Friday, December 4, 2009

Brands I Can't Stand: Chrysler

Oh the troubled American automaker who just continues to shoot itself in the foot with its poor business decisions, poor use of a taxpayer bailout, and off strategy advertising.

I've never been fan of Chrysler or any of its brands including Jeep and Dodge, but this last year Chrysler has drawn my attention even more for all the wrong reasons.

It began last year when it took a several billion dollar loan from the American taxpayer, yet really had no business plan in affect as to how it would stimulate the economy or help rejuvenate the struggling Detroit job force. Why did we give them money again? I'm pretty sure even a bank would simply tell them "You're not a desirable candidate for a loan."

Then the unfortunate news came of long time shop BBDO Detroit's impending January 2010 closure due to the end of its longtime partnership with Chrysler, who has been drawing out a several month long pitch for projects from several big name agencies across the country.

Now as I woke up this morning to CNN and a bowl of Cracklin' Oats, I see my third reason staring back at me. The most off strategy car ad I've ever seen. I actually wondered if I'd turned on E! and it was a re-run of SNL. Hiring Italian shop Armando Testa, Chrysler decides its now time to take on social responsibility. A high production, high budget 60 sec spot featuring some of the most famous former foreign political leaders of the last 20 years calls for the release of Burma political leader Aung San Suu Kyi. Really? I wonder how much it cost to make that ad, when you could have used that money to donate to a Detroit food shelf and help your former dedicated employees. I completely agree with AdAge in its review of how flat this ad will fall on U.S consumers.

I mean white doves accompanied by a Chrysler 300 bursting through the Berlin Wall?! Could we combine anymore cliches within 60 seconds? Don't even get me started on the annoying and even more off strategy Dodge Ram spot and recent i am Jeep campaign.

Here's some advice Chrysler: use that billion dollars wisely. Stop spending it in overseas shops, reinvest in Detroit and the community and country who has supported your company for over 50 years. Yes I'm well aware I sound like a Middle American man on the back of a truck, but if I'm going to give you my money, spend it wisely.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

What I'm loving right now.

In a sea of holiday campaigns for the latest and greatest smartphones, one stands out not for glossy features but because it promises to understand you. HTC's quietly brilliant campaign has definitely caught my attention in the last few weeks with its consumer insights driven campaign. Its a 60 second spot of why one uses and needs a phone in their life everyday. Campaigns like these are what really catch consumer's eyes and ears, because the audience feels like the company gets them and what benefits that product provides in their life. Its campaigns like these that lead to a high ROI and Effies. So congrats to standing out in a sea "There's an app for that", lightening strikes twice, and creepy static tv spots.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Cultural Observation of the Day.

As an Account Planner, I'm constantly observing my world. Constantly eavesdropping, watching and taking mental notes. Tonight my cultural observation of the day smacked me straight in the face.

If you're single, avoid Lund's grocery after 9 on a weeknight. It turns into couples retreat and no aisle is safe.

The bakery becomes a place to pick that piece of cake to share. Frozen food a mecca for sweatpants couples picking out the perfect frozen pizza. Produce a field for the festive couple to pick a round pumpkin.

Its true that there are some activities in this world that are designated specifically for couples (brunch) and single people (clubs), I just didn't know that the grocery store had a designated cheap date night.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Verizon chips at iPhone's Achilles Heel with "There's a Map for That."

Verizon's latest ad campaign, "There's a Map for That." (agency: McCann Erickson) states what many consumers have been complaining about since the debut of the iPhone: AT&T's lack luster coverage.

The latest TV spot which debuted at spot 6 of Ad Age's Top 10 Viral Videos this week, shows early success in tapping into consumer insight. The key component in making a campaign successful creatively and in ROI. It is also what often makes a campaign viral. Its that simple.

Congrats to Verizon and McCann on some great work!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Building Communities by Discovering Hidden Gems.

With the rise in popularity of staycations, many are discovering the sights of one’s own city. This has become a recent hobby of mine and my favorite sightseeing adventures are finding those hidden gems off the beaten path. Recently I discovered the Riverview Theater off of 38th street and 42nd avenue, bordering St. Paul and Minneapolis. With a décor ala Mad Men, and a beautifully designed one-screen theater it stands out from the sea of mass-produced suburban multiplexes.

Photo: Riverview Lobby (Emma Wiedner)

Providing a step back in time from the décor to the candy selection to the ticket prices (never over $5) the theatre is one of those cultural highlights of the city hidden beneath the obvious sightseeing surface. One feels as if they’ve been let in on a community secret by discovering it.

Photo: Riverview Theater Concessions (Emma Wiedner)

This inclusion into a community secret or hidden gem is when one truly begins to feel like a local of the community. A moment where one becomes a part of a community, and by the inclusion of others begins to build upon that community. This insight of community building around hidden gems is a wise lesson for marketers to always remember.

For brands to be successful they should provide a hidden gem like quality, a feeling of inclusion and community for its consumers to connect to and build upon. When brands exemplify this it turns people from consumers to brand advocates, a key consumer group that has turned Harley Davidson, Toyota and Apple into iconic brands with staying power. At the end of the day always remember: A brand has no staying power, no steam if it doesn’t build a community to rally around it.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

My take on the first decade of Millenium fashion.

As the first decade on the millennium begins to come to a close I reflected on the first full decade of fashion I came into as a girl and left as a woman. Here's my take on what us women have been through the last ten years.

