The AFTERLIFE EPITAPH – Mar. 9th, 2009 #17, Vol.1

I received a message about branding  Nebraska. As I told the person, it’s hard to follow “I love New York.”

Nebraska, despite some hip towns, really has an image problem. There weren’t too many things that could be called into play that would convince corporations to relocate there (unless they use, Nebraska – no corporate taxes and slave-labor wages). I pointed out Austin’s motto, “Austin is weird,” which is playful and causes a buzz. My first suggestion is just make outrageous statements to draw attention and cause buzz.

“Nebraska – Where there are hardly any UFO abductions!”
“Nebraska – Were people are kind and friendly because it’s the law!”
“Nebraska – No earthquakes, tsunamis, hurricanes or other natural disasters to kill you horribly!”
“Nebraska – It was Iowa that killed Buddy Holly, not us!”
“Nebraska – Sure it’s cold, but that means you’ll stay young forever and ever!”
“Nebraska – if a billionaire like Warren Buffet calls it home, then perhaps you could be a billionaire, too!”

“These are great ideas! I really love the humor approach,” he replied. It turns out that the committee wanted “unequaled work ethic” as the state motto. They thought it would draw corporations to relocate.

“Well,” I said, “that’s an outrageous statement, too! I don’t know how they’ll defend it if sued by Texas or Wyoming, claiming THEY have unequaled work ethic.”

That was the last I had heard of that branding initiative. Then a few days ago, on a business trip to Phoenix, I saw an article that wrote about a $160,000 branding for the city that went, “Phoenix – Arizona’s urban heart.” People were not impressed and wrote comments asking which agency had taken the money and run. One reader commented, “to which they should have added, ‘ . . . needs a defibrillator.’ “

Not naming the agency says two things; the state knew they blew $160,000 on a turd and not naming the agency saves a lot of death threats against the agency personnel and, if not a local agency, against the state officials who shoveled money into someone else’s economy.

The downtown partnership’s CEO told The Arizona Republic, “First off, a brand or an image that you are portraying has to reflect the reality, but it’s also aspirational. This is what we are focused on becoming.”

While I somehow doubt Tombstone, Purgatory or even Tuscon will ever top Phoenix as Arizona’s urban center. One person commented that the best selling point would be, “Phoenix – you’ll never shovel snow again!”

There has always been a struggle to brand what may be close to impossible to brand. San Diego, which needs no hype, paid for the slogan: “365 Days of Ahhhhhhh!”

New Jersey supposedly hired a firm to come up with the slogan: “We’ll win you over.” The governor rejected it.

A few years back the Dallas Convention and Visitors Bureau paid $150,000 for “Live large; Think big.” For that kind of money they should have added, “spend foolishly.”

One expert quoted in The Republic article said that cities trying to re-brand themselves should not play it safe. That’s why the Las Vegas slogan is so successful. He added that any good slogan also must be honest.

Here at The AFTERLIFE, we applaud taking chances, reaching for what will open eyes and cause buzz. But honesty, over all, is the utmost truth. That and the wonder of how many New Yorkers truly “love” New York. I lived there for 42 years and “liked” New York. There was too much to hate.


Quotes from the deceased

“The Edge… there is no honest way to explain it because the only people who really know where it is are the ones who have gone over.”

~ Hunter S. Thompson


Eulogy to The AFTERLIFE

“In the entire Afterlife we’ve never seen such innovative, clever designs as Jonathan has gathered here.  It’s nothing short of a miracle!  Signed, Moses (from Palestine), Jesus (of Nazareth) and Mohammed (not the Ali one).  Okay, I’m really Barbara Dale saying it but I swear to God it’s true.” – Barbara Dale, President, Dale Cards, Inc.


Who nose?

Hip flashlight manufacturer Mag Instrument, Inc. is drawing on the fact that kids will stick anything up their noses in their latest ad campaign. Making light of this strange habit, Maglite is launching the company’s smallest model called Solitaire, with these humorous images of kids with illumination beaming from their nostrils.

Beyond the obvious finger, children have been known to insert candy, small toys, food and even rocks into their nasal cavity, so I wouldn’t put it past them to stick a mini flashlight in their nose. The results can be serious and a trip to the doctor for removal of the object is often necessary.

The ad campaign is by Leagas Delaney of Hamgurg, Germany, so please have your lawyer contact them when you are extricating flashlights from their nasal cavities.




Are creative people freaks?


Knuckle down to trouble!

Are you tough? Or maybe you just want to just look tough, without any pain or stigma? Then these tattoos are perfect 4 U! These temporary tattoos adhere to each of your knuckles and offer such classic witticisms as “This Hurt”, “Last Call”, “Babe Mgnt”, “Eye Candy” and “Doll Face”.

You’re bad, and you know it, so let your fingers do the talking. Hopefully they won’t get you into big trouble.

Select from Him or Her.


and if you want to show your sensitive side, there’s crying men magnets. Magnets individually measure approximately 2 inches wide x 3 inches tall.


Available at


Quit yer wine-ing!

If you’re looking for a fun wine bottle stopper, check out this cool new Send wine bottle stopper. This silicone bottle stopper instantly transforms a wine bottle into an amusing message in a bottle, while preserving the wine’s flavor and aroma. It’s the perfect gift for any wine lover and would really come in handy if you were ever stranded on a deserted island with an empty bottle of vino.



The bark is worse than the bite

A strong concept but the wrong placement. The ambient is meant to advertise how many trees are used to make toilet tissue. The problem — it’s placed by a sink and do we really want people to wipe less?



Please note, bring your own pencil

The old alma mater to many denizens of The AFTERLIFE, the School of Visual Arts, has a campaign urging people to “think.” To that end, lined paper is served up in many forms with the hope people will feel creative and write down something. I f I remember correctly, SVA didn’t offer writing courses, much less cared if students could spell their own names.

Judging from the previous entry in this blog, SVA doesn’t care how many trees are flushed. Judging from this campaign, someone “flushed” their career.





(Editor’s note: since we started with mottos, SVA used to have one of the greatest; “being good is not enough when you dream of being great.” Why mess with success?)


Did you miss this one? I sure did

Here’s a really stellar bit of creativity that might have gotten overlooked amid the frenzy of Super Bowl ad gimmicks. To promote its “Smart Grid technology,” GE created a sort of Webcam hologram. Just follow these instructions to make your own “augmented reality,” as seen below. (You’ll need a printer, Webcam and microphone.)


Hard hitting commercial

Speeder is haunted by the vision of a boy’s corpse. See this once and you will never forget it.


Bong hitting commercial

It was only a matter of time before these ads started hitting mainstream media.


Tired of crumby meals?

Clean up table crumbs with this neat little vacuum burger. Lettuce keep a clean table!




The “Bear” sleeping bag is one of the coolest things to hit the sleeping bag market. It can zip up completely, like a costume or just hit the sack with your head hanging out of the toothy mouth.



After the opening rant on branding, what can we say except one should never chance a budget, large or small on an agency unless there is truly a great track record of creativity. Now, who might have a great track record with products from Disney/Pixar, Warner Bros., Harley-Davidson, ESPN, Lucas Films, American Express, Federated Department Stores and other fortune 100 companies?

Jonathan Schneider – Archangel of Creativity

Click here to contact an agency with a great track record


One Response to “The AFTERLIFE EPITAPH – Mar. 9th, 2009 #17, Vol.1”

  1. How about this slogan for:
    Phoenix… Satan has a time share here, he likes the inclement weather.

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