Marketing, Motherhood, and Mayhem

Falling only makes you stronger….

January 10th, 2014 by Deb McLean

P&G’s commercial tugs at the heart strings of Moms (and Dads) everywhere as we look forward to the upcoming Winter Olympics in February.  We’ve all picked our kids up from a fall on the ice, the neighborhood sidewalk or the volleyball court.  That’s what we do as parents.  It sometimes breaks our hearts,  but we all know that when our children fall, they’ll get back up.  It’s part of living and learning. 

This campaign is classic “equity advertising” which doesn’t speak to a specific product’s benefits, but enhances an emotional tie to a company.  P&G did a beautiful job with this commercial and these positive feelings will translate to P&G’s iconic brands.

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Creepy Old Spice Commercial is Hilarious

January 8th, 2014 by Deb McLean

Great creative advertising is something that folks will bring up in conversation long after it’s aired.  This commercial is one of those for me.  Yes it’s creepy and funny.  But I’m confident that recall will be very high and it speaks to consumers today like the “old” Old Spice commercials used to decades ago.  Well done!


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Reputation Management

August 22nd, 2013 by Deb McLean

Today is very different than when many of us were children.  As I reflect back on my college days, I’m thankful that Social Media was not what it is today.  In today’s world, the lens of society through Social Media is everywhere.  Whether it’s a company and their product, an athlete or a young adult that is caught on someone’s iPhone making a bad choice.  ALL must view their brand as a trademark; an asset that must be protected while continuously molding and shaping it.

We must educate the next generation about Reputation Management.  The more intelligently people and products use social media, the more they will use them in a productive way.  Tell your kids not to tweet about anything that they wouldn’t want their future employer to see as a first impression.  Reputations rise and fall in spectatular ways online.  Manage your brand and thus your reputation.

social media

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What I’ve learned in 50+ years…in case you missed them….

July 18th, 2013 by Deb McLean

What I’ve learned in 50+ years…
1. Don’t Blink.
2. What goes around comes around – this applies to marketing concepts, how you treat people and fashion!
3. The First Order of Business is to listen.
4. Smile, people smile back
5. Keep kids too busy to get in trouble.
6. Success comes from working well with others.
7. In marriage, it’s important to never be crazy at the same time.
8. Enjoy what you do for a living, it’s a third of your day.
9. Keep the Faith, whatever it is.
10. Enjoy the ride.

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Whatever you are, be a good one…

June 6th, 2013 by Deb McLean

I recently realized my beloved father didn’t make this quote up himself, but instead borrowed it from one of my other heroes.  He used it a great deal as I was growing up.  Today is graduation day for a number of young people that hold special places in my heart.  I know they are all destined to do great things.  but I encourage you to remember a very simple quote that speaks volumes:

“Whatever you are, be a good one.” (Abraham Lincoln)

Good luck and God bless you all.  graduation_cap_and_diploma



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Worst End of School Year Mom Ever – repost

June 5th, 2013 by Deb McLean

This is a truly funny article written by Jen Hatmaker.  I originally read it on Huffington Post, but feel free to check out her writings at

If you’re a Mom, I’m sure you can relate this time of year.  If you’re a Mom and you can’t relate then you’re probably kidding yourself.   Enjoy!  Deb

By Jen Hatmaker

You know the Beginning of School Enthusiasm? When the pencils are fresh and the notebooks are new and the kids’ backpacks don’t look like they lined the den of a pack of filthy hyenas? Moms, remember how you packed innovative and nutritional lunches and laid clothes out the night before and labeled shelves for each child’s work and school correspondence and completed homework in a timely manner?

I am exactly still like that at the end of school, except the opposite.

We are limping, limping across the finish line, folks. I tapped out somewhere in April and at this point, it is a miracle my kids are still even going to school. I haven’t checked homework folders in three weeks, because, well, I just can’t. Cannot. Can. Not. I can’t look at the homework in the folder. Is there homework in the folder? I don’t even know. Are other moms still looking in the homework folder? I don’t even care.


Blog folder

Last signature: April 26th. I’m good at other things.

I feel like any sort of school energy required at this point is pure oppression, like the universe is trying to destroy me. I’m so tiiiiiiiiired and I have five kids and that is just too many to educate well. I can only handle around two, so I’m going with Sydney and Caleb because they both like to read and the other three are just going to have to enroll in Life Skills Class one day and develop a trade.

Yesterday, Remy brought her books to me at bedtime — an hour notable for its propensity to incite rage and trauma — and chirped, “We need to read for 20 minutes!” and a little part of my soul died.

