Thursday, May 31, 2012


by Robert Bidinotto.


Advertising and marketing in the twenty-first century must follow rules quite different from those that worked well only a decade or two ago. Barry Adelman, master consulting agent with Monopolize Your Marketplace, gave a paying audience at the Orange County Chamber of Commerce on May 23, 2012, a detailed analysis of these new rules for successful advertising and marketing. He had gotten interested in modern marketing when he found the traditional approaches had lost effectiveness.

The essence of successful marketing is to “find out what’s important to your prospects and talk about that in your marketing.” You need to have something to say; say it well; say it often. What you say will help determine the “outside perception” of your “inside reality,“ the quality of your product or service and of your overall performance. You need to have an inside reality of true worth and then work to get the outside perception to be correct. There are no good “tricks” to avoid doing this and still succeed.

The current problem for advertisers is the plethora of advertising messages delivered to customers from sites unavailable fifty years ago: many more TV channels, more publications, the Internet– together bombarding potential consumers with more than ten times the number of messages formerly delivered. How can you stand out? The point is not to just stand out, but to help the prospective buyer make the best decision possible when buying your product or service.

The old formula for ad creation was: creativity and repetition. Something clever, repeated over and over again, like Wendy’s “Where’s the beef?” or McDonald’s “You deserve a break today.”

Repetition figuratively branded the message onto the neurons of the public mind. There are few current slogans of comparable familiarity. It is too expensive to make oneself heard so repetitively now.

Even where repetition is avoided, advertising too often relies on mere platitudes, unsupported claims that lack specificity and credibility. “Highest quality” … says who? “Reliable”…you would hope so. Such vague claims fail to assist the consumer in crossing the confidence gap, assuring the potential buyer of getting the best deal. Most advertising is simply a menu board list of what is available to buy. The advertiser is in essence saying, “Buy it from me for no justifiable reason.“ No one is building a case for why/how they offer the best “deal.“ Human nature demands that we want the best deal possible, but few advertisers help us make that decision. Effective advertising and marketing takes the prospects from thinking that they might like X to deciding to buy X and buy it from you now.

To bridge the confidence gap, Adelman presented the “marketing equation,”

Interrupt + Engage + Educate + Offer = Sales & Profits

Interrupt: get their attention, with your “headline,“ hit their “hot buttons.”

Engage: keep interested those whose attention you have captured.

Educate: provide enough information for an informed decision.

Offer: give something in return for the prospect’s action.

Your ad should take the viewer from the Alpha Mode [not paying attention] to the Beta Mode [mentally engaged] to Reticular Activation [compellingly engaged-by material that is familiar, odd or unusual, or problematic].

Activators take their recipients from a lesser to a greater degree of mental involvement: a baby’s crying, clock’s alarm, a familiar scent, a song from one’s youth….

“Hot buttons” are activators with emotional content, such as problems needing to be solved. What might be hot buttons for LASIK eye surgery? Potential customers might fear eye damage, pain, cost…. An effective LASIK ad would address these concerns clearly and credibly. Unfortunately, such ads are harder to write than those with glittering generalities, but they pay off.

Adelman’s talk was received with enthusiasm. More information was made available via various media and possible memberships. I bought a book, Monopolize Your Marketplace, written by a colleague of his, Richard Harshaw; it goes into various elements of Barry Adelman‘s presentation in greater detail.

Contact information: Barry Adelman:,
(845) 469.0900.

Friday, May 18, 2012



The Contented Achiever: How to Get What You Want and Love What You Get
[by Chris Crouch, Don Hutson, and George Lucas] is a book I recently purchased for my Amazon Kindle ebook reader. Much of it revolves around a discussion of being contented or not, successful or not, two important characteristics of human life. I agreed with most of it and recommend it to you highly.

In the ongoing game of life, we play the cards we are dealt. We seem to win or lose. We respond both to winning or losing and to how well we feel are playing the game. “It’s not whether you win or lose, but how you played the game” is one approach. “Winning is everything” is another.

Our external results are conventionally labeled “success” or “failure,” and are measured in terms of money, fame, power, honor…. Our internal state of mind can be characterized as falling between “fulfillment” and “frustration,” largely affected by our personal evaluation of our degree of success. In his poem “If,” Rudyard Kipling advises us to meet triumph and disaster with equanimity, to “treat those two impostors just the same.” Hard to do.

The Contented Achiever's authors, Crouch and crew, present a chart with degree of fulfillment running vertically (y-axis) and degree of success running horizontally (x-axis). This gives four quadrants, which they use to illustrate types of outcomes.

High success and low satisfaction (“I can’t get no satisfaction“) typify many soap-opera types, Unhappy Beautiful People. They have it all, except happiness. Avoid this.