2000-2004: Four years where it was indecipherable to tell who was really a stripper by night and was a nanny after school. The g-string hanging out, low rise pants, muffin top, mid-drift tops on 15 year olds, and cleavage took on a whole new level.

2005-2006: My first two years of college where every girl thought rolling out of bed putting on those hideous jersey gaucho pants and platform flip flops was good enough to qualify as a day and night outfit. It's a small part of why I left for the European streets of skinny jeans and boots, ok well not really but good enough in retrospect.

2007-2008: Where designers decided to make every not pregnant woman look pregnant. Coincidence that there was a small baby boom during this period? Not sure, but let's all make a pact not to buy any more maternity clothes until we're actually in our second trimester. Ok thnks.

2008-2009: The years where everything 80's and early 90's came back with a vengeance, and designers decided to play with new shapes. Ugh. Not impressed. Weren't these decades cruel enough on women's shapes the first time? Yes. Let's pass on the majority of these trends, aka liquid leather leggings, and stick to what works for our actual shapes and timeless pieces made with great fabrics, aka cashmere, silk and cotton.

So here's hoping the next ten years of millennium fashion leave the 80's in the 80's, Doc Martins combat boots don't make the comeback I fear they will, and low rise jeans stay very far in the back of women's closets or out of their closets for that matter.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

I'm coming back shortly!

I'm coming back in the next day or so! This summer has been a crazy one to say the least, and I've been brewing up ideas on what to write about next! Stay tuned for the next 24 hours I plan on blogging up the place! Excited to be back with a voice and writing about my favorite things again: pop culture, travel, photography and advertising!

Friday, June 19, 2009

Eric Clapton & Steve Winwood=Amazing Musical Moment in My Life.

I have today off thanks to my agency's summer hours and am not running somewhere for the weekend so I finally have the time to post. 

Last night was one of the most amazing moments of my life. I saw Eric Clapton & Steve Winwood in concert and for a classic rock music junkie like me this was a big check off the bucket list. I've loved Eric Clapton since before I could speak. Ask my parents and they'll tell you I knew the entire Crossroads and Journeyman albums at the age of 4. I could do a mean rendition of "Pretending "on my toy guitar. His music has influenced my musical tastes from an early age on, so when I told my parents he was coming to town it only made sense we went as a family.

There was no opening band, no formal introduction. You were just instantly hooked the second the guitars were hooked up and Clapton and Winwood struck the first chord. For two hours and 30 mins it was the classics, a few amazing covers, and one hell of an encore. 

My personal playlist of what I hoped to hear was not dissapointed. Clapton and Winwood belted out "After Midnight", played a beautiful acoustic set including "Layla", Winwood played a church organ for his cover of the Ray Charles' classic "Georgia", and Clapton brought the house down with his cover of "Voodoo Chile." He's the only living guitarist left of the guitar rock gods (Hendrix, Vaughn, and Clapton) thus the only one who should ever be allowed to play it. 

Ending the overall set with Voodoo Chile, the baby boomer crowd demanded an encore with a mix of old school/new school methods. Bic lighters and Blackberrys. Clapton and Winwood not to disappoint the crowd, despite a 3-wk non-stop cross country tour while in their 60's, strolled back on stage and brought the sold out Xcel to its feet with Cocaine. 

It was Legen-wait for it-dary!

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Is the branding of one's own agency a link to its success?

This topic has been on my mind for a while now. In advertising our job is to brand our client's company/product. To give it personality, character, to create a singular voice that represents the company.

As the saying goes, we should practice what we preach. An agency should have one singular voice, brand standards, and a personality that represents its culture and principles. When an agency does this for itself and exemplifies it in everything internally and externally that it does, it creates a case to present in new business. Literally showing we not only achieve this branding for our clients we do it for ourselves. 

So is the successful and consistent branding of one's agency a link to its success in winning new business? One has to wonder. From my experience I believe so. I think for people to believe in what you can do for them, you have to be able to do it for yourself. Agencies take note.

Discuss below...

Monday, May 11, 2009

Emma is the #1 baby name in the U.S.

Hear Ye! Hear Ye! Emma is now the #1 baby name in America! Taking out Emily, after it ruled for 12 years. 

Now let's get a few things straight. I've never been a fan of Emily, bc A) ehh name B) Emma is not short for Emily! Most annoying question ever.

So kudos to my moniker for finally taking the bitch out. When I was named Emma only a short 22 yrs ago, the only other Emmas were already on their social security and drinking their prune juice. It was unique for newborns to say the least. Congrats to my mom for being such a trendsetter!

For all the future and newborn Emmas out there here's some advice: Your name means 'universal' so take it seriously. Explore the world, keep an open mind, be tolerant of others, and always be a sponge by learning everything you can soak in. 


Starting your first career is like starting kindergarten.

I've been a big kid now for a whole 3 wks! One thing I noticed within the first week is that starting at a new company in your first job in an industry you've watched from the sidelines for a few years is like starting kindergarten.

Let me try on dozens of outfits until you finally have that perfect outfit, that is unique yet allows you to fit in.

Then you leave your house with your packed lunch five minutes early to the bus stop, because as your mother told you many years ago "You don't want to be late on your first day!" Sound familiar?

Your first day you wait in the office, for someone to show you the way and then lead you to your desk where you meet everyone from A to Z, just trying to get the key names down and then hoping you catch others in meetings. All the while on the tour you're just hoping to remember where the nearest bathroom and printer is, let alone where the studio is.

