ARE YOU A SKEPTIC?
Do you doubt the Slow Burn Marketing Mantra--the one that says your brand is the one way you core customer should feel about your business?
Because certainly, there are the doubters out there.
There are those who argue that it's really all about having a better product, and making an intellectual argument for it.
Well then, just to prove a point (and have some fun at the expense of others), we are now going to look at a market where emotion rules.
This is a market where intellect flies out the window. The products are often ascribed evocative qualities they do not possess in any way. This is a market where the product name is all about imaginary sizzle and there is zero about product superiority in the initial effort to reach the customer.
WE ARE NOW SELLING YOU A FIBERGLASS BOX
A big, fiberglass box.
And it has wheels.
What's it for?
You tell me.
What on earth would you do with a gigantic fiberglass box called, "Raptor"?
Hmm. Raptor. A bird of prey. It has a talons designed for grabbing and clutching, and a beak designed for ripping and tearing. It has extraordinary eyesight and hunt with dead-accurate precision to survive.
THE RAPTOR IS A FEARSOME CREATURE
Members of its group are admired by Native American tribes who have made it a significant feature in their mythology. Various raptor names are used to honor their people.
The word comes from the French, "rapere," to seize or take by force.
Nothing says "Raptor" like a fiberglass box with wheels.
But then, there's another fiberglass box called, "Bighorn."
Another nod to the animal kingdom, the bighorn is a sheep.
This wild animal is revered among game hunters, and is another creature that figures prominently in the mythology of certain Native American tribes.
The animal is strong, and fearsome like the raptor, though for different reasons.
And nothing says, "Here's your fiberglass box with wheels" like a bighorn.
IN A DEPARTURE FROM FEARSOME CREATURES, MEET "PINNACLE"
We all know the pinnacle.
Fundamentally, a pinnacle is an architectural feature. It is long and pointy, like a small spire.
In nature, the rock pinnacle is a small spire of stone, often difficult to reach.
Metaphorically, the pinnacle has become something to which one aspires. The ultimate pinnacle is the success and greatness for which one was destined.
It's about aspirations and accomplishments.
One who has reached the pinnacle has arrived.
Nothing says "Pinnacle" like a fiberglass box with wheels.
Except, maybe, this next one.
PINNACLE, MEET "VENGEANCE"
It's root word is "Revenge," a form of justice usually taken outside the law. It is a form of payback, often made into a mission.
One wreaks vengeance upon one's enemies with great lust and zeal.
There is often tremendous blood spatter amidst a swinging of great blades.
Vengeance is raw and savage.
Vengeance feels good.
Or so we might imagine, for who among us has ever actually sought vengeance? But we can imagine!
Nothing says, "Vengeance" like a fiberglass box on wheels!
DO YOU WANT A FIBERGLASS BOX ON WHEELS NOW?
If so, which one?
And really, what are they?
A little backstory.
The Fabulous Honey Parker and I are on the road in the Mobile Branding Response Unit. (It is built on a precision German chassis and is small and fast.)
We've just driven from Utah on I-80, where we are finally preparing to leave this historic Interstate Highway to peel off into New Jersey.
But during the last several days, driving along flat, seemingly limitless expanses of great American farmland, we've seen a lot of these fiberglass boxes.
Watching their approach on the Westbound side of the highway, and looking at their names emblazoned on their gelcoat skins, it's a marvel how much they are a testimony to the irrational side of decision making.
BIGHORN AND BROOKSTONE, MEET MONTANA AND EXCEL
Names that all evoke a particular kind of machismo, but each one different and ranging from grandiose to absurd.
We are speaking, of course, of the fifth-wheel travel trailer.
The fifth-wheel trailer is usually quite large. People can live in them comfortably for months at a time.
They are typically towed using a full-size pickup truck with a fifth-wheel coupling in the bed, hence the name. The coupling is similar in design to the coupling you see on a tractor trailer.
They can cost from the mid-five figures into the hundreds of thousands of dollars.
And the trailer names are all a product of an effort to evoke an emotional response in the prospect.
HOW ELSE DO YOU EXPLAIN NAMES RANGING FROM RAPTOR TO EXCEL?
Fundamentally, these boxes are all the same.
They are fiberglass boxes on wheels.
They contain furniture, kitchens and bathrooms.
