Monday, January 1, 2018

Majestic

Three Songs of Accidental Majesty, Depth, and Immediacy for the New Year.

“Last Night it Snowed,” The Ass Ponys


About this time of year, I anticipate the first legitimate snowfall here in Chicago and do so knowing I'll have the chance to play (loudly) the Ass Ponys' brilliant, compact, and majestic song, “Last Night it Snowed.” It's an annual tradition of sorts – my favorite of Chuck Cleaver's AP work – to sit back and marvel at the perfection of these “econo” lyrics:
A blanket white
At least it was when it came down last night
The morning brings the rain
The blanket's washed away
Now everything turns back to grey
It's hard to imagine that so much goodness could land in just over two minutes of song: all the mixed-up optimism and rainy, overcast second-guessing of a Southern Ohio winter with the added bonus of a delicate mandolin that falls apart into garage-band urgency as he sings: “So live and learn, The snow is melting never to return.”

Here's Chuck singing this classic with a local School of Rock:



The original studio version of the song is available here.


“Wasted,” Pere Ubu


Like “Last Night it Snowed,” this song leads the album, 1993's “Story of My Life,” from Northern Ohio's most important post-punk combo, Pere Ubu. It's an album that finds lead singer David Thomas in a reflective mood, at one point recounting his pre-Cleveland childhood in Florida and stumbling upon“the secret of anti-gravity.” But “Wasted” finds him in real-time, trying to decipher his marriage and “breathlessly, throwing time away.” It makes me think the album runs in reverse, marching backward from today, with Thomas' melodeon (aka the button accordion) setting the scene and his enjoinder to “rock” at 1:33 as guidance to take care of business moving forward. It's as inspirational to me now as when I first heard it.




“This is the Sea,” The Waterboys


I had forgotten about this song and album – the album “Fisherman's Blues” is important to several friends and I'd always marked their career by it – until a cold, rainy day in Northern Wisconsin. I was away from my family for a few days and had just hopped out of a hazy mid-30s mist into the car when the skies opened up. The rain started falling in buckets but, as I started to drive, advanced in waves quickly, so I pulled the car to the side of the road. The windshield wipers couldn't keep up. I turned on the radio to find "This is the Sea" at the beginning. I sat there, not a soul around, feeling a bit underwater while Mike Scott sang:

You're trying to make sense
Of something that you just can't see
Trying to make sense now
And you know you once held the key
But that was the river
And this is the sea



I'm convinced now that “Fisherman's Blues” couldn't exist without this prelude. Get ready, the open ocean is in front of you. This is the sea. If you're ever unconvinced of the epic adventures ahead, try this song again... in the rain.

– Jon Roketenetz

Jon is the CEO of GimmeAnother and founder of 3VERB.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Jet Steps on the Gas

Walmart's Acquisition Propels Email Campaign while Regional Grocers & CPGs Sit on the Sidelines

Over the past four months, Walmart's Jet.com has aggressively pursued visibility of items generally identified as traditional grocery store purchases in email after email. It's not Amazon that should be worried, though.

To wit: please find screenshots of from over a dozen emails since June of this year promoting their grocery items. They cover all sorts of brand and product types... and they make a case beyond price: convenience.


From Barilla Pasta to Pace Salsa, from Dove Soap to Quaker Oats, Jet.com is picking the low-hanging fruit: the inability of regional grocers, CPGs, other retailers to cement the loyalty of their customers with the technology convenience tools their customers have come to expect.

– Jon Roketenetz

Jon is the CEO of GimmeAnother and founder of 3VERB.

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Before & After

Brighten, Sharpen, Push, Shove, Just Make Sure it Looks Perfect

I've had the chance to work with the renowned Midwest commercial real estate broker, Terry Coyne, for about a dozen years now. Terry's a friend, too, so no matter how good the composition [photo credit: Gabriella Gallo] of an arriving photo might be, we're certain go the extra step in production to make sure it looks perfect.

Before:



After:



These little details always matter, especially as it relates to premier products and brands. Taking the time to really care about the presentation, the quality of the copy, and the beauty and personality of images pays off in the long run. Need office space in Cleveland, Ohio? You already know who to call.

– Jon Roketenetz

Jon is the CEO of GimmeAnother and founder of 3VERB.