Then come lunches in the common lunch area, and company functions like happy hour, birthday/anniversary celebrations, bbq's which can all be classified as recess. Just like in kindergarten, at a new job you rely heavily on the 'buddy system.' In KD its usually a 3rd grader that makes sure you don't get lost, and make sure you're on the right bus. In the real world its usually your desk mate, who you see the most, and thus far know the most. For lunches and happy hours you rely heavily on this buddy system as the new kid. Even at 22 you don't want to be the kid in the corner shyly watching from afar.

I remember going to my kindergarten orientation, and being so excited by school and all of the discovery and promise it held. My first day I asked for homework. Needless to say I come from a long line of overachievers.

I remember going to visit my first agency, and being so excited by the environment and all of the discovery and promise it held for me. My first day at my new job I asked "Where can I start helping."

With any transition in life there are growing pains, but there also comes a hunger to learn something new, and to achieve goals. So far the hunger to learn and achieve goals is by far outweighing the small growing pains. 

And....I'm back!!

After many demanding emails, and constant questions at celebratory happy hours I'm back by popular demand. I greatly appreciate the want for my writing and point of view. From here on out I'll be trying to post every 1-2 days, but like I've always said I'd rather contribute to this forum when I've got something that's really inspired or intrigued me. Keep reading and leave lots of comments!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009


My life has taken a 180 in the last week. Last week I took a vacay to North Carolina which was amazing and on Friday I was offered my first big kid job at an amazing ad agency here in Minneapolis!!

I have lots of ideas running through my head but just haven't had the time to write since I've been working non stop since Saturday. When things slow down a bit and I get a routine I'll be able to fit blogging into the mix.

Stay tuned! I'll be back soon!

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Programming Note

I'm taking off for a much needed vacation tomorrow. The tundra's weather has finally gotten to this native so I'm flying to warmer weather to see good friends for a few days. I'll be back to writing next weekend. Have a good week all and thanks for all of the positive feedback the last few weeks!

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Burger King...Tsk, Tsk, Tsk

Burger King oh Burger King  just what are we going to do with you. First the Whopper Virgins, which I've been quite vocal about my distaste and disgust within my networking circle about. This new spot though pushed me over the edge. 

Crispin Porter and Bogusky who handles Burger King creative went too far with this spot. Its not only racist, overtly sexual, its aimed at KIDS! Are you f@$!ing kidding me? There are ethics in this industry in case anyone forgot and they do matter. They help our industry develop a positive image, keeps watchdog groups off our back, and help most of us sleep at night.

This kind of insensitivity crosses the line so far the line becomes a dot. Burger King has really come to be a love/hate brand for me in terms of the advertising. Loved Whopper Freakout (one of my all time favs). Hated Whopper Virgins (disgustingly Orientalist and Western Imperialist). Loved Whopper Facebook de-friender (genius use of interactive and creating buzz). Hate Burger King Spongebob (really you're going to market square butts to children!).

I think the importance of pre-testing is in order for this account, because clearly those closest to the account are losing touch with what's acceptable and what's not. Sorry to be so harsh to an agency I do genuinely respect and know is one of the best, but get it together! 

Monday, April 6, 2009

Probing Religious Minds for Branding Secrets

In an obviously controversial study, Martin Lindstrom (market researcher and author) has been conducting a consumer-brain scanning project that probed the brand qualities that the world's largest religion reportedly possess and taps in their follower's minds. Qualities such as a clear vision, sense of belonging, storytelling, sensory appeal, grandeur, symbols, rituals, mystery, and evangelism.

Lindstrom then went on to compare those qualities with 12 cult like brands including Harley Davidson and Guinness. The correlation for brands like these were 84.6%. At the end of the video Lindstrom states that these qualities are what could be the blue print for future successful brands. I couldn't agree more.

Religion has been one of the longest 'branded' institutions in history. In my Global Studies courses I often studied religion as a powerful institution in cultural understanding. Lifestyle or cult like brands such as Harley evoke powerful emotions because they do provide a sub-culture for its followers. Often we see that a sub-culture also includes many of the qualities Lindstrom noted in his study. People often have organized religion (a sub-culture of the larger culture) in their life because they want a sense of belonging, and they feel that sense through the rituals, symbols, evangelism, and storytelling. 

To survive these tough times brands need more than just low prices and understanding. They need to tap into these qualities, because emotion is what drives many people's love of brands and turns them into true zealots. 

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Its Opening Day!

Basically everyone who is a great American should be excited that its opening day! I'm not a die hard MLB fan, but I love baseball bc it represents summer and everything great about it! 

Patio bars before and after the game, a beautiful open air ballpark (which Minnesotans will get next spring!), hot dogs (aka domedogs), beer in huge cups, and generally affordable tickets for professional sports. 

I of course will be waiting until Wednesday's game (aka college night). I'm sorry you can't beat $4 tickets and a $1 dome dog. Oh and get excited Minnesotans...the frame of the scoreboard for the new Twins stadium is up. You can see a great view from 5th st & 1st ave. I'm so excited for that new stadium, not only is it going to be amazing, its going to introduce residents to a great neighborhood the North Loop. Its one of the oldest neighborhoods in downtown some streets still have cobblestone for pavement, and turn of the century warehouses that are now home to some great restaurants, coffee shops, and businesses (i.e. Space150).

Ok back to baseball. In honor of opening day here are two of my favorite clips from two of my favorite baseball movies. Enjoy!

Friday, April 3, 2009

Nokia Headset Design Competition

Thanks to PSFK I found this about a week ago, but got swampped with some other things so on a slow Friday afternoon here you go.

