only yesterday was the time of our lives

Adele, you guys.

Adele. Oh, girl. Listening to “Someone Like You” is like picking a hangnail. It hurts, but I just can’t help myself. When the opening piano notes come on the radio, I have to make the conscious choice: yup, I’m going to cry in my car right now. Do this to me, Power 96.5. I’m a writer. Depression keeps me interesting.

Sad songs should get endorsement contracts with wine companies—like country songs and beer. Isn’t catharsis an under-explored marketable emotion?
Sex sells. As do sports. But so, I argue, might sadness.

Or not quite sadness…
Ennui.
wabi-sabi.
Those oddly spelled emotional states I dabble in from time to time…

Products, we’re told, will fill our needs. But what if I want products to just be with me in my moment of emptiness; not filling, not solving, just being there? (And yes, I get it. I like my marketing like I like my men…) But could that be more powerful?

If, say, Maybelline were to pitch Adele’s message, “sometimes it lasts in love, but sometimes it hurts instead…” I might say, DAMN RIGHT, IT DOES! Pass the lip gloss!

I have to wonder, what would Don Draper say…
“You think young women want to feel sad, Peggy? You think they want their lip gloss to remind them they’re alone? You can feel that way in some coffee shop in the Village, if you want, but when you’re here, you sell the happy ending.”

He might say that (I kind of love writing with Don Draper’s voice in my head, ps), but I know he doesn’t believe it. Don more than anyone needs for Adele to sing him a song about how sometimes life isn’t okay (but it’s okay).

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i’d like to buy the world a coke. and a new york times.

Coca Cola is teaching us to live positively…
This website announces Coke’s new healthy-living initiatives: among them, a new “slimmer” 90-calorie soda can (oh i just can’t resist: “Yes we can” ?) along with moving “energy information” to the front of all packaging. Energy Information is an updated form of “nutrition facts.” I suppose it’s a kindler, gentler way of referring to calories and sugar…

The Coke folks care enough about this image-shift to buy ad space in the Daily Beast’s daily headlines, and that can’t come cheap. (I discovered this sandwiched between healthcare, Copenhagen and Britney Murphy. “The World is Changing.” Coke declares, “We are too.”)

Giving back and/or improving life is a big trend in corporate marketing. Target gives back 5% to communities. Walmart wants us to Save Money, Live Better. So it’s a marketing ploy; if the results are good, can altruism ever be bad?

This week CBS Sunday Morning had a story on celebrity philanthropy, wondering whether cause celebs are motivated by selfish marketing along with a selfless love of mankind…I bristled at this premise a bit. After all, John and Kate’s shenanigans get way more celeb-press than Angelina’s trips to Africa. There are easier, more glamorous ways to make headlines—if that’s the sole motive. Besides, if celebrity endorsements bring more attention to a cause or support to an aid organization, everybody wins, right?

I guess I need to put my cynicism in check. I find it easier to doubt big companies vs. individuals. And that kinda leads me to my next thought: the human connection.

Have you heard about The Neediest Cases? (or, more accurately, read about them?) This project of the New York Times (you may have heard about this thing before. They call it a “newspaper”…), started way back in 1911 (a little history here) and raises money for causes in NYC through illuminating individual stories of those served. Readers have donated almost $250 million since the beginning.

It’s all about the story, the human connection.
The web makes these connections even more vivid, with photos and video of profiled individuals. (proceed to the site with caution, you may stay there a while.) This is journalism: good storytelling that expands our world and inspires us to act.