barking up the, uh, wrong….tree?

I have two adorable, intelligent, feisty little girls who I’m lucky to share my life with. Not only do they provide unconditional love, they are also a great source of laughter. And blog topics.

These girls, by their very DNA, are ratters. This inclination not only shows up on walks, but also in chasing any shadow or reflection that might appear inside or out. But due to our living sitch, these are definitely city girls. And let’s just say they can confuse their genetics with their environment.

Our neighborhood has a fair number of new “critters” that have moved in. I’m sure it’s a combination of food supply, and having their previous residence submerged as a result of the new inlet to the wetlands. We’ve seen possums, shunks, coyotes, rats, and squirrels (to quote Carrie from Sex In The City, a “rat with a better outfit”). We have managed to avoid any major interaction with the first 3 (including keeping shunk scent remover handy). Ah, but the squirrels.

There’s one that likes to taunt the girls from the patio walls and surrounding trees. Well, that is until I get the hose out and chase it off.

The girls love to chase after the squirrels, and are usually quite proud of “treeing” them. But now that we’re finding a whole new batch of bunnies in the ‘hood, the girls get a wee bit confused.

Last night, while walking the girls, we came up on a cute lil Thumper. It tried to go unnoticed, but the hunting prowess of Allie and Cody kicked in and soon they were straining at the ends of their leashes, sending the bunny scampering away. It disappeared into the shrubs. And my girls. My brave little hunters. What did they think of their efforts?

They proudly stood and stared, daring that little bunny to show itself. Up in the tree. They haven’t quite grasped the difference between a squirrel and a bunny. Their thought process is A) we chase, B) chasee runs and climbs a tree, and C) we stand proud in our accomplishment.

So why does this story belong in a blog about my life in advertising? It makes me think of clients I’ve encountered who think the same message, delivered through the same media outlet, will reach the right target. Even when that message, intended for bunnies, ends up in the trees.

I know that my job is to provide leadership and guidance, along with the right message, and then deliver it to the appropriate audience. Whether that is up the trees, or to an audience of squirrels, all depends on the product/service. And what is best for the client.

I won’t stop my girls from being proud of their treeing prowess. I will stop a client from wasting time and money on barking up the wrong tree.



Filed under my life in advertising

5 responses to “barking up the, uh, wrong….tree?

  1. internet elias

    So cute!

  2. The most comprehensive info I have found on this subject on the net. Will be back soon to follow up.

  3. FIRST: I am SO sorry I missed your birthday Jerry!! I do hope you had a wonderful one. Belated and bygones, don’tcha know.
    SECOND: LOVED this post. You’re so bang-on — weaving a compelling story and then drawing the parallels between “ratting” and the reality of our crazy business and how clients/media buyers/suits-of-many-colors think if you just throw message – scattershot – it will pull in eyeballs and actions. Happily (or unhappily depending on how successfully we educate these aforementioned misinformed lads and lasses), the very soul of being a creative involves thinking not just about the message, but the context of the message. “It ain’t the meat – it’s the motion,” as the old song went.
    We think not just about the dreaded CTA, but where it will catch some sucka off-guard, and then use the power of context to sock that victim right between the eyes (oh, clouds parting and angel chorus singing doesn’t hurt either). All of which means nothing if it doesn’t get butts off couches and fingers clicking on mouses.
    This, my friend who understands, is my long-winded way of saying, I love your wise parables for modern life. Instead of gritting my teeth in anticipation of more of the above, I giggled and thought about your girlies barking at the (empty) tree (and then pictured myself doing the same at a client in a conference room). I do hope they have squirrels (and trees aplenty) in New Mexico. More happy birthday wishes.
    I am xoxo-ing you!

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  5. Having been just browsing for pertinent blog posts intended for my project research when My partner and i happened to stumble upon yours. Thanks for this practical material!

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