My favs are the flying headset inspired by R Kelly's I Believe I Can Fly, with the Free Willy set a close second. 

Great job by Wieden + Kennedy London for fostering some very clever and inspired creativity. More agencies should sponsor things like this not only for brand promotion, but to continue to foster creativity.

Photos: CR Blog 

The Daily Show's coverage of the G-20 Summit: EPIC!

The Daily Show With Jon StewartM - Th 11p / 10c
The Poisonous Queen
Daily Show Full EpisodesEconomic CrisisPolitical Humor

This past week the G20 Summit took place in London. Besides dealing with a global financial crisis, it was also a platform for the Obamas to shine on the global stage. Unfortunately our national media turned it into a play by play of Michelle's fashion and their etiquette with meeting the Queen.

Giving Jon Stewart plenty of ammunition for the Daily Show. Besides the Inaguration and Election, one of the best weeks of the show's year. From the montage of Michelle's fashion analysis to the name Clusterf@#k to the Poor House: Global Edition to Jon Oliver's take on why the Queen can't be touched, hilarious. I was laughing up until the point Jon brought on an author of a Uranium book. 

Kudos Daily Show for finding the humor in an otherwise gloomy conference. So much better than the Doomsday network's coverage (aka CNN).

Monday, March 30, 2009

Are candy companies the only recession proof industry?

I've noticed in the last two months (also the worst 2 mos for the labor sector) that Skittles, Snickers, and Cadbury have all released new campaigns, websites, or T.V. spots. Leading me to wonder: Are candy companies the only recession proof industry?

Skittles made headlines in the ad industry for their new website, blogged about here in early March. Snickers has a new print/outdoor campaign with a clever play on their logo/packaging structure (above top), and Cadbury released their new Eyebrows spot from Fallon London (above bottom). 

So is it all to garner publicity or actually generate sales? In my opinion Snickers is the only campaign of the three that probably has a chance of increasing sales. The campaign is running in points of hunger (when someone is out driving/walking/taking a bus/aka on the go) in need of a quick snack fix like snickers. The other two in my opinion were solely to generate publicity for both the client and agency of record. 

If you have an opinion on the campaigns discuss below...

Minnesota: More than sub zero temps and lefsa


Something I love about Minneapolis is that it is a great arts city. Whether its music, theater, or art exhibits something about this northern city fosters some great artists. One of my local favorites is graphic designer Adam Turman. I've noticed Adam's work around Minneapolis for about a year now and instantly gravitated towards it. Its kitschy, eclectic, culturally right on design work. Adam's work can be found around town at SaraCura (where I also sell my photography) and The Electric Fetus as the featured Minneconomy artist.

Adam does a lot of screen print work for bands, but also does great screen prints of things truly Minnesotan. Highlighting the beautiful, unique and quirky parts of the northern culture. My personal favorite is the Hotdish screen print. Perfectly sums up one of my least favorite dishes ever, yet one of the most unique parts of Minnesotan culture. I'm dying for the apron!

You can admire and purchase Adam's work here

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

For all the Minnesota boys

From a great hometown favorite Atmosphere. This song perfectly represents Minnesota boys to me, in fact I first heard this song bc of a true Minnesota boy. Something about this state instills male pride. The Chicago line is so true. Minnesota girls I know you can relate! Discuss below...

My childhood favorite is coming to the big screen!

Today the trailer for the feature film Where the Wild Things Are hit the Internet and it instantly brought me back to being 4 years old reading my favorite childhood book. From just seeing the trailer Spike Jonze did well. From Max's infamous costume and crown to the likeness of the wild things my childhood feels as if its been brought to life twenty years later. The movie hits theaters October 16. I know where myself and I'm sure many others my age and younger will be. 

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

While I was having the worst day ever...South Park washed it all away

As I mentioned last week in my adoration for the new South Park promos, SP is back with an all new season. Since Top Chef is no longer on Wednesdays @ 9 I'm back to hangin' with Cartman and the crew. This week's episode was a classic!

Cartman turned into a secret superhero "The Coon" yes only on SP and the half hour quickly turned into a direct satire of The Dark Knight right down to the last frame where Cartman runs off into the night on his coon bike. 

It was exactly what I needed at that exact moment. South Park was exactly what an entertainment show is supposed to be: an escape for a period of time from whatever you're having to deal with in your life at the time.  Thanks SP for the laughs it was much needed.

You can watch the episode here   

I refuse to accept that Doc Martens could make a comeback!

In the last month or so I've seen a few kooky celebs wearing Doc Martens around LA.  No! No! No! Growing up in the Midwest during the 3rd resurrection of Doc Martens was painful enough on my developing arches and calves. The things weigh 5 lbs and as a lanky awkward 13 year old you might as well just have attached dumbbells to my feet.

Today Drew Barrymore was off to a business meeting doing her kookiest menswear inspired outfit complete with black doc boots. I was accepting of flannel coming back, but not this. The 90's fashions were cruel enough on women's shapes we don't need a round two in less than a decade.

If we're going to bring back flannel, doc martens, and boyfriend jeans we might as well resurrect Kurt Cobain, wipe out the Internet, and go back to Zac Morris size cell phones.  See my point! Let's move forward fashion world and stick with 5 inch Loubotins instead of 5 lb Docs.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Twitter: Will it help in my endless job search?

Today I made the decision that has been on my mind for about a month today.  I joined Twitter. Yes the peculiar 140 character social media website that has absolutely exploded over the last year and now has over 6 million users.  

