Category Archives: Whimsy and Joy

Hershey’s Nuggets Dilemma

Hershey’s Nuggets Dilemma 

Recently, two friends of mine opened a bag of Hershey’s Nuggets Assortment, looking for their personal favorites. I listened to the two of them as they had a hard time finding their much-loved chocolate nuggets, which was intriguing. This is where the ensuing dilemma unfolded over the next hour or so about Hershey’s marketing flaw, and ultimately, their packaging mistake.

My two friends were a (albeit small) focus group for this particular Hershey’s product. Set out on the table was the contents of the Hershey’s Nugget Assortment bag, with four little piles of nuggets clustered together. There are four different types of chocolate nuggets in this assortment bag: Milk Chocolate, Extra Creamy Milk Chocolate with Toffee & Almonds, Milk Chocolate with Almonds, and Special Dark Chocolate with Almonds.

For almost an hour I listened to the two of them talk about the quality of the chocolate, their favorite flavors offered and what they would like to see in the assortment, as well as why Hershey’s decided to put such similar wrappers on the four different chocolates in an assortment bag. This is where my marketing ears really perked up and I had to see for myself what they were talking about.

Upon closer inspection, they were right. The two girls separated the chocolates into piles because they could not discern between the flavors by simply looking at the wrapper.  A marketing flaw was being exposed: the company did not do enough consumer research to know that the packaging was confusing and not well-liked, as least not by these two Hershey’s lovers. My friends stressed that the chocolate is awesome, a great two-bite piece of joy, but finding her favorite flavor wasn’t easy when looking into the bag. Here’s a photo of the four different nuggets:

                                         HERSHEY NUGGETS ASSORTMENT

As you can see, three of the chocolates are in gold wrappers, with the Extra Creamy Milk Chocolate with Toffee & Almonds and Milk Chocolate with Almonds almost indistinguishable from each other, unless you carefully inspect the tiny writing up close. Only the silver-wrapped Milk Chocolate is discernible from the rest.

Looking at both my friends sitting with their glasses at the edge of their noses, trying to read the wrapper to put the chocolates in the right pile…what a site! I thought to myself, this is a packaging mistake that came out of a marketing flaw. Even the colors associated with the chocolates on the exterior bag didn’t match the chocolate’s wrappers on the inside…see Red, Orange, Silver and White on the exterior of the bag:

HERSHEYS BAG

Unless the consumer speaks up and lets the company know that they love the chocolates, but the wrappers need to distinguishable (without offending them), how can this mistake be changed? What a dilemma.

I chose to go the proactive consumer route and write this to let Hershey’s know that their Hershey’s Nuggets Assortment chocolates are loved, but their packaging is not. And as a writer of the Wilder side of marketing, I suggest adding a bit of pizzazz to the wrappers:

Milk Chocolate:

METALLIC SILVER

Extra Creamy Milk Chocolate with Toffee & Almonds:

METALLIC GOLD

Milk Chocolate with Almonds:

METALLIC BLUE

Special Dark Chocolate with Almonds:

METALLIC RED

Once the color scheme (whether it is with these four metallic colors or four other easily identifiable colors), the color theme needs to be carried through onto the exterior packaging as an assortment bag or when sold separately so everything is cohesive. Confusion gone, consumer happy.

In the end, my two friends will not stop buying or enjoying Hershey’s Nuggets Assortment bags, but until the packaging is changed, consumer confusion will remain.

Advertisements

Wilder Whimsy

My name is Michelle A. Wilder. I am a Renaissance woman. Lover of all things creative, practitioner of all things loved. I live where I grew up, in the house next door to my childhood home, previously owned by my Grandfather Armando, a Renaissance man.

I just earned my Master’s degree in Marketing with a Master’s certification in Social Media Marketing. My educational background also includes  Business Administration, Marketing-Communications, Fine Arts, and Event Planning.  I drifted back to marketing to make a living doing something I not only love, but at which I excel.

My Grandfather Armando mentored me in gardening, cooking, painting, ceramics and frugality. I am a self-confessed foodie, geek for sci-fi and B-movies (which make my friends roll their eyes) and deeply passionate. With a vast expanse of tastes for music, food, art and opinions, I am rarely at a loss for words. Family is extremely important to me, as well as honesty, integrity, self-reliance, responsibility and respect, all of which my parents instilled in me through old-school, old-fashioned ethics and lessons.

