Author: Jonathan Katz

30 May Trolling in the Deep

Say what you will about President Trump. In addition to rock-solid email server management, he’s given us what is undeniably the best reality show of all time -- and it runs 24 hours a day! But then something truly special happens around 5pm -- the magic...

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03 Nov So, We Going to Mars or Nah?

Imagine the worst place on Earth. You got it in your head? Okay, great. What'd you pick? Some place in Indiana, right? Nah, I’m just kidding ya -- I mean Indiana is obviously terrible, but you probably picked some place like the South Pole. Frigid temperatures. Gale-force winds....

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25 Aug Fighting Fire With… Cartilage?

As a rule, I try not to proselytize… and neither should you, dammit! After all, we marketers – and PR folks in particular – make a living off the tenet that stories have at least two sides. This is not to suggest that all sides are equally...

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18 Jul So Let’s Talk About That Trump/Pence Logo…

Here’s a sad truth about marketing communications: It ain’t subtle, folks. Take, for instance, the Plumberologist. But then there’s political marcom. It’s a different beast. Not subtle, exactly. But rather, sort of… aggressively inconspicuous. Weird concept, right? To help illustrate, here are the logos of three recent presidential tickets:       See what I...

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29 Jun Journalism Death Watch: Day 906

People often say to me, "Hey, Jonathan, have you read anything interesting on MediaLifeMagazine.com recently?" And sure enough, a few weeks ago I saw this: "[New research] finds that over the past eight years the websites of 51 major metropolitan newspapers have not on average seen appreciable readership gains,...

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31 May I Just Got Sky-Tweeted, and I Kind of Liked It

Today's techno-blog topic is: Twitter… in Space(ace-ace-ce-ce-e) Or, to put it in slightly less reverberating terms, the story of me… sitting at a Starbucks… watching some guy in a single-engine Cessna misspell the acronym NAI. Here’s the WTOP.com recap from May 16: Above Northern Virginia Monday afternoon, many...

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15 Apr Scientists Agree: Humanity’s Reign Ends By 2040

Kind of a bummer, isn’t it? And you might be thinking, “Oh sure, that’s just Jonathan being Jonathan, sensationalizing the news to get clicks.” But that’s not really the case here. In fact, what’s particularly alarming about this headline is that it could hold true on multiple fronts....

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31 Mar The Secret to Great Headline Writing

The best headline writer I ever knew was named Quincy Riverdance. That wasn't actually his name, you understand. But I'll use this alias to both protect his privacy and prevent you sneaky blog readers from seeking out his services to the detriment of SBX business development....

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30 Nov How to Finance a TV Show in 2015

Well hello again Sounding Board readers -- and apologies for my lengthy and unexplained absence. SpeakerBox, as you may know, rewards its employees handsomely with a paid four-week sabbatical after five years of dutiful service -- which is just one of several unique perks we now...

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11 Sep About That Google Logo…

Martin Luther King Jr. once said the arc of corporate logo evolution is long, but it bends toward simplicity. Smart man, MLK… I’m told he made some noteworthy contributions to the civil rights movement as well, but he’s mostly remembered for designing the Candy Crush logo. But...

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12 Aug Tom Brady Is the Jay Cutler of PR

A couple years back, I authored a public statement for Paula Deen, whose celebrity had been sinking under the weight of some absurdly racist comments… and wedding themes. Surprisingly, Ms. Deen never contacted SpeakerBox to retain our services formally. And without sure-handed guidance from SBX, Ms. Deen’s...

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24 Jun The Last Awkward Breaths of Metro Advertising

I spend a lot of my life on the DC Metro line. There are worse places to be. Just because I can't think of any right now doesn't mean that there aren’t—North Korea, there, I told you. Hmm… come to think of it, those Pyongyang Metro cars (hand-built by Kim Jong-un and powered by his electric personality, no...

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05 May You’re Wrong About Apple Watch

Only an uncommonly savvy marketing operation could sell you a problem, then later sell you the solution to it. Or maybe not. I’m describing I suppose the entire American car industry, as well as every appliance I've ever purchased from Sears. So maybe this isn’t a new concept....

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10 Mar Would You Pay $30,000 for a Comma?

My wife descends from a proud lineage of ball busters. Take her great grandfather, Frederick G. Vosburgh, former editor of National Geographic magazine. So obsessed with scrupulous accuracy was Vosburgh that he famously stopped the presses in 1964 to insert a missing restrictive comma into an article...

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04 Feb Best Super Bowl Ad? Nationwide, and It Isn’t Close.

We've had plenty of subjective, emotional questions raised by Nationwide's uncommonly morose Super Bowl commercial. So let's start with an empirical one: Was the commercial a mistake? Certainly not. Nope. No chance. A billion dollar insurance company has never and will never spend $4.5 million placing ad...

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07 Jan This Is How We’re Tricking You

This free blog content is made possible by a generous grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and because we're stealing your credit card information.   This is part three of our Emmy-nominated* series -- so if you're just tuning in, here's what you've missed: Part 1:...

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04 Aug Silver Line-ing’s Praise-book

Qatari migrant workers were paid promptly and rarely imprisoned says incumbent mayor of Tysons Corner, Joseph A. Bank Greetings from Tysons, home of the majestic -- read: comically grotesque -- new WMATA Silver Line train system. Ever want to go all the way from McLean to a...

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24 Jul Free Hamburgers!

"Today is the day we stop running." Let's play a game. Imagine for a second that your favorite hamburger restaurant just started giving away free hamburgers. Not as a special offer. Not as a frequent-customer reward. Just free hamburgers. All day, all the time. Win! You'd be pumped, right?...

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07 Jul Steamy Shower Pics From My Honeymoon

I sometimes have trouble remembering whether the singular world government (a secret cabal of multinational corporate elites, natch) is a real thing, or just something I saw in one of Kathryn's Bill Pullman movies. Either way, we're petty much there from a marketing perspective. Take for...

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02 Jun Ads That Suck — Metro Edition

In December of last year, AdWeek's Tim Nudd compiled a list of 2013's biggest brand fails (with our old friend the Hitler teapot coming in at a respectable #11). Also on that list at #16 was a staggeringly sexist ad from DC's own metro transit authority....

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19 May The World Is a Skeu

Devoted fans of SpeakerBox Live! will recall that in our last episode, Kate and I talked about physical manifestatons of the digital world. Well today, we're going "Freaky Friday" on that topic -- digital versions of the physical, which are obliquely referred to as skeuomorphs. First,...

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01 May We Finally Tried Google Glass, and It Was…

Jimmy Kimmel Unveils Glass Alternative Underwhelming. That's the best word I can muster for describing this product. And here's my reasoning for it: 1. It doesn't do much. "So, what does it actually do?" is the question we kept hearing as we test-drove my dad's paradigm-smashing new headset. Well, it...

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09 Feb Series Premiere: SpeakerBox Live!

Well, it's finally happened: We've combined our love of blogging with our love of video. So check out our new Web series above. This week's episode: How to "Go Viral" With Your B2B Social Content Oh, and B2G folks, don't forget this: ...

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03 Feb Chris Christie’s Crippling Crisis Comms

Rejected gift ideas from Ali's baby shower This is not a political blog; rest assured. I will offer no opinions on the New Jersey Governor's recent activities other than this: His crisis communications team is world-class terrible. Here's a portion of the crisis response email "leaked" to Politico...

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02 Dec How to Lose Weight by Screaming

If there's a problem Sarcastic Wonka can't solve, I haven't found it. Like a bad poker player, the human race has developed a set of tendencies, one of which seems to be taking big, useful resources and filling them with garbage. I mean, look at the ocean...

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