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BrandAnimation: Of Hasselhoff and Donne Deutsch

By Jun 05, 2006

A lot has happened since the last BrandAnimation column (“Equal Opportunity Positive Branding”)and now that I’m officially “big time” (“Adweek” May 15; “Time” May 22; and KTVU in San Francisco, May 29) the following are a few ramblings I came up with while wondering if the Namibian government will someday extend me the same courtesy for my first child. So here’s my running diary over the past few weeks.

May 22 6:00 AM: Why do I agree to 6 AM PDT Monday morning conference calls with people in New York? I certainly don’t ever ask them to do 6 PM EDT conference calls on a Friday.

May 22 6:01 AM: Never mind. I do ask them.

May 23 10:00 AM: I’m a little frustrated with United Airlines at the moment. They just bumped me out of first class because of a plane change. Don’t get me wrong, I’m no travel diva (not yet, but I did dream the other night about an orange Swivel Learjet and flying my family around the world like I’m Ken Lay), but the only reason we booked first class was so my business partner Aaron and I could work on a pitch for tomorrow. I mean have you ever tried to work on a computer in coach? You’d be more productive during a dental exam.

May 23 10:30 AM: Ok. Now I’m a little better. They gave us a free upgrade for a future flight of our choosing. I still don’t know how we’re going to get any work done, but I do applaud the effort.

May 23 11:05 AM: I know we’ve all had our battles with the airlines, and anybody that travels frequently knows that sooner or later you will be that irate red faced lunatic screaming obscenities at some poor customer service representative. Today will not be that day for me. Not only did we get the free upgrade, but we were also put in ‘Economy Plus” in an exit row with an open seat between us. That meant more room than first class only without the tasteless chicken or pasta. Well done, United.

May 26 8:15 PM: I’m rubbing my eyes, making sure I’m not dreaming this. I’m watching the Dallas/Phoenix NBA playoff game on TNT and Craig Sager is interviewing David Hasselhoff about the fact that NBA star Dirk Nowitzki sings Hasselhoff songs to himself at the free throw line. I could probably write an entire column about this, but I don’t think Chief Marketer would be very pleased. I find this especially funny since a joke around the office a while back was that I was becoming the David Hasselhoff of marketing after several German publications did a story on some of Swivel’s work. This could be the highlight of week.

May 31 3:13 PM: Here’s another great customer experience for you. I got a package from Ameritrade today basically stating the following: There was a problem with my account (that I never noticed) and here’s a video iPod for the inconvenience. (that never happened). Now if only I could get Apple to wire cash into my Ameritrade account for all my dead iPod batteries.

June 1 7:05 PM: I’m watching “The Big Idea with Donny Deutsch” reach new heights of unintentional comedy tonight. I’ll admit it’s a big improvement over John McEnroe’s now defunct show (which means at least one person is watching it besides Aaron and I). Nothing against Mr. Deutsch personally, as he’s a legend and giant in the industry—but I just can’t watch another interview with an “Apprentice” contestant turned venture capitalist unless they have a story about Trump’s single hair unraveling on set or gossip about Martha Stewart screaming at a production assistant for wasting oxygen. I’d much rather watch Donny drop the B and C level guests and talk about marketing and advertising. Probably the reason I would have failed as a program director.

There were a couple more highlights from the past few weeks (like nervously sitting in the green room at KTVU on Memorial Day at 7 AM and winning that pitch we worked on in “Economy Plus”) but I need to get ready for the week ahead. And if anyone sees Hasselhoff, tell him that next time I’m in a green room getting ready for an interview, I will be quietly singing his tunes.

Erik Hauser is creative director/founder of San Francisco-based marketing firm Swivel Media and founder of IXMA, the International Experiential Marketing Association. He also moderates the Experiential Marketing Forum and pens the biweekly BrandAnimation column for CHIEF MARKETER.