In an ongoing effort to attract fresh, malleable meat, the Marine Corps has joined forces with motor racing organisation NASCAR and Team Rensi Motorsports for the past few years. The number 25 NASCAR Busch Series Team Marines featuring driver Bobby Hamilton Jr are on a mission to dominate the sport of stock car racing. Until now, that goal has yet to be achieved. Hopefully, a few hundred pull ups, some long marches and regular recitation of the Marine Rifle Creed can help prepare them for the racetrack trenches.
A January 2 Yahoo! News press release reveals that Team Marines experienced just that during a brief visit to boot camp. From January 9-11, it was off to Parris Island, South Carolina for Hamilton and his road hogs for a bit of teamwork and morale boosting. However, the horse-powered lap racers weren't actually expected to run any laps themselves. They were just there to "observe".
This Team Marines thing is a great concept. Still, I'm surprised the Marine Corps hasn't branched out with it. Sure, there are already Marines sports teams playing football, basketball, etc. But surely stock car racing isn't the only team-orientated experience that appeals to young men and could be Marines branded. For one, there's always pro wrestling. How cool would a cage match with the Marines Tag Team featuring Drill Instructor Lieutenant Laceration, Corporal Punishment and their lovely female counterpart, Semper Fine be? And hey, obviously the Marines have no qualms over their affiliation with a race series sponsored by mind-mushing, body-softening Busch beer. Certainly a fast food-related sponsorship has potential, too. I can hear the Marines Breakfast Team at Mickey D's or Burger King reciting the creed right now: "This is my mop. There are many like it, but this one is mine... Without me, my mop is useless. Without my mop, I am useless."
The meek shall inherit the work
As most entrepreneurs, freelances and business owners would agree, sometimes attracting clients or promoting a product can be a real hassle. Whether the advertising format of choice is schmoozing at networking parties or developing multi-million dollar TV campaigns, the marketing aspect of any business can often lead people to wonder if the actual work or product being promoted is really worth all the trouble. They should be thankful they have the ability to advertise at all. Most business women in Saudi Arabia don't.
According to a January 2 Wall Street Journal piece about women who run businesses in Saudi Arabia, more and more women are "willing to navigate the tortuous paths of Saudi rules and regulations to indulge an entrepreneurial streak". Take Mayan Kurdi, owner of a website design firm called Netpeople, who stresses: "Discretion is the name of the game."
She, like most Saudi Arabian businesswomen, doesn't advertise -- it could attract unwanted attention from the ultra-strict authorities. "We get all our business by word of mouth," she adds in the story.
Man, knowing that can certainly ground one's perspective on things. As a freelance writer and editor, I often gripe about having to pitch myself and my services. Meanwhile, I'm lucky I have the freedom to do so in the first place.
And just think -- most advertisers in the US think they're being discreet if they decide against the 50-foot billboard.
Harried by Harry
I remember it vividly. It was 1982. I was 10 years old. I sat on the cool tile floor of my basement, hunting and pecking on my mom's old manual typewriter. My muse: an oversized poster of Duran Duran's John Taylor. My goal: to prove to the world that Duran Duran was way cooler than that over-hyped Michael Jackson guy. My means: a self-published, single-issue, anti-Michael/pro-Duran Duran magazine. As this obsessive little endeavour demonstrated, sometimes resentment can lead to some ridiculously zealous behaviour.
Alois Gmeiner may relate. You see, Gmeiner detests Harry Potter. The thing is, it's not necessarily the Potter character that's spurred all this negative sentiment. It's the monstrous marketing push behind the li'l cabalist that's got the Austrian riled up. So, Gmeiner has done what any normal Harry Potter hater would: he's set up the Anti-Harry Potter Hotline. As featured in a December 28 CNN.com story, the service offers callers a chance to record a Harry Potter rant over the phone.
But Gmeiner won't be satisfied that Potter has received a proper bashing until those messages are compiled and published in a book.
That's what I call a constructive use of negative energy. Gmeiner has turned his pent-up frustration into a money-making scheme. Plus, he doesn't even have to do the work -- the callers are doing it all for him. It's brilliant. Now, if Gmeiner can only pull together a crack marketing team to really hype his anti-marketing book, all the time spent crafting it will have been worthwhile.
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