alisonBeing in the communications industry, any kind of marketing, advertising or public relations messaging that is unclear annoys me to no end. When I see something I don’t like or don’t understand, I obsess over it.

And with The University of Arizona’s confusing new billboard a block from my office, I now obsess at least three times a day (on the way to work, driving to lunch and on the way home from work).

The branding ad, less than 10 miles from rival ASU, simply says, “We invented smarter eyeglasses.”


UA BillboardWho is “we?”

When did this happen?

Why isn’t there a photo?

Why haven’t I ever heard of this before?

After seeing this billboard for the 100th time, I finally Googled my booty off during my lunch hour trying to figure out what it meant.

Now, some of you may argue that was the ad’s purpose – to entice me to learn more. But isn’t that counterproductive? And wasteful? And annoying?

Comment below – and I am looking forward to hearing from Wildcat alumni on this one!

And PS – it was folks at U of A AND the Georgia Institute of Technology who developed the glasses, not just U of A.


This is my favorite time of year. On top of it being my birthday week, it is also the week for many television shows’ season premieres. As always, I am hooked on more shows than I can count, but this year I have been even more hooked by the interesting taglines and lingo thrown around to attract viewers.

Being in the communications field, I understand how impactful just a few words can be. So, here is a short list of my favorite – and least favorite – network and television show taglines and promotional lingo:

The DishStyle Network

This ladies-only network now simply describes itself as “Before Meets After.” As a long-time fan of Joan Rivers on the Red Carpet and any makeover show, this tagline tells me everything I need to know about the network and reminds me of all the shows I love to watch on it after the hubby goes to bed. Tip – watch the Dish on the Style Network hosted by former child star Danielle Fischel.

Grade: Gold Star!

NEW Jay Leno Show

Admittedly, I can’t stand this guy. I found his show constantly stealing from other programming and always pandering to the lowest common denominator. However, I have to give props to his decade-plus of dominance in the late night talk show war. But, when I heard Leno attempting to sound edgy yet cute by promoting the show as “100 percent more comedy, 98 percent fewer murders,” I threw up in my mouth a little. Lame joke. Lame show.

Grade: Frowny face!


Since the show is pure Sci-Fi and always compared to the X Files, it is only fitting it gets a SUPER cool tagline in the vein of the X Files classic “The Truth is Out There.” And it did by turning the common phrase “Endless Possibilities” on its Spock-loving ear and going with “New Cases. Endless Impossibilities.” Bring on the aliens, ghosts and time travel because I am hooked!

Grade: Gold star!

How I Met Your Mother

HOW I MET YOUR MOTHEROne of the only sitcoms with some MAJOR buzz behind it (after four years on air!), the season premiere teaser line of “ROBAR” to promote the pairing of fan favorites Robin and Barney is cringe-worthy. However, the implication that these two beloved characters are actually sticking with each other makes me want to do a happy dance

Grade: Frowny face half-covered by a giant gold star!

So, how would you rate the promotional concepts of your favorite shows – and even some new shows set to air? Comment below.

What Did I Forget?

September 23, 2009

scottScott Bornstein, renowned for his exclusive MemoryPower & Mind-Mapping methodologies was the speaker at the September EO learning event.

He astounded the crowd with a couple of incredible demonstrations of memory and recall and informed us that most of us only use three percent of our brain’s capacity. 

Scott said, “Nothing makes a greater first – and lasting – impression than to confidently remember another person’s name.”

Here are his six steps to remembering people’s names and faces:

  1. Pay attention to hear the name
  2. Repeat the name clearly
  3. Observe for dominant features and facial characteristics
  4. Associate the name or initial to the person’s features when possible
  5. Use the name in the course of conversation or to yourself
  6. Write the name down and review the name seven times over the next 10 days, and once a month thereafter

Now if only I could remember all of that.

Support the State Press

September 22, 2009

asu_alumni_logo_transparent_eckaCalling all ASU Alumni – and beyond! The State Press, ASU’s school newspaper and the launching pad for hundreds of fabulous local, regional and national journalists throughout the years, is holding a fundraiser on Sept. 24 at Four Peaks Brewery. A $20 donation here gets you free drinks and appetizers starting at 5:30 p.m. that night.

And even if you can’t attend, we are sure they are still happy to accept your donation. Let’s help ASU keep that press a-printing for years to come!

2009 Copper Anvils Recap

September 18, 2009

DSC08142Break out the bubbly!  We’re happy to announce that at last night’s PRSA Phoenix Copper Anvils awards, HMA took home two awards of merit and one of only 11 Copper Anvil honors.

