Tag Archives: Marketing

SEATTLE INTERACTIVE CONFERENCE 2013: When Transparency Isn’t Enough: Cal McAllister of Wexley School for Girls

Cal McAllister, Co-founder & CEO of Wexley School for Girls

Cal McAllister, Co-founder & CEO of Wexley School for Girls

With the Seattle Interactive Conference just closing up for another year, I wanted to share with you a very engaging and informative presentation I got to see today (more news to come later on), with a quick sketch of the presenter included. Seattle can be proud to say it is the home base for one of the great advertising agencies, Wexley School for Girls. SIC had the honor of having its Co-founder and CEO, Cal McAllister give a talk today.

The presentation by Cal McAllister, of Wexley School for Girls, was full of punchy lines like, “Social Media is like a weapons system. Social media is like an F-16. Once you acquire one, you have the power but you need to know how to operate it.” These thoughts were running through McAllister’s mind since Wexley is currently working on NATO’s efforts to use social media. Pretty heady stuff but McAllister certainly looked up to the challenge.

McAllister was going for an offbeat take on the 2013 SIC theme of transparency, talking about how we’re drowning in a clutter of facts, many of them fake facts, so transparency alone isn’t going to solve the problem. He skewered Jenny McCarthy for using her massive platform as a celebrity for spreading the idea that vaccines cause autism. He said that 98% of pediatricians don’t believe there is a connection so he’s going with that statistic. He provided similar examples of how facts get lost in the shuffle, like the recent viral video of an eagle lifting up a little boy hoax, and the little old lady who got a coffee burn from McDonald’s, which was a legitimate case but was exploited by the right as an example of a flimsy lawsuit.

Great take-away: People are proud of their decisions. Once they believe something, it is very difficult to get them to stop believing. When confronted with the facts, when given proof that they are wrong, they will shut down. So, despite all the proof of it being a hoax, people would rather believe that an eagle swooped down and picked up a little boy.

McAllister then went on to show how you win over customers: by giving them opportunities to participate. He took great pride in Wexley’s campaign to invigorate The Sounders brand. It was a three year process. First, you show the fans how to behave, like when to wave their scarves; then you bring back old traditions; and, finally, you allow the fans to own the game.

Another successful Wexley campaign was for Mothers Against Drunk Drivers. It was painting a message in a handicap parking lane at high schools that said that spot could be reserved for the next teen drunk driver. It is a controversial statement but it got the message across. And it specifically did not include the MADD brand since it actually alienates teens. “Teenagers already have one mad mother to deal with. They don’t need more,” said McAllister. That was perhaps the best line of the presentation, if not the whole SIC.

The last thought was sparked by a question on where Coca-Cola is headed with branding. McAllister thought it was great how Coke had partnered with Google on the Happiness campaign. “It’s just another great example of providing ‘added value’ for the customer,” said McAllister. Considering the theme of transparency, it is a curious place to stop. Can the giant of soft drinks, be associated with happiness? Well, that’s the magic of advertising. We’ll just have to see how NATO’s makeover works out. Can the military industrial complex really be associated with happiness? Oh, perhaps wrong campaign. One never knows for sure.

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Filed under Capitalism, Seattle, Seattle Interactive Conference, Social Media

BALLARD COMICS: Drawing Ballard in 24 Hours, #2


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October 12, 2013 · 5:27 pm

Review: BATTLING BOY by Paul Pope, published by First Second


“Dad,” is a word you read a lot in Paul Pope‘s new graphic novel, “Battling Boy,” published by First Second. Our original hero was Haggard West, the proud dad of Aurora West, and the defender of the City of Acropolis on good ole planet Earth. And then there’s Battling Boy’s dad who is not from anywhere, not anywhere close anyway. As Battling Boy says himself, this is a “place which hangs suspended above the silver spinning lightning cloud.” It’s up to Battling Boy to help save Acropolis, a city under siege by all kinds of monsters. If you’re sensing that this is a way cool superhero story, one with a fresh new energy we could all use more of, then you’d be right.

