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February 2010

The Miracle Worker on Broadway

Helen Keller.Image via Wikipedia

For anyone visiting NYC this spring or summer, I highly recommend that you see "The Miracle Worker" on Broadway.  This production, starring Abigal Breslin, Alison Pill, Matthew Modine, Jennifer Morrison, Elizabeth Franz, Tobias Segal, Daniel Oreskes, Michael Cummings, Michael Cummings, Yvette Ganier and Lance Chantiles-Wertz is outstanding (I listed everyone in the show since each role deserves to be mentioned).

The Gibson play, presented in the round at the Circle in the Square Theater, allows the audience to be up close and personal  in this story of Hellen Keller's early life.  While we all know the story of Hellen Keller, you feel like you are sitting in the Keller's living room, with the related emotional struggle of the family unfolding in front of you.  Watching this family struggle with deafness and blindness, at a time when it was unclear how to work with a child that had these types of problems, is riveting.

The acting is first rate as you watch events unfold between Mr. and Mrs. Keller (Matthew Modine, Jennifer Morrison), Helen Keller (Abigal Breslin) and her teacher (Alison Pill).  "Watch" is an understatement as everyone in the audience becomes as emotionally engaged in the story as the actors themselves.

Congratulations to the entire cast, director Kate Whoriskey and everyone involved with this 50th Anniversary production.

Definitely one of the best experiences I've had on Broadway. I highly recommend that you see it before it is too late.

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Pepsi Misses The Super Bowl to Refresh

The current Pepsi logo (December 2008-).Image via Wikipedia

Pepsi will be one advertiser that is absent from the Super Bowl.  Instead of spending millions to grow the brand in front of 90 million+ people, they are devoting advertising resources to an online campaign called the Pepsi refresh project where money will be allocated to projects that help the greater good.

While there is nothing wrong with helping mankind, it appears odd that Pepsi would forgo the opportunity to appear in the same forum as their arch rival Coke.

The Pepsi brand definitely has momentum with their campaign that gives voice to those that are dis advantaged in some way. Pepsi has always been the brand that invites outsiders to be part of the mainstream. This campaign nicely reinforces that image.

However, for some reason, Pepsi always holds back at the very moment when it can surge ahead.  Coke has had confused marketing and brand positioning for years.  It's a shame that Pepsi hasn't been able to capitalize on this weakness in the category leader. 

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iPad Marketing Miss

Amazon Kindle e-book reader being held by my g...Image via Wikipedia

I've been thinking more about the iPad and why it seems to have missed the mark.  How does a great insightful company like Apple fail so badly.  Are past successes luck?  The iPad appears to be a symptom of a broken internal process or one that needs improvement.

As I was riding home on the train, I couldn't help but notice all  the commuters with their Kindles.  A device made for the book lover.  And then it hit me.

Compare the Kindle to the iPad in terms of center of the bulls-eye target audience appeal.  Often the core most passionate audience for a product helps to define it for others who care less or are a bit more passive in terms of technology adoption.

Apple seems to have forgotten about the target audience while the Kindle always had the target in mind.  Our expectation of the iPad was that Apple would re-imagine the Kindle.  They would have thought about how to create the greatest book reading and interaction device in history.  They would have imagined new ways of both exploring books electronically and the many ways in which you can interact with other readers.  They would have found new paths into the mind of the book lover in the same way that a SONY PlayStation can connect gamers.

After this kind of thinking, Is the device you would have launched the iPad?

I bet the core features would be the same, bright screen...easy to navigate...internet connectivity.  But layered on top of these features would be a new reader community.  A way to compare your literary impressions against the opinions of by page.  A way to connect with the author, critics, and other like minded readers.

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