By nature, I am an entrepreneur. I have owned several successful businesses throughout my life, which include a catering business, a wholesale bakery, a landscape and gardening business, and a masonry business. Working with non-profit organizations and volunteering for causes that affect me add value to my life, for I like to give back when I can.

My Italian heritage lends a hand in my expressive and outward personality, strong bonds with family and friends, and a penchant for talking with my hands (a sometimes hazard for martinis and people close-by). I am an and old-souled person, who believes with her whole heart in true love, kisses and romance, imagination and the goodness of the human spirit, as well as the power of exceptionalism, hard work, excellence and high standards.

This blog was a a new venture for me when I went back to school to get my MBA. I enjoy gleaning and analyzing tidbits and organizing opinions on traditional and social media marketing trends, branding and advertising. I wrirte about things I like or find interesting and how well or not the companies out there are faring with their messaging. I will post it all here, with a “Wilder” view.

Enjoy!

The Happy in 21 Challenge

My Social Media Marketing professor at SNHU, Leila Samii, told me about a campaign her undergraduate class created called “Happy in 21”. The concept is simple: It takes 21 days to make positive changes. Their mission is “spreading happiness through positive vibes in hopes to create a happier world, one person at a time”. The campaign focuses on happiness habits, encouraging quotes and motivational reinforcement themes, all with the intention of making the reader happier. The campaign has a twitter feed: @HappyIn21 and a Facebook page: www.facebook.com/HappyIn21 with a good following for a new campaign #HappyIn21, with active participation.

gift

I liked this movement since I already practiced daily affirmations with the theme of “Every Day is a Gift”. On April 15, 2013, the city of Boston suffered a terrorist attack at the finish line of the Boston Marathon. I was deeply affected by this horrifying act. I did not know any runners or victims of the bombing, but after listening to the heartbroken words from Krystal Campbell’s mother after she learned her daughter died from the blasts, I knew right there and then that I should be thankful for what I have and to hug those I loved.

Two other people died that day: Lu Lingzi and Martin Richard (extremely sad situations) and another man was shot and killed (MIT officer Sean Collier) during the manhunt. The way I looked at life changed that day. I was going through a very difficult time in my personal life, but my problems were not as massive as the people touched by the terrorist attack. I decided to change my outlook.

gift 3

Every day when I get up, no matter how bleak things may seem or how problematic times may be, I am thankful to be alive (it certainly beats the alternative), and I try to find the gift of the day (something to be thankful for or happy about). The gift can be small, like a ray of sunshine after a rainy morning, a smile from my granddaughter, a well-written blog, expertly made sushi for lunch, a good-hair day or few minutes playing with my dog. Or the gift can be big, like the good health of my family, a promotion at work, the great friends in my life or the stable relationships I have. This declaration seems to be popular with millions of people, and I was happy to be on board.

gift 4

I bring all this up to get to the Happy in 21 Challenge I decided to take on, which expanded my daily affirmation to include 3 positive thoughts PLUS one genuine “thank you” to one person a day. To say out loud what the gift of the day is was very different than writing them down. For 21 days starting on April 3rd, I wrote down my 3 statements and my 1 “thank you” on my calendar. At the end of the three weeks, I felt happier, more optimistic and less stressed out. I decided to continue the challenge for 2 months. The  results are amazing! Check out my CHALLENGE CALENDARS.

I am a very positive and confident person in general, with an optimistic outlook on life. Although this past year has been one of the most difficult in recent years for me personally, this challenge has helped me put things in perspective. By changing my internal voice to always chant a strong motivational mantra and by reinforcing what gifts life offers in writing and in my thoughts, I can definitely say that I am a better person and happier for it! Every Day is a Gift!

gift 5

Bravo Avocado!

 I love avocados. They are my favorite fruit. Creamy and buttery with a subtle but complex earthy flavor. Delicious. When I was younger, I used get so excited when the dark, ripe fruits were available in my local market, after waiting months during the winter absence. Oh the joy of those first few fabulous fruits of the season. That was twenty years ago and a lot has changed since then. Today, thanks to the year-round growing season in Mexico and the creation of the Haas Avocado Board in 2002, these tasty little darlings are available to the average shopper any time of year.