Aurora West in Paul Pope's "Battling Boy"

Aurora West in Paul Pope’s “Battling Boy”

Battling Boy and his dad

Battling Boy and his dad

“Battling Boy” is Paul Pope’s baby and that is exciting news. Paul Pope is the ultimate dad in this graphic novel, yes he is. Some Paul Pope fans just know the guy from his amazing artwork. Other fans just know him from “Batman: Year One Hundred.” And then there are fans, myself included, who have been following his work for years. Pope has always loved the urban, the offbeat, and the other-worldly. His work is immersive, hypnotic, and just plain knock-your-socks-off cool. He loves and respects the comics medium and carries on the tradition of masters like Milton Caniff and Jack Kirby.


Have you ever seen the 1974 Stanley Donen film, “The Little Prince”? It springs to mind when I think of how masterfully Paul Pope has delivered a sense of wonder in this comic, similar to Gene Wilder having us believe he’s a fox–without the aid of even a hint of whisker or fur, just through sheer talent and skill. He just is a fox. That’s the kind of magic we don’t see nearly enough of from superhero comics.


Why should superhero comics, in general, be so predictable? Demographics seem to hold the key, right? Comics most in tune with a formula seem to always sell the best while, in fact, quality has no need for test marketing and never goes out of style. You cannot test market how Gene Wilder conjures up a fox any more than you can test market how Paul Pope conjures up a fox.


Paul Pope has always had that magic touch. He is in tune with his senses and what the reader will enjoy without having to force it. We begin with a bouncing soccer ball in the very first panel of this story. We proceed to see the ball bounce out of sight and one boy being coaxed by his pals to retrieve it. Some more panels in, and we find the boy’s mom calling out for him. We next see the boy and, above him, some odd bits of tattered cloth. Then, just a bit higher, a strange limb comes into view. Finally, a monster sits on a wire above, about to pounce on the boy. What seemed a gradual pace, keeps moving faster.

This monster is part of a gang which is part of a whole network of monsters. Haggard West, a burly figure with an aviator’s cap and an arsenal of gadgets, arrives to save the day. But it will be up to his daughter, Aurora, to live up to his legacy. Later on, we come across a similar scene with a bouncing ball. This time, it’s a fireball and we’re on some other planet. This is where Battling Boy steps in. He is 12 years old, ready for his rites of passage. It has been decided that he will go to planet Earth and save the City of Acropolis from its monsters. It’s a tall order but somehow Battling Boy will need to find a way to do the right thing. It is the sort of story that Paul Pope can tell very well and perhaps one that he will inspire others to tell as well.

“Battling Boy” is a 202-page full color graphic novel published by First Second and comes out this October. Visit our friends at First Second here and you can purchase it here.


Filed under Comics, First Second, Graphic Novel Reviews, graphic novels, Paul Pope



This campaign is on fire! There’s been a flurry of activity and things just keep heating up!

Within only a small span of time, I have ten new backers to welcome. Everyone who has backed the project will, of course, get a special mention in the book.

And, earlier today, I got a ReTweet from author Hugh Howey! I cherish those ReTweets even if some people might think they don’t actually bring about interest in pledging to a Kickstarter project. You just never know.

Nope, it wasn’t a ReTweet that inspired my recent support. It was just me and my project. Which is how it should be, right? Absolutely! However, ReTweets are still nice. You gotta love ’em. A Kickstarter campaign is made up of many, many components so you’re best to go with the flow, make your own opportunities, and be very grateful. Always be grateful!

Perhaps a ReTweet from Hugh Howey will lead to more people considering my project. You can’t beat that, right? Well, sure, I keep it perspective, no doubt. As they say, those who have ridden the mighty Kickstarter wave, it’s all about the project. At the end of the day, people are interested in whatever the project is, whether film, book, what have you. Ah, but the campaign is just as much about connecting with your prospective backers and getting them to consider your project in the first place. It’s truly fascinating. If Hugh Howey chooses to lend a hand, yes, I’m very grateful.

That said, I welcome you to consider my project, a quirky collection of comics in the spirit of the original television series, “The Twilight Zone,” to put it in a nutshell description. Check it out HERE.

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Filed under Alice in New York, Art, Books, Comics, Crowdfunding, Hugh Howey, Kickstarter, Marketing, Media, Publishing, Social Media, Twitter