The StickMonkey hands a banana to Grey Goose

DirigibleWe make brand choices because they tell us stories. The stories help us to fit these brands into our worldview. Some brands tell us a stories that make us want to live vicariously in their worldview. Gray Goose vodka does that for me with its latest commercial.

Yes, please. I’d like to escape my mundane life for a little while. Casablanca projected on cumulus clouds from the vantage point of a dirigible?

I think that’ll do the trick.

And, what better way to enjoy the evening than with a martini? Gray Goose vodka, of course. Made with ice captured from the top of a mountain as the dirigible flies by.

Shaken, not stirred.

So sayeth the StickMonkey.

The StickMonkey flings poop at the growing trend of gratuitous profanity in article headlines

Photo by r d h, CC BY 4.0.

Photo by r d h, CC BY 4.0.

It’s like getting poked in the eye as I scroll through my the Medium Daily Digest.

Blam! There’s another “Shit.”

Doink! “There’s “Fucking” again.

I’m not prude. Profanity doesn’t offend me. I’ll use both of these words today. But it won’t be in a headline.

Hey, pay attention!

“Shit” or “Fucking” captures your attention. It sure captures my attention. If you put it in a headline, I assume you have something important to say.

Alas, it turns out you are just regurgitating a tired subject. You punctuated your headline with profanity because it extracted your signal from the noise.

You just shot your wad and I hope you got something out of it. I won’t fall for it a second time. Profanity is not a cure for mundaneness.

I’ll say it again. I have no issue with the use of profanity when it’s appropriate. When is that?

Guy Kawasaki summed it up best in his book Enchantment. In Chapter 2, he writes that you can achieve likability by swearing. But, then he clarifies what he means. He observes that, “…when used regularly, profanity loses its effectiveness.”


I’ve seen a growing stream of “Shit” and Fucking” show up in my Medium Daily Digest emails. Is this a reflection of Medium?

Hardly. Medium is currently the hot spot for anyone who wants to get their writing in front of a lot of people. The website’s About page describes it as “a place where everyone has a story to share…” and assures you that it “sifts the best of these for you and delivers them directly onto your home page.”

Last month, that was almost 63 million visits.

You might need some help to amplify your signal through that noise. “Shit” or “Fucking” could help you there. Especially if you don’t have anything new or interesting to say. You need all the help you can get.

Profanity in your headlines to grow readership isn’t a sustainable marketing strategy. As Guy Kawasaki says, “Swearing is bullsh*t.” I agree with him – especially when he adds that, “Profanity is a sign that you’re inarticulate, if not clueless, so rarely use it…”

(To be clear, Guy Kawasaki made these last two remarks in reference to social media. Feel free to fling poop at me if you fail to see the relevance.)

Pump up the volume

We all want what we write to resonate. We want it read by everyone. As many people as possible. “Shit” and “Fucking” turns up the volume on your megaphone. But how many readers will tune you out forever when they discover that you tricked them with some psychological napalm?

You’ll see me put “Shit” or “Fucking” in a headline about as often as you see Halley’s Comet in the night sky.

I’m  not offended by your use of profanity in headlines, but I do find it offensive. It’s gratuitous. It’s stopped being novel. It’s fast becoming just another flavor of noise.

So sayeth the StickMonkey.

The StickMonkey hands a banana to Mauro Porcini

Who’s that?

Mr. Porcini is a senior vice president and and chief design officer at PepsiCo. Read this interview he gave about how building better brands can change the world.

Twitter Image

Twitter Image












Much of what he says resonates with me. One point hits it home.

“…we live in a society where people are consumers of stories more than of products or services. A product is like a body, but a body without personality is just an empty shell: the brand is what marketing has invented to give a personality to that product.”

A brand has no value unless it creates relevance. The value to customers is not gross sales or marketshare. Customers couldn’t care less about that. They’re looking for validation. They want stories.

We listen to them. We try them on and see if they fit our worldview. If we find them comfortable, we take ownership of them. Because companies don’t own their brands. We do.

So sayeth the StickMonkey.

The StickMonkey has a new seat assignment preference

This is the way to take your ascent to the next level.

Why watch a movie when you can watch the heavens? It’s a concept developed by Windspeed Technologies that adds a skylight to private or commercial passenger aircraft.

It might be a while before we can catch a view like this.

A scan of the company’s website indicates the SkyDeck must be part of the design and construction of new aircraft. It doesn’t look as if these teardrop aerodynamic domes will come to existing fleets.

I first came across this new in-flight entertainment future option in the Robb Report. When you see something there, you know it’s expensive. The article says this little upgrade to your aircraft will only set you back about $8 million to $25 million.

The commercial airline industry could jump in on this upgrade idea. They’re all about generating more money from extra fees. They made an estimated $38 billion this way last year.

Maybe they could use SkyDecks to make more money, and cut back on those extra baggage fees. Who am I kidding?

So sayeth the StickMonkey.

The StickMonkey looks through Pantone’s rose quartz colored glasses

Pantone, has come out with their color of the year for 2016. For the first time, the self-proclaimed global authority on color has selected two.

2016, they say, is the year of rose quartz, and serenity. The corresponding Pantone color IDs are PANTONE 13-1520 & PANTONE 15-3919.

Why do we need a color of the year? (Or in this case, two of them?) Pantone explains:

“A symbolic color selection; a color snapshot of what we see taking place in our culture that serves as an expression of a mood and an attitude.”

The Pantone website goes into more detail about this year’s two color selections. , and even offers a YouTube video – in case you still don’t get it.

Websites everywhere will soon be shades of rose quartz and serenity. Who knew serenity was even a color?

So sayeth the StickMonkey.