Goodbye Good Boy…

Dennis Ryan, Olson, AdvertisingAmidst news of firefighters killed by a vicious wildfire or the arbitrary brutality of plane crashes, it’s hard to call the loss of a dog a tragedy. In our case, we shouldn’t.

Yes it hurts the family as tangibly as a kick to the stomach but that’s because a dog like our Jack was anything but a tragedy; he was a family adventure, a comedy, a silly sideshow of joy. Jack was a jovial companion, content and ever affable. And that’s why his silent absence resonates.

We found Jack at an Alaskan Malamute rescue group in Joliet, Illinois. He shared nearly ten of his unusually long twelve year plus lifespan with us, a constant fixture in our family life. His large, wolf-like appearance belied an incredible gentleness. He could be a bit of a baby, encouraging you to stay and continue petting him by standing on your feet. He howled at fire truck sirens and wailed when the vet performed the most routine blood draws. In truth, he was anything but the paragon of health, requiring surgery for his lungs and all sorts of anti-seizure medications and trips to the emergency vet. No less than three times, we were certain we would have to say our goodbyes.

Sadly, today we had to. And our furry, snow-loving, ever patient boy is gone from our home though he’ll never completely leave our hearts.

Good boy Jack. Goodbye my good boy.

By Dennis Ryan, CCO, Olson

A Commentary on American Culture

Dennis Ryan, Advertising, OlsonI stumbled across this image last week. And no doubt, the uncredited artist who created it intended some sort of commentary on America’s consumer culture. And I agree, although probably not in the way the artist intended.

Yes, we live in a country awash in pitches for everything from Shamrock Shakes to Shamwows to Dollar Shave Club. And for that, I’m extremely thankful.

God Bless the USA. Happy Fourth!

By Dennis Ryan, CCO, Olson


Hurry–There’s Still Time To Buy Ping Pong Balls Before The Fourth

Here’s a little video inspiration for your Independence Day celebrations … courtesy of some observant pyromaniacs in Germany apparently.

That’s right–you saw it here first: ping pong balls are flammable as hell. And if one is good, then clearly, one thousand are just that much more exponentially good-er. So if you can’t get to a fireworks tent, at least find a sporting goods store.

By Dennis Ryan, CCO, Olson

Television Commercials Aren’t Dead. They’ve Just Gone New Places. Amazing New Places…

Remember this spot for Cheerios? It first aired this past month and due solely to its casting of an interracial couple, incensed a disturbing number of bigot trolls, whose inflammatory comments forced General Mills to shut down comments on their YouTube page (but, admirably, not back down and pull the spot–way to be, General…).

It’s nothing more than a TV commercial. The same kind we’ve been watching for decades. The same kind certain pundits have deemed dead in today’s interactive age.

Television is far from dead. The numbers prove we watch more of it than ever. And as this spot demonstrates, no other medium has the breadth of reach or emotional impact of moving pictures and sound. No, while television may be many things, it is certainly not dead.

That said, television has definitely been transformed, mostly by the participatory web. A tiny but vocal smattering of racists attacked this sweet, simple story, using the coward’s cloak of online anonymity even as millions of people reacted normally, with emotions running the gamut from delight to benign neglect.

But those prejudicial attacks spurred another small but vocal group—Michael David Murphy and Alyson West from Atlanta, Georgia–who decided it was time to answer that ugliness with a showcase for love and family. They created a Tumblr  called “We Are The 15 Percent”: a reference to the 2008 census which noted that interracial couples make up 14.9% of all marriages in the United States. Michael and Alyson’s blog invites interracial couples and families to send in their photos as a counterpoint to this sort of idiotic bile. In just a few short weeks, they already have over 2500 submissions. And with national coverage from outlets like MSNBC, those numbers should continue to swell.

The photos are beautiful. The movement is affirming. The reach of television empowered by Web 2.0 is a marvelous thing to behold.

By Dennis Ryan, CCO, Olson