Final Analysis: Forceful Marketing

Tying in to 'Star Wars' is obviously the clever approach.
| FROM THE PRINT EDITION |
 
 

Since the premiere of Star Wars: The Force Awakens in mid-December, social media sites have been awash in the kind of piggyback promotion that accompanies any pop-culture phenomenon.

The savvy marketer, knowing that a Star Wars connection confers instantaneous hotness and coolness, is on it like a baggy robe on a skinny Sith. Drawing inspiration from the latest installment in the Star Wars movie franchise — or any of the previous six, for that matter — is the kind of cutting-edge creativity you might otherwise see only in a Beacon Plumbing commercial.

We tried to survey advertising experts throughout the Puget Sound region to learn what they expected to see in the way of Star Wars ripoff, er, tribute marketing this year, but this column was being written the day before Christmas and none of them returned our calls. So the following is our best guess of the marketing tie-ins to Star Wars that might surface locally and abroad.

The Farce Awakens. Upon the successful restarting of Bertha, the excavation of a tunnel to replace the Alaskan Way viaduct generates a spate of new comedies at theaters around Seattle.

The Bourse Awakens. The Paris securities exchange goes back to its old name after discovering that “Euronext,” which it has been using since 2000, sounds a lot like something a urologist might prescribe for people watching The CBS Evening News.

The Remorse Awakens. Feeling a little sheepish about the billions in tax breaks it has coerced out of Washington lawmakers over the years, the Boeing Company decides to give the state Legislature a previously owned 737 that it can use for parties, junkets and fact-finding missions to South Carolina.  

The Gorse Awakens. Enraged that scotch broom is far more prevalent in the Puget Sound region, a consortium of noxious-weed spreaders mounts an advertising campaign to make Ulex europaeus the official invasive plant of Washington state.

The Course Awakens. Slightly miffed at the negative publicity its greens received during the U.S. Open last summer, Chambers Bay announces it will immediately transition from a links-style venue into the world’s longest putt-putt golf attraction and alternative-energy installation, with a windmill on every hole.

The Norse Awakens. Seattle’s Ballard neighborhood harks back to its Scandinavian past by importing a surly Norwegian to roam the Ballard Farmers Market and hurl epithets at any hipster with a baby carriage that’s bigger than Rhode Island or a dog that’s smaller than Donald Trump’s mind.

The Outsource Awakens. Flummoxed by requirements that they boost their employees’ wages to at least $15 an hour, restaurateurs in Seattle decide to contract out their food-prep operations to kitchens in Shoreline, Tukwila and Bellevue — and deliver meals via Uber. 

The Porch Awakens. Amazon unveils a new technology allowing Amazon Prime subscribers to install secure docking portals at their front doors so Amazon delivery drones can couple and uncouple in relative privacy, away from the prying eyes of snoopy neighbors. 

John Levesque is the managing editor of Seattle Business magazine.

The Remorse Awakens. Feeling a little sheepish about the billions in tax breaks it has coerced out of Washington lawmakers over the years, the Boeing Company decides to give the state Legislature a previously owned 737 that it can use for parties, junkets and fact-finding missions to South Carolina.  

The Gorse Awakens. Enraged that scotch broom is far more prevalent in the Puget Sound region, a consortium of noxious-weed spreaders mounts an advertising campaign to make Ulex europaeus the official invasive plant of Washington state.

The Course Awakens. Slightly miffed at the negative publicity its greens received during the U.S. Open last summer, Chambers Bay announces it will immediately transition from a links-style venue into the world’s longest putt-putt golf attraction and alternative-energy installation, with a windmill on every hole.

The Norse Awakens. Seattle’s Ballard neighborhood harks back to its Scandinavian past by importing a surly Norwegian to roam the Ballard Farmers Market and hurl epithets at any hipster with a baby carriage that’s bigger than Rhode Island or a dog that’s smaller than Donald Trump’s mind.

The Outsource Awakens. Flummoxed by requirements that they boost their employees’ wages to at least $15 an hour, restaurateurs in Seattle decide to contract out their food-prep operations to kitchens in Shoreline, Tukwila and Bellevue — and deliver meals via Uber. 

The Porch Awakens. Amazon unveils a new technology allowing Amazon Prime subscribers to install secure docking portals at their front doors so Amazon delivery drones can couple and uncouple in relative privacy, away from the prying eyes of snoopy neighbors. 

John Levesque is the managing editor of Seattle Business magazine.

Final Analysis: Would You Go to Work for Donald Trump?

Final Analysis: Would You Go to Work for Donald Trump?

Or would you rather end up on his enemies list?
 
 

Imagine getting a call inviting you to work for your country.

Now imagine your new boss is Donald J. Trump.

Would you move to Washington, D.C., to work for the president of the United States? For this president of the United States?

From what we know through simple observation, Donald Trump suffers from chronic narcissism, he doesn’t read much, he rarely smiles, he has a vindictive streak, he treats women badly, he has the argumentative skills of a bruised tangerine, he fears foreigners almost as much as he fears the truth and he spends his waking hours attached to marionette strings being manipulated by Steve “I Shave on Alternate Thursdays” Bannon.

Sure, you’ve probably suffered under bad bosses. But this guy takes the plagiarized inauguration cake. He thinks it’s OK to assault women. He made fun of a journalist’s disability. He said a judge couldn’t be impartial because of his ethnic heritage. He doesn’t pay people who have done work for him. He has been a plaintiff in nearly 2,000 lawsuits.

We have to assume that Sally Yates, the acting attorney general who got herself fired in January for standing up to President Trump’s ban on accepting immigrants from predominantly Muslim countries, has probably updated her résumé by now. No doubt she proudly included a mention that she torched the president whose approval rating after one week in office had dropped faster than it had for anchovy-swirl ice cream.

If I worked for Trump, it would most likely be a challenging assignment. I try to be gracious and diplomatic with supervisors and coworkers, but I draw the line with people who lie to me. Or lie to others and put me in an awkward position. With them, I’m not so gracious, and I don’t hold my tongue. Which would probably get me early induction into the Sally Yates Hall of Flame.

Or maybe on the president’s enemies list. None other than Trump’s reality-TV pal, Omarosa Manigault, has revealed that the president possesses a long memory — longer, even, than his neckties — and that his people are “keeping a list” of those who don’t like him.

I know I should give my president the benefit of the doubt, but I’m happy to make an exception in this case. I don’t like Donald Trump. And I would be honored to be on his enemies list. Not since I played pickup baseball in grade school have I had such an urge to scream, “Pick me! Pick me!” Being added to a Presidential Enemies List would be such a treat, a career topper, really. Better than submitting to a colonoscopy without anesthesia. Or watching reruns of Celebrity Apprentice. Without anesthesia.

If selected, I would pledge to save my best words for the president and I would only use them in the bigliest way.

Of course, making the enemies list means I might never get the call to join the new administration. I might never get to engage in locker-room banter with POTUS. I might never get to untangle the marionette strings. I might never get to buy razors for Steve Bannon.

It is a sobering realization. But we must serve where we are best suited.

John Levesque is the managing editor of Seattle Business magazine. Reach him at john.levesque@tigeroak.com.