Although I am a big fan of the succulent fruit, not everyone enjoys eating them.  It has been a challenge creating new ways of incorporating the wonderful avocado into my weekly meal plans that are appealing and tasty. Usually avocados are relegated to the role of guacamole side-kick or chip-dip. The new animated commercial from the AvocadosFromMexico.com created a cute dancing avocado TV commercial to show that avocados can be eaten for BREAKFAST:

http://www.ispot.tv/ad/7fte/avocados-from-mexico-rise-and-shine

AVOCADO 3

Now, I have been eating avocados for breakfast for many years, like millions of people world-wide. But for those who never thought of eating avocados in anything else but guacamole, this sticks-in-your-mind, pretty ditty sends home the message to try something simple like avocados on wheat toast with a little salt for breakfast. It is just wonderful marketing.

At the end of the 15 second spot, the call to action is to visit avocadosfrommexico.com website, which I did to check out their other marketing efforts. They have nutritional information, extensive recipe listing, prep tips and delicious celebrity guest shots (read: Mario Lopez), all promoting the greatness that is the avocado.

If this short but sweet TV spot can change one person’s mind to try an avocado, either for breakfast or by itself, then it has done its job. I personally think that this type of marketing will broaden the reach and awareness of the amazing avocado, and sharpen focus on the Avocados from Mexico brand. Bravo avocado!

I was motivated to write about the effective ad and post my favorite breakfast recipe in solidarity with other avocado lovers everywhere. These easy to make Popeyes are delicious and good for you. ..give them a try!

popeye1

Scrumptious Avo Popeyes

  • Per person:
  • 3 slices fresh, ripe avocado
  • 2 slices cooked bacon (preferably maple flavor
  • 1 slice of your favorite bread
  • 1 large egg, 1 slice ripe tomato (preferably plum)
  • A few baby spinach leaves
  • Butter spray
  • ———————-
  • With each piece of bread, remove a half-dollar size hole (set aside holes for another use).
  • Put some spray in a skillet and turn up to medium heat.
  • Put the bread (with a hole in it) in the skillet to toast.
  • While the bread is toasting, crack open an egg and gently drop it into the hole in the bread.
  • Once bread is toasted, gently flip over to cook the egg on the other side.
  • Remove from the skillet when the egg is done and place on a plate, egg side up.
  • On top of the egg, put a few baby spinach leaves.
  • On top of the spinach, place a slice of tomato.
  • On top of the tomato, put 2 slices of bacon.
  • And the best part…place 3 slices of avocado on top of the whole Popeye.
  • Eat and Enjoy!

 

Old Spice: Thank Your Grandpa!

Old Spice.  An iconic American brand recognized world-wide and loved by generations of loyal customers. Since 1938, Old Spice has been worn by millions of men and adored by millions of women. One whiff of the original Classic Old Spice scent, and I am instantly transported back into time, for both my Dad and Grandpa wore the Old Spice Cologne. I can pick out the smell of Classic Old Spice in a crowd, for it lives up to its reputation (and its self-described aroma), as a “clean, masculine scent”.

old spice 2

 

In my household, my husband and two sons all use Old Spice products, namely the deodorant and body wash product lines. The other day, I happened to catch a glance at the back of a Classic Old Spice deodorant container to see the inconspicuous banner announcement: “IF YOUR GRANDFATHER HADN’T WORN IT, YOU WOULDN’T EXIST”.  Well,  then…“Thank You, Grandpa”!

old spice 3

This boastful pronouncement not only caught my attention, but struck me to be as assertive and confident as the men who use Old Spice. It is well-known that Old Spice marketing have bold, out-of the-ordinary and memorable advertising. Who can forget the “MOMSONG”? Or the “Man on a Horse” spot? These ads are elements of a grand campaign design that elicits a consistent message that is a mix of tongue-in-cheek hubris and manly pride.  Curious, I decided to delve deeper into their marketing efforts.

old spice 4           old spice 5

When visiting the Old Spice website, you are met with an in-your-face ad showcasing the very buff and manly Terry Crews in a fight with a mini-manly Crews whisker on his face. Another effort to combine humor with you MUST pay attention to me message. It’s weird, but it works. Just like their self-proclamations you find when checking out he Classic Old Spice product line. The theme of longevity is applauded with the tagline “It will still be around, even after Nuclear fallout” while reiterating that Classic Old Spice Cologne helped the world procreate and prosper. Classic is right!