My good friend Maggie convinced me at happy hour last week, and no not bc I'd had a few cocktails, but bc she said she was able to follow all of the ad agencies and figure out when they were looking for a new position or had won new business.  This strongly piqued my interest.

The reason I was so turned off to Twitter was bc several acquaintances, who of course will remain nameless, annoyed the hell out of me when they shared literally everything they did all day long. Statuses like "I took a shower. I walked on a street in Brooklyn or I made a cake today." were shared like a constant barade of unwanted show and tell. 

Twitter became show and tell day with those annoying kids who don't have anything really great to share so they tell you how they ate a worm at recess instead of sharing the delicious recipe to a homemade Orange Julius, which is the purpose of show and tell day (aka Twitter). Hence me not wanting to join show and tell.

Twitter's sole purpose is for sharing valuable links and information.  I intend to keep my profile that way, as well as another tool in my personal brand. A valuable lesson I've learned, and been working hard at the last few months in this never ending job search. I hope by following the right people and sharing valuable view points with those people me as the brand is discovered by someone just dying to give a smart young woman her official break in advertising.

You can follow me on Twitter by clicking on the link on the right or by user name: EWiedner.

Taking D to the country

So now that I finally have a new car after 4 years without a vehicle my parents have started using it as a bribe to have me drive home and see them. This weekend I took a willing hostage, my good friend D.

D is from south Florida and this is her first winter in MN, so its been entertaining to say the very least. When she heard I was heading home to the land of the largest ball of twine, meat raffles, American legion bars, and Wal-Mart she willingly jumped on board. 

It was an entertaining and relaxing 24 hours. My dad had gladly filled the house with a year's worth of girl scout cookies!!! Thank god I was worried I was going to miss out on thin mints this year.  By 5 it was time for the meat raffle. D new to the concept won on the fourth round, which of course hilarity ensued as she asked for my 'country' girl expertise on picking a good cut of meat in front of the local farmers.  D was on a lucky streak as she won the free drink round and was the only one out of the five of us who won on pull tabs.  

Next it was off to Carlito's the authentic Mexican restaurant in town that is amazing! The owner is a trip which D was quick to point out. Which got me to wondering about growing up in a small town versus a suburb or urban area. In a small town you're not exposed to a lot in terms of what the real world is like, but you are exposed to some of the greatest characters ever. Many of my family friends could be the plot line of a successful sitcom.

There are days when I utterly cringe about my small town roots, but D gave me a new perspective. I came from this crazy place with some of the most entertaining, crazy, genuine characters around. And as many of you know its the people in your life that makes life so entertaining and engaging. Mine was more engaging and entertaining than I realized. 

Being a Recessionista: Happy Hour

So Thursday evening was going to be spent at the Walker, but two good friends convinced me happy hour at the Imperial Room was being a recessionista as well. Good friends and stiff grand margaritas won.

The Imperial Room happy hour is one of my favorites downtown. They have half priced apps and half priced martinis from 4-7 pm. So when you have the desire for a classy cocktail but don't feel like paying $10 head to Imperial Room.  Most martinis run for about $4.50! You can't even get a rail drink at that price downtown.  

Rosen's across the street from the Imperial Room also has an amazing Friday happy hour.  If its been one of the longest weeks, than head to one of the longest happy hours in town.  $3 on all beers on tap (including Guinness!) $3 on almost all cocktails and it lasts from 4-10 p.m.

Keep it cheap, but keep it classy Minneapolis!

Being a Recessionista: Minneapolis Institute of Art

I know its been a while, and you're probs thinking did Em fall off the face of the earth?! No just been swamped with the glorious process of Ad agency intern apps and organizing some new business prospects for my photography.  I have lots to catch you up on!

Wednesday afternoon I spent at the lovely Minneapolis Institute of Art, which is free everyday! It isn't open Mondays like most museums. I'm much more a fan of the style the M.I.A houses as opposed to modern art museums so I've always had an affinity for the M.I.A.  I spent most of my time on the third floor in the Impressionism and Photography rooms, two of my favorite mediums. Spending time with Van Gogh's Olive Trees and the current Tom Arndt's Minnesota photography exhibit was exactly what I needed after an intense morning of dealing with pain in the ass job search engines and racking my brain on inventing some product not yet on the market. 

If you have a lazy afternoon or are just feel like breaking up your routine head to the M.I.A for some great art and beautiful views of the Minneapolis skyline.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Being a Recessionista: Weisman Art Museum

Tuesday afternoon I spent at the Weisman, while it slushed and sleeted outside.  The Weisman is located on the east bank of the University of Minnesota campus.  Its always free, but remember it isn't open on Mondays.  

The Weisman carries many modern pieces, not always my taste, but most were interesting. There's a Warhol, and a few O'Keefe's. At the end of my visit I wasn't sure if I should be more impressed by the collection or the architecture of the building.  See in the 3 1/2 years I attended the University I never once went to the Weisman. I know I'm a bad student with no taste, yadda yadda. After yesterday though I realized I just love the architecture of the building more than the artwork in it.  Trash me all you want, but that's my piece and I'm sticking to it.

Being a Recessionista: Como Conservatory

So I began my recessionista trip this week and its been a fabulous way to spend my afternoons after some brutal mornings of the endless job search.  If you've recently been layed off, graduated and have no job, or have spring break coming up then follow this blog series!

