05/23/2012 02:22 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Best/Worst Brands of the Week: Facebook to the Core, The Pitch , The Man Behind the Scissors

KO is a mobile phone sales associate at Best Buy where I purchased my first Blackberry Bold. He was so attentive then. He courted me, hard, to ensure I’d never want to go to any other electronic store or mobile shop for my cellular needs. And it worked. It was time for a new phone. KO again greeted me with that affability and familiarity that I remembered two years prior. But then, something happened. After I told him about “p” key not registering, my sticky“a” key that typed in triplicate, he looked at his phone on the table. He then picked it up and started to text. Then he looked up at me. Looked down again to text. He was retail cheating. It was a threesome–KO, his phone, and me. Betrayal did not end there. An off duty coworker stopped by to say hi and they shared photos and encounters of the previous night’s events. K.O. has forgotten I am here. My needs? A memory. It’s an alternate reality now. I am not really the customer who needs help. I am the catalyst who has come to reunite Best Buy on and off duty employees.  Yes, that is my purpose.

I cry for us all. It’s survival of the fittest and Focus is the valued human commodity for surviving in our times–not money or power. So keep on looking at your phones while we are conducting business. Ha! Keep on texting while we are out getting drinks. I urge you.  I will guard my ability to focus as much as I guard my innocence. And while your brain becomes a slave of everything-elseness and you stop caring about what you are turning into, I will be kicking your Darwin butt and like Camus says, finding my invincible summer.

In his documentary, The Man Behind the Scissors, Vidal Sassoon says much of the same. “If you can get to the root of who you are and make something happen from it, my sense is that you’re going to surprise yourself.” I doubt Vidal Sassoon was watching television (the smartphone equivalent of the Sixties) when he came up with the Five Point Cut, the masterpiece of his wash and go cuts to free women from the beauty shop helmet of the Fifties.  Like Vince Lombardi, he believed that “The only place where success comes before work is a dictionary.”  We lost a great icon May 9, 2012. He paved the way for brand empires like Martha Stewart, Bethenny Frankel, and Rachael Ray with his salons, hair care line and education, talk show, and fitness book. Sassoon lived his motto, "If you don't look good, we don't look good," a promise of hard work, undivided attention and a job well done.

Speaking of mottos, I watched Madison Avenue’s foray into reality television on AMC’s, The Pitch. I watched Episode 2 where The Ad Store and SK + G go head to head to pitch Waste Management (WM).  As I watched both firms make their pitch, it was so clear to me who the winner was, the Ad Store’s “Trash Can” of course. I started to fuss with the remote when I found out they chose SK + G’s “Wow” campaign. I clicked up and back a few channels in hopes that maybe something was wrong with my television and not WM management. It wasn’t so. Commenter “Unreal” sums up the outcome perfectly:   


I soothe my disgust of visual culture days later after a friend sent me a link to Hennessy Youngman's, aka Jayson Musson, YouTube series called Art Thoughtz. In the series Hennessy, who addresses his audience as “Internet,” breaks down the art world in his spoken word cadence, hip hop style, with video titles like “How to Make Art” or “Post Structuralism.” While I do not agree with his some of his explanations, for example that art is about beauty, he does keep art accessible, offering levity in a very serious world and inspires us to practice one of humanity’s most important pursuits. One of my favorite lines, “...Internet: Who do you think you are? Brancusi? Internet: Art is not about making a sculpture out of scratch. Where we gonna find scratch in 2011? I thought we ran out of scratch at the end of the Vietnam war...”

After seeing Neon Indians and Ducktails at Terminal 5 in New York City, we strolled down the west side and saw the most amazing object in the world in the Vitro window. It was Dorothee Becker’s  Uten.Silo or Wall All designed in 1969. The bright red shiny plastic drew me close. I heard angels singing. This is how I felt when I first touched a basketball too in 1987. It was more beautiful and functional than any stiletto I owned. And it was sexier too. After all, there is nothing more attractive than finding a place for everything.

I wish Facebook felt the same way. I still hate their timeline. There is no chronology, no order no intuitiveness for the user. There isn’t a place for everything and I don’t know where to look. Wah. I know they are caught up in their somewhat flat IPO, but maybe this a time for them to look inside and discover the core of who they are and go back to the single column newsfeed. If you hate the timeline as well, please join my “Don’t Force the Timeline on Us” Facebook page.

 This weekly column is an expression of how brands fit into our lives. If you want me to experience your brands please follow me @321takeoff.