old spice 6

Continuity abounds, right down to the pop-ups that push the manly-to-the-max and proud of it theme with “Make Your Eyeballs Smell Good” , or “Let Our Server Make Love to Your Computer” CTA tags for their Videos and Downloads sections. Their social media reach is extensive and popular, with several platforms engaging deeply with fans and followers, all while promoting their manly appeal and impressive product lines. Every channel purports the same message of smelling good while doing manly things is OK!                                                                              old spice 7

In the end, the very creative and effective marketing campaigns Old Spice foists upon the world may not appeal to everyone, but the people who appreciate this audacious approach can also relate to the themes they exploit. So, the next time you smell or wear an Old Spice product, be grateful you are alive and remember to thank your Grandpa!

 old spice 8

 

KFC Chicken Corsage…Why Stop There?

As I prepared for my son’s Senior Prom, I started looking on the internet for a corsage for his date. I came across one of the funniest and most intriguing corsages I have ever seen: The KFC Chicken Corsage.

KFC 2

Yes, that’s right! A corsage that is made with a chicken drumstick as the centerpiece. The two-minute advertisement that promotes this new item is purposely awkward as the pretty date receives an “Original Recipe” drumstick, surrounded by baby’s breath on a wristlet. The girl replies that the corsage “smells so good”.  Oh my!  Too funny.  At the prom, when the boy closes in on the girl for a kiss, she leans over and takes a bite out of the drumstick corsage instead. It is a quirky, but very creative marketing stunt!

The Kentucky based KFC joined forces with local florist Nanz and Kraft to create the Limited Edition KFC Chicken Corsage for a mere $20.00, which is less than what the smallest wristlet corsage cost in my neighborhood. Don’t fret…if your date prefers Extra Crispy or Grilled Chicken, it can be made! How is it possible that the chicken will be fresh? When you order the corsage, it comes as a kit. According to the florist’s website:

“Chicken not included (duh.). Each corsage kit includes a $5 KFC gift check, so you can customize your corsage with Original Recipe, Extra Crispy or Kentucky Grilled Chicken. Whichever best matches her dress. Local corsages will have fresh baby’s breath and out-of-town corsages will have silk baby’s breath.”

 Choosing chicken that “best matches her dress” is a riot! The language is consistent between the florist’s website and KFC’s, with a tongue-in-cheek tone. As of today, the first 100 Limited Edition KFC Chicken Corsages were SOLD OUT. A second batch of 100 is now available “due to the popularity of poultry”.  Whew! I was worried for a moment.

 

KFC friesKFC 5

This effective marketing campaign got me thinking about how KFC can expand on the edible prom accessories theme. Maybe next year they can offer a KFC French Fry Boutonniere, the KFC Chicken Tenders Necklace with Dipping-Sauce Locket, cool KFC Hot Wings Earrings, or perhaps the KFC Biscuit Bowtie.  This way both boys AND girls can eat their accoutrements.

KFC

Why stop there? KFC can propose a KFC-Wrapper Prom Dress Contest. You know…the best dress made with KFC food wrappers will get an all-expenses paid prom night. People who are talented enough to make a dress out of KFC wrappers would go crazy for a contest like that. Talk about exposure.

Or KFC can expand into edible arrangements for proms, weddings and special events. Can you imagine a giant edible chicken finger arrangement, dotted with other KFC products on a stick, as the centerpiece? If a chicken corsage sells out, then why not expand on the idea to include other ways to sell KFC products. It is way-out concepts like this that made the KFC Chicken Corsage a success.

Q

If KFC would like to hear some more of my possible marketing ideas, I am open and willing to work with KFC’s Marketing Agency: Quantum Communications (QtheAgency), or with KFC themselves. I like their Wilder way of thinking!

Helpless but not Hopeless

pi 1pi 2

Faced with the challenge of connecting two films that have wildly diverse themes: Isolation from human interaction and digital interaction overload, I settled in for a night of movie watching and note taking. To represent the theme of isolation, the film Life of Pi was chosen. To represent the theme of interaction overload, the movie The Internship was on deck. What I experienced that night made me laugh, cry and in the end, left me with the belief that just because you are helpless, it doesn’t mean that you are hopeless.