And nothing that differentiates them from one another, from the range of conveniences to the quality of the appliances, speaks to anything like bighorn sheep or getting revenge upon an enemy.
How would one even enact revenge using a travel trailer? "Look at me! Living well is the best revenge! Ha! I smite thee!"
Especially if you want a deeply passionate outdoorsman to look at your trailer, you're probably going with Bighorn.
If you're attracting a motorsports enthusiast who takes the trailer to racing events, you might go with Vengeance.
If you're not really thinking about your customer's mindset too much and just want to pretend you're better than everyone else, maybe you go with Excel.
I WAS NOT IN THE ROOM WHEN THEY HAD THESE MEETINGS
One can only imagine the conversations.
"Our customer is more of a raptor in his characteristics."
It's like they have a special Chinese calendar of customer types. But nobody has named their trailer the Rat or the Pig.
How much fun would that be?
Anyway, the point being, if you've ever doubted the emotional component to branding, here is a great, big, shining example of emotional appeal run amok. There is zero effort to appeal to the prospect's rational side.
The products might as well be breakfast cereal. They are big boxes with wildly different names, but all are essentially the same inside.
If you want success in branding, marketing, sales and advertising, all but abandon the rational.
Yes, you need the rational parts to help justify the emotional satisfaction that comes from a silly name like Vengeance.
But in the end, if you don't get emotional and look for the evocative, you're going to be pulling your trailer uphill.
Your Lean, Mean Creative Director in
Recently, I'd been sent a solicitation by a major internet radio provider.
They're one of the few online radio platforms that has a distinctive and unique position.
There is no other service like it, and it's one of the reasons I listen to it.
When it comes to music, my terrestrial radio market is marginal at best.
One of the only reasons I listen to commercial radio is to find really awful radio advertising.
But we're off topic.
This major internet radio provider sent me a solicitation disguised as a primer.
How to tell powerful brand stories using audio.
I ADMIT IT: MY CURIOSITY WAS PIQUED
As a longtime writer of radio advertising, and as an award-winning, audio-loving, ROI-producing, brand-story-telling small-business marketeer, I'm always looking for insight into telling brand stories.
In fact, I just saw a terrific little video starring Bo Eason, the former NFL player turned story guru.
He talked about four crucial tips for successful storytelling. He was great.
So, in this mode, I clicked on the link to this ostensible lesson from the internet provider on how to tell brand stories using audio.
Interestingly, they also four crucial tips.
But as I wound my way through the copy to get to the tips, I was concerned. This was not shaping up to be enormously insightful.
AND BY THE FIRST OF THEIR FOUR ESSENTIALS, IT WAS EVIDENT WE WERE IN TROUBLE
1. USE A CONVERSATIONAL TONE
Most audio is consumed through
earbuds, so there is no need to shout
anymore. Consumers will appreciate
you more for speaking to them like
you would a friend.
Let's forget the assertion that it's all about earbuds now.
There's no need to shout anymore?
Friend, I hate to tell you this, but there never was any need to shout.
Shouting out of the radio has always been the province of those with nothing to say.
Have I ever shouted out of the radio?
And it was always in an effort to make fun of the people who feel they need to shout out of the radio.
SPEAKING AS IF TO A FRIEND HAS LONG BEEN AN ESSENTIAL TRUTH
Since the beginning, radio advertising has worked best when delivered as a conversation.
Speaking one-on-one to your listener has sold untold billions worth of product.
Even epic and successful efforts that one might remember as "shouting," when you go back and revisit them, are not shouting at all.
Look at a hugely successful radio ad campaign that ran for years, and created a significant sales increase for Bud Light: The "Real Men Of Genius" campaign.
Double-digit percentage gains in market share, over 100 advertising awards, CD compilations of the commercials, endless parodies (which is ironic, as the campaign itself was a satire), the Bud Light "Real Men Of Genius" campaign was gold.
And announcer Pete Stacker shouted his way through that campaign, right?
If you do...you'd be wrong.
But a lot of folks who like to imitate Pete Stacker's brilliantly deadpan, self-important baritone on those messages get it completely wrong.
One of the reasons it works is because it is larger than life while still being on the down low and part of a conversation that gives you enough credit to be in on the joke.
"But what about all those car dealer commercials that shout at you out of the radio," you ask. "Doesn't that prove that shouting is a viable and necessary approach to radio advertising?"
