Facebook, you’ve gone too far.

Here’s a recent family photo, as seen in the photo album on my personal Facebook profile page:

And a close up, so you get the full (absurd) impact.

What ticks me off is that I’m the founder of The 3/50 Project, a consumer awareness campaign that educates customers about the importance of engaging with locally owned, independent brick and mortar merchants instead of always shopping at big boxes. Like Target.

Which is why having Target ads anywhere on my personal profile—let alone inside my photo albums—is wildly inappropriate.

I didn’t “like” the Target page—friends of mine did. That does not give Facebook or Target the right to turn my personal photos into billboards for big boxes I absolutely do not and will not endorse.

First, it was our newsfeeds, but now…my family photos? Seriously?

There needs to be a boundary somewhere.

Do you agree that this is out of bounds? If so, please spread the word by clicking the icons below to share this post. 


Do I agree with last weekend’s Amazon scan-for-credit sale? No.

Do I think it may go down in history as one of the smartest marketing moves ever? Yup.

Jeff Bezos (CEO, knew exactly what he was doing…and he got all of us, present company included, to help him.  [click here to continue…]


An enthusiastic thumbs up to Oren Teicher (CEO, American Booksellers Association) for posting the following open letter to Jeff Bezos (CEO, Amazon):

Dear Jeff Bezos,

We’re not shocked, just disappointed.

Despite your company’s recent pledge to be a better corporate citizen and to obey the law and collect sales tax, you created a price-check app that allows shoppers to browse Main Street stores that do collect sales tax, scan a product, ask for expertise, and walk out empty-handed in order to buy on Amazon. We suppose we should be flattered that an online sales behemoth needs a Main Street retail showroom.

Forgive us if we’re not.  [click here to continue…]


For the past couple of years, I’ve heard Groupon extol the virtues of their daily deals email system, repeatedly waving the “we’re all about locally owned brick and mortars” flag. Well folks, my blood’s boiling right now–that flag needs to be planted on someone else’s planet.

From Saturday’s Groupon email for the Minneapolis-St. Paul market (click the image to see full scale):

Strike one: Redeem online? What happened to Groupon’s claim they’re all about driving traffic through local doorways?

Strike two: The merchant is located in El Segundo, California–half way across the country from Minneapolis-St. Paul.

Strike three and call-your-agent-you’re-finished: The presumed storefront retailer actually isn’t. The street address given on her website points to a printing company, showing her as an “affiliate.” The phone number on her website is located in Redondo Beach, five miles from where the printer is—and not associated with any physical storefront I’ve been able to find after exhaustive online searching.

Translated? I’ll bet my bottom dollar this California e-tailer is a home-based business. Not exactly the local brick and mortar flag Groupon likes to wave.

Making matters worse, check out the side bar offer for the custom alphabet frame. Yup. You guessed it. That one’s located in Tennessee.

Groupon didn’t just drop the flag. They tore the thing to shreds, then buried it in the back yard.

As for where that back yard’s located, well…. The definition of “local” is apparently up for negotiation.



When “buy local”/”shop local” messaging hit its stride two years ago, big boxes and national chains quickly realized their corner on marketplace visibility was being eclipsed. Cost-conscious consumers were not only thinking about the price of an item, but the impact of where they purchased it. Before long, we saw mega-retailers repackaging the “buy local” message to include themselves—they’d procure broccoli from a nearby grower, then advertise themselves as part of the “local” movement. Carry meat packaged by a company located in a nearby town, then tell consumers they were buying “local.”

Uh yeah…not so much.

Well, Chapter Two of The Repackaging of Buy Local has begun to roll out, and it’s even more troubling. [click here to continue…]


Click the image above to access campaign materials

Remember when the “We Love You More” campaign launched prior to Valentines Day and I hinted that something about it would work year ’round? Well…here you go. Welcome to “Locals Love You More.”

As always, there are tools to play with that support the campaign—if you visit The 3/50 Project website, you’ll find two downloadable print-ready files (an 8.5 x 14 poster and a 6 x 9 postcard) suitable for desktop or professional press printing and a 500p x 825p digital version for e-newsletter use.

Facebook users will recognize the tweaked campaign name since it dovetails with the free profile pic icon made available on our FB page a few weeks ago. (See? There really is a method to the madness.)

Off to duck behind the magic velvet curtain for a while…big things ahead….

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Once again, the creative juices have been flowing…which means The 3/50 Project just launched another campaign, just in time for Valentine’s Day.

It’s called “We Love You More,” reminding consumers that locally owned, independent brick and mortar businesses return (on average) 68% of their revenue to the community, as opposed to a paltry 43% from the big boxes and chains or (gasp!) nothing at all, from online purchases.*

To get the word out, there are two free downloadable PDF files on our website: [click here to continue…]


Just learned about this from a couple of retailers I met during The 3/50 Project Northern California Tour earlier this year. The fine folks of Willows, CA put on an annual holiday parade, which Holly and Dolores, owners of Gathering Better Junque, saw as an opportunity to remind residents to support their local, independent brick and mortar merchants.

Gotta tell you, when I put the graphics together for the Big Things campaign, it never occurred to me just how creative you’d get with the theme. From Atchison, KS Chamber adorning an entire stage in purple and gold packages to the Gathering Better Junque Danali (complete with a fully lit Christmas tree and our Big Things posters), well…color me impressed.

And proud.

And touched.

You folks are what makes the Project sing. Thanks for your glorious voices and unbridled enthusiasm; that’s what makes this work!