The main character of the Life of Pi is a boy named Piscine “Pi” Patel. Pi overcame bullying and religious confusion during his primary school years, to become a young man who “just wanted to love God”.  While growing up on the family Zoo in India, he was a Hindu vegetarian who recognized parts of the Islam and Christian religions to love God in his own way. The sale of the Zoo and transport of the animals, one of which included a special Tiger named Richard Parker, and Pi’s family to Canada on a Japanese tanker, resulted in a life changing experience.

A shipwreck caused the Japanese tanker to sink. Pi found himself adrift in a lifeboat with a zebra with a broken leg, a hyena and an orangutan. Soon, the hyena attacked the other animals, as hyenas would normally do in the wild, only to be eaten by Richard Parker the Bengal Tiger, who was hiding under the lifeboat’s tarp. I wiped away tears as I watched this poignant and mesmerizing film unfold. Pi felt helpless when he realized that he was stranded in the middle of the Pacific Ocean on a lifeboat with a man-killing Tiger. But was he hopeless? No.

pi 4

Switching gears to The Internship film, a comedy starring Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson as salesmen co-workers, I also wiped away tears, but from laughter. These two forty-something salesmen lost their sales job when the watch company they worked for went out of business. In desperate need of employment, they realized needed to be part of the new digital era. An application for an internship at Google accepted by the Google panel when the men used an “out-of-the-box” method of thinking. I thought to myself, they were employing traditional sales tactics of changing a negative into a positive with genuine enthusiasm. Funny interview and well done. They were on their way to Google.

Billy (Vaughn) and Nick (Wilson) quickly finds out how complex and competitive the new digital era is with strange, new rules. What do you mean you can’t take home from work salsa, chips, pudding, sushi, ice cream and pizza? No drinking with the boss? Or dating co-workers? Very funny Green Paddle, Red Paddle scene. Predictably, the weird old guys were left out when voluntary groups were assembled, along with other (more) geeky interns. These quirky salesmen felt helpless amongst this group of young, misfit techies. But were they hopeless? No.

pi 5

In both movies, although they are grossly different, they did share a common thread: overcoming adversity. Hope, perseverance, determination and sheer will motivated the men to survive. Pi survived the shipwreck and 227 days isolated at sea. Billy and Nick survived the slow death of watch salesmen and embraced the digital era. The men may have been helpless, but not hopeless, which made them stronger people in the end.

Doberhuahua Brouhaha

There were a vast array of Super Bowl ads that gained the attention of the social media world, as well as the admiration of millions of viewers. In my opinion, there were some awful ads (Chobani YogurtGoDaddyMazerati), and a few great ones (Budweiser, T-Mobile, Chevy), but the most original ad was Audi’s Doberhuahua spot.

When I saw this ad, I nearly spit out my beer laughing so hard. The sports bar where I was watching the game was crowded and loud, so the ads message didn’t carry well, but the image of those weird science-experiment-gone-wrong, mix-breed dogs caught my attention. The buzz about the odd commercial created a viral Doberhuahua Brouhaha. I wanted to see what all the talk was about, which had to wait until after the game.

I had the opportunity to view the Doberhuahua ad again the next day in the quiet of my living room. The message of “compromise is bad” did come through but the automobile that was “designed without compromise” , the Audi A3 was overshadowed by the creepy dog. A split-second look at the Audi A3 logo on the car, followed by the last screen announcement of the Audi A3, and that’s all the branding within the commercial that was displayed, at least that is all I saw. The advertisement was creative and visually stimulating with a memorable dog creature but it did not connect the product with the message.

dober3

An informal survey amongst friends, family and co-workers (two weeks after I first saw the ad during the Super Bowl) resulted in a good news-bad news scenario for Audi.

Survey results: Doberhuahua Survey

Good News

Question:

Do you remember the Super Bowl Doberhuahua commercial?

Results:

19 out of 20 surveyed not only remembered the ad, but thought it was very funny.

Bad News

Question:

Do you remember what the product was in this commercial?

Results:

Zero, not one person, could remember that it was an Audi commercial. Three (3) thought it might be a car ad, but was not sure.

Oddly enough, during conversations about memorable car ads, 12 people mentioned that Audi’s Quattro commercials (featuring a sour tow truck driver who is lamenting about the one that “eluded” him) to be very memorable. A much better job connecting the message and the brand’s product over the Doberhuahua ad.