My first outing was to the Como Conservatory on Monday afternoon.  It was a grey, dismal March day and the conservatory was exactly what I needed.  Its connected to the Como Zoo located just off Lexington Ave N in St. Paul. Its free, but they do ask for a suggested donation of $2 for adults, which definitely beats the price of an airline ticket to a tropical getaway.  Kept at a humid 80+ temp, its the perfect getaway during a crappy Minnesota day.  

The place is a photographer's dream and this week I happened to luck out by catching their latest exhibit in full bloom. A fellow photographer told me that on Saturday none of the beautiful pink cyclamens and hydrangeas were in bloom yet.  

I traveled to Australia, South America, Mexico, China and South Korea without ever leaving the city.  The variety of plants and beautiful layout is a great place to wander around in for a few hours or curl up on one of the benches and journal or photograph.  

Head to the Como Conservatory if you're having some serious cabin fever.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

With the spring thaw comes fashion disaster

On Friday it was a gorgeous sunny day across the entire country including here in the frozen tundra.  With the spring thaw comes some classic fashion disasters, which were on full display as I walked through Uptown and Downtown.  I'm going to take you through the problem, aka the disaster, and tell you how to fix it.  Read on!  

Classic fashion disaster number 1: The Mom jean jacket!  Its a Midwestern tragedy that all women over 35 seem to be holding onto a jean jacket from 1995.  You know the look: light blue, boxy, and usually has some pin (son's wrestling photo, American flag, cat) pinned on the chest. Why?!  There are so many cuter spring jacket options going on for women of all ages nowadays. 

Answer: A cute structured military jacket in a variety of colors, sleek leather biker inspired jackets (I have one which I live in and love), fitted blazers in a nice wool to keep you warm (this look is so classic and chic, any age group can wear it and look fabulous), or a cute plaid jacket that hits at the hip.  All varieties that have 20th century inspirations but that have been updated for the 21st century!

Fashion disaster number 2: This one is for the younger ladies.  I see this on campus all the time and it just kills me. Don't let your jeans sag three feet behind you!!  Especially in this melt season, because you're jeans will fade, rip, tear and literally fall apart on you because they can't handle the salt, dirt, and snow melt.  

Answer: Either cuff them, I do this sometimes when I'm in a pinch and my shorter jeans are dirty.  You should also have one pair of heel jeans and one pair of flat jeans.  Meaning buy a pair that you're going to wear with ballet flats and sneakers, and buy one pair that you'll wear when you're rockin' you're 4 inch heels.  Get your jeans tailored if you're of shorter stature and have trouble finding jeans that fit in the leg.  A tailor can do wonders on your jeans and make them fit like a glove.

Fashion disaster number 3: Spring shoes can be a troublesome lot.  With all the slush and dirt, yet warm temperatures you just don't know what to do!  Well here's a few no no's.  Stop wearing the Uggs!  Stop wearing the cheap $2 plastic flip flops!  Uggs are not waterproof, and they're too hot once temps are above freezing. I learned this personally in my younger years, aka at 19, when I thought these boots were cool. The flip flops will get you're feet dirty, clap around on the wet street, and drudge up mud behind you as if you were Pig Pen.  Its a cheap, white trash look that no fashionista should be caught dead in.  Havannas are the only acceptable ones and that is for 90 degree days or the beach.  

Answer: Street sneakers, wellies, and fashionable boots on chillier days.  Pumas can go a long way and add a cute casual touch to your look.  Wellies are practical and so many great stores make them in the cutest styles now! I love my J.Crew ones, and I got them at student discount price!  From classic Burberry to Target there are wellies in every style and price range.  Tuck you're skinny jeans into them, wear them with a cute skirt and tights, or just roll up you're jeans until you get inside.  I live in boots! When its chillier out I run for my boots.  Wear them with sweater dresses or tuck them into you're skinny jeans and you'll be set to deal with the sloppy weather outside.

Those are my tips for dealing with this awkward transition month into spring! Good luck! 

Monday, March 9, 2009

Oh Southpark how I adore you!

So by now many of you are familiar with Pepsi's new logo designed by the Arnell group, an Omnicom branding group based in New York.  I like the logo and general bubbliness of the campaign, because isnt' that what we all need and want out of a soda brand right now.  Well the logo crossed the line of arrogant when a 27 page document was released on the Ad blogosphere from Arnell talking about the emotions related the degree turn of the logo and how the sun relates to it.  Moving on though, because that's not what this post is about.

Southpark one of my absolutely favorite shows, because it is way more than fart jokes and kids swearing. Its one of the best social commentaries of our time.  Well their new season starts on Wednesday and to promote it they've kept in line with their social commentary by mocking the Pepsi logo.  The Pepsi logo is replaced by the heads of our favorite characters as the O in favorite South Park sayings.  The greatest line is the last frame which ends with "We're SOOOO Positive" directly mocking Pepsi. For video comparing the ads click here 

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Another travesty in these lovely economic times...

Ad Age is reporting that the Cannes Ad Festival will be downplayed big time this year. Absolutely appropriate, but still disappointing. The fabulous parties thrown by huge agencies like Leo Burnett and DDB will be no more.  Instead Friday night beach parties are being replaced by Friday morning lectures by guest speakers such as David Plouffe.  Still intriguing, but the theme of this year will be less glitz more education. 

The number of attendees is also being slashed, due to agencies deciding to only send senior level creatives, while the middle management stays at home and holds down the fort.

I'm glad money is being saved on Cannes so potentially agencies can put money towards an entry level position!! Hint frickin' Hint Publicis, Omnicom, and Interpublic!!  

