The inflamed rhetoric of the Trump justification for bombing Syria

President Trump, outraged by the use of nerve gas on civilians, launched 59 cruise missiles at the airfield that Bashar al-Assad uses in Syria. Then he made a statement justifying the action. It’s a case study in Trumpspeak — does the pileup in intensifying adjectives and adverbs make a statement more persuasive, or more suspect? In my … Continued

Pepsi delivers a clueless apology for a clueless ad

Pepsi’s launched a poorly thought out, protest-themed commercial starring Kendall Jenner. Actual protesters protested the commercial, and Pepsi withdrew it. But Pepsi’s apology is as mild and clueless as its commercial — and demonstrates how advertisers had better steer clear of political minefields. The ad is set in a diverse street protest clearly based on Black Lives … Continued

Trump statement on Syria chemical weapons: blame but no solutions

Syrian ruler Bashar al-Assad apparently used nerve gas in the Syrian war, killing civilians. The situation there remains impossible. Trump’s blame-filled statement can’t change that. The six-year multilateral conflict in Syria features a murderous dictator backed by Russia, Islamic State terrorists, and “moderate” rebel factions backed by the U.S. — with civilians caught in the middle. It … Continued

What advertisers said (and didn’t say) about the now radioactive “The O’Reilly Factor”

According to The New York Times, five women have accused Bill O’Reilly of sexual harassment or similar behavior and received $13 million in settlements. Some “O’Reilly Factor” advertisers have pulled their advertising; others haven’t. But what these advertisers share is their mealy-mouthed, platitudinous statements. Here’s what they are actually thinking — and how they should permanently … Continued

How to write a case study (Ask Dr. Wobs)

Dear Dr. Wobs, How do you write a captivating one-page case study that provides enough information to be understandable (and credible), but doesn’t overwhelm with detail? I read your blog post on preparing for an interview, and found it helpful, but I’d like more information on producing the case study. I’ve also found that “case … Continued

How to fly readers directly to their destination: a lesson from Etihad Airways

When the Trump administration banned electronics larger than a mobile phone for passengers from several Middle East airports, airlines needed to respond. A press release from Etihad Airways tries to explain the problem and their solution, but circles around aimlessly instead. Here’s how to use a ROAM analysis to make communications like this better. Etihad’s email … Continued

Oakland Raiders move to Las Vegas reveals the hazards of loyalty

Sports is about money. But since the money comes from the fans — and the effort comes from the players — the people who run the sports business must talk as if it’s about passion and loyalty. The fundamental hypocrisy at the heart of sports is on display in the statements about the Oakland Raiders’ upcoming move … Continued