It does nothing of the kind. It proves only that those messages exist. It tells you nothing about their efficacy.
"But," you ask, "Why would they keep doing it if it didn't work?"
WELL, A COUPLE OF REASONS WHY SHOUTING MIGHT WORK
If you shout and you spend more money than anyone else, you're bound to get some traffic.
You're essentially annoying people into remembering you.
But I once worked with a Los Angeles car dealer on their radio, using the exact opposite approach. Intimate, one-on-one conversation. Honest and real and friendly and engaging.
They had tiny radio budget.
And every month, their new-car inventory sold out.
There is no need to shout. There never has been. And to tell your prospect, someone who's considering using internet radio advertising, that there is no need to shout "anymore" immediately brings your credibility as an audio advertising authority into question.
AND IT MAKES PEOPLE LIKE ME CRAZY
At best, you're stating a truth that never was.
At worst, and I fear this is the case, you have no clue.
OK, so earth-shaking creative truth number one is predicated on a fallacy.
What about the other three truths?
Well, the second truth was about speaking to an individual and making it personal.
Truth indeed! Can't argue. It's not new. But it's essential.
Truth number three, have a clear call-to-action.
Again, truth! Can't argue.
BUT THE FOURTH TRUTH IS MUDDLED
It's about complementing the audio advertising with display.
The internet radio provider asserts that, "In an ideal scenario, audio and display go hand-in-hand. Let the audio message deliver the hardworking information, while the display captures the eyes."
Here's my big, fear, which is probably not the reality: "Have a really good display ad up when your audio message is playing! That's the ticket."
Because everybody who listens to the radio sits there staring at it the entire time, regardless of whether it's an old fashioned terrestrial radio signal pumped out of an antenna farm, or a flurry of zeroes and ones pumped out of your internet provider's server farm.
I suspect, I hope, this is wrong.
I hope that what they really mean is having a complementary media mix. Which is good.
Here's the problem: How on earth does an audio message "deliver the hardworking information"?
AUDIO MESSAGES WORK BEST NOT WITH FACTS AND DETAILS...
They work best by creating a feeling and focusing on a simple, easy to comprehend message.
So, what is the "hardworking information" that this audio advertisement is supposed to deliver?
If it's a focused, emotionally evocative message, right on!
If this is supposed to mean that you want to deliver all the hard facts in your audio message, well...
You need to study radio advertising 101.
So, why are we harping on all this?
BECAUSE I AM ANNOYED
Yes. It's all about me.
That's because I have spent a huge portion of my professional life dealing with the psychology and the techniques behind sales messages.
And lately, I've been venturing into the digital realm to augment my toolbox.
The ongoing problem is that I'm besieged by excited, enthusiastic young professionals who have all kinds of new information to convey-and they are completely reinventing the wheel without ever having understood the genius of the wheel in the first place.
The technology has evolved.
Human beings have not.
YES, PEOPLE MIGHT BE PAYING LESS ATTENTION THAN BEFORE
That just means we need to be even more skilled at the essentials.
And that skill requires understanding what makes people listen (or read, or watch), and then feel compelled to act.
It means looking at and understanding the historical truths about advertising.
Oooh, "advertising" is a dirty word now.
So is "radio."
Get over it, kids. "Radio" is from the Latin "radius," for "beam" or "ray."
AND JUST BECAUSE YOU'RE BEAMING DIGITS FROM A SERVER DOESN'T CHANGE PEOPLE
It doesn't change their psychological triggers.
It doesn't change their need for story.
It doesn't change the decades-old, proven, historical truths about advertising.
And it doesn't change the elemental foundation of branding a business before ever going out to advertise it.
The self-styled digital-marketing geniuses of 21st-century internet advertising need to understand history and psychology and story and brand and stop trying to reinvent and rename everything.
They need to get off their high horses.
Because, at best, they're really just riding around on dogs and ponies.
We have truths, we have vocabulary, and we have people.
Come back to the fundamentals, meet the truth, and serve your client better.
Your Lean, Mean Creative Director in
BIG DOGS, BIG LIES?
If you've been hanging around here for any length of time, you're sick of hearing us say it.
Your brand is the one way your Core Customer should feel about your business.
One way, because focus is essential.
Feel, because all decisions--including buying decisions--are made emotionally and justified later.
Core Customer because, when you understand the one person to whom you're speaking, you understand how to be resonant and relevant.
