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The Power of a Picture

Stuart Elliot writes an advertising column for the New York Times. A while back, he wrote (article) about AT&T’s choice to air a campaign with a spokesperson fictitiously known as Lily Adams. (real name: Milana Vayntrub)

In determining the goal of the advertising campaign, they wanted someone who would appear “friendly, knowledgeable and helpful”. They wanted us to picture walking into a store to buy a phone and expect Lily Adams to be there. It’s better than an advertisement that tells us how friendly, knowledgeable and helpful that AT&T will be, if we buy phone service from them.

In 1862, Russian writer Ivan Turgenev wrote in Fathers and Sons that “A picture shows me at a glance what it takes dozens of pages of a book to expound”. In 1913, a company named Piqua Auto Supply House marketed tires by running a a newspaper ad that read, “One Look Is Worth A Thousand Words”.

Now we all know the expression that “a picture is worth a thousand words”, which somehow transcended from these earlier ideas. For that same reason, there are now companies who specialize in medical drawings for legal cases. In fact, they attend college to study medical illustrations.

It is important to have a doctor describe the injuries that a client has suffered. However, it is much more powerful to have a medical drawing to show the injury  to a jury, and the resulting treatment. The persuasion of the visual.

That thought led me to two recent pictures that caught my attention. The first I saw while watching football on Sunday afternoon. The second was on Twitter and I first saw it in Peter King’s Monday Morning Quarterback article.  In both instances, a description would not do justice.

On Sunday at the Chiefs/Bills game, the camera cut to a guy in the stands who was dressed like the coach of the Chiefs. This beats holding up a sign. Fake Any Reid on the left and Andy Reid on the right!

Fake Andy

This second resulted from a guy  who walked into a coffee shop and told the barista behind the counter, for the purpose of his order, that his name was “Marc” with a “C”. This picture shows the cup when his coffee was ready.



I guess that is the definition of literal.

And finally, I say a special thank you for all who have served in the military. Thank you for your protection of our country and our freedom.

Snowden’s Passwords

In the movie Wall Street the classic line to cue an inside sale was “Blue Horseshoe loves Anacott steel” because it meant that Gordon Gekko had some insider trading information and everyone down the line needed to get in on the stock trade.

In that same movie, Gordon Gekko turns to Bud Fox and says, “The most valuable commodity I know of is information, wouldn’t you agree?” It’s based on the same premise that ” loose lips sink ships!”

Those quotes came to mind as I read about all the damage that Eric Snowden has done to our United States’ intelligence. The intelligence community is still trying to assess the amount of damage that has been done.

Up until now, it has been difficult to grasp how Snowden, as a contract employee for the National Security Agency, could possibly have secured all that information. Now, there might be an answer to explain it.

Reuters News  is now reporting that fellow workers unwittingly provided their passwords to Snowden, allowing him to access material that otherwise would have been blocked.  It is estimated that over 25 employees gave their passwords to him after he convinced them that he needed the passwords, because he needed access as a computer systems administrator.

Even employees who had been trained and warned, still let their guard down. They made the mistake in believing that everyone was an insider; and therefore, everyone was trustworthy.

On this Veteran’s Day, we stop to thank the estimated 23 million veterans in this country who have served, with the other 2.3 million who are in active duty. They are the opposite of what Snowden stands for, in that they have protected us and our freedoms.

The story of Snowden is not over. He will be brought to justice. At the same time, it is also a reminder that the enemy does not rest.

DID YOU KNOW that in West Virginia, no one may walk a lion, tiger or leopard; even on a leash. Of course it is also law that anyone who curses or swears in public will be fined one dollar for each offense.  (I just came back from West Virginia and I did not see anyone break the first law, but I may have heard the second law violated)

Vet 1                                                                  Vet 2

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