Dober2

In the end, the mixed reviews about memorability, message and brand can be useful tools in tweaking messaging and branding in future ads. If all ads that Audi create can be as attention-grabbing as the Doberhuahua spot and as good at connecting message with the brand, then it will hit the mark more squarely on the nose.

Medtech Marketing and the Mountains

Rolling range

Marketing medical devices and products is a challenging and tricky job. Oftentimes the medical products I promote help save lives or assist medical professionals with their surgeries and procedures, but can be a dry subject to broach. It takes an enormous amount of creativity to make medical merchandise look exciting enough to entice a client to want to learn more (or ideally) purchase the product, no matter which marketing methods are used.

Recently, the Medtech distribution company I work for adopted a marketing campaign to spread the good word about the products we offer using social media. This is a daunting task since we have to start from scratch. Not only does starting a social media marketing campaign require substantial time and effort, the planning and effective execution of ideas and initiatives tend to have a brain-draining effect. The mind is always on trying to tweak a proposal, think up the next, best slogan or how to expand brand awareness.

I am always willing to learn techniques and tips on how to make our social media marketing campaign better, and sometimes I overwhelm myself with information overload. My weekends are usually filled with chores and homework and marketing campaigns, and this weekend was no different. However, while in the mountains this past Saturday, I learned a valuable lesson concerning social media and Medtech marketing. This is the story about that lesson.

2013-11-02_14-31-32_139

Early Saturday morning, slivers of sunshine shone through the trees as we drove up the hill to my Conway NH mountain dwelling, brightening the day enough to unload a heavily-packed pick-up. After the 2-hour ride from my Massachusetts home, I was eager to get out and get started. The agenda was pregnant with many tasks, including yard clean-up, anti-freezing our pipes and getting the place ready for winter, not to mention the marketing campaign I needed to work on that night. I dropped out of the truck burdened with what lay ahead while my husband whistled and cheerfully undid rope-ties and bungee cords.

Billy 4-wheeling

My dog jumped from the backseat of the truck to sniff out the property and hunt down fragrant possibilities. The supplies needed to perform our duties were set on the picnic table in our front yard while the food and warm clothing we brought was taken inside. Lastly, our 4-Wheeler was driven off and gassed up ready to transport firewood to the pit. So began our day.

Happy Zebo by the Saco

First-things first: our dog needed to trek a block away to the Saco River to dip into the cold, rushing water. This has become a habit since he was a puppy and barely tall enough to swim. Ooooh, the swish and feel of the river water made my dog smile (yes, smile), and the joy of his happiness made us laugh out-loud. Ten minutes turned into twenty, then sixty, and before we knew it, more than hour and ½ went by. I snapped a few shots with my camera, soaked in the warmth of the sun (which had now risen over the tree line), and sat arm-in-arm with my husband on a drift-log abandoned on the beach. I felt better already, less stressed and lighter. We both knew we had work to do and we reluctantly went back to the house with the intent of getting our chores finished.

Camp Fire

Once back at camp we started a fire to dry off our dog and burn the trash. With the temperatures now rising to an out-of-the-norm range of 50 degrees on an early November morning, we were tempted to abandon our chores and take the 4-Wheeler for a scoot around the trails. We promised ourselves that we will take advantage of the empty grove once the yard was cleaned and home winterized, but a small jaunt wouldn’t hurt, would it? We let the fire burn down and secured our pet before succumbing to the call of the 4-Wheeler. Fighting against guilty urges for abandoning our original plan, we quickly packed a picnic lunch and headed off down the groves trails and out to the expansive fields behind our property.

IMG_20131102_153040

As each minute passed, our guilt became a distant memory. The 4-Wheeler whizzed through the tress and over green fields. The sun glared down heating up to an unseasonal 70 degrees. It was a treat be able to strip down to a t-shirt and jeans in November in the mountains. My face beamed with delight as we took turns racing through the woods, jumping over berms and getting air, screaming “Wahoo!” like a kid.

Secret hiding place

Finding a resting-spot was easy since we had (what seemed like) the whole mountain to ourselves since we have been riding for a few hours without seeing another human. We chose a sunny spot at the edge of a field with the beautiful White Mountains in the background and the Saco River at our side.

Lunch wagon!

We ate, drank a few beers, laughed, kissed, told stories we both heard many times to each other and laughed some more. I snapped a few shots of the scenery and of us and embraced the moment. What joy!