Low success and low satisfaction typify life’s losers, “Tar Pit People,“ some with well-earned unhappiness, some merely victims.

Low success and high satisfaction describe the group the authors labeled “Oxymoron People,” because not succeeding and yet being happy seems contradictory. The authors noted, “Oxymoron People may be artists, writers, engineers, parents of a dozen foster children….they are living the life they choose and feeling happy….” Viewed from their own perspective, they have redefined “success” and moved into our fourth category.

“Contented Achievers” have succeeded and are satisfied. Be there, if you can, and most of us can. Ambitious, but not infeasible, goals and a philosophical approach to life can put one here.

I have written this for the readers of partly because Asian Americans, such as my step-children, are among America’s most successful groups, and deserve to enjoy satisfaction, rather than enduring dissatisfaction from the gap between their achievements and their aspirations.


To be submitted to


Douglas Winslow Cooper, Ph.D., is the author of Ting and I: A Memoir of Love, Courage, and Devotion, available from,, and Outskirts Press. He is a freelance writer and a book-writing mentor. Contact:



Saturday, May 12, 2012


I asked my dear wife, Tina Su Cooper, whether a man should buy a Mother’s Day card for his wife, the mother of their children. It got me thinking more about the question of who should buy one for whom.

Naturally, I bought a Mother’s Day card for my own mother, now 95 and living with us. If Tina’s mom were still alive, she would certainly have gotten one, too.

My mother got a M. Day card from two of her grandchildren. The card was specifically designed to be given to Grandma. We get cards from this family for many occasions. Perhaps they like sending cards; perhaps they hope to be remembered in our wills; perhaps….

My sister bought a card to be given to my wife on M. Day, to be signed by my sister and my mother. “She’s not my mother” was my own mother’s comment, though she loves my wife deeply. [Mom is Old School.] True enough, but the opportunity to send something warm to a heroic, quadriplegic sister-in-law and daughter-in-law trumped cold, rational analysis. Sentiment prevailed.

A former nurse of ours sent Tina a Mother’s Day card, lovingly inscribed, happily received. She had adapted a “Thinking of You” card, appropriately enough.

I guess you can send a card to any woman who is a mother, if you wish. “You don’t have to be a reindeer to send out Christmas cards” I commented. I liked the sound of it. The Hallmark Card Company would agree. Many cards cost about as much as a paperback book, and they later take up space in one’s correspondence file, yet are frequently too pretty fo throw away. I save the best ones, especially those with extended comments.

My dear spouse’s answer to my question about a husband’s sending his wife such a card was, “Do whatever you want.” I knew what that meant. Listening between the lines, I bought a beautiful one for her. Few deserve it more.

Sunday, May 6, 2012


From Ting and I: A Memoir...

Tina has exceptionally good hearing. She was tops in a hearing test given in second grade in Monroe County, NY, which includes the city of Rochester.

As did Beethoven, I am going deaf. There any similarity ends. My hearing is fair to poor, progressively requiring me to ask people to repeat themselves. Tina is very soft-spoken. You can begin to see problems. We’ve tried various technological fixes, but it is hard to watch the same TV programs together. Loud enough for me is too loud for Tina. Closed captioning helps, though it is an on-screen distraction.

My mother arrived in our household in November 2010. She admits to being “deaf as a post,” a humorous overstatement. If you yell into her right ear, she can hear you. An expensive hearing aid makes an undramatic and tinny-sounding increase in volume. The best thing so far is the $25 electronic megaphone I got last year and used with her in her own house and now sometimes in our house, especially to deliver my longer messages.

Deafness means Mom misses or mis-hears much of what goes on around her. The once-brilliant mind is not getting the proper input. Blindness would limit her more, but deafness is a real barrier to interpersonal relations.

My vision problems that cannot be corrected with glasses (cataracts, epiretinal membranes) are not limiting at present, except for reading the fine print; but they are expected to worsen, in which case I will need assistance.

For Father’s Day, younger son Phil bought me a Kindle (electronic book), which I love. The text size can be adjusted for comfort and many of the available titles can be “read” audibly by the device’s text-to-speech feature.

I read fifty or so books in the first six months I had the Kindle. For Christmas elder son Ted gave Tina one. She has listened to This Is China, a compact history of that important nation. Our latest technological addition has been an Internet wireless streaming device (Roku), which, when combined with our computer and the home’s WiFi set-up, allows easy instant access to myriad movies, using our Netflix subscription. Tina and I enjoyed several movies together within weeks of setting it up, with Phil’s help.

As technology continues to improve, the impact of our disabilities will decrease. Even if Tina is not healed, as we pray and hope she will be, some wonderful invention may help her enjoy her life more.