With that in mind, allow us to look at that simple, ground-corn product, the humble tortilla chip.
Specifically, let's look at a small, regional brand here in the west that goes by the name, Juanita's.
JUANITA'S IS A TORTILLA CHIP OF DISTINCTION
This is a chip that one might refer to as "restaurant-style."
It's a rustic product made of stone-ground yellow corn, a trace of lime, vegetable oil, salt and water.
Juanita's is a classic American success story.
An immigrant Mexican family moves to Hood River, Oregon.
In the 1970s, they rent a room and start making mom's authentic, Mexican-style corn tortillas to sell in local markets.
One by one, the family members leave their other jobs and work in the tortilla factory.
Today, they're huge in a regional kind of way.
If you want to read the story, it's on their website.
On the bag, there is a topline version of the story:
"To make a great tasting tortilla chip,
you first need to know how to make
a great tortilla. For over 50 years our
mother has prepared fine, authentic
Mexican meals insisting on only the
finest ingredients. And for over 26
years our family has brought to the
public the same dedication to quality
with the brand named after
her .... Juanita's."
WHEN THE FABULOUS HONEY PARKER AND I THROW A PARTY, THIS IS OUR GO-TO CHIP
We serve it with a homemade salsa cruda, which is basically a mix of chopped tomatoes, onions, peppers, cilantro, salt and lime juice all stirred up in a bowl.
Our guests scarf it down. And someone always asks, "What kind of chips are these? They're great."
We show them the simple bag with its red and green logo that looks like the signage off an old Los Angeles taco joint. They nod and crunch.
Last week, when I went to buy Juanita's for our traditional July 4th barbecue at the Mountaintop Marketing Fortress...
The supermarket was out.
On the shelf, there was an enormous void where our beloved Juanita's usually live.
Holiday locusts had descended ahead of me.
I began perusing the alternatives. There were a couple of brands that seemed equally rustic and unsophisticated in their branding.
But I looked at one that seemed especially relevant.
LA COCINA DE JOSEFINA
I already knew the story of Juanita's Horatio Algero roots.
I looked at the bag of chips from La Cocina De Josefina, and it seemed equally unsophisticated.
A simple drawing of a Mexican woman rolling out a tortilla by hand.
Turning the bag over, it was not dissimilar to Juanita's:
These tortilla chips are made
with the simple ingredients of
corn, oil, salt... and love, ---
because we believe that every
bag of La Cocina de Josefina chips
is an invitation. To share. To
connect. To come together with
people who are important to you.
Made right here in the Pacific
Northwest, we care greatly about
the product we create for you,
and make sure to only use quality
ingredients. The result is a flavorful
tortilla chip that we think you'll
find simply delicious. So grab
some friends, open a bag
With the dearth of Juanita's, two bags of Josefina's went into the cart.
The salsa was a hit. People scarfed down 97% of it using a bag and a half of chips.
The next evening, I was sitting with the leftover chips, considering how much they tasted like a Fritos corn chip. Could Josefina have displaced Juanita in my chip repertoire?
Looking at the bag, it seemed odd that there was no website listed in the labeling.
Wondering about Josefina's heritage, I googled her chips.
Dear God, what have I done!
This rustic tortilla chip, made with the simple ingredients of corn, oil, salt, and love...
Is a poseur!
Or, as they would say in Spanish, "Presumido!"
The chips from La Cocina De Josefina are made not with love at all, but with filthy corporate lucre!
JOSEFINA'S CHIPS AND HER SIMPLE DRAWING OF HER ROLLING OUT A TORTILLA...
...are a product of Frito-Lay, Inc.!
Be still my heart!
Nowhere on the packaging is there any indication of this relationship.
The closest they come to any admission is in the address:
Made in Vancouver, Washington
for La Cocina de Josefina by
Cocina Autentica, Inc.
4808 NW Fruit Valley Rd.
Vancouver, WA 98660
Google that address, and you get a map of Frito Lay's Vancouver production plant.
Why this lie by omission?
FOR EXACTLY THE REASON INDICATED AT THE BEGINNING OF THIS SCREED
The Frito-Lay marketing department knows that a brand is the one way the Core Customer should feel about the business.
One way, because focus is essential. They have focused on creating what seems to be a family-owned brand of chips.
