Archive for the ‘Marketing’ Category

An Open Letter to Kindle, for Book Lovers

07 Jun

Dear Kindle Marketing Team,

I liked you so much better when you were busy trashing the iPad, not trying to turn book lovers into silly, naive people that display weaker spines than those found in the books they read.

Truly, you are trying to convince non-Kindle users to come on over to the dark side by pitching: a. “Books don’t have glare, Kindles don’t have glare!” and b. Readers can do away with that pesky task of folding down a book’s page to save our place; an effort, apparently, we relish. Ugh.

Let’s discuss the bit about reading in bright light. The thing is, book lovers do not consider the concept of glare when reading books. It’s a non-issue. Trying to contrast a Kindle, a glare-free book-reading tool, to a book … a glare-free um, book … is ridiculous. It’s like saying that the Kindle, like a book, won’t slap you in the face while you read it. Or start your house on fire. Or steal your car keys. I get you’re trying to convince us to not buy the other guy’s e-reader, the one that does glare, but c’mon. You’re not fooling anybody.

And then, dear ad gurus, you try and sell the book lover on the Kindle by bringing up the pagefold=bookmark. *insert sigh*

Book lovers, true book lovers, do not fold down the pages of books. We do not rest an open book face down. We do not write in books, and when forced to write in books, say, in college lit classes, we use a pencil. As a book lover, I try to repress the childhood memory of coming upon a picture book that was my mother’s, and being horrified to discover that my mischievous Auntie Ro at some point had taken a marker and scribbled in the pages of the book, and in my child mind, ruined it forever. We honor and respect the book.

When we do want to mark our place in a book, we use bookmarks, which are like fun accessories for books, and us. We do not, under any circumstances, take pleasure in folding down the corner of the page. We will search for any other method to mark our place (a stray envelope, a random receipt from a purse or wallet, a paperclip, straight-up memorization of the page number) before we will cringe and forever mar the books we so love.

I have such sentimental attachment to bookmarks that the one time I accidentally left one—a souvenir from my honeymoon—in a library book, I called the library in a panic, and thanks to a very nice, bookmark-loving librarian, now only use said bookmark when reading books I own.

My point is, sirs and madams of the Kindle marketing team, is that if you want to turn the book readers of the world into e-book readers of the world, or at least convince us that your e-reader is the lesser of all evils, then try not to insult us, make us seem unintelligent and deem us as un-cool, simply because we prefer the pages of an actual book.


Lisa A. Schleipfer, un-official representative of worldwide book aficionados


This Corny Connotation Isn’t So Sweet

24 Sep

The interpretation and connotation of words is fun game we writers play, but sometimes in our 24/7 stream of mega media information, some folks get a little stretchy with their word choices.

Specifically, I’ve noticed a new sales pitch spewing from my television, defending the reputation of high-fructose corn syrup, “in moderation.”

These new pro-corn syrup commercials are proclaiming that HFCS isn’t the bad kid on the block. It is, after all, made from corn, and just like sugar, it is an okay food to eat every once and awhile.

To back up the commercial’s claims, viewers are directed to visit On the site, property of The Corn Refiners Association, there are several highlighted quotations from various medical professionals and organizations, such as:

“After studying current research, the American Medical Association (AMA) today concluded that high fructose syrup does not appear to contribute more to obesity than other caloric sweeteners…” (American Medical Association press release, June 17, 2008)

In the same press release the AMA went on to say that Americans should limit the amount of sugar they eat each day to 32 grams for every 2,000 calorie intake, which translates to 7.6 teaspoons of sugar, a guideline backed up by the USDA.

In one of the commercials, the “mom” character is pouring into cups what looks like generic fruit punch, which contains on average, 30 grams of sugar per serving.  That translates to 7.14 teaspoons of sugar.

That maxes out an adult’s daily serving of sugar, let alone a child’s daily intake (of which there are no set guidelines, just the phrase “in moderation” when it comes to sugar for children).

The average American eats 20 teaspoons of sugar a day, according to the FDA. Around 60 percent of that is from corn syrup, near 40 percent from table sugar and the rest made up from honey and other sweeteners.

“In moderation,” is not exactly a concept this country is comfortable embracing.

I get the basic point of the campaign: HFCS isn’t any more evil than white table sugar. The commercial easily could have just substituted the word “sugar” for “corn syrup,” I’d still find it ridiculous.

The problem is that sugar is in EVERYTHING. Stop reading this blog (come back though, please) and go check out your pantry. Pick four items, and check their sugar content. Heck, I’ll do it now too:
1. Kashi Cherry Dark Chocolate cereal bars (I love these): 8 grams.
2. Quaker Carmel Apple Rice Cakes: 3 grams.
3. Near East Toasted Pine Nut Couscous: 2 grams
4. Classico Vodka Sauce (pasta sauce): 5 grams.

So if I had a cereal bar snack in the morning, couscous with lunch, a rice cake in the afternoon and pasta and sauce for dinner I’m at 18 grams of sugar, without even taking the spoon to the sugar bowl.

The USDA maintains that people who consume food or beverages containing high levels of added sugars end up consuming more calories and fewer nutrients than people who chose foods and beverages with lower added sugars.

And high-calorie, high-sugar diets, well, let’s face it; sugar and fat go together like a mischievous mirror to carrots and peas. In a study released in the September 2008 issue of Obesity, connections are being made to eating high sugar/fat foods and binge eating disorder behaviors such as binge eating and self-restriction of more nutritious foods.

What’s so bad about sugar?
Sugar is too much of a good thing. In our pre-refrigeration days, like salt, it was used to preserve food, now it seems more like a food group, one that doesn’t give any nutritional value, just calories. Furthermore, table sugar, its friends HFCS, honey, molasses, brown sugar and the like, are simple carbohydrates. The body breaks these down very quickly, as seen when experiencing a sugar “high.” This is in sharp contrast to the complex carbs found in whole grains, fruits, vegetables, which take longer to break down and are packed with fiber, nutrients and vitamins.

So perhaps the commercials should have run with a slightly different twist: After “like sugar, it’s fine in moderation” the mom should be seen measuring out ¼ cup of fruit punch for each serving, which only contains 1.78 teaspoons of sugar. Now that’s moderation.


It’s my first blog ever!

05 Aug

When I was a child, I loved going back to school. And not because I was a geeky, smart kid. It was because I loved, loved starting something new, like opening the first few pages of a Ramona Quimby book. I loved the smell of new pencils and erasers and having clean notebooks and new shoes. I liked starting over and seeing my friends change from their three months off—I loved carrying around the knowledge that I was getting older.

And I hated summer.

I know, I know, most people in the world, like 91.2 percent (my on-the-spot stat), find warm, sunny, humid weather to be ideal. They love their sunshine like a little piece of happy on the beach and long light-filled days with picnics and barbeques and lots and lots of swimming.

My view of summer was much more uncomfortable. Sticky skin and not being able to take a good, deep, clean breath. Having to be outside instead of inside where it was cooler, maybe. Wearing clothes that were infinitely smaller and more embarrassing than the long pants, long sleeves of fall and winter. And sweating for no reason, and at some point, turning my skin a pale, charred pink color.

I knew back-to-school meant that cooler weather and a cardigan sweater were just a few weeks away, and crisp air and all things pumpkin and burgandy and autumnal were just waiting for me to survive a little while longer with no air conditioning and sweat behind my bare knees.

I still hate summer, which is unfortunate, since I live in the land of eternal vacation.

But I also still love starting something new. Here’s to a new blog.