“No, we don’t have to read tonight.”


“We already read.”


“When I talk to you during the day, that’s like reading. You have to listen to the words I am saying and then make sense of them. It’s really hard work for you. It’s called auditory reading. We’ve been practicing all day. I’ll write the minutes down in your log.”

My friend Glennon over at Momastery described nighttime reading like this: “The little one wants to ‘help read’ her book. So, let’s see. It takes her about six minutes to sound out each word, and so if the book is one hundred words, well, I don’t specialize in math but I am telling you that I am stuck in that room FOREVER. It feels like I will be reading that book with Amma until I die.”

UNTIL WE DIE. Children should not be allowed to learn to read until they are already good at it. And why do we have to do this at bedtime when I’m one click away from becoming that scary under-the-bed-mother in “Mama” (GO TO BED OR I AM ACTUALLY GOING TO DIE AND THEN HAUNT YOU FOR THE REST OF YOUR LIFE AS A TERRIFYING CLOWN.) I know having an emerging reader is exciting. Because of the reading! And the literacy! But at the end of the school year, when I’ve logged approximately 688 million hours with such gripping plots like The mother and the brother went to the store, which takes 12 minutes to decode, then I have to look at the ceiling and sing hymns in my brain to get through it.

Then Ben tells me Tuesday that he needs a Ben Franklin costume for the Living History Museum today, and I’m like, What fresh hell is this?? I have no idea how I missed the correspondence on this (because I’m not checking backpacks is just a theory), but Brandon is the Costume and Project Parent and I am the Daily Grinder, which is a division of labor we agreed on to ensure our kids actually graduate one day and move out, but he is out of town on a mancation, so this is on me. I cannot even handle signing a folder in late May; a colonial costume is cause for full, unrestrained despair.

So, Ben went to school like this today, and there is no way this will ever not be a part of his childhood. Please note my scarf hanging out the bottom of his vest, as well as the soccer socks stretched over his Adidas pants. Just whatever, man.

Blog Ben 

“Mom, I should’ve picked a black character. Like Abraham Lincoln.” Bless it.

My shame was somewhat mitigated when I saw a kid wearing a random t-shirt and jeans with a pair of swim goggles around his neck (Michael Phelps) and another girl with a piece of paper taped to her shirt with her character’s name written in marker. I caught the eyes of their moms and was all solidarity, you guys.

Teachers, we need to make a deal that after April testing, we don’t have to do anything else. You don’t. I don’t. I don’t care if you watch movies in class five days a week and take four recesses a day. I mean, Caleb had to bring an “About Me” poster with five school days left in the year. In September, this might have produced something noteworthy, with pictures, perhaps, even some thoughtful components to describe his winning qualities, but as we’ve used up all our bandwidth, we yanked trash out of our actual trash can, glued it to a poster, and called it a day. I am not exaggerating when I tell you this is the very most we can do on May 29th. This is our best work:


Blog caveman

Note the caveman labels: DRINK, MOTORCYCLE, GAME, SHOP, FOOD.
End of school hard.

The emails coming in for All Of The Things — class gift, end of year letters, luncheon signup, party supplies, awards ceremonies, pictures for the slide shows, final projects — are like a tsunami of doom. They are endless. I mean, they will never ever end. There is no end of it. I will never finish and turn it all in and get it to the (correct) Room Mom and get it all emailed and I am pretty sure the final week of school will never be over and this is the end for me.

Brandon: “You don’t have to do all that, you know. Just blow it off.”

Me, staring blankly: “Well, what a lovely thought you’re having there in your brain. How nice for you to be thinking that thought. I want to live in your imaginary world where my failure to do the School Stuff doesn’t mean our kid is the only one not wearing a purple shirt or didn’t have his pictures in the slideshow or didn’t bring in a handmade card for his teacher like every other student. I’ll just ‘blow it off’ and our kids can work it out with their therapists later.”

Brandon: “Touchy.”

Me: “You don’t even know about all this, man.”

So, Mom out there sending Lunchables with your kid, making her wear shoes with holes because we’re.almost.there, practicing “auditory reading” with your first grader, I got your back, sister. We were awesome back in October; don’t you forget that. We used to care, and that counts for something. Next year’s teachers will get a fresher version of us in August, and they won’t even know the levels of suckage we will succumb to by May. Hang in there, Mama. Just a few more days until summer, when approximately 19 minutes into our glorious respite from homework, liberated from the crush of it all, ready to party like it’s 1999, our precious children, having whooped and celebrated and “graduated” and squealed all the way home will announce:

“I’m bored.”