Feel, because all decisions--including buying decisions--are made emotionally and justified later. And any simple chip "made with love" is a viable substitute for the absent Juanita.
And Core Customer because they want to have a voice that is resonant and relevant. They understand they are speaking to someone who appreciates the rustic family nature of Juanita's brand. Understanding how this person feels about Juanita's helps them matter in this person's quest for chips over, say, Tostitos.
But why have they done this?
Why has this big dog perpetrated this big lie by omission?
THIS IS A CORPORATE STRATEGY
Publicly, they say that they don't mention Frito-Lay because it is a regional product only. Frito-Lay is a national brand.
But dig a little deeper, and you find that Frito-Lay has a new strategy of going after strong regional brands.
And wisely, they look at someone like me, who's a fan of my regional brand. They know that in no way would I, in looking for a substitute for my Juanita's, buy a product from a subsidiary of a $75 billion company.
But the small-brand BS stamped on the back of their bag, along with the homespun look of the package, is exactly what they know I will respond to.
I have been played!
And this proves exactly why Slow Burn Marketing insists that as a small business in the 21st century, being competitive in one's marketplace requires understanding what it means to have an evocative brand.
THIS BIG DOG HAS DONE NOTHING ILLEGAL
But they have concocted an implicit lie of a brand in an effort to squeeze out a little guy.
Is it fair?
Do I have anything against Frito-Lay?
Am I glad to have been duped like this?
Because not only does it make me a smarter consumer.
IT ALSO GIVES ME GRIST FOR THE SCREED MILL
Like so much yellow corn being stoneground for tortilla chip slurry, we have a salty object lesson for the small-business marketer.
If you brand well, and you build your business, you can become a threat to the big dogs.
If you were around a few weeks ago when we talked about Dollar Shave Club and their acquisition by Unilever last year for a billion dollars cash, that's another example of threat management.
Wisdom on the street is that Unilever paid far more than the brand was worth just to prevent someone else from buying it.
Most of us will never be big enough to inspire fear and big-money attacks or acquisitions.
Some will. There are a few followers of the screed who will make it happen.
But by understanding why branding works and knowing how to throw an emotional dart at the heart of your customer, no matter how small you are, you can win big in your marketplace.
Mere component parts like corn, oil and salt are beaten into the ground by the idea of love.
Even if it's all a lie.
Your Lean, Mean Creative Director in
Yes, it is July 4, 2017. In the United States, we are celebrating our declaration of independence from the United Kingdom.
Last week, our neighbors in Canada celebrated their sesquicentennial (that's the 150-year anniversary for all you civilians) of their independence from the UK.
No doubt, many Americans today are wishing they could move to Canada for more than just celebration.
But we here at the Mountaintop Marketing Fortress are not going there.
We will not make this a political screed. We never have. We never will. Because politics is just too divisive.
We are inclusionists.
We like to invite everyone to celebrate.
Which explains today's celebration.
WE ARE CELEBRATING A BRIT WHO CHANGED THE SHAPE OF AMERICAN ADVERTISING
Indeed, as creators of advertising, it's hard for us to not appreciate a man who famously said, "Talent, I believe, is most likely to be found among nonconformists, dissenters, and rebels."
And is there anything more American than an appreciation for nonconformity, dissent and rebellion?
Well, yeah, there is the national pastime of banging the drum for nonconformity, dissent and rebellion while making sure it conforms, agrees and complies.
"Let's all be different by dressing alike and indulging fanatical groupthink about the same stupid idea! Woo-hoo!"
But I digress.
REBELLION IS THE GAME THAT GAVE THE U.S. ITS INDEPENDENCE
And this Brit, the son of a Gaelic-speaking Scottish Highlander, was fascinated by the American character.
Back in the middle of the 20th century, in the days before the mayhem and the menace of the over-communicated digital culture, this man was an iconoclast, a subversive, a revolutionary.
He came to the U.S. banging the drum for a sea change in advertising.
In an age of the hard sell, he made a convincing pitch for the soft sell.
And his soft sell built brands with ferocious intensity. He won more major advertising accounts than any ad man before or since.
He never won any advertising awards for creativity. He didn't believe in them.
The idea of an industry's creative people giving awards to each other left him cold. He always maintained that if something didn't sell, it wasn't creative.
