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Sunday, 19 August 2018


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Have you seen the new ads for Nacho Fries at Taco Bell? "Nacho Fries are back!" I have little interest in Nacho Fries and I don't think I've ever been voluntarily to a Taco Bell, but the campaign is excellent.

Not invented here (NIH) is a stance adopted by ...Research illustrates a strong bias against ideas from the outside https://bit.ly/2OQpKwB

Most major American (USA) companies are in the NIH groupe. I'd imagine that the same applies to American branches of foreign companies.

The only reason that General Motors used the Universal Oil Products invented catalytic converter was a federal law that required their use.

It's the long neck Mike...

"See the USA in your Chevrolet" "Think small"

I don't want to come off as too full of myself but I'm the one who will have invented the time machine at some point in the future and who also traveled back in time with that machine to invent not only the question mark but also the first recipe for beer.

...Me, I'm not in marketing or advertising, of course...

Oh yes you are, Mike. Not for any single product or manufacturer, but TOP (like all predecessor venues where you wrote/edited) effectively has the sole purpose of selling photographic equipment/supplies. With occasional OT forays into selling cars, pool tables, etc. Whether you accept it or not.

Note: I'm not saying or intending to imply that's a bad thing. :-)

Mike, you're killing us. We need to know what at least *some* of those ideas were. Also, we need a synopsis of your preferred M*A*S*H final episode. Don't leave us hanging!

One day in my working life (as an engineer) I got a call from someone at head office wanting me to go on a visit with them to a individual. It turned out the individual thought he had invented something of major significance in vehicle fuel saving, and wanted our corporation to pick it up. (This sort of thing happens every single day at large companies.) In our case the corporation had a series of 'discouragers' – requests (in deep leagalese) from the patent department, and other such things, all designed to make the 'inventor' go away without being offended. (They might me the beloved nephew of a major shareholder or something.) The reason for such a response – to try to make the outsider just go away – was that we (the company) might well be working on the same idea ourselves, or at least considering it, or suspect our competition was working on it, and we didn't want to have to credit someone else or let it get complicated legally.

In this case however, the would be inventor was not discouraged and kept on sending letters, none of which could be understood. So I got called in to find out what exactly he had come up with. When we arrive at the inventors address we found a large dilapidated, and very old house. It turned out that the caller was unfortunately insane by any definition, and the conversations with him were bizarre, but we had come some way and stayed while I examined his 'work'. After a couple of hours I took my colleague aside and explained that our host believed he had invented perpetual motion! I politely explained to the inventor that we could not use what he had. On the way back my colleague apologized for wasting my time, but I told him not to worry as this was the most interesting day of my week!

Big corporations never like outsiders suggesting ideas, and not because they are simply closed minded. It could be that in the case you describe, you dealt with the 'discourage' department while the relevant working department was proceeding with the same idea – or it could be you simply got ripped off. No one will ever know.

[Oh, I know. First of all my ideas were purely marketing, not inventions at all. Just ways to sell what the company already made. In one case I was 99% certain I was "ripped off," because I suggested two very different ideas, not related at all, and the company implemented both ideas at the same time. Plus, the VP I talked to had been very friendly when we corresponded the first time, and then when I congratulated them on the changes he was frosty and curt from the get-go.

In several other cases the companies just did what I suggested and told me straight up that I was the reason they were doing it. --Mike]

Mike, if you're not going to tell us your Nikon marketing idea- then why tell us you have a Nikon marketing idea? If you want to keep it to yourself then --- keep it to yourself.

I have a sure-fire idea for world peace, but I'm tired of the Miss America contestants stealing my ideas so I'm not telling.

Though I don't watch much television (the Red Sox and uh, during commercial breaks, MSNBC), some of the ads are amusing or otherwise interesting: Geico has nailed it for some time, Southwest has some good ones, the latest Coors ones have GREAT music, and a very cool mix and match ethos. But I can't think of anything that I have ever purchased on the strength of a commercial, or a marketing campaign. That's not a testament to any willpower I have, just how I approach spending my money. But I do appreciate the creative minds that work in the field.

And I agree, the road from an idea to an actual deliverable is oftentimes an arduous one.

Once, while hiking up from the bottom of the Grand Canyon, I encountered two elderly men retired from the advertising business in NYC. They now lived on opposite coasts but get together once a year for an adventure, such as the canyon. In a break along the trail they spoke of their career and said their claim to fame was their coming up with the name Summer's Eve for a certain feminine hygiene product. If true, nothing to do with photography but memorable.

Please tell me your M*A*S*H ending did not involve Hot Lips waking up in bed next to Bob Newhart.

Back in the day I was asked by a friend of mine if I wanted to take the position of chief editor at a magazine he was running. We had dinner and I looked over the magazine, with which I had a passing familiarity. It was full of ads. There were more ads than articles, by far. To me, as a reader, it was a deal-breaker. So I told him, "This magazine has way too many ads."

He looked at me like I was crazy. To him, this was all revenue, the business plan. If anything, he told me, they needed _more_ ads. Needless to say, I did not take the position. And whenever he gives me grief about that (which he does, to this day), I ask how his subscription numbers are doing. That always ends the argument.

Wait, is that six 15-second TV ads?
I've always been surprised by the absence of camera ads on TV. Seems like the perfect marriage of merchandise and medium.
A person is kind of vaguely thinking that they might maybe like to take some pictures, but has no knowledge and no idea where to start, and an ad pops up. Fun people taking pictures on the beach. Canikon! Maybe I'll look at that.
For most people, cameras are a frivolous, non-essential but attractive purchase, and I would have thought that TV ads would work for that.

I've seen them in Japan, and I think in Germany too, but I'm not sure I've ever seen a camera ad on American TV.

Wait, selling Nikons ? I thought they had too much pie ??

[You do get that it has nothing whatsoever to do with me either way, right? I'm just commentating from the sidelines; I can't affect the action on the field. --Mike]

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