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Counselor Senior Editor Michele Bell's slanted view of the world.

The Weirdness of Me…

Filed under: Fun, Personal

Hi Everyone!

I hope you’re all having a fun summer and finding ways to chill (literally and figuratively) and enjoy yourselves.

We’ve been busy in ASI’s editorial department, closing our special annual Counselor “State of the Industry” issue (due out later this month), in addition to our other magazines and preparing for the upcoming ASI Chicago Show.

It is for these reasons that I’ve been more than a little stressed — which, for those of you who know me, makes me so much more of a delight than I usually am. Let’s just say that some of my eccentricities really start to shine under certain circumstances. For example, I have a tendency when I’m in a mood like this and want something, to write it in verse — usually rhyme, sometimes iambic pentameter — because it sounds sweet and whimsical, and makes me seem (I  think) less like the demanding diva I can be.

Recently, I wanted my BFF Jeremy Young (one of ASI’s tech geeks) to bring me some chicken salad (one of my favorite things!) that his mother, a fabulous cook who knows her way around a skillet*, had made. To avoid sounding petulant and Veruca Salt-ish (“I want, I want, I want…!!!”), this is what I sent Jeremy to convey my request:

Ode to Chicken Salad

Though not a fan of salad,

green,

There is another on which I’m keen,

Often described as “finger-lickin’ “

It’s the kind made of chicken!

This is my BFF Jeremy Young, one recent night when we went to get cocktails after work. I have often requested, in the form of poetry, samples of leftovers that Jeremy’s mom has whipped up, including, but not limited to: toffee, macaroons, chocolate chip cookies, turkey stuffing and chicken salad. Here, our waitress took one look at Jeremy, and with uncanny talent, knew exactly which brand of beer to suggest for him: Weyerbacher’s “Blithering Idiot.”

I think it’s because this was the last thing I wrote before going to sleep that night, and because I had work on my mind and took two Tylenol PM capsules**, I had a trippy (on a multitude of levels) dream that would have had Freud scratching his head and reaching for a tumbler of scotch.

In it, Tim Andrews, ASI’s president & CEO, announced to the company that Ben Bernanke — the Chairman of the Fed — was coming to ASI and that I would be the one to make a presentation to him on the company’s behalf***. Walking through ASI on my way to address the Chairman, Joe Haley — my tortured managing editor and the star of The Joe Show — followed me with a little red wagon, handing out seashells to every ASI staffer we passed****.  As we got to the auditorium, I took the stage, turned to the Chairman of the Fed, 500 ASI employees, Tim Andrews and the Cohn Family and did the entire presentation in haiku. The last thing I remember before waking in a cold sweat was the look of shocked horror on Tim’s face.

The next day I mentioned my dream to Tim, who frankly waved it off as me being a weapons-grade weirdo. Fast forward to about a week later when Tim walked in to my office and told me he had just come from a visit to his home state of Indiana, where he stayed at a place called Hotel Indigo. At this boutique hotel, the menus, room advertisements, key card, “Do Not Disturb” door hanger, bar coasters and napkins — everything — had fun little messages that were written in, you guessed it, haiku.

The Hotel Indigo, a boutique establishment with locations in Indiana, has a hippy, Zen, new-agey, eco vibe and gets its creativity on by using haiku to create all of its in-house promotional signage and advertisements. A haiku is a poem written in three lines, usually consisting of five, seven, then five syllables.

Tim shook his head in disbelief. “I swear to you,” he told me, “before staying at this hotel and your wacko dream it had been years since I heard the word ‘haiku’ used in any form. You have to admit — it’s not something that comes up in everyday conversation.”  

How clever is this hotel, though, to tie in the concept of the haiku with all their collateral promotional materials? And how fabulous would it be if they offered some equally cool and inspiring ad specialties to guests as a welcome or in-room gift, or something sent to loyal customers? (Savvy distributors reading out there, I’m talking to you… ; ) ). I love this hotel’s attention to detail and creative ingenuity in employing the under-utilized (though clearly very hip) haiku as a form of communication!

Speaking of communicating, next time I blog it will be from the ASI Chicago Show, starting Tuesday, 7/21 and running ’til Thursday, 7/23. If you’re exhibiting, please be my guest at a free luncheon and panel discussion just for suppliers (held on Tuesday, 7/21 from 12-1:30 p.m. right on the show floor). I’ll be moderating a panel of four top-selling distributors who will share with you what it takes to win their business and their loyalty. If you’re a distributor, join me on Wednesday, 7/22, from 2:45-3:45 p.m. (right behind the Advantages’ New Products pavilion) for a panel discussion on super-successful self-promotion campaigns, featuring some award-winning promos that garnered double- and triple-digit response rates and tens of thousands of dollars in sales for the distributors who created them.

Cheers, and more next week from Chicago!

— M

* I myself cannot cook at all, and once had to ask Jeremy — with a furrowed brow and confused expression, “What the hell is a skillet?”

** I’m also mystified that I, certainly no clean slate when it comes to pharmaceuticals, was sent reeling by two little Tylenol PM capsules. It’s like Keith Richards being leveled by a Flintstones vitamin.   

*** As the majority of my working knowledge of the stock market comes from the movie Trading Places, it should be noted that I’d be the last person at ASI — and that includes the nice high school boy who mows our lawns — Tim Andrews would ask to address the Chairman of the Fed.

**** Joe Haley would like you all to know that despite his guest role in my dream, he is neither my lackey nor my bitch in real life. ; )