I COULD ARGUE THAT IF IT DOESN'T SELL, IT MIGHT BE STILL BE CREATIVE--IT JUST ISN'T RELEVANT
But why parse words with a genius? He'll always run rings around you logically.
And this man's particular genius is responsible for so much of what we do in our business that wins friends and influences people.
He changed advertising using his soft-sell methods combined with research.
Yes, that pox, research, always a nuisance, a bother and a misery to so many creative people.
In a famous quote, he said, "Advertising people who ignore research are as dangerous as generals who ignore decodes of enemy signals."
BUT THAT DOESN'T MEAN HE LOOKED DOWN UPON CREATIVE
Remember, he was all about the talented nonconformists, dissenters, and rebels.
In fact, despite being an enormously successful businessman, he disdained businessmen who lacked the ability to be creative.
This man famously said:
The creative process requires more
than reason. Most original thinking
isn't even verbal. It requires "a groping
experimentation with ideas, governed
by intuitive hunches and inspired by
the unconscious." The majority of
business men are incapable of original
thinking because they are unable to
escape from the tyranny of reason.
Their imaginations are blocked.
BLAMMO! TAKE THAT, BLOCKED BUSINESSMAN!
Talk about potentially biting the hand that feeds you.
Who makes the decision to hire an advertising agency?
But then, don't Americans like to imagine themselves as the outlier, the nonconformist, the rebel?
"He's right! Let's be rebellious and hire the creative guy! Yay, we're nonconformists! Let's start dressing like nonconformists and pretending we're the new originals!"
But one of the most significant pieces of ad think propagated by this rebellious Brit regards branding.
And interestingly, "branding" is not a word that you hear him use a lot.
But when you look at his track record of iconic brand development, he was a king.
HE SPECIALIZED IN MAKING THE PROSPECT FEEL ONE WAY ABOUT THE PRODUCT
In fact, he called it essential to winning. He said:
There isn't any significant difference
between the various brands of whiskey,
or cigarettes or beer. They are all about
the same. And so are the cake mixes and
the detergents, and the margarines...
The manufacturer who dedicates his
advertising to building the most sharply
defined personality for his brand will
get the largest share of the market at
the highest profit.
We at Slow Burn might argue that this thesis becomes shaky when applied to various small-businesses with whom we work. Because many of them really are different than the competitors.
Nonetheless, the core concept--that the most sharply defined and most attractive personality wins--is one with which we have no argument whatsoever.
Hands down, we have seen it work for our clients. We have even seen it inspire the competition to scramble and regroup in an effort to redefine their own personality--with laughable results.
AND, THIS BRIT EVEN USED AN EXPRESSION NEAR AND DEAR TO THE FABULOUS HONEY PARKER'S HEART
He said something which is not only similar to a phrase she uses repeatedly, but is an idea which is uniquely American.
Honey loves a good sports story, and likes to talk about helping our clients "Knock it out of the park."
And lemmetellya, that is fun to do.
And this Brit liked to say, "Don't bunt. Aim out of the ball park."
And then he said, "Aim for the company of immortals."
Aim for the company of immortals.
I just got chills.
And interestingly, the Brit was also realistic about this.
He wasn't about winning at all costs. He had perspective and balance.
He also said, "Play to win, but enjoy the fun."
WE HAVE A RULE HERE AT SLOW BURN MARKETING
We've repeated it here before.
We will do business only with people whom we'd look forward to joining for dinner.
Life is too short. We will not take a client just for the money.
It has to be a good fit.
They, like us, have to play to win but enjoy the fun.
Interestingly, this describes not only the person who hired us, but every single person we met when we were engaged in a branding effort for a division of Wells Fargo.
HARD TO IMAGINE--BUT TRUE
And finally, one of the most practical quotes from our British invader.
It is just as piercing and relevant now as it was then.
And it speaks to a mindset seen too often in the hucksterish sales messages that come at us over the airwaves and through the ether.
This man was adamant that, "The consumer is not a moron. She is your wife. Try not to insult her intelligence."
On this Independence Day, a salute to you, David Ogilvy.
Here's to being fascinated by Americans, to burning it up with the soft sell, and to nonconformity, dissension, and rebellion.
Your Lean, Mean Creative Director in
Blaine Parker is prone to ranting about any and all things related to brand. In many ways, he is a professional curmudgeon. While there is no known vaccine for this, the condition is also not contagious. Unless you choose it to be so.