Milk pods, river beds and grassy hills.

By the time we made it back to our home, our dog was ready for another swim in the river. We decided to take him back down to the water and set up on the beach so he can be as happy as we were. For the first time all day, we ran into other people. Our neighbors were also up North to winterize their camp, and they had two energetic pups our dog engaged with, much to his delight. Seeing my 10-year old dog play like we was a young puppy was just blissful.

With the sun setting quicker than we wanted, the air cooling off quicker than expected and the beers disappearing quicker than we anticipated, we decided to get back to the house and settle in for the night. We trudged back to the house, made a fat-belly dinner, ate like kings and made plans for doing our chores on Sunday. The sun finally set behind naked trees and called to the on-coming night. Our bodies were simply exhausted from the day’s activities, but our minds were (oddly) completely refreshed! We decided to get to bed early and start at dawn in the morning to deal with the tasks at hand. And we did just that.

View from camp

What does all this have to do with Medtech marketing and social media?  Absolutely nothing! But don’t fret, I did say that I learned a valuable lesson, and I did. When one is over-worked, stressed out and has what seems like an insurmountable amount of work to do, sometimes a bit of goofing off does wonders for the soul. We did our chores on Sunday with vigor, I worked on my marketing campaign with a fresh outlook, and I am now writing this blog to show just how much a little unplanned joy can change attitudes and mindsets.

I truly believe that if we did our chores on that warm November Saturday instead of taking time to enjoy the day, I would not be writing this blog, I would not attack my marketing work with a clear mind and I wouldn’t be ready for the week’s work ahead. So the lesson is to take time to enjoy the simple things, like 4-Wheeling, hanging out with your dog and beers by the river, before tackling the challenging tasks in your life, like Medtech marketing using social media. Good lesson indeed!

To Sneak in a Peaceful Moment…

Image

Unplugging. The act of literally unplugging (or turning off) all devices, TVs, music players, or anything electric that demands our attention is difficult for most people nowadays, especially for the well-connected. Information overload is common with a constant stream of data, news, gossip, emails, tweets, posts and requests coming directly into our lives through the technology we use. I unplugged on a warm, sunny autumn afternoon and went forward with the unplugging experiment at hand.

Armed with a big wine glass filled with cold, clear ice cubes and sparkling Cupcake Prosecco, I staked out a serene spot on my back patio where I could unwind. As I walked over to the wicker love seat set up against an old-fashioned fieldstone wall, the sound of the ice clinking together in my wine glass sounded like wind chimes on breezy morning. This sound made me smile. As I took a sip of the glorious, sparkling liquid in my glass, the smell of the Prosecco was crisp and sharp; the taste…smooth and fruity. The bubbles danced on my tongue as I savored the sweet, fizzy wine before swallowing that mouthful of joy. I settled down onto the love seat with my wine glass in hand, and I pulled three big pillows in around me, which created a feeling of my own cozy, backyard nook.

The afternoon was slowly fading away, but the sun was warm and steady as it bounced off of the fieldstone wall and back onto the love seat where I was seated. The heat generated from the sun’s reflection on the stones made me feel toasty and comfortable, even on a mid-October day. I turned my face toward the glowing rays and closed my eyes as I soaked in pure happiness. I sighed heavily and relaxed more deeply into the cushy love seat, with my smile wide and my mind wide open. I cleared my head from all the day’s stresses and concentrated on the warmth of the sun. It was a glorious snapshot in time.

As the minutes ticked by, I slowly sipped my wine and listened to what was going on around me. I heard families of birds chirping wildly as they prepared for a cold night. I perceived the swish of leaves swirling to the ground, falling from the Mighty Oak in my back yard. I recognized the continuous buzz of stink bugs (but thankfully, did not smell them) as the sun started to set. Even the occasional sound of passing cars on the street in front of my house could not snap me out of this delightful experience.

I opened my eyes after what seemed like days to see that the sun had slipped behind the trees, and a coolness settled into the air. With my Prosecco almost finished, I reluctantly left my comfy corner of paradise and went inside for a sweater. To my surprise, an hour had passed, and I felt refreshed and happy. Just as quickly as my backyard escapade began, it ended as life intruded and needed my attention. What I did learn from this experiment is that unplugging definitely had it benefits. It allowed me to enjoy well-deserved time alone and to sneak in a peaceful moment.