Now the following is said because I'm sick and tired of the doom and gloom all day every day that has consumed my life thanks to my lovely economic situation. Also because going to Cannes is a career dream of mine!
While this is completely appropriate and needed for this year's festival lets hope this recession turns around soon so our industry (the rock n' rollers of the business world) can go back to throwing one hell of a party in one of the most beautiful places on earth! 

Thursday, March 5, 2009

The Beehive is back!!

One of my favorite musicians/recent trainwreck Amy Winehouse has been shacking up in St. Lucia for the last three months getting off the 'bad stuff.'  Because in the immortal words of Whitney Houston, "Crack is WHACK!"  

Well now that her Blllaaaake incarcerated is out of the chokey, she's back in London.  During her Carribbean getaway her famous beehive also took a vacation. What is Amy without her 3 foot hive?  Well worry no more it's back! For now.

She's actually looking pretty good, let's hope she keeps it up, and gets her tush back in the studio. I need a follow up to Frank and Back to Black!  

Bravo you're better than Tyyyra!

Bravo, aka my version of crack, has stooped to new levels that made me change the channel.  I love basically every show on their minus that Make me a Supermodel garbage.  Today I came home to the shocking development that Bravo is now running marathons of America's Next Top Model. Uggh why?! I feel like Tyra is taking over the world and there is nothing to do to stop it.  I can usually avoid Tyra because I avoid trashy networks like UPN and FOX, but now she's taking over my holy grail of T.V. channels!!  Bravo and NBC you're better than this! Kick the ego loving Tyyyrra back to Viacom and MTV!   

Tuesday, March 3, 2009 debuts new website and integrates into social media

Late last week Skittles debuted its new overlay for, which looks eerily similar to Boston-based agency  The website which is viewed through the eyes of the web shows Skittles wikipedia page, facebook page, and Google search results page.  

Its a new twist on how to integrate social media into a website's user experience, and clearly makes the conversation more interactive than ever.  

Skittles also took the conversation to Twitter, where search results for Skittles show all statuses involving Skittles and the overlay menu of  This is one of the most direct ways I've seen a packaged goods brand utilizing social media and the web to create a conversation and interact with its consumers.  

Discuss below...

Being a Recessionista

Over the next week I'm going to be traversing through my hometown (Minneapolis) seeing all the great FREE cultural offerings the city has to offer.  I'll be highlighting my favorite outings and giving tips on how to stay cultured and well-traveled in this economy.  Stay tuned...I can't wait for my 'tourist' week to begin. 

Friday, February 27, 2009


Thank god its Friday.  I'm chilling out to some Van Morrsion on this sunny but cold day. Yesterday was a full blown snow emergency with 6-10 inches of snow. Most would say oh that's crazy, but nothing ever surprises me in this schizophrenic state.  We can go through four seasons in four days.  It was too snowy and windy to even try and photograph yesterday so that was a really debbie downer. I'm sure many of my local readers don't really want to be reminded of yesterdays anyways.  

Well I'm taking advantage of the snow and heading to Duluth for the weekend to go snowboarding.  Time to get out one more time before the season ends, and I've taken a real liking to Duluth in the last year.  A great getaway spot that's only a few hours drive outside of the city. Above is the scenery I'll be enjoying tomorrow.

Alright kids I'm off to drop off a novel of an internship application and then I'm out. Peace and Love all. 

Photo: Russell Mantione

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

NO NO NO NO Top Chef

I just finished the finale of one of my fav shows on TV and I'm irate.  Damn it Top Chef and damn you Casey!! 

SPOILER ALERT! First off I hate that cheating bastard Hosea he's so insecure and needy and a pain in the ass.  He sucked during the seafood challenge and he works in a seafood restaurant!!

If it wasn't going to be Carla it should have been Stefan.  That man is one of the cockiest people on TV, but he's got the goods to back it up!  Hosea just sucks in general and he's been on my shit list since Arianne got the ax bc he threw her under the bus for his hussy Leah.

It's been a great season, loved a lot of the contestants, and it just ended on the most sour note I could have ever thought of.

That's it for the day.  I know I'm not the only one who feels this way. I've already received numerous texts from friends pitching a fit just like I am right now.  Air your grievances below.

Monday, February 23, 2009

I hope I've still got it like this at 44

The inspiring photo above is Marisa Tomei at an after Oscars party.  Her actual boy toy is to her left.  He's from the show Prison Break, I think.  Does it really matter though? No. He's just arm candy, and I'm sure he's not complaining he's probs gotten some fab networking out of all the awards season red carpets.  

Basically I've loved Marisa since the days of My Cousin Vinny.  I'm taking note. I hope I've still got the voodoo like this at 44.  Hot damn! Now this is a cougar with class.

Oscars 2009

Keep scrolling for my red carpet synopsis.

Oscars 2009

Well as expected it was insanely predictable. Everyone of my picks won, and they're weren't too many great moments. Penelope gave a bilingual speech, Heath's family accepted on his behalf, Sean Penn spoke out for equal rights, and Kate and Slumdog won of course.

Let's talk fashion though. Isn't that what really matters? I loved Freida Pinto, Taraji P. Henson, and Angelina Jolie. I know some people are going to say she looked boring in just a black dress, my take effortless. She looks like a knockout without really trying. Simple dress, beautiful earrings and ring, gorgeous hair and she had Brad Pitt on her arm. Team Jolie totally won last night. Aniston looked pretty, but as always as if she was trying too hard with a thick air of desperation.