This post originally appeared on

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Your Values Define you…

June 4th, 2013 by Deb McLean

At the end of this week, my little girl will be a senior in high school.  Where has the time gone?  It was just yesterday that she started kindergarten.  That was the first time I realized how independent and confident she was when she told me I didn’t need to walk her to class the first day…I told her I needed to… for me…not her :)

We’ll be doing college tours in a couple of weeks.  It’s a very exciting time.  Tim and I cherish every moment with Casey and although my heart aches already knowing that I won’t see her smiling face everyday, I know that I have to embrace this next phase for her (yes, it’s a whole year away, but I’m preparing myself, indulge me).  I take great comfort in the fact that Casey’s values are pretty grounded.  Whether in business or life and no matter how things change, your values always define you. I’m confident she’ll do fine. 

Casey 4 yrs old

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Remembering what’s really priceless…

May 27th, 2013 by Deb McLean

130521155230-one-time-use---ap-oklahoma-city-school-story-topI was working late, but had to run out to Publix to grab something for the next day. I was stressed out. Feeling work pressure and kind of feeling sorry for myself. I checked out and started to hustle out of the store back to my car so I could get back to working on a project (I should have completed two days ago). Something stopped me in my tracks…the front page of the newspaper with a man carrying his small child in his arms following the devastation of the tornados in Oklahoma.

Then I read about a family with an amazing attitude in the face of their destroyed home…

OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. — A little treasure in the debris of a home that once welcomed Rebecca Garland’s four grandchildren gave her such a delight as her friends and family scoured the mountain of rubble for any mementos left behind by Monday’s powerful tornado.“This is where we measured the kids’ height!” she exclaimed as her son Lee held up a piece of a wall showing the rising tick-marks as his three boys and little girl grew taller and taller — her “sugars,” she calls them. “Oh! Oh! … That’s priceless.”

I need to remind myself when I get caught up in what I think is important…it’s really not.  I mean working hard and doing a great job is certainly important, but finding something a simple as a piece of the wall where they measured their kids’ height…that’s priceless.

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How to move the Millenial Market

May 17th, 2013 by Deb McLean

Millennials (born between 1982 and 2004) make up the first generation that actually outsizes the wealthy, but aging boomers. So why are so many senior “Marketing Minds” missing the opportunity — and their piece of $200 billion in spending power?

Their habits are vastly different than many of the “Marketing Minds” that are trying to reach them.

  • They are tech-savvy – they aren’t drawn to the ads in magazines.  In fact, they don’t even read magazines or newspapers in the traditional sense if at all
  • They don’t sit in front of the TV, or even watch TV on a TV at all
  • Millennials spend a huge amount of their lives online – About 25 hours a week!  On smartphones (59%), on tablets (35%) and on their laptops (70%). As of 2011, 91% of millennials are regular internet users, according to Forrester Research.  My bet is it’s even higher today.

My seventeen year old daughter never puts down her iPhone unless it’s to pick up her laptop or iPad.

TV viewership is down and more fragmented than ever (don’t even mention DVRs) but it’s still getting a growing piece of the pie even for brands that are targeting these millenials.

Clearly, millennial consumers are way ahead of the marketers, who should be super-focused on winning them over to their brands and gaining their brand loyalty.

Those who decide to utterly embrace digital advertising in order to “own” millennials will end up being huge winners.

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Study Confirms Americans’ Spending up 9 Percent Since 2009

May 14th, 2013 by Deb McLean

U.S. consumers are spending again. After a prolonged lull following the 2008 recession’s historic spending lows, consumers are now spending about nine percent more than they did just four years ago. 

Gasoline, gift and healthcare spending have increased significantly, and the biggest spenders are men.

These are among the findings of the new Intuit Consumer Spending Index, from Intuit Inc., which provides a unique view into the U.S. economy. The Intuit Consumer Spending Index findings are based on anonymized, aggregated, transactional data from, Intuit’s online and mobile personal finance software.

The key takeaway? Americans are rebounding. The average household spent approximately $4,220 per month in the first three months of 2013 compared to $3,870 during the same period in 2009.

But I’m most excited about…

Growth in giving: Though overall spending has increased nine percent, a disproportionate amount of that is in gift giving and charitable donations, where Americans have become 47 percent more generous since 2009.

That’s especially good news

(Source: Business Wire, 05/08/13)

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