be my backyard; I tell the fruit trees – “Be on guard.” Blow by blow conditions worsen,…

Things Seem To Run In Cycles … Or Circles

Stray Thoughts: Reflections From The Lighter Side Of AdServices Is the phrase “vicious cycle” or “vicious circle”? It’s meant to describe a kind of chain reaction in which one negative thing leads to another. Example: Ivan created a vicious cycle (or circle) by spraying his yard for ants, which drove them into his house where he sprayed to move them back outside. Vicious cycle/vicious circle. Either way, the viciousness must stop before another cycle (or…

“Holy Cow!” She Exclaimed.

Stray Thoughts: Reflections From The Lighter Side Of AdServices No one says “Good Grief” or “Great Caesar’s Ghost” anymore, but plenty of people still say “Holy Cow.”   That’s pretty amazing when you consider “Good Grief” and “Great Caesar’s Ghost” had some snappy alliteration going for them and “Holy Cow” conjures up images of a slow-witted farm animal. I say we’ve milked “Holy Cow” long enough. Let’s all make the jump to “Sweet Sockeye Salmon!”…

Woke Up This Morning, LOL

Stray Thoughts: Reflections From The Lighter Side of AdServices I’m a guy who will LOL when he finds something funny, which apparently isn’t as often as a lot of people who will LOL without any provocation whatsoever. Example # 1: “Just bought 2 cans of diced tomatoes, lol.” Example # 2: “Thought today was the 15th, not the 14th, lol.” Example # 3: “One of these days I’ll get to Wyoming, lol.” Please stop, gratuitous…

Naming Names

Stray Thoughts: Reflections From The Lighter Side of AdServices  Did you ever wonder what your life would be like if you had a different name? Yes, I’m talking to you Rufus, and you, too, Cornelius. I’m talking to Diesel and Duncan and Rocco. I’m even talking to John and Judy and Bob and Linda and Nancy and Ken. Whether it’s common or kooky or somewhere in between, your name is bound to affect people’s initial perceptions…

Resolutions 2013

Stray Thoughts: Reflections From The Lighter Side Of AdServices Just as the best car models are re-introduced each year with new features and design modifications, I look for opportunities to make a few changes in my life that will send me out into the world a sleeker, smarter, more fuel-efficient member of society. Here’s how I’m planning to put my foot on the gas pedal and make 2013 my best year ever. Resolution # 1:…

Beat Writer’s Block Now!

Stray Thoughts: Reflections From The Lighter Side Of AdServices   Hey, get a load of me – I’m writing again! Just seconds ago I wrote the feisty, fear-nothing heading “Beat Writer’s Block Now!” Riding a wave of fresh momentum, I followed that heading up with the rousing opening sentence “Hey, get a load of me – I’m writing again!” Some bloggers and Tweeters pounced on the line, calling it “self indulgent,” “childish,” and “a desperate…

Mr. Smooth’s Social Icebreakers

Stray Thoughts: Reflections From The Lighter Side Of AdServices Walking into a room full of strangers and making small talk used to intimidate me, but not anymore. My big breakthrough came when I discovered that the key to converting social affairs from rituals of torture to opportunities for enrichment is mastering that pivotal moment of first impression: the opening icebreaker. After conducting a program of comprehensive, field-tested research (I attended a networking cocktail hour one…

Arm Yourself To Douse Out Stress

Stray Thoughts: Reflections From The Lighter Side Of AdServices As we make our way through life’s journey, everyone has their way of handling stress. Exercise. Meditation. Playing with a pet. I personally like to pump up my air mattress, lie in front of the TV with The Weather Channel on and squirt myself with a spray bottle every time I hear the words “scattered showers.” The real secret to managing stress is to cultivate a…

Let’s Waltz For A Spell

Stray Thoughts: Reflections From The Lighter Side Of AdServices I’m publicly rebuking (yes, rebuking) my online Spell Check for failing to identify the correct spelling for “waltz” after I supplied it with the “w,” “a” and “l.” Seriously Spell Check (if that’s your real name). I provide you with w-a-l-s-e in the hopes of a spelling for “waltz” and you come back to me with “whales,” “walls” and “wiles” but no “waltz”? I’m disenchanted, Spell…

Brotherhood and Baked Beans

Stray Thoughts: Reflections From The Lighter Side Of AdServices I don’t want to sound like I’m badmouthing “Motherhood and Apple Pie.” I’m a big fan of both. But how about some well-earned equal time for: Charity and Cheddar Cheese Loyalty and Leg of Lamb Privacy and Pickled Peppers Thoughtfulness and Fillet of Flounder Democracy and Deviled Eggs And while we’re taking a fresh look at these cherished symbols of  American values, can someone bang the drum for Brotherhood and…

Social Media Pledge

Stray Thoughts: Reflections From The Lighter Side Of AdServices I will use the power of social media to unite, enlighten and inspire people in search of greater meaning and purpose in life. I will also provide timely updates on when I’m getting my car washed, buying yogurt, growing facial hair, or thinking of throwing out old running shoes. I solemnly swear to keep everyone posted on pretty much everything that I think, say or do….

Dear Awesome: It’s Over

Stray Thoughts: Reflections From The Lighter Side Of AdServices What’s the deal with everyone saying “awesome” all the time? “This taco is awesome.” “The concert was awesome.” How was your vacation? “It was awesome.” I’ve got an awesome idea. Let’s use some other adjectives to describe our mind-blowing experiences, like “epic” or “chocolicious” or “wickedcrazygood.” I’ve always liked “monkey-riffic,” but that’s me. Alan Williamson Senior Copywriter AdServices Inc. AdServices.net