Here's a quick synopsis of the red carpet

  • Freida looked stunning in John Galiano. Very Bollywood inspired, fabulous color, great one shoulder trend.
  • Jessica Biel not a fan of.  I don't care if it was architectural it was unflattering. Blah.
  • Taraji P. Henson my favorite.  From the dress to the jewelry to the clutch to the hair.  Glamourous. Fabulous!
  • Kate Winslet uggh.  Not a fan of that dress or hair.  Not a good look.
  • Meryl Streep stunning.  Age appropriate gown.  Sexy hair and makeup.  
  • Penelope Cruz.  The jury is still out.  Not sure how I feel about a white princess gown.  We all know I hate them as a wedding dress.  
  • SJP.  "Barely mint" It was true Haute Couture and fantasy.  How annoyed did Matthew Broderick look with the whole thing?
  • Amy Adams. She always delivers.  Keeps it classy while adding quirky touches that work great together.
  • Anne Hathaway.  Marion Cotillard did it last year, and the bust line didn't fit at all on the dress.  
  • Natalie Portman. Stunning. Enough said.
  • Miley. Fugly, and like usual she's just being Miley.
  • Vanessa Hudgens. What is with that Hobby Lobby arts and crafts project going on on your bustline. Marchesa rarely messes up, this was one of those cases.
  • Tina Fey. Knock-out!! Zac Posen always does it fabulous, and this dress was right on point.
  • Reese Witherspoon.  Scarlet O'Hara could get away with using the drapes, you honey can not. 
Last night wrapped up awards season :(  Stay tuned because soon enough it'll be May and it'll be Cannes!

Sunday, February 22, 2009

World Press Photo 2009

Photo: Anthony Sau, USA, Time

The World Press Photo has selected it's 2009 photo of the year, and as always its a telling portrait of a traumatic situation that's known well across the world. This year its not surprising that the World Press Photo chose a photograph from an American photographer telling the bleakest story of the American economy. The foreclosure of one's home is a circumstance I hope I never find myself in. In my opinion its the ultimate rock bottom scenario in this economic turmoil. I may be one of the 3.5 million unemployed Americans in this country, but I still have a roof over my head something I'm thankful for every day.

I've loved the World Press Photo exhibit since 2006 during which time I was spliting my time between Minneapolis and Amsterdam. The exhibit kicks off in Amsterdam every year, at the Oude Kerk (old church) in the middle of the red light district. It celebrates the best in photojournalism and for a photography junkie like myself it is captivating and a wonderful treat. Unfortunately the exhibit does not come to the U.S., but if you happen to be in Europe, Japan, Australia, or Montreal in the coming year check out if its in town.

This year's photo is interesting from a photography perspective, because its telling of the resurgence of black and white photography. The style has generally always been popular, but it seems in the last year or so its had a real comeback amongst many professional photographers. Its also the first time since 2000 that the World Press Photo has been set in the states. The most ironic part of this story is that the photographer, Anthony Sau, is now looking for work and can't find employment. Who knew the lens could shift so suddenly and create such a stark reflection?

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Something I can no longer ignore...

I just read through my Google reader and Gawker and US Weekly have linked the picture of Rihanna taken right after the horrific incident that we all now infamously know. Last week it was something I just didn't want to talk about. There were too many rumors to clarify, and it was something I didn't exactly want to give publicity too. After seeing the picture, which I won't post here for the fact that its horrific, graphic, and overwhelming, I have to say my two cents.

If Chris Brown's career wasn't already over before this picture surfaced, it most certainly is now. Good. I don't need to see a Double Mint commercial with Ike Turner Jr. in it. I imagine Jay-Z, Rihanna's mentor, is through the roof over this. Yep its a definite the kid will never work again.

How sad is it that tomorrow is her 21st bday? An event that should be celebrated in epic proportions is now overshadowed by such a horrific time.

Ok enough Debbie Downer time. The reason I finally did decide to discuss this incident on my blog is because I hope some good does come out of this situation. Many of you know my feelings about violence against women, and that it has long been a cause close to my heart and something I don't take lightly. I hope from this tragic event young women who are in a tumultuous first love relationship find the courage and inspiration to leave. I hope Rihanna leaves him and sets a good example for the young women who are fans and look up to her. That's my peace about this situation.

Peace and Love to all.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Amazing Top Chef!! 1 episode left!

So I just finished watching my favorite show: Top Chef. It was the semi-finals tonight in New Orleans, and it was high drama. My girl Carla came out on top again!! Are you surprised? Puhlz she cooks with soul and she has a southern background, she had this in the bag.

SPOILER ALERT!! I'm bummed Fabio went home. Uggh!! Now I only have Carla to entertain me during the finale, and I have to put up with the two bald guys fighting over some ridiculous ingredient next week. I'm so sick of those two! My girl better be Top Chef next week!

Moving on...I loved that the finale is in New Orleans. Its such a fabulous food culture city!! My kudos goes out to the New Orleans tourism board. So smart to partner with Top Chef to promote the city and Mardi Gras. I was totally wooed into wanting to visit the city even more after tonight. The episode was a great way to showcase all of the history and culture of the city, and in a way repositioning to a bit of a classier group. In the past we've all known Mardi Gras as a southern city with a flashing problem around Lent. With this promotion through Top Chef, New Orleans could reposition itself as a gourmet food city with grand American history (which it already is) to a more urban gourmet foodie group looking for a great weekend getaway. Especially to the northern set, who want a warm getaway this time of year. I'll second that. To me the real winner tonight was the city of New Orleans. Promotion well done!!