Other highlights for us:

  • Sophia Fuka spearheaded an effort to fit nine people in the frame at the photo booth, breaking the booth’s previous record of eight.  Beth’s forehead made a cameo.
  • Copper Anvils photo boothAbbie started a dance party in the middle of dinner.
  • Alison and Beth also took home two of the coolest raffle prizes of the evening!

We’re proud of the work we’ve done in the last year, and it feels good to be recognized.  Congratulations to all of the honorees for your hard work and dedication to this profession.

This week’s #FF is dedicated to all of the people who strive for excellence in the television industry, and specifically our friends on Twitter who were named as Rocky Mountain Emmy nominees this week. Congratulations – you’ve earned it! 
























A swiftly-sparked debate

September 16, 2009

alisonWow – I didn’t even know the MTV Video Music Awards were still relevant, let alone hot enough to spark a national debate on the social media revolution!  As everyone has seen by now, Kanye West made a national fool of himself during Sunday’s live telecast of the awards by stealing the podium from first-time VMA winner – and 19-YEAR-OLD-GIRL – Taylor Swift to let her know she didn’t really deserve her moon man.

And as everyone has also seen, a reporter from ABC tweeted an off-the-record President Obama calling West a “jackass” for his actions, sparking a national debate on Twitter, social media policy, ethics and where we go from here.

moon manMy take?  The first thing I learned in my PR 101 class and again in introductory media trainings was that EVERYTHING is on the record.  And guess what?  Obama does too.  He knew what he said would get out, and he knows our country’s obsession with pop culture.  He cleverly made that “everyman” comment “off-the-record” knowing full well what he was doing.

And so did the reporter – but were her actions ethical?  By actions, I mean both the tweet AND her “agreement” to go off the record at all.

1.  I used to dye my hair purple and pink in college.

2.  My sister Sandy is my best Pepperfriend.

3.  I got my first dog, a poodle named Pepper, for my 5th birthday.

4.  I did my first television interview in 6th grade – we were picketing the elementary school for taking away our graduation dance.

5.  I can read Hebrew – can count to 10 and recite the alphabet.

6.  Played the clarinet all through junior high and high school.

7.  Marched in the Fiesta Bowl Parade in 8th grade. 

8.  Worked for the Fiesta Bowl from 1987-91.

9.  Wrote Harmon Killebrew a fan letter and am still waiting for a reply – same goes for Fran Tarkenton.

10.  Am a distant cousin to Ann Landers and Dear Abby.

11.  I broke my arm playing softball . . . and played the whole game so no one would know.

12.  Was an usher for ASU football in my senior year.

13.  Have the same birthday as twoAbbie and Donna at the Kotel cousins and Marie Osmond.

14.  I went to Israel in February 2008 with my best friend Donna.

15.  I have both an undergrad and master’s degree from the Cronkite School of Journalism at ASU.

16.  I wrote my master’s thesis on soap operas.

17.  I am a huge Guiding Light fan and am devastated that it is going off the air (Sept. 18 is the last day)Abbie and Donny

18.  Have met Donny Osmond four times (first time was at the Soldier of Love album release in 1988). Thanks to the gals in the office I have an original Donny doll, in pristine condition, which he has autographed.  And thanks to Drew and John, an original collector’s porcelain Donny doll.Cruise

19.  Have been on seven cruises.

20.  I make a mean barbeque chicken in my crockpot – and I’m happy to prove it to you.

21.  I go to sporting events – but hardly ever watch ‘em cuz I’m too busy chatting.

22.  I really really really don’t like hot dogs – I know, very un-American.

23.  When I’m not at work I volunteer A LOT – with the Boys and Girls Clubs of Greater Scottsdale, Scottsdale Leadership, Public Relations Society of America, Phoenix Chapter, Public Relations Society of America Counselors Academy and my homeowners association.

24.  I love rollercoasters

25.  I’ve been to Disneyland more than 25 times (and am hoping I will be there for my birthday on October 13)Disney


LeBron TV?

September 11, 2009

scottA new TV network may be in the works.

In an effort to circumvent the National Basketball Association’s salary cap rules, Cablevision, which owns the New York Knicks, is apparently preparing to offer Cleveland Cavaliers star LeBron James his own network.

NBA rules do not allow the Knicks to offer more money to James than the Cavaliers when his contract with the Cavs expires after next season.

If this actually happens, entities such as Nike could begin producing their own programming for what would appear to be perfect venue.

Stay tuned to find out what happens next.

Abbie on Social Media

September 9, 2009

Abbie S. Fink – Social Media Maven!?

Wow – check out our maven giving advice on “joining the dance of social media” in this month’s edition of the Society for Marketing Professional Services‘ summer “Edge” newsletter.

Abbie Advice